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The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Taipei Night Markets: Huahsi, Ningxia and Raohe

Earlier this year, a friend and I went on a girls-and-bubs trip to Taipei, and as much as we love our babies, the best part of the trip was leaving the sleeping babies behind at our accommodation with a nanny, and going out at night to check out the night markets! It was the one thing I wished we did more in Kaohsiung, where we only did one night market (battling the crowd with a 4-year-old is rather challenging). In Taipei, my friend and I visited three markets, and it left me wanting for more! I'll just have to plan another trip to Taipei!

A street cart on Zhonghua Road between Carrefour and Ximen MRT (either near the intersection with Guiyang St or Changsha St), peddling mochi (glutinous rice snack):

Mochi simply tossed with sweet peanut and sesame sauce:

Huaxi Night Market, aka Snake Alley

Huaxi night market is located near the Longshan Temple, and specialises in snake dishes, which we did not try because of time constraints. We did try many other street snacks, and here are some of the highlights.

My friend's favourite Chinese street snack is cong you bing, a savoury scallion pancake. This lady makes a delicious you bing at Huaxi market:

A shop specialising in choudofu (stinky tofu):

Our first taste of choudofu was a stewed version. I'll be frank here, we were not keen on it. But we persisted, and I found with each spoon that the taste sort of grew on me:

Fried taro balls are popular here, and this girl flicks the balls out of the deep-fryer onto the cooling tray with the speed and precision that can come only from doing this for a long time:

Ningxia Market

Ningxia is a traditional market that reminds its visitors of old Taiwan. There are plenty of food stalls to visit and also interesting stores to shop in. We enjoyed delicious oyster omelet and more fried taro balls. We also tried the deep-fried version of stinky tofu to find out if it's an improvement over the stewed version we had the previous night (it's not).

Popular shop selling oyster omelet:

This oyster omelet was worth the wait! Plump juicy salty oysters with crispy egg

Deep-fried choudofu. Definitely an acquired taste, and I wish I had longer time to give stinky tofu a chance (like I did with bitter gourd (as a young child, my mum told me eating it would make my blood bitter and repel mosquitoes - that's a lie because mozzies still find me tasty, but it got me acquiring a taste for the bitter gourd), Aussie Vegemite, and Japanese natto):

More crispy taro balls:

Raohe Street Night Market

On our final night in Taipei, my friend and I ventured to Raohe Street Night Market for more street snacks.

This hu jiao bing (black pepper pork bun) stall at the end of Raohe Street night market had a huge queue, though it was a weeknight:

There were about 8 or 9 staff on the production line to efficiently churn out delicious pork buns to satisfy the hungry crowd. Though the line was long, we didn't wait long to get to the front of the line:

Buns lined up waiting to be stuck on the wall of the clay oven, which is similar to the Indian tandoor:

Truly delicious! Definitely worth the short wait in the long queue:

We also tried some herbal pork rib soup, which I'm sure was very nourishing:

And I indulged in some thick sweet soup full of mixed beans and black taro and chewy tapioca balls:

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