Eating in Taiwan Part 2 of 3
Friday, July 27, 2012

My second post on Eating in Taiwan is about the food scene at the night markets. You’ll find many night markets in every city, each one unique in their offers (mostly cheap food and clothes). Some might be just a few blocks long while other night markets will take an entire evening to explore. Here’s a tip: go with an empty stomach so you can be sure to eat from start to finish!

At the night markets, you’ll always find rows and rows of food booths. This particular one I went to is called the Keelung Miaokao Night Market, a half-hour drive from Taipei.

At each food booth, you can choose to sit down and eat or have it to-go. Everything is prepared in front of you.

Fried oyster omelette. The omelette part is made with scrambled eggs and potato starch so it’s got a slightly chewy and sticky texture. It usually comes with a light sweet and spicy sauce.

Fried tempura (fish cake).

A Taiwanese hot-dog stand. Grilled sticky rice-filled intestine and sweet taiwanese sausage.

Here, you can choose what flavour (toppings) you want. We got green onion and garlic.

Unfortunately, you can’t see the sticky rice that holds the sausage like the ‘bun’ part. But it was delicious. The sausage was sweet and extra juicy as a result of the pork fat having melted inside the sausage casing! I don’t think there is such thing as lean meat in Taiwan.

This booth served a really famous rice-noodle soup dish. It features a special type of handmade rice-noodle. The rice noodles are made by steaming rice paste inside a large wok. To serve, they scrape off the steamed rice paste along the side of the wok and it curls up. These rice noodles absorb the flavour of the soup well and their texture is also quite unique. It’s soft and slightly chewy. The closest analogy would be the clear dumpling skin of steamed shrimp dumplings (xiao mai) you get at dim sum.

Here’s the rice-noodle soup dish. It’s a pork and dried shrimp-based soup stock with cabbage, fish cake, tiger lilies (tasted like zucchini flowers), and thick curls of rice-noodle.

This booth sold fried miniature crabs.

Just like a bucket of popcorn shrimp, except they’re crabs! I didn’t buy these because I didn’t want to eat a bucket of it. 

Here, they’re making run bing, a wrap filled with sweet and savoury ingredients. They make the wrapper by working a a soft dough against a hot plate in a circular motion. 

They repeat this until it forms a thin crepe-like wrapper. 

Then, they peel it off so it can be filled with your choice of ingredients.

The ingredients (vegetables, sausage or whatever else they have) are savoury, but they add a sprinkling of ground peanuts and icing sugar to give it a sweet touch. So it’s a sweet and savoury wrap.

Finally, we ended our evening at keelung night market with pao pao bing. A handmade ice dessert.

First, they shave ice.

Then, they handmix the ice with your choice of flavour/ ingredients. I chose taro so they mixed and mashed cooked taro pieces with the shaved ice.

It might not look very appetizing but it’s very refreshing and all natural, with real pieces of taro! Not like your typical bright purple, powdered-taro flavoured bubble tea. 

More on Taiwanese shaved ice desserts next!

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!