Taipei’s way of welcome was a chockfull of fried things on sticks or bowls, most of which we knew nothing about. We had no problem about it though, since they were both cheap and tasty, two characteristics that are always welcome in our books.
Apparently, Taiwan has this love affair with night markets; a quick Google search will tell you as much. The one nearest where we were staying was Shilin Night Market, which, it turned out, was about 20 minutes away by cab.
But of course, our first purchase had to be a rip-off: a small plastic of measly sliced fruits worth NT200 (PhP280, NTD1=PhP1.4)
We found it fairly easy to move on after that though, especially since most of the other food came as cheaply as NT20 each, tasted really good, and looked clean enough. We wanted to see the side stalls outside the main building first, but we took so much time we ended up too full and tired to even bother entering the main market.
Ninety percent of the time, we didn’t know what we were stuffing into our mouths, but loved most of them. We didn’t get to try the stinky tofu, although we did pass by stalls selling them and found the smell repulsive.
Taiwan’s gift to the world: bubble tea (milk tea with tapioca, left). This drink started in Taichung, Taiwan in the 80s. The most expensive it could get at this stall is PhP56 (NTD40).
This is an interesting street of mostly smaller food stalls. We ate on one of them (below), which was in front of an old temple. Too bad the structure wasn’t very well lit so we didn’t get to see most of it. The soup—whatever it was—was delicious (hey, we did try asking what it was, but as soon as we spoke in English, the seller brushed us off).
The unknown bowl of goodness (left, NTD 45) and skewered pork with a mouthful of chives (right, NTD10). We thought the latter looked tasty, but, well, try stuffing a fistful of chives into your mouth and you’d understand.
Pepper buns — hard and flaky outer shell, with pork, chives, and other spices inside. And served straight out of wherever it was cooked!
There were also just as many retail shops. I’m sure both our mothers will go crazy if we brought them here.
There are still lots we have yet to try, including the oyster omelettes and the big-ass chicken fillets for only NTD50. That’s another reason to go back, aside from trying out Modern Toilet Restaurant and the Hello Kitty Cafe. LOL.