I love Street Food! I was so excited to try out the Street Food in Taiwan, as I heard they have one of the best night market scenes in the world. Many people don't have much space to cook at home so the Taiwanese prefer to head out almost every night to one of 100 different night markets available.
We went to Shilin Night Market which is the city’s oldest, largest and most popular, dating back to 1910. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to try any other night markets on this trip, as navigating through the night market with 3 little kids isn't exactly the easiest thing to do, but we were determined to at least get to one!
We arrived at the busy night market on a Sunday night (yes, we picked the busiest night to come with 2 strollers and a baby carrier….), and the air was filled with the scent of soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, spices, grilled meat & fish…. Each stand I walked by, I wanted to taste, everything looked so delicious and smelled incredible. Luckily we arrived practically starving, so we were able to try many different dishes.
Some typical dishes sold at the night markets are:
Aiyu Jelly Drink, also called 'frogs eggs' is a jelly drink made from the seeds of a type of fig. It is served in sugar water and lemons and is a refreshing drink.
Fish balls - they are everywhere in Taiwan and usually sold on skewers at the night markets.
Fried chicken - The Taiwanese usually cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces and add salt, pepper and chili powder. Basil leaves are often added as well.
Grilled squid - the whole squid is sliced open, marinated with some soy sauce and garlic and grilled fresh on a long stick. Richard loved this and wanted to go back for another, but I quickly stopped him, saying we need to try as many different dishes as possible!
Oyster omelette - an omelette which mainly consists of small oysters.
Toffee fruit - sweet cherry tomatoes are skewered with slices of plum and dipped in toffee. They also have skewered strawberries dipped in toffee.
Then of course you get the different types of noodles in soup, the grilled meats, buns, etc etc etc, the list is endless!
My favourite was definitely the xiao long bao soup dumplings…
I was also happy to see many typical Japanese dishes at the night market like takoyaki (octopus balls), dorayaki (a type of pancake filled with red bean paste), shaved ice, etc.
Sorry but I wasn't able to try the famous 'smelly tofu', the smell was just too bad!
I absolutely loved Taipei so we will definitely go back and try out some more street food on our next trip. Maybe I will be brave enough to try the smelly tofu next time!
Are there any night markets in your country you would recommend?