Shilin Night Market
No.101, Jihe Rd., Shilin Dist., Taipei City 111, Taiwan
Away from Hong Kong, and to Taiwan we go! As a side trip, a couple of my friends and I went to Taiwan for the first time. Being well known for their many night markets, I was excited to eat all the local food!
The biggest and most well known market is the Shilin Night market. I would then be later told by Nelson from Bite Me that I had only walked half of the night market. There is an indoor food pavilion portion of the market that sells only food and no other shopping. A little dissapointed I missed out on it, but still glad I got to fit in some cheap CHEAP shopping while I ate!
Streets of Xinlin Night Market
Wax Apple or Bell Fruit (蓮霧)The vendors give out small peices to those who want to try, so I got to sample a few exotic Taiwanese fruits that I've never seen before, including the bell-shaped fruit shown above. The Chinese name this fruit (蓮霧) is nothing close to either of the English names given to it (Wax Apple/Bell Fruit), and is probably derived from the fact that it's shaped like a bell and has a red waxy outer skin (I touched it and it feels like a candle!). It tastes like a very juicy pear, but had the crisp crunch of an apple. Refreshingly different.
The mango samples that the lady gave us were so ripe, that my friend @jing116 bought some. The ones in the cup ended up being on the sour side. I guess that's how business works in Taiwan. I can't remember how much it was exactly, but everything we had that night didn't cost much more than $1 or $2 CAD.
If you've seen my Toronto eating tour post from way back, these Candied Haw will look familiar! Didn't end up having any because I wanted to save my stomach for other things that I've never tried.
After some more walking we would be lured in by the smell emitting from this meat skewer stand. I was overwhelmed by everything they could put on a stick and grill! We picked a couple, and waited while the one cook grilled all the orders. It was a popular cart, so we ended up waiting a long while.
Chicken wrapped green onionsEverything from the meat cart came in bags, so packaging wise it may not look too appetizing. But don't let appearances deceive you! This was actually delicious. The chicken on the outside had a nice marinate, and the green onions were cooked just right in that it still had a bit of crunch. Plus, there's just something about eating food off a stick that makes it so tasty.
Grilled OctopusFor whatever reason when I saw this octopus skewered up on the grill, I thought it looked really cool. It also looked huge and I was concerned we wouldn't be able to finish it. I guess it shrinks a bit after being cooked, because it was the perfect portion to share between 4 people. Wasn't too chewy, and had a nice smokey flavor.
Tofu TrianglesLast item from the cart: tofu triangles! I found it to be a little dry, but flavour wise it was okay. Definitely not as enjoyable as the other items we ordered.
Shrimp Cone StandI'm just so amazed about the different types of food you can find here. This is definitely the most peculiar thing I saw all night. A waffle ice cream cone filled with chopped up shrimp and lettuce. Didn't particularly stir up any temptations, so I didn't end up trying this. Anyone who's tried it have anything to say about it? I'm interested to know!
More uncommonly seen food items. Giant red sausages! You tell them how much to cut off for you, and you pay by weight.
More meat carts with everything from sausages to chicken thighs. Unlike the skewere cart, everything here is all pre-made. I don't know about you, but watching the vendors cook it is half the fun.
Shrimp Ball StandThe name of the stand is pretty self explanatory of what it sells -deep fried shrimp balls. The defining aspect, is the toppings that go on it. The wooden panels with writing you see hanging, is a list off the different flavours. These include original, cheese, Thai style, Japanese style, and garlic.
Pineapple Shrimp Balls ($55 TWD or $1.66 CAD)
The next thing we ended up eating was Taiwanese specialty, and something he had tried before back in Toronto. Being in the homeland of this delicious item, of course we had to try! Long story short, it's an omelette with oysters inside.
Lucky for us, there weren't any shortage of places that sold this, and had no troubles seeking it out. All the ingredients in this delicious omelette (eggs, oysters, lettuce, flour, and sauce) are right before your eyes!
Here's an action picture of the chef cooking the oyster omelette. I got in trouble after taking this one picture, so I wasn't able to take a better one where you could see the surface it's being cooked on. It's essentially a big round flat cooking surface, and does the job of a big big frying pan.
After a couple minutes of waiting, TA DA! The oyster omelete is put in a box, and drowned in a reddish-brown sauce. I initially thought it would be spicy, but it's rather the contrary. It's has a very sweet flavour similar to that of hoisin sauce. The omelete itself was extremely smooth. A lot of the egg was left still runny and slightly raw -just the way I take my eggs!
Oyster Omelete 蚵仔煎 ($50 TWD or $1.60 CAD)@jing116 had a complaint that there weren't enough oysters, and I think I would have to agree. The picture above may be deceiving just due to the nature of the way it was cooked with uneven distribution of ingredients. None the less it was amazingly tasty and we devoured it immediately.
We definitely need more night markets here in Toronto. A lively crowd, all types of food variety, and shopping...what more could you ask for? It was good times. =)