I just got back from 10 days in Taipei and Taichung, and the main reason I was there was, of course, the food.
Everything is freshly done in Taiwan, and it helps that food there is so cheap. It’s especially cheap at the famous night markets, which are street fairs that start up right before sunset and lasts into the night. Stands pop up to sell a variety of foods, including the famous stinky tofu that adds that certain distinctive bathroom aroma if you’re near a stand that sells it.
But there’s way more to choose from than stinky tofu. There are pepper buns or hujiao bing, which are buns packed with beef spiced with pepper and baked on the side of a clay oven. Also popular is grilled king trumpets that are meaty and juicy, and often sprinkled with your choice of seasoning.
There’s a night market in almost every neighborhood in Taipei and Taichung, the two cities I visited with my sister and brother-in-law. The largest ones include Shilin (in Taipei) and Fengjia (in Taichung), and you basically piece a meal together from snacking from one stand to another. As you can imagine, there are a lot of deep-fried foods that I avoided but could see everywhere, and with the winter time, food stands selling ingredients you choose and then mix into a broth were everywhere. (Sometimes the ingredients were fried up into a mixed bag.)
In many ways, night markets had a carnival vibe (there are arcade games at some sections) but it’s a cheap and easy way to discover Taiwan’s dining scene. Check out my video below to just get a flavor of the night markets.
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