Friday, November 9, 2018

Taipei - Tonghua and Ningxia Night Markets

On our first night in Taipei, we headed out to the Tonghua / Linjiang Street Night Market. First up was stinky tofu ("chòudòufu"). We'd never had it before, and Taipei seemed like the right place to give it a try for the first time. Pictured above, we got an order of three blocks. They punch down the middle and fill it with a savory sauce. It comes with pickled cabbage and carrot on the side and some cilantro on top.

While the smell is definitely off-putting, we quite enjoyed the flavors. This version came from Ya Kou - one of the steak shops near the east end of Linjiang Street.

Just a bit farther east down Linjiang Street, we stopped in at a fried chicken stall specializing in huge chicken cutlets that have been pounded flat and that are battered and fried to order. Hot, juicy, and delicious, with a tasty seasoning that was salty, spicy and had a bit of a sweet seaweed flavor.

A few days later, we found ourselves at Ningxia Night Market. The main thing we wanted to try here were Taiwanese oyster omelettes ("háo jiān"). While most of the Ningxia market is comprised of temporary stalls, this place was in a permanent spot with seating inside.

The spot was popular, with a line out front - we didn't mind a bit of a wait, since you could watch this guy whipping up omelettes in a little kitchen at the entrance to the shop.

We were soon seated with oyster omelettes in front of us.

I have to say that neither of us was terribly keen on this dish. The oysters and eggs were fine, but I didn't really care for the sweet and slight tangy sauce. The biggest issue, though, was the sweet potato starch slurry that they use as the base of the omelette. When cooked, it turns into a chewy jelly - not our favorite thing.

We also got a little bowl of Lu Rou Fan (braised pork rice), which was really good.

Above is a dish we've seen in most of the Taipei night markets - a sort of crepe with shaved nut brittle and ice cream and...cilantro? We haven't tried it yet - maybe next time.

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