Friday, March 28, 2014

Taiwan Travelogue: Eating in Shilin

Street food seems to be the rage among the locals; as I have seen food stalls and peddlers almost everywhere I went, and it goes without saying that when you are in one of the largest night markets in the city; Shilin Night Market, you are bound to be greeted by (more) food varieties all beckoning to unsuspecting tourists and locals from their counters.
Whether you are one who loves stall-hopping and loading yourself with the 'little' eats along the way (while unaware of the secret additional calories piling, but when you're traveling, who cares?) or if you are one who likes sitting down proper to a meal, there is something for everyone in this night market.

There are many to choose from in this night market, but the top eats? I have checked the list of recommended things to eat in Shilin Night Market.

Things to Eat/Drink

Lemon Aiyu Jelly (檸檬愛玉) is supposedly famous or a favorite among the local Taiwanese; though it originated from my very own country (lol!)
I am a fan, and there were a couple of stalls selling this, so it was a breeze finding this citrusy flavor; the Lemon Aiyu is the original flavor by the way, teamed with the fruit jelly.
There are other flavors available too; as the vendors get creative with their product marketing techniques.

What can I say? Well, I think I have tasted better versions back in my own country as the jelly was rather meager in portion and it was a little diluted. It seems to be the same everywhere I went, a bummer as I really love this drink.

I can testify that almost all the stalls serve the same quality; as I gave it the benefit of the doubt and checked out another stall, with another cup of this, and yes, I still conclude that I get better quality back at home.

Taiwanese sausages are just about the other which is found almost everywhere and they seems to be the favorite finger food/snack among the locals.

Deep fried food are the other common sight; from deep fried chicken (spiced or marinated/salted chicken), to deep fried squids, octopus, fish cakes, and the list goes.
You want it, they will deep fry it.

We ventured into the Food court; in the complex, and it was a brightly lit world down there though there are no signs leading to the end of the action taking place in this enclosed area as compared to the open air night market out there.
In fact, if anything more, it seemed like the place was even more bustling and as noisy as outside (the air space would be much better outside in the open though).
This is just the stalls on the streets outside being brought together into a closed complex; and in a squarish parameter of organization.

Fried Oyster (Or Chien) - (蚵仔煎) is a much raved about Taiwanese favorite; in fact, the locals love oysters with everything.
(There is also the Oyster Noodles which is recommended to try in Taiwan, but we didn't get to trying that.)

The fried oyster is a batter of egg omelette with corn starch fried together with oysters; and can be pretty much termed as an oyster omelette.

I would say that again, the fried oyster back home tastes much better and our Or Chien is just as famous too! ;-)

Seafood Noodles, was quite a satisfying attempt though; as there was a generous amount of seafood included along with the rice noodles.

These are shellfish; or rather, Sea Snails. Also known as Bali tong in my country, my hubby just wanted to try these out. (yeah, he tried it, not me. I may be a seafood fan, but I am not an adventurous one, and I will stick to my usual fare of fish, prawns, and crabs, thank you very much).

Fish Balls in soup; this is one thing that I really enjoyed while in Taiwan (similar to Hong Kong).
Somehow their fish balls are really way much better than what we have (not that ours is that bad either), but I just loved their fish balls which is just so tasty and full of the fishy flavor.

Other food to try in Shilin Night Market would be as follows:-
Peanut Candy (花生糖)
Fried Buns (生煎包)
"Small Bun wrapped in Large Bun"(大餅包小餅)
Stinky Tofu (sorry, not my cup of tea, or tofu) (臭豆腐)
Pearl Milk Tea (珍珠奶茶)
Oyster Noodles/Vermicelli (蚵仔麵線)

More scenes from the food stalls:-

If you are a food lover, you will get around to try as much as you can stuff into your stomach.
As a precaution, I would still like to remind you to be careful with street food, though traveling, hygiene and the quality of the food serving area should still never be compromised.
After all, what could be worse when a trip is spoilt with an upset tummy?

Shilin Night Market has a lot to offer; and I am not saying that it is not advisable to try out the street food but just practice caution and of course, common sense, when hopping from one stall to another, and putting different types of food into your tummies. If you have a tummy that can weather almost anything, you will not have a problem but if your regular eating style does not include such a varied menu, then it would just be good to play it safe and careful when picking out your choices.

I am not a regular with street food, but I did get to enjoy some of the local tastes and flavor; and besides feasting on the food, I think I got quite a treat with the sights too; a motion picture?
Nah, I would say more of a light animation with a little light action and reality kick to it!

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