Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Taiwan Travelogue: Scenes and Snacks from the Raohe Street Night Market

One of the oldest night markets in the Songshan district and just within walking distance from Wufenpu, is the Raohe Street Night Market.

If you are coming from Wufenpu, you would be able to get here in an approximate of 10-15 minutes walk (do confirm your directions with the locals), or alternatively, take the train straight to the Songshan station to reach this night market.

Raohe Street Night Market is another night market to add to the list of night markets in Taipei, which courts tourists and locals to its estimated 600m long street filled with the familiar scenes of an intermix of food, drinks and clothing stalls. Originally a busy area thriving on business centers, the rapid development and implementation of the modern transportation system has driven the limelight away from this Xikou area; making Raohe street a secondary road, taking a backseat in their crowds and also the prosperity of the businesses here as they make way for development.
Taking note of the declining popularity and the effect in the local economy, the government stepped in and established a night market for the locals as a source of income, which is today flourishing as one of Taipei's most visited night market.

Like most of the night markets in Taipei, the streets are filled with the local sights not to mention the familiar aroma of food cooking in the stalls set up neatly along the walkway. The night markets, as I have previously mentioned are similar to our local version of pasar malam, and that being said, it also means that most of the locals can be found on these streets as this is just simply part of their lifestyle.
The best place to probably get a glimpse into the Taiwanese street culture would probably be on these night markets, which are all over the city.

The signature Oriental-styled archway entrance and exit at both ends of the night market, and also commonly graces the other night markets in Taipei too (especially the government-established night markets).

Scenes from the Raohe Street Night Market

It amazes me how there are little stalls set up complete with tables and chairs for customers to enjoy their food on the spot, right beside the stall and straight from the stoves and woks.

Found a stall run by a father and daughter selling the fluffy egg cakes; and they used the cute moulds to make the little Bearmina egg cakes as advertised on their banner.

Look at this adorable little Bearmina Egg cake!~ ❤ ♡❤ ♡

To bite or not to bite, that is the question!

Another delectable cakes stall run by a jolly-looking European chap, selling such colorful and attractive-looking sweet treats~
Just looking at them is enough to make one swoon over the cakes, with its bright colors screaming for attention~

Another stall which caught our eyes, located towards the end of the night market is a stall with a banner, "Frying Milk"
(How on earth does one fries milk? In the same way one fries ice cream, I suppose?)

Upon closer look, he confirmed my suspicions as I watched him coat the milk with flour in a half-solidified state to form little cubes on skewers., before dipping them into boiling hot oil.

Another stall buzzing with a large crowd is this stall selling Dorayaki.
Like the egg cakes, this is another fairly popular snack. In short, I have noticed that the Taiwanese definitely love their sweet eggy pastries for snacks.

Dorayaki certainly comes in different flavors, and even shapes.

I am old-school on this one, and I stick to my favorite red bean flavor, with a couple of green tea (matcha) dorayaki, just for the taste, and oh, I opted for mini dorayaki, which just seemed so cute!

Cleanliness is taken very seriously here on the streets in Taipei, and in Raohe, I have spotted a man picking up the trash on the street along the 600m long night market. It is a good thing to be enforced here, though I do find it rather hard to find a trash can around on the streets in Taipei (to my surprise) and yet, there is no trash spotted on the streets or roads for that matter.
I am impressed with the civic consciousness and awareness levels among the Taiwanese in that aspect.

Raohe Night Market turned out to be a rather enjoyable place for me; and truly, this came from a person who does not even go to night markets of any sort even in my own country.
Perhaps it was the cool weather, or the ease of walking, or the lesser crowd, or the night market was just pleasant for a visit. I personally enjoyed the better organized market, with the more systematic manner in which the stalls are arranged and the wider space for the patrons to walk.

I also find the folks here more friendly and hospitable (the stall vendors), and in my personal opinion, I would prefer this over the more famous Shilin Night Market (which I find, a little overrated), anytime of the day...

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