We'd been in Taipei for a few days now and thought we could find our way to yet another famous night market. Or Alison thought she could find the way and tried to convince Shawn that they weren't lost for at least half an hour of walking around, actually lost. This market was packing up and for a while we thought this was it, but something in her waters led us on.
We managed to find a busy main road (Songshan Road) and walked along in hopeful anticipation it would lead us to the market. Stopping to oogle at a shopfront full of pussycats, the owner invited us inside to pat them. Score!
It turns out the store was a pussycat hotel and the owner was from Chatswood in Sydney. We chatted for a while about Taiwanese food in Sydney (Tapei Chef was an all round favourite) and they gave us directions to the market. Saved by a pussycat boarding house.
Ah, now here's the market!
We also took a bunch of random photos just to give folks an idea of what the place is like. Here they are with limited explanation...
Yep, it's crowded.
Folks love their pooches here, really well cared for and trained to.
An artisenal pig blood cake stand. Reckon the hipsters in Australia will be into this one?
Blood cakes may sound bad but they taste awesome: rice soaked in blood. They don't have a strong flavour but they have great texture. This guy shoves them on a stick and coats them in a peanut mix (confirmed by tops auntie who cooked us breakfast the next morning).
The finished product, these were awesome.
Cranberry juice. And angels.
It's near the end of our trip and we feel like we haven't had enough stinky tofu. We might never feel like we've had enough stinky tofu. We order some at this stand.
The stinky tofu is deep fried then garnished with sweet pickled veggies and shallots.
The result is a masterpiece. Deepfrying the tofu takes a lot of the 'stink' out of them and gives the tofu a solid flavour base. The tofu gets a beautiful light crunch to the outside while staying moist on the inside, it's a textural marvel. The fresh light tang of the sweet pickled cabbage nicely counters the oil from the stinky tofu.
This stinky tofu was pretty good, but we wouldn't mind it a bit stinkier. We go in search of 'da funk', just follow the nose...
Shaved ice desserts similar to patbingsu or kakigori.
We find a tub of stinky tofu waiting for us, we go in for round two.
This was even better than the first: it has a bit more stink to it, just enough to give some oomph to the tofu. The next day we told the lady running out hostel that we'd been out for stinky tofu, thinking should would be impressed, but she told us fried stinky tofu is for pussies, steamed stinky tofu is where the real stink action is. We'll stick to the fried stuff.
Popcorn chicken, folks are crazy over this stuff.
I'll have a bucket of arseholes to go please.
There's many fixed restaurants down the side of the markets, such as this great looking halal Middle Eastern\Indian looking joint. What we'd give for infinite stomach space. And infinite metabolism.
Mmmm, cheesy baked things.
Fruit given the royal treatment.
We give this mushroom stall a try.
Mushroom man turns these into magic.
Our mushies on the grill.
The grilled mushies were sliced and sprinkled with chilli powder. They were moist with lovely smokey mushy flavours. Delicious and nutritious.
We had to try some more fresh soursop, one of our favourite fruits in Asia.
More ye olde handmade looking amusement machines. There must be somebody flogging these to collecter nerds in the states, some of them are quite beautiful.
Deep fried samboes. Is there anything that can't be deep fried in Taiwan?
Mr Shawn thinks long and hard about getting a deep fried Snickers with a couple of deep fried Oreos on the side. It's so wrong but so right.
More scarey looking deep fried looking things.
Making tiny sweets by hand.
Tops 1970s girly poster with acupuncture key points mapped out. Good excuse.
A great use for those egg rings mum has at the bottom of her kitchen drawers and never uses.
We decided to bite the bullet and get some pocket toast...
...pocket toast is deep fried bread with various fillings, Mr Shawn was keen for the condensed milk... but the lady kept farting around and didn't serve us, not sure why, but we moved on. Our arteries thanks us for the reprieve.
Nothing says "I Love You" like Hello Kitty jewelry.
"I predict you will soon part with $300"
Near the nightmarket there's whole streets of fashion. Who'd want to try on clothes after eating all that food?
The easiest way to get to the market is to take exit three to Yongshan Street, walk a few metres to Songhan Rd and follow the crowds.
We love Taiwan!