Saturday, April 28, 2012

Foodlovin' @ Shilin Night Market

Bear with me, because I'm about to discuss at length one of my favorite places in the whole wide world: the Shilin night market in my beloved Taipei. It's on the 'must see' list of all Taiwan tour guides, and for good reason. Shops and food stands abound - it's an overwhelming experience for all five of your senses in the best way possible. Crowded every night of the week, it's where locals and tourists alike go for an amazing time!

And yes, everything I'm about to show you, my aunt+cousin+I ate in one night. *happyface*

One of my classic fave stands is the scallion pancake (蔥油餅) + egg stand.

A little old lady pan-fries your scallion pancake to perfection, adds an egg, puts some magic sauce on it, and boom - heaven.

One of the most popular stands is the shengjian bao (生煎包) stand. (There are many such stands, but only one of them has an inexplicably long line. That's the one you want to hit up.)

These pan-fried buns are filled with veggies or pork, and both versions are delightful. The pun is pillowy-soft, and the veggies/pork are wonderfully seasoned. The bottom of the bun has a slight burnt crisp that makes me swoon.

We visited a Thai-fusion stand, which also had some seating. And though the seating was cramped like any seat you'll find in the night market, it was a welcome rest for our feet.

Here, we ordered things like:

1) stinky tofu (a definite MUST for any trip to the night market):

2) crab pancake

3) shrimp tornado roll

4) thai cold noodles

Say what you will about stinky tofu, but I can't get enough of the stuff. Fermented and fried, I love the 'stink.' The other fried things were also awesome, and the Thai cold noodles (which is what this particular stand is most known for) were a little sweet, a little sour, and a lot spicy. Refreshing!

After our gorge-fest at the Thai fusion stand, we walked around for a bit more until we were distracted by a conspicuously long line for these skewers.

Turns out they were skewers of grilled scallions wrapped in marinated pork meat. The pork itself was tender and so flavorful, but it was difficult to eat with a whole bunch of scallions, as they were hard to chew and kind of overwhelming. Note to self: no need to stand in line for these next time. Would rather focus on things like...

Toasted marshmallows over waffles!!

I told the guy to make mine extra 'burnt,' and he obliged and made me a masterpiece. This tasted exactly like it looks - a sweet fluffy dream.

Then it was time for second dessert: douhua (豆花) or sweet tofu soup. My favorite kind is douhua + boba. I know, how could anyone resist?

This sweet tofu was light, fresh, with the right amount of sweetness. As for the boba, here's a hint: any boba in Taiwan has the perfect texture and taste - bouncy and slightly brown-sugar sweet. It's impossible to find bad boba in Taiwan. This boba was even better because there was red bean inside of it! So fun. And delicious.

We were all pretty stuffed by this time, but on our way back to the metro stop, I walked by this stand, and I just had to have some 'cow tongue' bread, or niu she bing (牛舌餅). Apparently, this flat bread resembles cow tongues? I've never seen a cow tongue up close and personal so I can't vouch for the name. :)

This freshly grilled flat bread comes in various flavors, and as the brown-sugar-obsessed lady that I am, I chose the sweet brown sugar one. (And by 'one,' I mean five.) I love the simplicity of this flat bread. I also loved the vendor and his ability to throw up some deuces.

And there you have it - that was all one lovely evening at the night market. There is so much more to see and eat, and I can't wait to go again later this summer. I hope you get to visit it some time, too!!

Metro stop: Jiantan station
Taipei, Taiwan


  1. ugh i am completely salivating and toooooooooo excited to eat all of this and more with you next year !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    that boba looks awesome
    that marshmallow looks unreal
    that flatbread looks perfect

    so hungry !!! :)

  2. Exciting post! I can't decide what looks best to me: the crab pancake, the scallion pancake, or the giant pan of dumplings. I always see scallion pancakes on menus and have never quite gotten the point, but NOW I get it.