“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”
– James Michener
Southeast Asia is known for its night markets, especially in Taipei, Taiwan. After flying from South Korea that evening, I was ready to devour all kinds of delectable treats the Raohe Street Night Market had to offer!
The market is saturated with everything under the sun. Fruits, vegetables, grilled meat, fresh seafood, boba (tea with sweetened tapioca balls)...you name it and it's there! Most vendors were kind enough to offer samples of their delicious offerings, which is great for travelers like us who are on a budget.
The first drink I purchased was rose tea with boba. It even came with the fresh pulp that came from the rose flowers! It was sweet, tart, a little bitter from the tea, and so refreshing. For 50 NTD ($1.64 USD), you can grab a quick drink while walking down the lively paths.
As I continued to follow the massive crowd, the smells of the night market started to make me so hungry. There are fewer things better than the smell of grilled chicken thighs, skewered with green onion.
I watched as the vendor quickly flipped each skewer and inspected the doneness of each piece of chicken. She did it so fast I felt like I couldn't blink!
Look at that chicken, people...I mean, COME ON! Chicken thighs are usually cheaper and definitely juicier than the breast meat, so you know this was going to be good. And you can take my word for it-it was!
I loved the night market because everything was so affordable and the portions weren't too big, so you could try multiple things during one visit. My friend and I both got separate orders of the fried dumplings, filled with vegetables and ground pork.
She chose the regular soy sauce...
...and I chose the spicy soy sauce! Beware of the seeds, because that's where the real heat lies in chili peppers. It felt like fire in my mouth but worth every single bite!
Is your mouth salivating yet? 'Cause mine sure is! To add to the torture, click here for another food-filled post.
For dessert, I chose to have some fresh fruit to cool my palette. My favorite fruit (besides watermelon) is mango, so you know I had to grab one of these cups of freshly cut mango. It was SO SWEET! This was one of the things I was most looking forward to while exploring Southeast Asia-the incredible tropical fruit! While the U.S. has access to a lot of fresh produce, there is nothing like fresh, local fruits to make you do a happy dance.
Next up was freshly blended watermelon juice! Like the sliced mango I had before, this was also sweet and the perfect refreshment to counterbalance the insane humidity.
If you read my posts from Japan, you'll recognize this drum game! I was so tempted to play a game or two but the business of the night market called me back into the crowd.
The night market also had coin-rides for children, and I thought they were so cute I wanted to sit down on one. Thank God I didn't break this one!
Next up was sugar cane juice, which was cut and juiced right in front of us. I was expecting it to be extremely sugary, but it was pleasantly mild and subtle.
When we got back to our hostel (check my next post on Sleepy Dragon Hostel), we had a local Taiwanese beer. This one strangely tasted like soy sauce! How odd is that?! Just imagine carbonated soy sauce mixed with beer. I'm glad I tried it but this is probably a one time try.
And that's it for my first night in Taipei! From the start, this is definitely going to be a foodie trip, so get ready for more good eats.
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Until next time,
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