First trip to the Night Market!

There’re two main types of markets here: “wet markets” (fresh fruit/veggies/meat/parts of animals we don’t usually consider ‘meat’), and “night markets” (a massive shopping & eating par-ty!).

Our new friends Sunny, Rachel, and Cathy took us to the “very famous” Shilin Night Market (click the link for more info), which is a five minute walk and a 50 cent MRT (subway) ride (which takes about 20 minutes) from our apartment.

Since yesterday was ***JOEL’S DAD’S 50TH BIRTHDAY!!!*** (surely he’s pleased that we just placed that on the internet), we’ve dedicated the evening’s cultural experiences to him. Not that we’re entirely sure he’ll want them, after he reads what we ate.

Shilin night market is a few city blocks in size, a labyrinth riddled with alleys lined with small shops, food stands, and diners, and packed with people. In fact, it was hard to take pictures of anything due to all the people (getting in the way!).

Sunny, Rachel, and Cathy wanted to give us a fun night on the town and really got into it once they found out how open we were to trying new things. We tried to eat our way through the market, getting samples of the most interesting and famous (and/or frightening) things, but we weren’t through a fraction of it before all of us were full (apprently that’s the way you’re supposed to do a night market). We had a great time wandering through, and much had to be left unexplored for now as there’re only so many hours in an evening. We probably only covered about a quarter of the whole market.

Highlights from the evenings culinary adventures…
hot candied strawberries and cherry tomatos, on-a-stick
– hot and cold versions of a dessert soup with various flavours of ‘bubbles’ in it (the ‘bubble tea’ kind of bubbles). These bubbles are called “frog eggs” because they’re dark, but don’t worry…there really weren’t any frogs involved. One of the soups was ginger flavored. Yum! The other one had lotus seeds and some kind of fungus in it. Yes, fungus, but it was still really good.
– famous shilin pork soup
little bird eggs (quail?), on-a-stick
duck tongues, on-a-stick (pictures on the photos page)
duck hearts, on-a-stick
chicken hearts, on-a-stick
chicken or duck liver, but no stick
chicken butts (yes, that’s correct)
pig gums (also on the photos page)
pig skin

And that doesn’t cover even half the exotic stuff we saw, and we still haven’t found the snakes or the insects-on-a-stick yet. (Btw, Houston, we’re getting closer to locating that special dish you requested). The girls mentioned it last night, but we were already WAY too full.(=

11 thoughts on “First trip to the Night Market!”

  1. Ha! Don’t worry, only the elect few make it into the CHL afterlife (67 at the moment). We’re a very Calvinistic operation, soteriologically speaking.

    Let us know how the concert & guitar clinic go!

  2. Lee Jeans, 7 Eleven, Kentucky Fried Chicken??? Where did you guys move to? :P

    The ladies in the picture look a lot like some ladies I have known from Macau. Interesting

  3. i only want to know one thing…

    were there sticks involved with the chicken butts?

    well ok, two things…

    what would possess you to eat a chicken butt?

    wait, the pig blood cake was bad but chicken butts!… i mean have you seen what comes out of those things?


  4. Miller – Well… we told them to find us something that Americans are too scared to eat, and they agreed but told us they wouldn’t tell us what it was until after we ate it (it’s a lot easier to eat this stuff that way). They had a big discussion about it in Mandarin (apparently there are just too many thing that fall under the “Americans are too afraid to eat” category).

    It’s kind of like a piece of meat, with a tail nub on the top. We purposely don’t examine these things closely before we eat them.

    Brian – yeah, Taipei is internationalized enough to where in certain areas there is a significant Western population (enough to support western-style businesses). Plus, Starbucks and KFC and stuff like that are really trendy among the Taiwanese yuppie families. The Night Market is a huge tourist destination (local and foreign tourists, but we only saw maybe three white folks out of the gazillions of people that were there that night). Taiwan’s recent history is often referred to as “the Economic Miracle”; Taipei is a developed city, even if it’s not as “developed” as big western cities. The fantastic subway system is only ten years old.

  5. so.. glad you guys are having fun. don’t you miss perogies?! What’s with putting everything on a stick anyways? Maybe they think it makes it more appealing but i really don’t think that’s possible. Now you guys could definately be on fear factor. :)

  6. if you are talking about the tail nub thing that the tailfeathers are attached to, that is (for future reference) the “pope’s nose”…

    the butt doesn’t typically have feathers attached directly to it as they become somewhat sodden.

    i’m really hoping you ate the “pope’s nose”.

    i love that you guys are so brave in your embrace of local culture!

    keep it up.

  7. Thanks for the info, Miller. I bet it was the pope’s nose, even though our Chinese friends did say “butt” and there was some kind of hole in it.(= I’ll search for “pope’s nose” on google and doublecheck. (=

    I think if you were here, you’d be at least this brave.

  8. Dudes this string of messages is absolutely helarious. I’m in the library reading and everyone is looking at me cuz I can’t stop laughing. Joel you look different in the picts man. I know it’s Old News, but wow!

  9. Tami,

    I think the “on a stick” part is just practical…since most of these delicacies we’ve been indulging in are from street vendors. Sticks are cheap, and it’s easy to eat chicken hearts (or other parts) from them without having to touch them. Honestly, if some of these things were on a plate, I probably couldn’t eat it. But somehow, having it on a stick makes it seem like…okay, this is just 3 bites. I can do this!(=


  10. Okay, Miller….

    Here are the answers to your questions. No sticks involved with the chicken butts (well, except one like a long toothpick to help us stab it out of the bag of other chicken parts).

    Also, from the pictures of the “pope’s nose” that I googled, I’m pretty sure that’s what we ate. So everyone can breathe a sigh of relief now!(=


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