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.(=