This continues Part 2 of travelling.eats post about the nightmarkets in Taipei.
Looking where to eat in Taipei? This post will look at good food in Taipei!
Raohe Night Market felt like a completely different planet. The main entrance is next to a giant beautiful temple that people crown in front to take a picture. There is a giant sign at the entrance that makes you feel like you are entering Disney World (minus the overweight Americans). Right as I walked in I saw the long line for the famous Pepper Pork Buns. My heart was a little discouraged but I waited anyways. The line moves pretty quickly so in no time I was holding a piping hot bun in a piece of parchment paper. Seriously, there is just no comparison. The pork buns are cooked in a tandoori style oven so the bottoms of the buns are a little burnt and perfectly crunchy. The dough is flaky like a croissant dough but oh so soft and delicious. Then we get to the filling! These buns are stuffed with pork that has been HEAVILY season with pepper, and then receive a generous helping of scallions, or green onions. They are juicy, tender, flaky and have the most perfect kick. I have been back home for over a week now and I still find myself thinking about that magical bun.
My spirits were raised instantly from one bite of that bun and I knew Raohe Night Market was for me. After that I tried a scallion pancake that was rolled like a burrito. The woman filled my pancake roll with pork (I have a problem, I know), fresh veggies, spicy sauce, and garlic. IT WAS AMAZING. She cooked it until the edges were crunchy and delicious. Suddenly I smelled something so strange and rancid and was worried about the hygiene of the carts at the market. Then I remembered that Taipei is probably one of the cleanest cities I have ever visited so this was probably coming from a food cart.
Then I found it, or it found me I guess, STINKY TOFU. I actually thought people exaggerated how much stinky tofu stank until my nose smelled it for itself! It smells pretty terrible and I still can’t believe I was excited to try it at this point. I got myself some deep fried stinky tofu and sat down to experience this famous dish. Then I took a bite and almost threw up. I don’t understand the appeal to this dish AT ALL. It tastes like it smells and smells like it tastes and I never want to eat it again. After that experience, I got random whiffs of stinky tofu on the streets of Taipei and flashbacks of that traumatic moment. It’s definitely a dish I will never forget and one that you should try just for the experience. Maybe its like the durian experience. Apparently, durian smells and tastes bad to many people. But, if you’re like me, durian smells extremely sweet and tastes so delicious. I don’t know the genetics behind this but all I know is that I will never eat stinky tofu again.
After this, I decided I needed something sweet and I found what I had been looking for. The famous Taiwanese ice cream burrito!! They lay down a sheet of crepe like dough and start shaving the biggest block of peanut brittle I have ever seen. I could also spot some sesame seeds in the block but who knows what else is in there. On the crepe, they place the most generous helping of shaved peanut brittle my little heart could hope for. Then they scoop 3 scoops of ice cream on top. Mine had taro, red bean and pineapple. After this they garnish it with...cilantro??? That’s right, cilantro. The first bite left me feeling a little confused about the tastes in this burrito, but after a few bites I was hooked. I actually had one every day before I left Taiwan after that. DO NOT MISS THIS!!
The last thing I ate was deep fried egg custard balls. The dough is made with taro (my favorite) and one bite and you get a sweet, molten, egg custard filling that will change your life. Apart from the food I mentioned, you have to try the grilled squid and oyster omelette’s, some of the dishes the markets are the most famous for. Outside of the markets PLEASEEEEE try egg tarts. If you have never tried an egg tart you will never look at french pastries with the same loving eyes again. This Portuguese pastry is very famous in Taiwan as well as other parts of Asia and quickly became my all time favorite dessert. The filling is a velvety smooth egg custard and the shell is the flakiest (is that a word?) tart shell you will ever eat
I guarantee you will fall in love with at least one of the foods I mentioned and that your pants will also resent me when you leave Taipei.