And for a trifecta, the Pakstani kebab place makes the best street kebabs in Taipei.
finley wrote:As for the 'greasy fried shit' comment - night market food in Taiwan is like street food in any country. If it's done badly, it's just greasy fried shit. If it's done well, it's gourmet cuisine. I'm thinking fish'n'chips back home - it can be garbage barely recognisable as food, or it can be really, really good stuff, depending on the ingredients and the chef.
Guo bao (刮包). Also known as ‘Taiwanese burger’, this steamed bread and pork-belly combination has an almost cult-like following amongst some in the United States. I first tried it at a venerable snack shop in Tainan (sampled before my blogging days). It is surprisingly hard to find good specimens in Taipei, although there are some relatively good night market versions.
Rouyuan (肉圓). Also known as ‘Taiwanese meatballs’, these are very different from the Scandinavian kind. Covered with a semi-transparent pastry film, they are then usually topped with a thick, slightly sweet sauce. The result is more shapeless than the name ‘meat ball’ might suggest. But don’t let this description put you off; a good rouyuan is real comfort food. My favourite is a made by a shop that sells a fresh pork/prawn combination in Minquan Road, Tainan.
Shengjianbao (生煎包). Usually made of pork, these are steamed dumplings that have been half-panned fried. The buns combine fluffy, fresh white steamed bread with the fried flavour of their fried ‘bottom’. While technically a mainland import from Shanghai, they are now a popular snack food in northern Taiwan. They are fairly easy to find, but my favourite is a small outlet just outside Exit 3 of the Yongchun MRT station. My mother-in-law also makes a fairly mean version.
Zhuxuegao (豬血糕). Made from pigs blood and rice, this is a local delicacy and an acquired taste. Even at the press conference, TAITRA acknowledged that is was something that ‘may give foreigners a bit of a fright at first’. From time to time there is discussion about how best to translate the name into English. It is usually rendered literally as ‘pigs blood cake’, which unsurprisingly does not sound too appealing. I have tried it several times and don’t mind it. My favourite version is on-the-stick grilled pigs blood cake served at a shop in the historic area of Sanxia — here it is coated with a chilli/peanut powder mixture that makes it taste almost like satay.
O-ah-jien (蚵仔煎). This is a type of omelette that features locally grown oysters. It is one of the top things to snack on when visiting the Tainan historical suburb of Anping, which uses produce from the local oyster industry. But it is so famous that it has become a staple at most night markets throughout Taiwan. Taiwan oysters are generally small and sweet, and rarely eaten in the shell. The omelette is made from an egg/potato starch and tapioca flower combination with lettuce and oysters. There is an art to the frying, so it is worth waiting around to watch the omelette cook.
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