Taipei, Day Two – 27 February 2013
Taipei, day two.
The day started out as a bust – I woke up around nine, and it was raining. I washed clothes around noon, and it was raining. I had plans to go out to Fulong Beach, but the downpour dashed them all all to hell. Still, it wasn’t a total washout – it stopped raining around four-thirty, and I hit the streets.
I went out to dinner and hit up a couple of night markets that I didn’t get to last night. The first was Raohe Street Night Market, identifiable by the gate at its entrance and the temple just outside of it. By the time I got there the market had just opened, and the crowds were really thin. I walked the length of the market, and ended up with some kind of meat on a stick. I headed back toward the entrance and saw one stand that had a long line in front of it. It turned out to be a Taiwanese steamed bun stand, and they made them to order – part of the reason the line was so long was that as soon as they were done, they sold out. People in front of me bought a dozen at a time. I stood in line for about thirty minutes, but it gave me good opportunity to see dozens being made.
They started out with dough that they rolled into small balls. Then they were brought to the assemblers, who kneaded the balls into sheets and stuffed them with meat and green onions, then sealed them. They put them in these barrel-like oven things, with hot coals in the bottom of them. The buns took maybe ten minutes to bake, and not soon after I knew why the line was so long. They are one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, bar none. They put Japanese nikkuman to shame by far.
I headed to another night market, Shilin Night Market this time. This is probably the most famous night market in Taiwan, and it feels and looks the part. There were boutiques everywhere, and shoe stores, along with the obligatory food stalls and knickknack shacks. I walked the length of this one as well, and settled on a Taiwanese sausage on a stick.
They’re really fond of stick food here.
On the way out, I saw another one of those steamed bun stalls. I couldn’t resist – I bought two more and smelled them all the way back to the hostel. Then I devoured them. And they were good.
Tomorrow, rain or shine, I’m planning something really cool and off the beaten path. It’s something I’ve been planning for hardcore, since I decided to go on this trip. And I’m gonna see that it happens.
Stay tuned, people.