Night Market, a Real Flavor of Taiwan

Night Market, a Real Flavor of Taiwan
Night market plays a vital role in the lives of Taiwanese. It is a street markets operating at night mainly in urban or suburban areas that are generally dedicated to more leisurely strolling, shopping, and eating than more businesslike day markets. Instead of specializing in anything in particular, most night markets in Taiwan are multifunctional, providing customers with snacks, gadgets, clothes, accessories, and even a place to have fun. The atmosphere in night markets is always boisterous, with many noisy but passionate vendors promoting their products.
Night market derives its name from the fact that it is open till the wee hours of the morning and seems to be most alive and abuzz with energy after the sun goes down. Night markets in Taiwan are not just places to buy things to eat and drink and wear; they are well embedded in the lives of Taiwanese people and are one of the most important features of the local lifestyle. During their leisure time, Taiwanese people of all ages enjoy spending time at night markets where there is a variety of local food, fashionable stores to shop from, and entertainments such as playing baseball in the simulated field, or watching buskers' performance to enjoy.
The most special feature at night markets in Taiwan is the variety of local snacks available. Each night market has its own specialty. Shihlin Night Market in Taipei is known for its fried squid, while the Tainan Night Market in southern Taiwan is famous for coffin sandwiches (which get their name from the sandwich cover that resembles the lid of a coffin). Also in Taipei, the Shangdong cuisine of the Shihda Night Market usually has customers lining up. At the Raohe Night Market, visitors can smell the fragrance of stewed steak even before venturing into the market.
Popular Night Market Snacks
Pearl Milk Tea (Bubble Tea)
Pearl milk tea (Bubble tea) is a popular drink loved by Taiwanese and foreigners. Whether it is served iced or hot, the special taste and pure milk tea attract lots of people. In the beginning, a famous Taichung tea shop added some tapioca into their tea and created a new taste. This then became a popular Taiwan specialty and now even sells in stores overseas. Nowadays you can see tea shops everywhere, but the best selling is still the Pearl milk tea (Bubble tea).
Heated Pot-Stewed Snacks
This is the most famous snack in night markets. Customers select their preferred items—such as chicken wings, tofu, pork blood cake, cauliflower and cabbage, and even instant noodles—from stacked piles in front of stalls. They hand over their picks to the stall owner, and they are simmered in stew sauce made with herbs and special ingredients creating a taste that is salty and strong with unique herb aromas. They taste great and are low in fat. They are most popular among students and female customers. These stalls also offer extra pickles and green onions upon request; they work up more of an appetite. Stalls selling heated pot-stewed snacks may be found on Longquan Street.
Oyster Omelet
Oyster Omelet (oua-jien) is a traditional Chinese snack which originated in the Eastern Fujian Province. It is also popular in places with Fujianese influences such as in Guangdong, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore, and Taiwan. The dish consists of an omelette with a filling primarily composed of small oysters. Starch is mixed into the egg batter, giving the resulting egg wrap a thicker consistency. Depending on regional variation, a savory sauce may then be poured on top of the omelette for added taste.
Taiwanese Meatballs
Taiwanese Meatballs are covered in a thick layer of starch that is flavored with a special sauce. The sauce differs in different regions of Taiwan. The starch is made into a ball and then stuffed with meat, bamboo, mushrooms, and a variety of additional ingredients. The Taiwanese Meatball is a unique combination of chewy softness and a flavorful meat sensation.
Braised Pork Rice
Tiny, braised pork pieces are spread over white, steamed rice, which is then sprinkled with braised meat sauce. It is often accompanied with radishes and pickles. The tasty braised pork rice will keep you wanting seconds.
Stinky Tofu
Usually deep fried, Stinky Tofu, as its name suggests, has a very strong smell. Although some people comment on this disturbing smell, many Stinky Tofu lovers really enjoy its distinct flavor and odor.
Braised Snacks
The braised snacks include a variety of foods that are braised in a sauce made with special herbal ingredients. Braised snacks often include chicken wings, tofu, seaweed, pork blood cake, etc. With strong herbal scents, braised snacks have a special taste that is like no other.
Shaved Ice
Shaved ice is a delightful dessert, especially in the hot summer weather. The ice is machine-chopped into a crunchy texture and is served with a variety of flavors and fruits including strawberry, mango, red bean, and mixed flavor, to name a few. Shaved ice is truly refreshing.
Shao Mai
"Shao Mai," or "steamed dumpling" as it’s more commonly known in English, is one of the loveliest of traditional Taiwanese snacks. Shao mai are steamed dumplings with open tops. They can be filled with a variety of different meats and the filling is visible from the tops., The wrappers are pinched into pleats making a shape of a flower. Each one is adorable and delicious.