There’s something about markets that stirs the curiosity in me, maybe it’s the fact that whilst markets are almost always packed – the store owners are always there to try and get one moment with you and you only – the dynamic makes for perfect people watching for an introvert like myself. What’s more, food and markets almost always comes in pairs and Taiwan is famous for food markets. For the better ones – you need to explore a bit further from the city – such as the ShenKeng Old Street Market (about 20mins drive from Central Taipei).
When you arrive, there’s a fair amount of parking available – the cost is minimal but you’d like to park before you get to the bridge because there’s no parking post that. To get to the market – you need to cross a bridge to and then you’ll find the crowd (can’t miss it)
We ran in the morning before coming out so we were starving by the time we arrived and in the mood for some stinky tofu, so we looked for the store with a nice crowd and joined the line. Did not take long until we were seated though!
Once you’re in, like the Nanjichang Night Market (南機場夜市) – the store has order sheets – this shop was famous for their duck blood and stinky tofu – so we obviously went for that! Ms. Buddha also ordered a side of fried fish with pepper salt.
The Duck Blood Stinky Tofu was excellent! The blood jelly had a slight iron taste that absorbed the chilli oil and paste that acted as the base of the bowl. The stinky tofu could have been slightly more fermented – but the texture absorbed the chilli well – for me, one improvement would be for the chilli level to have a bit more punch. The pepper salted fish were also excellent – nicely fried and the pepper salt had a good balance to it.
We roamed around a bit more and walked to the end of the market until Ms. Buddha suddenly wanted sweets – so sweets we went for. The dessert was a mixture of ice cream with a warm peanuts paste and tapioca. I wasn’t looking for sweets so only had a bite – nice but wasn’t for me – however, Ms. Buddha polished it!
The market also had some things that was more a blast from the past – an old school toy and candy store (although there were about 3 in the entire market)
The last store we visited was a zongzi (basically a savoury sticky rice ball) – this is something that Ms. Buddha likes a lot! And because we’d already eaten a fair amount – we decided to share one and also a serving of vegetable – both were excellent and the mixture of rice types in the zongzi really highlighted the texture and absorbed the flavour of the meats used.