Street food is a must-eat whenever one is in Taiwan. On my trip to Taipei city, I popped by Rao He Street Night Market 饒河夜市 for my first night market experience, and found some pretty interesting and unusual street food.
We’ve sifted out 10 food items to get your hands on, so you waste no time in searching for them, especially when you want to factor in some time for shopping (we’ve got your back, girls!).
1. Braised Garlic Chicken Feet
One look at these Braised Garlic Chicken Feet (NTD200, approx. S$9) from 大嘴巴(Da Zui Ba) might creep some people out, but to me, it was simply delicious! The chicken feet pieces were slightly deboned, making them easy to pick up with a pair of skewers for eating.
Cartilaginous and flavourful, this is not for the faint-hearted, but worth giving it a try when you’re there.
2. Chilli La La
Also available from 大嘴巴(Da Zui Ba) were these extremely juicy Chilli La La (NTD200, approx. S$9). The clams are poached, then cooked in a sweet and spicy chilli sauce. It reminds me of a Japanese side dish that you can commonly get at restaurants back in Singapore.
Do make sure you have a friend or two to share this with as it’s a pretty generous portion.
3. Fried Pork Ribs
These nifty little bite-sized pieces of Fried Pork Ribs (NTD50, approx. S$2.25) from a stall of the same name, came at a perfect tasting size, leaving us with more than enough space as we made our way down the street of eateries.
These bite-sized ribs are twice-fried, and sprinkled with a mixture of five spice powder and cayenne, giving it a little bit of heat.
The only issue I had with these was the small bits of bone, which were quite inconvenient to pick out, and I had to be careful not to accidentally crack a tooth while chowing down on these.
4. King Oyster Mushrooms With Pink Salt
This was was one of my favourite snacks from my evening at the night market. Fleshy, succulent pieces of King Oyster Mushrooms (NTD60, approx S$2.70), grilled over a charcoal fire and topped off with pink salt, from 大菇头(Da Gu Tou).
The clean taste of the salt brought out the natural earthy taste of the smoky, grilled mushrooms. I regretted not getting a medium size portion of this as my dining partner and I cleaned off this portion within three minutes.
5. Grilled Abalone with Lemon Salt
This was the first time I’ve ever had Grilled Abalone (NTD120, approx. S$5.41), and I really love how beautifully grilled this skewer was from Omiyage(欧米亚给 士林干贝烧)!
The lemon salt helped to mask any brininess of the fresh abalone, and what I liked most about this was the chewy texture of the meat. It still retained its moisture after grilling, so be careful of the scalding juices when biting into this!
6. Grilled Chicken Thigh Skewer with Garlic
Now, this is a clever snack – a chicken thigh, entirely de-boned, wrapped around a wooden skewer and grilled over an open flame from 暴降鸡腿(Bao Jiang Ji Tui). It came piping hot off the grill, flavoured with garlic powder (NTD35, approx. S$1.60).
I loved how juicy and tender the chicken was, and had to be careful not to burn myself from the piping hot juices. Definitely a must-try!
7. Assam Milk Tea With Whipped Cream
After all that yummy fried food, I bought myself a cup of Assam Milk Tea (NTD40, approx. S$1.80), topped with whipped cream from 红茶撞奶 (Hong Cha Zhuang Nai). It was deliciously refreshing, and the drink itself was light and creamy.
I wished the tea flavour was stronger though, and the addition of whipped cream to the milk tea made it a little bit more decadent for a drink that you can get at the night market.
8. Smelly Tofu Fries With Cheese Sauce
I’m a fan of both cheese and smelly tofu, so I knew I HAD to order this when I saw this snack on the menu. Smelly tofu cut into ‘fries’ and fried to a perfect crisp, drizzled with cheese sauce and accompanied by homemade veggie pickles (NTD60, approx. S$2.70) from 妖怪臭豆腐 (Monster Stinky Tofu).
I just wish that they were more generous with the cheese sauce though! This would be a great pick for those who are looking to try smelly tofu for the first time and don’t want something too pungent.
9. Taro Balls With Salted Egg Yolk Custard Filling
For those who love salted egg yolk treats, you’ll love this Fried Taro Ball (NTD50 for 2, approx. S$2.25), bursting with rich salted egg yolk custard from 暴降芋泥球 (Bao Jiang Yu Ni Qiu).
I was warned by the stall auntie to be careful of the molten custard centre when biting into it – indeed, I was greeted by hot, steamy salted egg custard when I tore apart the taro ball. You won’t be disappointed by this nifty snack.
10. Fried Milk Ball Skewer
I found this stall selling skewers of Fried Milk (NTD20, approx. S$0.90) right at the very end of Rao He street, at the back entrance of the night market, at a stall called 垦丁牧场(Kenting Milk Farm).
The pieces of fried milk were crisp on the outside and had a mochi-like consistency when I bit into it. It was slightly sweet and definitely tasted very milky. I’d say this is worth the walk and the only stall of its kind at the night market.