Celebrating Food! Celebrating Life!

Taiwan May 2010 Day 1 – Outbound for Taipei

We visited the Butterfly Garden located within Terminal 3 Transit Area and had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe at Terminal 3 before boarding our 4.5 h flight on Jetstar to Taipei!

Changi Airport T3 - Hard Rock Cafe

Lunch at Hard Rock Cafe located within the Transit Area of Changi Airport Terminal  3.

Changi Airport T3 - Hard Rock Cafe

Kool lookin’  “wall” of electric guitars

Changi Airport T3 - Hard Rock Cafe

“Piano Bar” at Hard Rock Cafe

Changi Airport T3 - Hard Rock Cafe

Fish ‘n Chips from the set lunch menu seems to be the best choice. Comes with standard corn starch soup. I thought the entree coleslaw is quite nice though.

Changi Airport T3 - Hard Rock Cafe

Small portions but rather chunky pieces of fish, which tasted like sea bass. A welcome change from the cheaper sutchi catfish passing off as dory,

Changi Airport T3 - Hard Rock Cafe

fish ‘n chips

Changi Airport T3 - Hard Rock Cafe

dessert was a serving of strawberry mousse on sponge.  Palatable but not memorable. Well… can’t expect too much from a S$9.90 set lunch!

Taipei - Cityinn

A quick check-in to City Inn Hotel located near Taipei Main Station. The standard room is rather small by standards and is designed in a minimalistic sense, with the sleeping area partitioned by frosted glass from the bathroom.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

After dumping our luggage at the hotel, we took a bus to 南机场夜市, located along 中华路 after 和平医院. Unlike the usual 士林夜市 or 饶河夜市,  南机场夜市 is a 在地人才可能知道的夜市 “known to locals only” night market. Even the receptionist at the hotel corceige didn’t know about this place when we asked for direction confirmations!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Rows of food stalls along the sides while motorcycles and scooters zoom by. The small alleys are not cordoned off from traffic like the other 观光夜市 around Taipei . Being a 在地人才知道的夜市,we seem like the only tourists around there!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

First on our menu is 钰师傅上海生煎包. A stall which has been around the area for more than 30 years, some Taiwanese foodies claim that Chef Yu’s version of Shanghai Pan Fried Buns are better than the famous 原上海生煎包 at 士林夜市.

Looking at the crowd gathering around the stall, it seems to be good!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

A pan full of buns quickly being snapped up!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

And while one pan is frothin’ and cookin’, another is quickly being packed with anticipation!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

The boss showing us his “babies” to much delight and pride.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

A box of 6 dumplings

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Cabbage and shrimp filling

Taipei - 南机场夜市

minced pork with spring onion filling

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Another highly raved stall at 南机场夜市 by the internet foodies, 基隆黑轮综合甜不辣. Both these snacks have their origins in Japan. “黑轮” in taiwanese dialect is how the locals pronounce “oden” while “甜不辣” is phonetically similar to “tempura”. They were probably introduced into Taiwan during the Japanese occupation but have since acquired a new colloquial ethnicity, which is very unique to Taiwan.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

A wide selection of delectable goodies to choose from!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Judging by how busy the three women are behind the stall counter, it has to be good! They work factory workers on a conveyor belt, each having their specific role.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

来来水饺馆 is another favorite amongst locals. This shop which specialises in dumplings have been around for more than 30 years and still counting. Its constantly packed with people looking around for seats.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

There are other dumpling stalls and shops that spring up but 来来水饺馆 seems to be drawing the largest crowd!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Sour and spicy soup (酸辣汤)

Taipei - 南机场夜市

A plate of 10 minced pork dumplings

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Taipei - 南机场夜市

A starchy base filled with ingredients like cabbage, tofu, carrot, egg, black fungus, shredded mushroom.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

鲜猪内陷!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Workers packing and bagging non-stop, operating like clockwork, one kneading the dough skin whilst 3 of them fill ‘em up with filling and off into a huge pot of boiling water it goes!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Note the molehill of filling!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Next on the list is 好佳蚵嗲. 蚵嗲 is basically deep-fried oyster cake, much similar to 福州蚝饼 we find in Singapore. But the Taiwanese version is packed with cabbage and spring onion as well, minus the peanut we find in 福州蚝饼.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

We ordered  one 蚵嗲, cut into 4 pieces

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Thin crust stuffed with ingredients

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Dipped in a specially made sauce. I had the spicy version.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

脆皮花枝包 is another popular item, which is basically squid paste deep fried in beancurd skin. Sounds like a hybrid of ngoh hiang (五香) and sotong youtiao (苏东油条) .

Taipei - 南机场夜市

The filling is very succulent and tangy. Probably added with fish paste as well. The squid paste is very coarsely battered and one can still taste bits of squid which adds on to the texture!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

3 basic ingredients to make 蚵嗲 – a flour batter, which was probably added with whole eggs, salt and pepper to taste. A mish-mesh of chopped cabbage and spring onion, probably flavoured as well with salt, which also helps to drive out excess water (osmosis!) and finally big fat oysters!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

A spoonful of batter is first added to the metal ladle. The former was first dipped into oil to prevent the batter from sticking onto it. Cabbage/spring onion is then added, followed by oyster and then packed with another round of cabbage/spring onion.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

The top is then quickly drizzled with batter and off into a wok of hot oil it goes. The oil has to be sufficiently hot so that the batter hardens to form a crust rapidly. This seals in the ingredients, keeping the insides moist and soft while the crust is crisp! When its ready, the oyster cake “lifts off” by itself from the metal ladle (like an UFO!)  and is then given a few ceremonious flips and out it comes!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Love the presentation but we ain’t fans of 滷味 in particular and decided to give this stall a miss.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Another “must-eat” on the foodies’ list! 好吃炸鸡. Try this and you wouldn’t want to eat another other stall anymore!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Apart from fried chicken, they sell every other thing that can be deep fried! From the usual cuttlefish balls, sweet potato, calamari aka squid rings to more exotic stuff like 猪血糕 which basically translates to “pig’s blood cake” . Our advice is they should do fried banana fritters aka “goreng pisang” as well! Should sell like hotcakes!!!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Taipei - 南机场夜市

One of the best fried chicken we’d ever tasted… and its damn cheap! 4 for NT20! Where else on earth can you strike a bargain like this!?

Taipei - 南机场夜市

The batter reminds of  KFC’s crispy version, just that this is much better! And its not the least oily… All boils down to good temperature control and a good recipe I guess!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

An ojisan selling kebab

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Some non-food stalls are still open at night, this one sells shoes

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Another one selling shoes

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Teppanyaki stall (铁板烧)

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Famous fruit drink stall at 南机场夜市 operated by an obasan and her two daughters. She’s famous for several things. (1) Offering some portions of fruit juices of other flavours while the customers wait for their offers to be blended, (2) she’s never seen without her hair being “set”, (3) her daughters and her all very chatty and in all smiles at all times, well… apart from in this picture at least!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Our venture for the night, 永康街芋头大王. A franchise outlet from Yong Kang Street where many famous eateries like 鼎泰豐, 冰馆 made their humble beginnings. They are well-known for the yam-based desserts and that’s what we are here for!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Two queues at the front counter, one for takeaways and one for in-store orders. We managed to get the last portion of their signature dish, 芋头牛奶冰. Lucky!

永康街芋头大王, 芋头牛奶冰, 红豆牛奶冰, dessert, ice, yam, red bean

Taipei - 南机场夜市

A wide selection of toppings for those who opt for variety by choosing the 任选四种冰.Starting from the front row, there’s almond jelly, green bean, barley grass jelly aka chinchow, oatmeal (yes! oatmeal!), kidney beans, yam, 爱玉 jelly, 芋圆, mango, honeydew, red bean etc!!!

Taipei - 南机场夜市

Last portion of 芋头牛奶冰 of the day and its ours! Despite being the last, quality is still ensured.

Taipei - 南机场夜市

红豆牛奶冰, another favorite amongst dessert lovers. Cooked to the right degree of softness and sweetness. YUMZ!

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