Oyster omelette (o-a-chian) is Taiwan’s traditional surf and turf dish and is a signature night market favorite. Eggs and potatoes are mixed and fried on a scorching hot pan, enveloping the delicate little oysters inside. The potato starch gives the whole dish a gooey chewiness that the Taiwanese love. It’s all topped off with a generous amount of screaming red, ketchup- based sauce.
Tanghulu is Taipei’s answer to candied apples. Why do we only candy apples here in the States? Taipei’s tanghulu candied strawberries are a much more delectable treat and are conveniently bite sized. The juiciness of the fresh strawberries is highlighted by the crunchy candy barrier that your teeth have to break through for the luscious reward. The strawberries are sold on bamboo skewers and are a portable treat as you explore the night market. Tanghulu actually originated in northern China and is a typical winter treat. I’m so glad it’s being served in Taiwan year round.
Small Sausage Wrapped in Big Sausage
There are numerous types of sausages being sold at the night market, but my favorite is the small sausage wrapped in a big sausage.
It looks similar to a hot dog and features a charred Taiwanese pork sausage wrapped in a glutinous, sticky rice sausage. You can top it with your own selection of condiments like wasabi, thick soy sauce or pickled bok choy to name a few. I just like it plain and hot off the grill. It’s perfect just as it is and doesn’t need any accompaniments.
Taiwanese Sizzling Steak
On nearly every street corner of the Taiwanese night market, you’ll encounter a sizzling steak shop. Sizzling steak is served on a blistering hot, black cast iron skillet. The tender steak covers a bed of spaghetti noodles and is topped off with a fried egg. This is a meal you have to sit down for and is usually paired with a sweet corn soup, salad and a hot bun or piece of garlic bread. It’s quite an affordable meal and generous in size. Save this for your last eat at the night market, or you won’t have room for anything else.
Hot-Star Fried Chicken
There’s always a line at Hot-Star Fried Chicken, but don’t worry because the line moves briskly. Hot-Star chicken is very similar in taste to Taiwanese popcorn chicken, except that its the size of your head. It’s Taiwan’s version of fried chicken, pounded, coated with flour and then dunked in hot oil. You can select your preferred spiciness level, and it will arrive in your hands fresh and piping hot.
I’ve just covered a few of my favorite night market treats, but I could fill a book with every delectable treat there is to try.
The night market is certainly a highlight of any trip to Taiwan, but delicious food is around every corner in Taiwan. It’s the ultimate foodie destination, so come prepared to eat.
if you go
- Taiwan Tourism Board
- Hot-Star Chicken
- Shilin Night Market