Ningxia Night Market Eat Out

On my last couple of days in Taipei on my last trip there. I hanged out with a local friend checking out the area I was staying at all the way to the underground Taipei City Mall. To my surprise he actually planned to bring me to one of the best food night markets there is in Taipei, the Ningxia Night Market.

Ningxia Night Market sits a few city blocks away north of the Taipei Main Station. It was very walkable, at least for us, but the metro can also be taken to get you there faster.

Taipei Main Station

Posing like a true tourist in front of the Taipei Main Station signage in written in Hanzi

Food Coma At Ningxia

I was feeling touristy that night so I surrendered being the explorer that I am and just allowed my self be surprised by my friend. The Ningxia Night Market is a short stretch of road closed at night that is filled with food stalls offering wide food selections. There are food that can also be found in other night markets so I chose the ones that I haven’t tried or haven’t seen in other night markets.

One challenge though in the Ningxia Night Market because it is not a major tourist night market is that most stalls do not have English signages. I was very lucky though because I am with my good friend York! Yep tourist mode on!

First dish that I tried was a baked sea food clam. It was just not a simple clam baked with cheese though. The dish is actually a medley of sea foods like squid or octopus. Imagine a good medley of those all baked into cheesy goodness! A bit on a pricey side though I think it was worth the price.

Next stop was our drinks. I think the drink I got is actually a Filipino obsession, Yakult. You know that if we could get bigger servings of this rich drink we would. Dream fulfilled! Towards the end of the street we found a stall that sells Yakult slush!

York has a place in mind though. He took me at the cross road at the end of the street where a permanent food shop was. It was a pretty sure shot that it’s gonna be awesome, the line was long! We fell in line to be served then I asked what were lining up for? I learned that the huge line of people was one of the iconic Taiwanese dish, the Oyster Omelet!

The Oyster Omelet is served with condiments on the side to compliment the dish. The omelet it self has a sticky consistency possibly because of the casava flour used to make it stick together. It could be a bit weird when you take your first bite being the oyster having  gooey texture. It may take a few bites to get used to it and the sauce will surely help you like it.

With the main dish done, I guess dessert is just appropriate. I’ve tasted the Taiwanese mochi before so I was quite unsure of how this one would turn out.

I took my first bite and I was just so surprised on how good it was! The ice wasn’t that sweet or milky at all but the peanut and red bean mochi did deliver! It was a delight how a desert so simple like this can surprise you with such experience.

Price Range

Price range for food selection in the Ningxia Night Market still is affordable. Nothing crazy! Dishes can be as low as NT$50. It is best to come to the night market with friends. This way you can sample more food while splitting the cost among your friends.

How to get to Ningxia Night Market

The Ningxia Night Market is very accessible. Coming from Ximen you can take the MRT Red Line and get off at the Shunglian Station. Take exit #1 or 2 and walk 500 meters west of the Minsheng West Road. You can also walk just 1KM north of Taipei Main Station!

So if you are seeking for some food solitude in your trip, when you just want to see food and no shopping distractions, come to Ningxia Night Market. It will not disappoint you.

I would like to give special thanks to my awesome friend York for letting me use his photos for this blog post.

Featured image courtesy of llee_wu

Must Try Food In Taipei

They say Taiwan is how China could have been if it wasn’t for the cultural revolution. They shunned many of their traditions and beliefs and turned themselves to the communist ideology. None the less, there is one thing that China and Taiwan shares best; Food Culture. Not known to many Taiwan is one of the best places in Asia to discover flavors that you did not know existed. Taiwanese Food combinations that can be quite odd but taste so good.

On my recent trip to Taipei, Taiwan’s beautiful capital I’ve indulged my self into an eating free in one of their famous night markets and some other random street foods. Here are a few of the Taiwanese food that you should try when in Taipei!

Huajiao Bing

Pepper seasoned pork filled bun baked inside a tandori looking kind of oven. Unlike other pork filled buns, The Huajiao Bing’s bread is hard outside and crumbling inside.

Taiwanese Food

Carbon Barbecue

Bacon or Chicken fillet wrapped spring onions wrapped barbecues grilled over charcoal. They are cooked in batches and are sold separately. Each one are individually skewered with a toothpick to keep them together. Each one cost about NT24 a piece.

Taiwanese Food

Taiwanese Pancake

Also known as a  Scallion cake, this pancake is cooked on a flat pan like a roti. Scallions or onion springs are added to the batter mixture giving it its name scallion cake. It is a cheap yet filling food that you can bite on if you need something to eat yet don’t have the time to eat a proper meal.

Taiwanese Food

Stinky Tofu

Probably the most famous dish that comes as a dare to a lot of western tourists. Before being grilled or fried and topped with vegetables.

Taiwanese FoodSource

Cranberry Juice

Made from fresh Cranberries you can find several of these stalls around Shilin Night Market. This is a perfect first stop before starting your food trip around the market so you’d have something to drink along with your food.

Taiwanese Food

Taiwanese Food

Gong Rou Fan

Rice in a bowl topped with tender pork chop that just melts in your mouth. The dish also has pickled cucumbers to cleanse your palette. The best Gong Rou Fan can be found in Ximen area  and costs about NT65

Taiwanese Food

Hot Star Whole Chicken Breast

Though Hot Star has branches here in Manila, I’d say that it is still worth trying out this food on where it started. You find this stall with a line of customers most of time waiting for another batch of fried chicken breast goodness to be served.

Taiwanese Food

 

Bubble Tea 

It wouldn’t be right not to try out Bubble Tea from its place of birth. Yes, the bubble tea that wee know was born in Taipei! It’s amazing how many flavors one can try with each Bubble Tea shop that one can find in every corner of the city.

Taiwanese Food

Ice Cream Burrito

I am not sure if this is a Jiufen specialty but I didn’t notice this sold anywhere else. The Ice Cream Burrito (just made that name up -can’t remember sorry bad memory) is basically a scoop or two of ice cream wapped together with peanut shavings and cilantro in a spring roll wrapper.

Taiwanese Foodsource

Taro Balls

Also found this one in Jiufen, where they serve it either hot or cold with milk. Its basically just taros shaped in spheres served with milk. I specially liked this one hot when I tried it in Jiufen when it was freezing cold that day. Oh yeah, this reminds me of our Filipino Ginataang Halo-Halo

Taiwanese FoodSource

Oyster Omelet

Odd as it may seem but this omelet is quite good. I got a chance to try it out

photo courtesy of york hsieh

 

Cheesy Sea Food Clam

Should I say more of this? I mean cheese and sea food baked in goodness together? This was a bit pricey for the size. It was about NTD80 i think but it was so worth it. Every bite was soooo creamy as the cheese and the sea food just compliments each other. I do say sea food because it’s not just clams stuffed back on the shell but other sea food as well like crabs and squid. Truly worth the experience.

taiwanese foodphoto courtesy of york hsieh

 

Iced Taiwanese Mochi

Probably the one that surprised me most was this Iced Taiwanese Mochi. I’ve tried Taiwanese mochies before at the Shilin Night Market but it wasn’t as exciting as this. Having the mochi ball on top of the milked crushed ice gave it a different dimension. The different textures playing inside your mouth was so crazy i didn’t knew how to react but just closed my eyes and moan. Hahahaha! My Taiwanese friend laughed so hard of my yummy face!

photo courtesy of york hsieh

Got a Taipei Food Must Try that you’d like to share? Put it down on the comment section so we can add them up on the list!

Travel Guide: Shilin Night Market

The biggest night markets of all of Taiwan, The Shilin Night Market offers a wide array of delicious Taiwanese food!

wandering around you can just get lost through the maze of streets offering a wide array of food options. Grilled, stewed, baked, just about any way of cooking can be found in the streets of the Shilin Night Market!

The Shilin Night market will not just satisfy your tongue with great Taiwanese foods but with great fusion food as well.

I love starting my Shilin run through by getting my self some cool drinks that will help cleanse my palate one dish after another! No wonder even lonely planet recommends a visit.

Shilin Night MarketCranberry juice lady, they even offer to customize your drink for the same price

 

Shilin Night MarketBarbecued asparagus wrapped in marinated chicken meat is just savory!

 

Shilin Night MarketThe biggest fried chicken I have ever seen! It’s actually a whole chicken fried without the wings and legs!

 

How to get to the Shilin Night Market

The best way to get your self to the night market is through the Taipei Metro. Some might tell you to get off at the Shilin station but it is easier to reach the night market via the Jiantan Station which are both on the MRT red line.

Via bus:
1. Take minibus no. 15 (小15), 16(小16), 17(小17), 18(小18), 19(小19) to Yangming Theatre stop (陽明戲院站).
2. Take bus no. 109, 203, 216, 220, 260, 267, 279, 280, 285, 310, 606, 612, 646, 685, 902 or Zhongshan Line (中山幹線) to Ming Chuan University stop (銘傳大學站).
3. Take bus no. 203, 216, 218, 224, 266, 280, 304 Chengde Line (304 承德線), 308, 310, 606, 616, 618, 665, or minibus no. 18 (小18) to Xiaobei Street stop (小北街).
4. Take bus no. 41, 529, 620, or 30 Red (紅30) to Shilin Market (士林市場).
5. Take bus no. 109, 220, 203, 260, 267, 277, 279, 285, 612, 646, 685, 902, or Zhongshan Line (中山幹線) to MRT Jiantan Station (捷運劍潭站).

Since starting June 1, 2017 Filipinos can now enter Taiwan visa free, you will surely enjoy the amazing food adventure in Shilin Night Market! So make sure that you put this on your list!

 

 

Food: Inabraw Cook off In Isabela’s Bambantin Festival

Inabraw also known as Dinengdeng is a dish with Ilocano heritage and has been in the Isabeleños tables for generations. This year for the second time in a row, the Bambantin festival featured the dish through a cook off. Lead by the province’s first lady, seven contingents from different municipalities around the province cooked their way to the finals.

best inabraw in isabela

Inabraw is a fish dish with a medley of vegetables that are native to the northern part of the Luzon cooked in stew. The great thing about this competition is that participants are challenged to become creative with the form and presentation of the dish giving the food a new perspective and possibilities of maybe going global.

It was a tough time pressured competition but everyone was able to deliver. So without further delay here are the winners of the Inabraw cooking competition – the best Inabraw in Isabela.

best inabraw in isabela

Inabraw Cooking Competition Winners

3rd Place – Cauayan City
2nd Place – Cabatuan
1st Place – San Mateo

Grand Winner Tumauini !

Inabraw Cook off winner