taipei day one

Thirteen hour flight stuck between two people. Arrive in Taipei too early to check into our hotel. Roam the city streets with LL. Visit the National Theatre and Sun Yat Sen’s Memorial Hall. In between, walk a trail lined with amazingly tall trees and watch women and men exercise in the park.

Stop at a 7-11 or “Seven” as LL calls it and pick up snacks and a drink.

Red velvet melty cookies. I’ve only had the chocolates in America – these were special. Crunchy little red velvet cookie. We sat in the park, ate these and drank our drinks while watching a squirrel and a very strange bird walk about.

Shiling Night Market

Signs and people and vendors and smells and trash and everything you could imagine cramped into a small space full of things you can eat. I couldn’t read anything, so I told LL to lead the way – what were the items I had to try while in Taipei? She led the way and I followed, looking at every stall, smelling stinky tofu, trying to keep focused in such a crowded area.

We found a stall and sat down. LL placed an order for an oyster omelet and some stinky tofu. I was very excited to try everything. I asked if there were bugs, she replied with a flat “No. They only eat those in China.” I was disappointed. Bugs were fun to eat.

Oyster omelet – egg with very tiny oysters and some sort of glutinous mush mixed in with the eggs, the sauce I can’t explain as it doesn’t really have a lot of flavour. I would say it’s sweet, and mildly salty.. there were also bits of chopped vegetables in the omelet. I can’t say this would be my choice to eat again.

Stinky tofu – fried blocks of fermented tofu topped with pickled cabbage and carrots along with some sort of sweet soy sauce glaze. The smell coming from the stinky tofu vendors was pretty off-putting. I described it as “rancid lamb”. That doesn’t sound appetizing, I know, but I was still interested in having it because my experience with stinky tofu has been very limited – a tiny bite from a China experience wasn’t enough. I picked up a triangle of tofu sandwiched between cabbage pieces and shoved it into my mouth. The experience wasn’t so horrible – the flavour, that “stink” does permeate your throat once you’ve swallowed, but it’s not unpleasant. In fact, I rather liked the whole experience/mouth feel of this food. Yay stinky tofu!

Once we were done, LL said she wanted to pick up something cold to eat. Dessert? Fine with me. We walked through the market again and she found exactly what she was looking for.

Jelly made from some kind of tiny grain with boba, and tea with condensed milk. It was very refreshing and delicious. I had never tasted jelly like that. I forget what it’s called..

There was so much to try in the market.. we didn’t have enough time or stomach space to do it all in one night.

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