If you’ve heard anything about Taiwan, it’s probably something or other about it’s food. Let’s admit it… Taipei 101 was soon left in the dust as the world’s tallest building almost as soon as it became known. But, there is a ton of food in this small country. I’m going to start with Hsinchu’s Cheng Huang (City God) Temple Night Market – 城隍廟夜市!
It’s another one of Taiwan’s night markets that is centered around a temple. It’s also pretty close to the main railway station at Hsinchu – about a 20 minute walk. There’s plenty of eats on the way there too.
Such as this zhua bing (抓餅)!
It’s translated as a “grabbed pancake” – made with chopped scallions, pan fried and then scrunched to give it volume. Have you ever heard of a scallion pancake (蔥油餅)? It’s like the same but scrunched up.
There was also this delicious lemon-y drink. It had small tapiocas and basil seeds in it. Add a bit of aiyu jelly and drink with a tapioca straw on your walk down to the market.
My aunt got this for the group – dou hua (豆花). It’s like a tofu pudding with tapioca, green beans, peanuts in a slightly ginger flavored and lightly sweetened syrup. In the winter, it’s warm and in the summer, you can commonly find it iced.
Hsinchu is probably most famous for their bawan (肉圓) or “meat ball,” two words. It’s a mixture of usually pork, mushrooms and spices wrapped with a translucent rice flour bun. It’s quite sticky and normally served with a sweet and sour sauce. I was too full to try any this time around…
There was also this interesting stand across from the Temple. Donuts! Donuts? They seemed a bit like that rage in NY… cronuts.
They weren’t bad and at a quarter of the price of a cronut, why not? There were several including original and cheese.
You can’t leave a night market without seeing a version of this – stinky tofu (臭豆腐)!
Fried and served on a skewer with pickled cabbage and a soy-like sauce.
My aunt bought a batch of these – fresh spring rolls.
Filled with a load of ingredients such as blanched bean sprouts, ground meat, cucumbers and much more – all wrapped in a soft spring roll crepe-like wrapper.
I had to eat it a while later, but it was delicious. There were also some crushed peanuts in there.
Before we left the market (we went just a bit before dinner time and soon after a few snacks)… I had to buy a portion of this!
A sticky taffy (but doesn’t taste anything like taffy) pulled fresh and sandwiched between two airy crackers with cilantro and crushed peanuts (with a bit of sugar).
Very sticky, but not too shabby. I recommend eating these fresh. I tried them after a few hours and the biscuit was just the tad bit soggy from the ingredients inside. Sorry, I have no idea what these are called! Who can read the Chinese on that cart?
And, last stop before we headed out… My aunt also bought a bunch of these steamed sponge cakes – famous in Hsinchu! Get it at the 100+ year old Hsinfuchen (新復珍) Bakery near the temple.
Yeesh, I am full just from posting this.