Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Pictoral Walk Through Miaokou Night Market (Keelung)

A stand selling refreshing fig jelly drinks with lemon (愛玉檸檬汁) - I like this photo for the hanging limes.

After our tiring, sand-covered trip to Fulong to see the lovely sand sculptures, we hopped a long, heavily air-conditioned bus to Keelung to eat in the night market. More than half the night market is currently closed (road construction, I think) but the main eating area known as Miaokou Snack Street is still open.

Keelung is one of my favorite night markets, and I'd say the best in northern Taiwan (though I am also a big fan of Raohe in the far east of Taipei). I was devastated that my seafood lady - my dealer, as it were, for delicious sea urchin sashimi, was a part of the closed area. Good for my wallet though - sea urchins start at NT$100 an urchin and go up from there. As you can only eat the roe, not the innards, you don't get a lot for your money (but what you get is sublime, so I keep coming back for more. Mmmmm sea urchins).

Some schookids eating what I think is stewed pork rice

Some specialties of Keelung, besides seafood generally, are cream crabs (奶油螃蟹) - a whole crab cooked in cream and butter with onions and often basil, thick soup (羹) in its lamb, eel and crab forms (and possibly others), one bite sausage (below), tempura (below), and ice desserts of various kinds.

All the other stuff is tasty, too.

So...enjoy a pictoral walk through a busy night at the night market, with a few bonus pics of downtown Keelung - which is just this side of sketchy without being too dangerous!

A view of the night market from the temple's incense burner

Many night markets seem to have sprung up around temples, which makes sense if you consider the temple as a community gathering spot that has always had snack vendors outside. It is quite obvious that some of these might grow into full-blown snack markets or night markets. Not all night markets have a temple and not all larger temples have a night market, but many do.

There's a famous snack at Miaokou called "Nutritious Sandwich" - it's a piece of deep-fried bread filled with mayonnaise, tomato, cucumber, ham and boiled egg. Nutritious indeed.

Taiwanese-style tempura (甜不辣)

One Bite Sausage with raw garlic - yum! (一口香腸加蒜頭)

Lovers eating mba wan (肉圓 - Taiwanese rice gluten dumplings)

Crab thick soup (螃蟹羹) and chicken rice (雞絲飯)

I'm quite sad that this photo ended up a bit blurry (and no amount of Sharpen tool can fix it) - I love the expressions on their faces.

They look surprised, but believe me when I say that I asked permission to take this photo.

"Traditional" shaved ice toppings. The green stuff is "coconut" and is actually quite good.

Best photobomb ever! Well, not the best, but still pretty good.

I like Keelung because it's just...weird.

...and gritty with a side of seediness thrown in. It's those things too. That's what you get in an Asian port town.

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