In Taiwan, the night market is kind of a big deal. It really needs to be experienced in person to gain an appreciation for it. In a nutshell, it involves food, shopping, and entertainment. We had our first glimpse of the night market in Taipei on Saturday and understand what to expect the next time we go. According to my friend, Rachel, it's the one thing that the Taiwanese miss the most when they leave their country. One thing that cannot be seen in my pictures is how jam packed with people it is at the night market, and when it's around 100 F outside with what feels like 100% humidity, I felt rather claustrophobic. You'll find all kinds of food vendors surrounded by content customers.
One of my big concerns was how the food was out in the hot, open air, unrefrigerated and uncovered, and I couldn't help but envisioning these one-butt kitchenettes as potential bacteria wonderlands. I remained hesitant throughout the evening to put my immune system to the test, yet appreciated seeing the pleasure that these cooks were providing to the masses.
Like I said previously, it was extremely crowded there. I had to be strategic in finding open gaps to whip out my camera to snap a few pictures.
We actually arrived on the early side of the night and by the time we left, the space was even more congested with patrons.
Kelly's friend from Austin, Chang, was with us, so he introduced us to a few of his favorite vittles. The first thing Chang suggested was to get in line for this deep fried chicken that he highly recommended. He must have been spot on, because throughout the night, the line got progressively longer. We ordered one large piece to share of the boneless, breaded chicken that had been flattened out with a mallet, then we chose the spicy version to add a bit more flavor. It was pretty good, but in the heat, I didn't have much of an appetite. Kelly and Lindsey consumed most of it, then later that evening regretted it. That's all I'm going to say.
Fabric coin purses and handbags caught Lindsey's eye, so we bought a few things from this shop. Apparently, they expect people to negotiate for lower prices, but my communication skills were lacking, and I thought the prices were reasonable and couldn't bring myself to asking to pay less.
I purchased two of the cute little coin purses, then Chang took over and started talking to the lady for us, and ultimately negotiated for a better price on Lindsey's floral handbag. I was too busy worrying that she might not be earning enough money if I paid her less.
Here's the cute bag that Lindsey scored for under ten bucks, or NT $300, thanks to Chang.
One of the darling coin purses I got now holds my new Taiwan coins that I'm still getting familiar with. I love that they have only dollars here, and no cents.
Pineapple cakes, that remind me of Fig Newton bars, are a local treat. We bought this package of pineapple cakes that included some strawberry cakes and a melon type. More than anything, the packaging stood out to me with the charming individually wrapped snacks in the floral papers. Super cute!
For entertainment, it resembled a carnival with fun activities for kids of all ages. Christopher arm wrestled to measure his strength.
Later, he shot some air-filled water balloons with a pistol filled with BBs.
He liked it so much that he played another round.
Success! He's quite the shooter and won a yo-yo and played with it throughout the night.
There were a lot of children out late spending time with their families.
These Taiwanese children are so precious.
There was a coziness and family feel to this overall experience.
We had been sightseeing all day and were exhausted from the heat and walking around. The next time we plan to go to the night market, it will probably be our one event that we have planned.
This guy was entertaining on his own, taking orders from the crowd, yelling out the menu, then retrieving them for the women chefs who were cooking non-stop to keep up with the demand. It was intense!