Taiwan is famous for street food; in the mornings they’ve got all kinds of breakfast carts on every block; in the evenings are the night markets, where you can snap, do a little shopping, and at Ningxia Night Market where I went to night, you can even play some midway carnival games.
There are necessarily night markets right outside of university campuses; in Hangzhou when I was taking that summer program at 工大 we could always go out the back entrance of the campus and grab some bubble tea and cold noodles late at night (the cold noodles were a convenient excuse; when people missed class due to late night drunkenness, they tell the teacher they had 拉肚子 the runs from cold noodles).
City centers also have them… or had them. Shanghai’s was called Wujiang Road, and it had some amazing steam/fried dumplings, sandwiches, and skewers of every stripe. Wujiang Road’s night market is gone now; it’s been torn down and renovated, and now reportedly has no soul.
The Taiwanese food stalls, in contrast to the Mainland standards, are well-lit and clean, because Taiwanese people care about that. The oyster auntie I went to (and a few others, I noticed) even had sinks available for hand-washing. Also, Taiwanese people distrust public garbage cans (more on that in a future post) so when I was finished with my sausage skewer and napkin, fried oyster pie auntie was like, gimme that; she took my garbage and threw it in her own stash.
I did manage to find one public garbage bag at the end of the street; one. If I had missed that, I would have done what everyone else does, which is take your trash with you until you find a garbage can.
Anyway, I’m talking too much about garbage. Here’s what I ate tonight: ethnic minority sausage, 7 small roasted oysters, a pepper sausage, and a fried shrimp and oyster pie.
To get home, I walked the half mile to the train station, so that I wouldn’t have to do a second subway transfer. It was a nice night; not too hot. Nice weather, but during the day and at night, really make a difference in my experience of this place. When it’s raining here or it’s too hot, I feel pretty dreary, but when it’s a nice day, I really get the chance to discover how spectacular.. and small… this city really is.