So a couple of the guys from work offered to take me to the night market in Tainan. Apparently it’s the 2nd biggest (behind Taipei) in Taiwan and a big deal for the locals. It was a lot of fun and a bit of a culinary adventure as well.
William and his friend picked me up at the hotel and he let me drive his scooter! Even more surprising, he hopped right on back. White guy, in Taiwan, 1st time on a scooter, at night, with a passenger, trying to follow another scooter, through crazy traffic. Yeah, it was good times.
After we made it to the market (without incident), they said I was a good driver but was slow. By slow they mean, I stopped at red lights (even if there wasn’t cross traffic), did substantially less weaving through scooters / cars / pedestrians / road cones / bicycles / lampposts, and didn’t generally ride the snot out of all 100cc’s of 2 stroke glory.
We parked in the biggest scooter parking lot I've ever seen. The picture below is less than half of it and only one of the lots around the night market.
That’s me, William’s friend, William, and Johnson. Johnson’s girlfriend took the picture.
What we’re eating is oysters and egg with some noodles in lots and lots of brown gelatinous goo. It wasn’t bad actually, but I could have done with less of the goo.
At this point they decided that it would be fun to get me to eat all the local ‘favorites’. First up was duck blood soup with fishballs. This is supposedly the 2nd weirdest local food according to some CNN show they had seen and liked to quote. It was kind of like tofu and really not as bad as they had me thinking it would be. I didn’t go for seconds though.
After that it was some nut or bean thing that looked like a jester hat. These were pretty good and I had several. I took a picture of the sign too so hopefully Alan can tell me what they are.
I don’t recall the details but i believe I finished it.
Then I had a gun pastry that was quite tasty. Other options were a motorcycle, an elephant and a pig.
This pastry was filled with strawberry goo and pretty good.
Number 1 on the CNN weirdest foods list in Taiwan. Pig’s blood flavored rice pie with a peanut and cilantro covering. On a stick. Fortunately I mostly tasted the cilantro. This one had me a little worried because none of them got one and they wanted to take a picture of me eating it… 2 bites was plenty.
I’ve had Mexican food in Korea and Singapore, but this burrito was something else.
So this was tiny little snail shell things that you had to suck the snail out of. Mostly really salty and kind of a gross texture. Plus they get stuck in your teeth. I only had 3.
When we left, I figured I should have William drive so I could test my theory about which was scarier, to drive a scooter in Taiwan, or to be a passenger on a scooter in Taiwan. The latter for sure.
The hog and the local beer. Yes, it really is called Taiwan Beer.
They stuffed me with some more food at the bar and then we saw a several hundred year old temple and headed back to the hotel.
It was a lot of fun. Next time you’re in Taiwan, you should check out the night market and eat some weird food. None of it was really as bad as it looked.