Taiwan D1: Hunting Food at Ximending & Raohe Markets

I was a little skeptical when my sister suggested that we explore Taiwan for our long overdue family trip. Do I really have to take a 5-hour flight just for the food?! And as for the sightseeing, well, let’s just say that I haven’t been very impressed with the pictures I’ve seen on the Internet. But nonetheless, I went ahead with it and adjusted my expectation: less nature, more eating frenzy.

Here’s the thing: In Taiwan, you eat about 7 times a day

We arrived at Taoyuan International Airport at late afternoon, and we already started with two desserts. Then our bus brought us to a local restaurant for a 12-course meal. At night, we were brought to Ximending to some more. Late night, we went out to Raohe Night Market on our own for supper.

I can’t cover everything in one blog post, so I’ll skip the restaurants and focus more on the ‘touristy’ culinary experience. Maybe I’ll cover the restaurants someday if I start venturing into food blogging. 😀

 

Ximending: The Shibuya of Taipei

Taiwan’s first and largest pedestrian zone is the capital of fashion, culture and night entertainment. Compared to most parts of Taipei with old dusty-looking buildings everywhere, Ximending looks positively colorful with all the neon lights. While the area is supposed to be super-crowded with approx. 3 million visitors every month, it didn’t feel any worse than other major night markets in Taiwan—maybe because the huge size of Ximending area keeps the density comfortable.

Tempted to buy clothes a few times. Other than the familiar big brands which can be found in Singapore, the more local shops offer nice and trendy-looking clothes which would be perfect for clubbing, but they are adorned with too many ornaments for my liking so I refrained from spending.

We went to this very unique, heavily-vandalized store (not sure about the name ’cause I can’t read Mandarin) to grab some dessert.

It’s very milky and creamy… yum.

Raohe Night Market

After Ximending, the bus drove us to Taipei Fullerton East Hotel to rest as the next day’s morning call is about 6.30am. Not content with having too little sampling of local snacks, we looked for a nearby night market on the map and found one which is just three street junctions away.

…which turned out to be not-so-nearby as it took us almost half an hour to get there. After walking pass 4-5 junctions, we still couldn’t find Raohe and started to ask for directions. A lady told us that it’s still FAR away (!!!) and we almost turned back, but glad we didn’t because it turned out to be one of my favorite night markets in Taiwan.

Raohe is just one small stretch of street of about 600 metres long. There are not many shops there but whatever’s there is all sorts of awesome.

Greatly influenced by Japanese culture (Taiwan was Japan’s first overseas colony), wasabi paste is a common sauce in Taiwan.

The appetizing-looking crabs turned out to be kinda average, but the rest tastes great. We ate many other things as well but I shall end here. So what’s your favorite food market in Taiwan? Let me know in the comment box below.

Next post: Releasing heavenly lanterns in Shifen and more food markets!

Also, traveling can be quite a nightmare without internet, so make sure you book a 4G WiFi to be picked up at Taiwan airport now.

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