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Friday, May 15, 2015

Taipei Throwback: Good Food, Great Friends at Shilin Night Market

After a relaxing day at Beitou, the hubz and I headed for Shilin Night Market (士林夜市), Taipei's largest and most famous night market. I was really excited as I had arranged to meet my gal pal and her sis there. Kh was really excited as that meant more people to share more varieties of food.

It was really coincidental that we were in Taipei during the same period and almost the same duration with Em and her sis. We had been arranging to meet up the past few days to no avail as there would be a break in communication whenever they were out of the hotel since they did not get the Taiwan prepaid data roaming sim card. In view of that, we would always update each other about where we would be going at the start of each day and left it to fate if we bumped into each other. Just because of this wonderful night, I declare Shilin Night Market my favourite night market in Taipei!

I've always associated Shilin Night Market as a night market that sells mainly food. But it was just like any other night market whereby you could find almost anything there-- like a bespectacled bunny with a bandaged ear in hip-hop get up.

Obligatory wefie shot in the grounds of Shilin.

My my my... what notti little icies!

We were tickled to see Singapore Soya Beancurd as we did not even know we had one! There are too many soya beancurd brand names in Singapore but none by that name.

Em and I had fixed the famous Ah Zhong Mian Xian (阿宗麵線) as our meeting place...

... but before we could even get there, the greedy hubz wanted to try some noodles which I thought looked like any other fat yellow noodles in Singapore. He loved it. I didn't.

In a pretty little accessories shop, I saw a poodle-like item together with the accessories. I thought it could be a swanky furry stand until the poodle turned and looked at us... I've said it a few times, Taipei is an extremely dog friendly city.

We decided to take a seat inside Ah Zhong Mian Xian/ Ah Zhong Mee Sua  (阿宗麵線) while waiting for Em and her sis. We were surprised that we managed to snag good seats though without tables at such a famous stall.

We could not resist starting on our own first. OMG! Ah Zhong Mian Xian is sooooooooo yummy! I could taste the soup right now and am totally craving for a bowl as I'm typing this.

It was so gratifying to slurp a bowl of piping hot vermicelli (mee sua) in the cold drizzly weather. Ah Zhong would be my favourite vermicelli if only they had the oysters version as well. I would really choose oysters over pig's intestines.

Do take note that Ah Zhong Mian Xian is only served with pig's intestines so it might not be everyone's cup of tea. I don't take a lot of intestines as those not cleaned well would have s strong porky innards smell that I cannot stand. Ah Zhong's ones are soft, chewy and really delicious; No "smelly" porky taste at all.

I thought that the little girl beside us was really cute and I sneakily snapped a picture of her playing with her dad.

Finally Em and her sis arrived! Just when I thought Ah Zhong had tipped my happiness index, Em overloaded it more. I'm always super thrilled to meet with friends overseas.

A wefie with our phones.

We had to snap a pic of where we met to seal this memory till we are old grannies. Lol.

Hubby also wanted an obligatory shot with the legendary mee sua.

Next it was time to check out more food! We love the Shilin huge chicken steak (大雞排) back in Singapore and decided to try some chicken steak from big brand names in Taipei.

We saw Sa Niao Ji Pa (撒尿雞排) which doesn't have an official English name but if I were to translate Mandarin to English literally, it means "Pissing Chicken Steak". Yes, you didn't read wrongly. Apparently it is claimed that the chicken steak is so juicy, its juice would spew like someone taking a piss.

Could you see the juice spewing out? No? That's coz there isn't any juice spewing. It didn't live up to its juiciness though I like the taste of it.

Next contender would be Hao Da Da Ji Pa (豪大大雞排) also known as Hot Star Large Fried Chicken. We still like to call it by its Chinese name coz it is a pun on word sound that could mean "very big chicken steak".

They asked me to put the steak next to my face to show how big this chicken steak is. I like the taste. You could already tell how flavourful and sinful it is from the seasoning on the crispy skin.

By the time I update on my Taipei throwbacks, Hao Da Da Ji Pa (豪大大雞排) has already opened a few stalls in Singapore. Do note that the few times I bought in Singapore, the steak all had bones! I don't get why chicken steak should have bones! The Taipei one didn't have bones.

Guan Cai Ban (棺材板) is supposedly famous too. Look at the photos with the stall flanked by celebs. Loosely translated to "coffin bread", you could tell how its name was derived from the pictures.

I did not like this coffin bread at all. I didn't like the combination of mushy ingredients inside.

This is supposedly another famous stall. It is full of fried food! Em's sis said that if you follow where the Taiwanese queue, you would never go wrong. This whole Shilin food area was a wonderland for Kh. He was hypnotized by all the varieties of food like how silly flies are hypnotized to dazzling bright lights. For a while, he disappeared for so long that we reckoned that the kid was just lost in Wonderland.

We had oyster omelette...

Deep fried mini crabs and some roll...

Meatball soup to wash all the oil down.

After filling our tummies to the brim, we decided to get out of the bustling main food area underground back to level ground and started shopping. Boy was there lots to shop! It was so fun shopping with gals!

I've always wanted a chic (faux) leather style jacket. There was this shop that sold such cool, chic, pretty and girlish jackets all under one roof. Once I tried this piece on, Em and her sis unanimously agreed that this looked the best on me. Kh also preferred this over the rest. I really love this style best but it was just too cheap as compared to the rest. I can't recall the price now though I remember kh's eyes popping in disbelief. The beautiful dolly sales assistant explained very honestly that the material for this jacket was not as good as the rest.

"You could wear a few times and throw away," she quipped.

Even with that, Kh said something along the line of "Buy la! It's just like me walking down this street and coming back with the same value of food and you could wear yours a few times."

I would get to the story of the cheap jacket in another Taipei Throwback post.

While we were shopping, Kh disappeared for a while and came back with something for all of us!

He got Em a rooster pancake as that is her Chinese zodiac sign.

I thought he got himself a rooster too but he got a gun instead. You can't see it in this pic coz he bit it off before I could snap him with it.

He got Em's sis a motorcycle saying there wasn't any suitable design left.

I was so excited to see what he got me when he declared that I would definitely love it a lot. Oh boy oh boy, I thought it would be a dog or a cat. When he revealed an ugly pig from the paper bag, em and her sis burst out laughing.

Uh... I mentioned before in this post that I like pigs and cats but when I meant pigs, I meant those cute pigs.

We bit them heads off and laughed and posed with our kills. We ought to be hanged.

After that, it was more shopping in the slight drizzle which soon transformed to a passing shower just as we were on our way to the MRT station. What a lovely night full of good food and hearty laughter with my dear gal pal. I'm also glad to make friends with Em's sis. We could all click quite well!

I would end this post with a little gift of snack that Em gave. Chia Te (佳德糕餅) is Em's favourite brand for pineapple tarts in Taiwan. She loves how the pastries came with other fillings instead of just the usual pineapple. Her personal picks are the pineapple egg yolk and the cranberries and so she gave me those exact flavours.

It was the first time I hear of this brand and I tell you, she made me a convert! Before Chia Te, I never ever liked Taiwanese pineapple pastries. I find the pineapple taste too fake and the pastry too hard. I've always loved the Singapore version with buttery crumbly pastries and pineapple filling that tastes just like home-made pineapple purée. Chia Te pastries are so good that they threaten relationships-- My relationship with the Hub was on tenterhooks during that few days as we fought over the pastries, each claiming that the next packet was ours. In the end, we made a trip to the shop one fine day and practically swept every flavour off the shelves for our families and friends.

Wow... I took quite a while to craft the last few paragraphs above as I kept nodding off to sleep. I don't even know if what I wrote above make sense. I'm just too tired to proofread through now and will be scheduling to post this early Friday morning.

Happy TGIF all of you!

Past Taipei Throwback posts:
Taipei Throwback: First Night in Taipei
Taipei Throwback: The Curiosities in Modern Toilet Restaurant and Ximen Red House
Taipei Throwback: Bopiliao Old Street, Longshan Temple and Taipei Botanical Garden
Taipei Throwback: Liberty Square, Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall and Shida Night Market
Taipei Throwback: Taipei 101 and Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Taipei Throwback: Zui Ma La Hot Pot, Wufenpu and Raohe Night Market
Taipei Throwback: A Laidback Day at Tamsui Fisherman's Wharf and Tamsui Old Street
Taipei Throwback: It Drizzled All Day at Beitou


  1. Chia Te pastries are far superior to any other brand - they are the only ones I will eat!

    This post makes me miss Taipei so much - Shihlin is my favorite night market too. :)

    Jemily Life

    1. Can you believe it that I didn't even know of the legendary Chia Te before my gal pal introduced them? And when I posted about them on FB then, the whole world seems to know and rave about them. They really are soooo good.

  2. Oh my goodness Jo, if I ate all the food you talk about I would gain back all my weight, lol... except not those pork inards... I'd have to skip those. It sounds like you had so much fun with your friends, I'm glad you finally met up with each other and were able to make some awesome memories with them.♡

    You always sound like you have so much fun on these adventures you take... I can't wait to travel myself... until then I'll enjoy reading about your adventures xox ♡

    1. Hey Launna, You are always welcome you live vicariously through my blog. I always love reading travel posts from other blogs as well because I love living vicariously through the lens of others. Hahaha... we would take it as all those walking when we travel really burnt the calories and fats away.

  3. Pissing
    Perhaps the funniest moment I have had this week. What a brilliant marketing scheme. Bodily fluids are often associated with tasty food. Of cours apparently body parts are similarly associated. Yours being a family blog and all I will hold back the names I derived for those notti treats. Hip hop wounded bunny and the staring poodle are images that certainly caught my eye. If I was slightly more tired I might suspect I dreamt all that :) You have such a fun blog, dear. Great pictures and very smart, fun writing. Happy Weekend!

    All Things Bright and Lovely

    1. We were rather ticked by the Chinese name for the chicken coz in Mandarin, it sounds really crude yet cute which makes it funny. In English, pissing chicken could just sound like the someone is pissing the chicken off. Haha... I love your humour in the body fluid and body parts but yeah, family blog.

  4. Taipei looks like so much fun! And foooood!

    1. It really is all about food. Cheap food too!

  5. Oh wow Jo!!!! I'm soo jealous of all your amazing eats! I really really do plan to visit tawiwan in the future! Hopefully with the boyfriend and also after some more improvement of my mandarin so I can at least be able to converse in more detail. My mandarin was always very basic until a few years ago when I returned to singapore after being overseas with my family due to my dad's job. We were always within south east asia but i spoke english at school and at home and like many other friends from other countries our mother tongues weren't as strong as they could be. I'm much better now and speaking comes much more easily, however I can't read or write at a lever higher than a primary 3 child! I would have loved to have those noodles and the giant fried chicken cutlet! Oh, taiwan is famous for their fried goodies and I would have loved to get a penised shaped biscuit! Just for the sake of it! Hah!

    1. Hey Sharlynn, have you been out of Singapore since you were Pri 3? It's interesting to know that when you are in Singapore, you are slowly picking up Mandarin again. Taiwanese aren't very well-versed in English yet so being able to converse in Mandarin would be a huge advantage. The thing is, they have lots of Taiwanese lingo that sometimes I do not know what they are talking about too. Hahaha... Phallic objects are always great for photo-taking!

  6. Oooh this reminds me of HK's night market! It was so many years ago but I remember it like yesterday. I want to go back. I had a good little chuckle of the peen popsicles. I don't know why this surprises me but it really does! I don't associate Taipei with penises hahahaha! And oh that little puppy! How adorable is he. I love how friendly this city is, I wish I could bring my fur baby with me everywhere (I kind of already do). Re all that food, I have been feeling queasy all morning and after seeing your hubs with those noodles my appetite suddenly spiked. Then I read oysters and pigs intestines and I felt that acid reflux surging again! The the chicken had me drooling. Mmmmm fried food has that affect on me. As long as it's not fishy or a part of some animals organs that is! ;o)


    1. I wonder which night market in HK did you go to. I guess it must be the Lady's market coz I could only remember that opening at night. Yup, there is similarities though Taiwan ones are mainly food food and more food. They have too many varieties of food. Pretty innovative too. I wouldn't have expected some ingredients to go well with one another but they did and taste good. Hahaha... You are really resistant to lots of food! I'm glad fried food could work up your appetite. Peen sounds so proper. lol.. you would be surprised Taiwan can be really notti. I know if from their variety shows.

  7. Oh this looks perfect!! I want to come and hang out, haha :)) So much to see, all the food, I would have needed a lot of hours to sample all of these delights!! The little pig is so cute!! Am happy you had a wonderful time, I always enjoy seeing your pictures and reading about all the fun things you do :) Have a wonderful weekend my dear Xxx

    1. Few hours is what you really need if you are a foodie raring to try out all the food. They simply have too many so it's really good to have friends to share with. You would love the experience!

  8. omgggggggggg jo, i've been to this food market ONCE in my life when i was in taiwan, and omg i want to go back SO badly!!! the last time i went i missed out on so much good food just because i can't read any chinese and can't speak. Pointing and sign language doesn't work LOL
    I need to learn me some chinese!

    1. Hey Sandy, I'm sorry to hear that you missed out on much good food coz of the language barrier. I thought that pointing would be good enough too though it would always be good to be equipped with Mandarin when in Taiwan. However due to their Taiwanese lingo and accent, I sometimes couldn't make out what they were saying too.

  9. I'm glad you were able to met up with your friend and create some memories together. Could I get the vermicelli without oysters or pig intestines??? Maybe chicken favored? :) Speaking of chicken, the fried chicken looks great. I'm glad it didn't squirt you!!! The very big chicken looked even better. Was it spicy or sweet???

    PS - Was it warm enough for shorts? I'm going to be like a grandmother and ask you to dress warmly on cold, drizzle-y evenings! :)

    1. I could remove the pig intestine before presenting it to you and I'm quite sure you would love it! The broth is just so good... Argh... I'm typing this at 12 midnight and I'm hungry for the vermicelli now. Both chicken steak were salty and spicy. I love my chicken salty instead of sweet.

      Don't worry Grandmama. It feels like air con temperature, probably 20 Deg C and suitable for short stuff. =)

  10. If now Im going to have a snack even though I've already had my dinner is only your fault!XD Mmm, Shilin Night Market sounds and looks like my paradise, so full of interesting and yummy food to try. Even though I dont eat meat, the chicken steak you had looks really good and crispy. How nice you met up with your friend Em and her sis, the pancakes Kh gave to you all made me smile, has been very nice of him, yours in particular lol!:) Have a great start into the week Jo, many kisses! xo

    1. Lilli, I know how you feel. It's my fault... hahaha... I'm making myself hungry too at 12 midnight! The chicken steaks were great. It's nice to hear when non-meat eaters comment nicely about meat dishes. I've known of vegetarians who often try to push their beliefs onto meat-eaters. I know you still eat fish so probably you are not one of those radical ones. The pancakes made me smile too. xoxo

  11. I've always wanted to visit the place and experience the night market. Looks like fun.

  12. Don't worry Jo everything you wrote makes sense :) Lol "pissing chicken steak" no one over here would eat that. No matter how yummy it it. You guys have the funniest names. I'm so glad you had a great time in Taipei and met your friends again. Must be so much fun to visit a Night Market. I have never been to one cos we don't have any over here. We definitely miss out :) Holy moly these icies are really naughty. Hubz and you always make me laugh. The way you're teasing each other is hilarious. Of course he gave you a pig :) You have to pay him back Jo ;-) You're posts always make me hungry although it's full of gluten and I couldn't eat it anyway. I would probably starve in Singapore and Taipei as well :D
    RYC: I tried Ballet Beautiful but I have skipped the swan arms and went straight to legs & bottom. I'm not addicted yet but at least I have tried.
    No I had no idea that I suffered from celiac disease. I always thought it's the histamine that caused the problems. I got so sick last December (I spare you with the details) and well it's the gluten. Since then I haven't had any of it. I'm feeling better now but I have to be careful with everything I eat. Even traces of gluten are bad.
    Yes I have taken the pic of Ryan but it was in a magazine. I would have probably fainted if I saw him for real :D
    Have a happy Tuesday Jo!


    1. Mira, when you mentioned about how no one at your side would eat "pissing chicken steak", I was reminded of what you told me about the Modern Toilet Restaurant I wrote about previously. Taiwan and Japan are quite naughty in that sense. No night market but you all do have one type of market I love a lot and that's traditional European markets and Christmas markets! Ok make that two.

      Ah yes, so you are the one who can't eat gluten. I suspect I have that too. And yes, I've not heard of celiac disease before that. I'm not very sure if all people who can't eat gluten is equal to having celiac disease. I guess I would never know it myself too since it isn't very common here. We simply have too much gluten in our food. So glad to hear that you know the problem and avoiding it has made you feel better.

      Oh gee... taken from a magazine... I thought Mira was a celeb photographer. Hahaha!

  13. This looks amazing :)
    So much delicious food and so much joy :)
    You have such a lovely blog :)

    1. Thank you for your comment. Love seeing newcomers here! =)

  14. So much yum here! You're making my hungry. Good food & hearty laughter is the best combination in the world. I'd love to vist the night market. You've inspired my wanderlust for Taipei. :]

    // ▲ ▲

    1. I agree with that combination! Thank you for your comment, Carmen. Love seeing newcomers here! =)

  15. taipei is definitely on my list! it seems like food heaven :) hot star just opened its first store in bangkok and the line is cray cray - wonder if it's that good?

    1. Hi Annie, Hot Star is delicious but the ones in Singapore has bones! I cannot believe a chicken steak could have bones. If you try the one in Bangkok, do let me know about the bones.

  16. everything you wrote makes sense so don't worry about that....the post is lovely...I really enjoyed seeing all these interesting dishes, especially as many of them are not known to me! always nice to see sth new.

    Have a lovely Sunday!

    1. Hey Ivana, I'm glad my writing made sense to people even while nodding off to sleep though I did edit some parts over the next few days. xo

    2. I'm sometimes quite shocked when I read my comments...I makes so many typos when I comment on blogs, it's crazy...mostly I do it late at night and I guess my mind just doesn't work well after 10 pm.
      Have a lovely weekend sweetie!

    3. Me too. I've got lots of typos and even sentences (whether in replies or as comments on other blogs) that don't make sense coz I was falling asleep. Haha...


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