This is the fourth post in my People of the Night Photo Project that I'll be working on over the next few months. In this post, I am continuing to introduce some of the vendors at the Zhongli Night Market (中壢夜市), a large open-air night market near where I live. Each post will contain five shots and will introduce a little bit about what these people do for a living. If you haven't seen the previous two posts in the series click the following links. Thanks for coming and enjoy!
1. Sausage Man (香腸老闆)
I remember when I was young and my mom put sausages on the table for breakfast I always thought "not again." Later on our family got into more gourmet kinds of sausages which made it a bit easier to start your day. Coming to Taiwan and seeing sausages everywhere at all hours of the was surprising until I tried one and fell in love. Taiwanese sausages are amazing. They come in different flavours and are always thick and juicy. They are often marinated in Taiwanese Kaoliang Rice Wine (高粱酒) which gives them an even more special flavour. When you buy sausages at the night market, they are often cooked over s grill and served on a stick. The vendors always have fresh cloves of garlic for customers to eat with their sausage. This particular vendor sells pork sausages but also sells a sausage made of rice (米腸) which are often split in half and made into a sausage sandwich using the rice sausage as a bun of sorts.
2. Taking a break to play a game of Mahjong
The vendors at the night market have not only made a living for themselves and their families out of their business, but have also forged friendships with the people who run businesses near their own little space. It's normal to see the owners of the business taking it easy from time to time and chatting with friends, drinking or even gambling. In this shot we see three vendors taking in a game of Mahjong (象棋麻將) during a time of the night when business has started to slow down.
3. Fresh-Squeezed Orange Juice (鮮打柳橙汁)
When I first arrived in Taiwan, I had heard of the countries reputation as a kingdom of fruit, but I thought it was weird that you could really only find a couple types of fruit juice in convenience stores and super markets. Only after living in the country for a while did I realize that Taiwanese people always insist on their food being as fresh as possible. The reason why you don't find fresh fruit juice in stores is that people can buy it almost everywhere and it is always freshly squeezed or blended in front of their eyes. In this shot we have a young Taiwanese couple who recently opened a fresh orange juice stall and they do things the old way rather than using electronic juicers. They don't add sugar or water to the juice, so when you buy a bottle you are drinking 100% orange juice - something you often see on bottles, but know isn't really true.
4. Salted Chicken (鹽水雞)
Salted Chicken is a popular Taiwanese food. Most of the preparation by the vendor is done at home where they braise the chicken and all the other vegetables a salty soup. When you arrive at the stall.myou pick up a silver bowl and choose the ingredients you want. The vendor prepares the ingredients by cutting them and adding a bit of sauce to the mixture serving it to the customer in a bag. I come from the East Coast of Canada and it seems like our staple diet consists of boiling everything in salty water. This type of chicken therefore is a bit like something we'd eat at home and strangely enough reminds me of mom's home cooked dinners.
5. Steamed Corn (水煮玉米)
Steamed corn is another popular kind of corn available at night markets. There are various species of corn found in Taiwan and the particular species most often used for steaming isn't the yellow variety that westerners are used to. I'm used to sweet yellow corn that has been boiled in salt water and then marinated in salt and butter. To me, this kind of steamed corn is a bit bland and tasteless, but people here love it and it is a healthy begetarian friendly option for the people visiting this night market.