Miaokou Night Market

People of the Night 19 (基隆廟口夜市)

The Keelung Miaokou Tourist Night Market (基隆廟口夜市) is often introduced by Travel guides as a MUST visit on any travellers as the night market is well-known for its diversity of Taiwanese delicacies and being so close to the sea - it's fresh selection of seafood dishes. The night market is jam-packed with Taiwanese and foreigners walking shoulder-to-shoulder every night of the week and it truly is a purely Taiwanese experience that shouldn't be missed while visiting the country. In my first post of shots from the night market I focused on seafood dishes which the night market is the most famous for, the second post was all about the meat while this post has various desserts, juice and an uncommon sight in a night market - a vegetarian stall!

Miaokou Part 1 | Miaokou Part 2

1. Iced Desserts (QQ涼圓)

I love this shot, it was one of the first shots I took at the night market while visiting. I arrived at the night market a bit early because I planned on eating before the crowds arrived and getting the lay of the land to better understand what the night market was about. This vendor sat at the entrance of the night market with her cart full of icy Taiwanese desserts and she looked like she wasn't having the best day. One of my favourite shots from the Raohe nightmarket was also of a vendor selling these delicious little treats (although the setting is completely different) basically, these are little gelatinous balls that are served in a bag of shedded ice with a scoop of brown sugar sauce on top and the vendor will give you a toothpick to pick them out. They are a cheap dessert and are traditional Taiwanese snacks, so of course I recommend you try them! 

2. Candied strawberries/tomatoes (糖葫蘆)

Taiwanese people don't really have a “sweet tooth” like North Americans do - Whenever my mom sends candy from home and I share it with my friends, they always complain about how sweet it I and  I usually just roll my eyes as I think they're crazy. The tables always turn on me when it comes to these candied fruit kebabs though. They are just like candied apples back home, but you get strawberries or cherry tomatoes on a stick and they are soaked in the candy and the end result is almost disgustingly sweet - Way too much for my tastebuds at least. Even worse is when when you get the cherry tomato version and it is both too sweet and too sour at the same time. Despite my overactive tastebuds not appreciating these kebabs, Taiwanese kids love them and they're almost the perfect snack for children visiting the night market. 

3. Fresh Orange Juice (新鮮果汁) 

This vendor actually pissed me off a bit, she was advertising 100% orange juice, which initially had me excited as fresh orange juice is one of my favourite drinks. I stopped and bought a 100NT bottle and was planning on drinking it on the train back home. When I got on the train I opened up my juice and tasted a watered down orange juice with way too much sugar. Clearly this vendor was set up to sell to tourists and even though I've been here over ten years, I still fell for a tourist trap. I've had fresh 100% orange juice like this in other night markets so I was a bit surprised that someone would sell drinks like this at a night market, but Miaokou is a very touristy night market and it is often frequented by Chinese tourists, so I guess the vendor took the opportunity to make a quick buck.

4. Sweet Potato Pancakes (地瓜餅) 

Pancakes aren't a really a big thing in Taiwan as people here much prefer waffles covered in everything from ice cream and fruit to tuna and corn. It's not that common to find pancakes in a night market, but then again these aren't really the pancakes that you're thinking about. These pancakes are made from a sweet potato based paste and pan fried. They are sweet, but also a bit bland in flavour. I'm not particularly a big fan of sweet potatoes so I'm probably not the best judge as to whether these actually taste good or not, but for my palate they seem to be missing something. If it were up to me, I'd just add maple syrup, but that's just because I'm Canadian and that's how we roll.

5. Vegetarian Food (素食) 

Vegetarian food in the night market? Well, I suppose they have to cater to everybody! Taiwan's night markets aren't really the most friendly places for our hipster veggie-eating friends to find some food, but on occasion you can find a vegetarian-friendly stall or two in every night market. This particular vendor serves up several vegetarian noodle dishes as well as soup and Japanese-style curry rice. They're all probably pretty tasty if you're a vegetarian but I'm much more prone to eating the much tastier variety of night market snacks than trying this kind. 

That's it for the Keelung Miaokou night market. I'll go back to posting normal stuff for a while and then after a month or two I'll probably do another set from another night market. I hope you enjoyed the shots so far and if you're interested you can check out all of the other night market posts in the links below. 


Gallery

People of the Night 18 (基隆廟口夜市)

The Keelung Miaokou Tourist Night Market (基隆廟口夜市) is often introduced by Travel guides as a MUST visit on any travellers as the night market is well-known for its diversity of Taiwanese delicacies and being so close to the sea - it's fresh selection of seafood dishes. The night market is jam-packed with Taiwanese and foreigners walking shoulder-to-shoulder every night of the week and it truly is a purely Taiwanese experience that shouldn't be missed while visiting the country. In my first post of shots from the night market I focused on seafood dishes which the night market is the most famous for. Today's post however is all about MEAT, so if you're a vegan, avert your eyes. 

1. Taiwanese Pork Knuckle (豬腳) 

The first shot is of a vendor that sells Taiwanese style pork knuckle. I'm a big fan of this stall and I've sat down quite a few times for some of his pork knuckle rice (豬腳飯). This vendor is extremely busy and there is often a line which doesn't surprise me at all given how tasty his dishes are. You can buy rice dishes or the popular pork knuckle vermicelli (豬腳麵線) which is a favourite among Taiwanese guests. Taiwanese pork knuckle is a lot different than what you'd expect from its German counterpart as it is braised long enough that the meat is extremely tender and full of flavour. If you're in the night market and you see an empty seat at this stall, don't hesitate to grab that seat and feast on some of the excellent dishes he has available! 

2. Taiwanese Bite-Sized Sausage (一口吃香腸) 

A few years ago one of the MUST eats all over Taiwan was these bite-sized sausages. It seemed like every night market in Taiwan had some "Miaokou Bite-Sized Sausages" (廟口一口吃香腸). The craze over these sausages has settled down a lot since then but the original stall still remains and it is one of the most popular stalls in the market. The mini-sausages are prepared en masse and you order however many you want and they serve it to you in a paper bag filled with fresh cloves of garlic. If you've ever had Taiwanese sausage and garlic cloves together you'd probably agree with me that they were basically made for each other. Whenever I visit Miaokou I always buy a small bag full of these goodies and walk away happy. They're juicy and full of flavour! 

3. Spare-Rib Soup (燒排骨羹)

My mom makes a mean pot of sweet and sour spare ribs - a dish that whenever I think about it, I automatically feel like buying a ticket home. Not many things make me miss home as much as my mum’s home cooking. When it comes to spareribs though, Taiwan covers that craving quite well yet in a completely different way and one of my favourite noodle dishes here is steamed sparerib noodles (排骨酥麵).The spare-ribs used in this dish are steamed in what look like little round dim-sum containers. The texture and taste is completely different from what we get at home and the meat just falls off of the bone. The spareribs are placed on top of a tasty bowl of noodles with a clear broth and the soup basically absorbs the flavour of the ribs making it a really tasty dish - especially in the winter! 

4. Night Market Sashimi (生魚飯) 

Sushi is probably my favourite food. People often ask me: "If you love sushi so much, why didn't you move to Japan?" to which I reply: "Because the best sushi is in Taiwan" and that is something that I stand by. Taiwan does Japanese food extremely well and sushi is just one of those things that the Taiwanese have assimilated into their culinary specialities since the Japanese colonial era. The great thing about sushi in Taiwan is that the seafood is always fresh, the quality is much similar to what you'd get in Japan and its a fraction of the price. I'm not particularly a fan of eating sushi in the night market, but this is Keelung and the city is known for its sushi, so why not? The sashimi at this little bar is inexpensive, prepared beautifully and is really fresh. I learned not to discriminate night market sashimi from these guys and if you have an appetite for sashimi while browsing the night market you might want to stop here and give it a try! 

5. Chicken Rolls

Its not common that I say that I don't like something in Taiwan, but I have to say that I'm not a big fan of these chicken rolls. They are long, soggy-looking and come off as extremely unhealthy as they are full of oil. A "chicken roll" (雞卷) is basically chicken meat wrapped in chicken skin (雞皮) or tofu skin (豆皮) with vegetables like asparagus, leeks or carrots inside. They look tasty when they're cooked and cut up, but when you see them sitting there they don't look as appetizing. A year or two ago these things were extremely popular and people were waiting in lines to get them all over the country. The fad it seems has died off but you can still find them in night markets all over the country. What do you think? Have you had one of these? Did you enjoy it? Let me know! 

6. Honey Glazed BBQ (蜜汁烤肉) 

These types of stalls are quite easy to find all over Taiwan. I'm not sure if they're Taiwanese in origin or not (if anyone knows, let me know) but basically they are a form of BBQ with all of the various meats, tofus and tempura being put on a revolving hook while it is roasted. All of the food is brushed with a kind of honey and as it cooks it becomes a bit sweet. When you want to order something from one of these stalls you just grab a bowl, pick up a pair of tongs and put what you want in the bowl and the boss will prepared it all for you and add some spice if you like. These stalls are pretty good for getting a large variety of foods all mixed in together and is quite cheap (yet not very healthy) if you are making it for your dinner. 


That's it for today. I'll be back later this week with the final post from the Miaokou Night Market - If you like what you've seen so far make sure to check out some of the other night markets I've covered below!