Posted by on Sep 18, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 6 comments

When the words ‘night market’ are mentioned, images of crowded streets and stores ranging from food to shoes to lingerie pop up. When visiting the Shilin night market, you realize that this is the night market. Traffic is atrocious due to pedestrians spilling off of sidewalks and into the road. Entering the throng may mean having to fight your way to an exit after several hours of traversing a maze of small alleys and side streets…but is it worth it? Oh yea.

Separate from the rest of the shopping area in the night market, Shilin has an entire section dedicated solely to food. That’s right. Nothing more and nothing less. Just food. The place is so crowded that people are no longer lining up inside the actual building itself, but down a line that winds back so far it’s intimidating to the eye. One can only imagine how long the wait for certain stalls are.

Here’s one stall that caught my eye while passing.

At first, it looks like a sandwich. That is, until a thick slice of plain toast is quickly fried in hot oil, leaving a crunchy outer crust while the inside is still soft. Once the bread has been fried to a lightly golden perfection, it’s sliced so that one ‘crust’ is able to be pried up, leaving a ‘shell’ to be filled with various fillings.

Slop some corn chowder in there, top with shredded chicken and tuna along with a few pieces of shrimp and you have something similar to an Asian version of a clam chowder bread bowl.

When just passing by, this strange concoction had caught my eye and sparked my curiosity. Now that I had it in my hands…I’ll admit, it didn’t look too appetizing.

But this just wouldn’t be fun if we didn’t try out strange foods right?

You have to admit, that looks pretty disgusting. I don’t blame you at all for being grossed out since I had to think twice before taking a bite myself.

Surprisingly? Not bad. Even though the mixture of ‘filling’ seemed strange, the flavors managed to combine well together and it just tasted like chowder…just thicker. The bread exterior was light and crunchy, not too oily. If I hadn’t watched her making it, I would have thought that she’d scooped out the bread in the middle and left only the crust – that’s how thin it was. The eating was messy (as expected) but I think that it was an interesting new take of chowder bread.

Next up, this stall is famous for their simple, but tasty snack wraps. Two different ‘crackers’ are the main ingredients of this wrap. One large outer layer (da bing aka big cracker) that closely resembles that of a tortilla skin, and then a smaller and crunchier ‘cracker’ (xiao bing aka small cracker) is smashed to bits and wrapped inside with your choice of flavoring.

We got the sesame flavored wrap (left) and the original wrap (right). Apparently all flavorings are basically just added in the forms of powder. I suspect that it’s the same powder used for bubble teas…but I could always be wrong.

Either way, the combination wasn’t as spectacular as I would have expected from the line. Besides the additional flavoring of sesame, it was what it was. A soft dough that would probably be a tortilla if it had been baked any longer, with the lightly salty crunch of the crushed crackers inside. Though in actuality, it should probably be described more as a fried cracker instead of salty.

Until next time! For now…envy me as I eat corn in a field of corn…

Don’t look at me like that…I know you’re all jealous~ =]

~ AJ ~

Photographs taken and provided by Jasmine Hwang.

6 Comments

  1. Sep-19-2010

    That corn field looks amazing….but i dont envy u eating corn there, just envy u for being there =] Those “crackers” looks interestingly odd.

  2. Sep-20-2010

    Tehe, it reminds me of my grandmother’s farm when I was a kid. Me and my cousins would snatch fresh corn and eat it like scavengers before she’d catch us <.< Nothing like fresh corn! ^_^ Yush, I is jealous!

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  4. Oct-5-2010

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  6. Dec-2-2010

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