What to do in Taipei? – Visiting Taiwan | Trying Taiwanese Food | Night Market Taipei | Tasty Taipei
I traveled extensively through Europe, Africa and of course the United States, but I have never been to Taiwan. And I heard that Taipei is a foodie’s paradise, so I’m super exited to get a taste of the City. Hey, I´m at the Taoyuan International Airport of Taiwan and I am waiting for my colleague Meggin Leigh from Germany. She will be here for few days and I´ll take her and show her around and try different food, but I hope she will like Taiwan. So, I´m a bit nervous. And there she is. Hey, oh my god. Finally you are here. Finally! I made it! See what I´ve made for you? Oh my goodness. Look at this. It´s wonderful.
Well, it is your first time here, right? First time here and I love discovering new cultures and food. I love to eat. Then this is the best place to come. Taiwan. I am so excited. I already have everything prepared for you. Join us as we embark on a fun-filled journey through the capital of Taiwan! Meggin, there is one thing you have to try in Taiwan. What is that? That is the Bubble Tea. I know Bubble Tea! How do you know? It´s German. You can get it at the Mall of Berlin. It is not German. It is actually originated in Taiwan and then, you know, it became so popular. It´s all from this tea shop owner who tried to put white tapioca into the tea drink. Everybody knows about Bubble Tea at least.
Do you like Bubble Tea? I do! Ok, but I cannot have you get that Bubble Tea so easily. I have a challenge for you: Ordering in Mandarin! Oh no. Well, luckily for you I have been practicing. So, you can speak Mandarin? Yes, I can speak a little bit of Mandarin. Ok, there is a special thing about Bubble Tea… in Taiwan you can adjust the sweetness and how much ice you want.Wú táng (Sugar free) You already know one. Nice, ok. Then you can go in and order it, ok? Now I´ll teach you. We order two cups of Bubble Tea. That will be: Ok, now we can go. Or do you to practice more? Are you ready? No, I´m ready! I’m ready for this challenge. Ok.
Hello! Hello! What would you like to order? I’d like to order two bubble teas with ice. Two? With ice. What size?One with no sugar… She is asking you for a big one or a small one. Schui Bing? Yeah, big or small. You didn’t teach me that!You´re right. A big one! As I clearly asked, they prepare my bubble tea with ice! Cold black tea serves as the base with soy milk and tapioca pearls. Tapioca is derived from a cassava plant. All together it makes for a refreshingly light treat! Is it different? It is very different? Not so sweet. What about the tapioca? It is hard to drink it without choking.
You got to be really careful but here in Taiwan… It is fun. Bubble Tea is fun. It is always fun like having bubblegum in your tea. You know, I can have this… one cup a day. Yeah? Yes. Cheers! Cheers! Yay! Bubble Tea! I hear that living space here in Taipei is quite limited. Many people don´t even have a full kitchen. So, they eat their evening meals at the so called “Night Markets.” And I´m going to visit one of Taipei´s oldest. This is the popular Rao he Street Night Market. It’s open daily from 4pm to midnight. There are over 340 food stands here. I discover some interesting snacks, including pressed exotic fruits in small packets. It tastes like lychee jelly. Mine is passion fruit. Yummy, I like it. It is very squishy in your mouth.
How do you say, “It’s good!”in Mandarin? Hǎo Bù hǎo No, no, no. Hǎo! “Bù” means “no good” right? No, no,no! Yeah, yeah. Let´s find out more. Follow me. Ok, let´s got. Let´s go. The food at this market is very fresh and mostly from the region. It may be prepared quickly but by no means is it “fast food.“ So, we know that Taiwan is an Island of itself and you´ve told me how the Chinese influenced the cuisine here. But what is the real difference between Taiwanese cuisine and Chinese cuisine? We had a lot of Han Chinese moving here from the 16th Century and then we also were ruled by Japan for 50 years. Definitely a lot of influence from Japan and then at the same time we also have more than 16 aboriginal-tribes here. And in 1949 the Nationalist Party retreated to Taiwan and brought a lot of Chinese chefs.
So, until today there is still a lot of Chinese cuisine, like the main dish we are going to try. That is the stinky tofu. I can certainly smell it. So, just to give you guys an idea of what I´m smelling around here is – imagine a farm – times 20.Really that bad? I´m sorry. No, it is not that bad, but stinky-tofu? Come on! The name alone doesn´t get your appetite going. Well, I’ll say, that is my favorite here. So, I guess I have to try it. Yeah, so where is our stinky tofu? Where is our stinky Tofu? I´m ready for stinkyTofu. Yeah. Ok, I’ll give you, like, two pieces. Here it is. Yes, that is the stinky tofu. As you can see this is the deep fried version. Ok, many versions. This is supposed to be the better version, the milder version. For amateurs like me.
I don´t know. To me they are all the best. Ok, so you have the tofu here. They have the garlic, parsely and the Taiwanese kimchi. Let´s give it a try. First stinky tofu.Your first bite of stinky tofu. So juicy. Wow! Actually, it does taste really good.Really? You like it? Yeah, I do like it. It´s really good. But it is very garlicy more than anything. Wow, it’s nice. It’s mild. It’s not… no, it is not too pungent like the taste. You can tell it´s been fermented. But, it is really mild. And from the farm to the heaven. Maybe that’s too much… Ok, know I´m getting the farm taste back in my mouth. So, I should take another bite. Actually it´s crunchy outside, it is soft inside. So, it creates different levels of… It does. There are different taste sensations, let’s see.
Yeah, I like it. Wow, I am really surprised. When you look at it, it is deep fried, it´s golden color, you know, it is good. And then…Hey… Ok, wait. Alright, now it is my turn. Open Sesame! You know what I mean? You have to take a bigger bite. Really nice. I like it. I´m a fan. I´m a fan of your national dish. It´s wonderful. Stinky tofu is seasoned with garlic and kimchi. That is cabbage which has been fermented for up to one week. Right now we have a new Taiwanese cooking method, and that is to put the tofu inside the spicy soup and it is a “must try.” Alright. Spicy Tofu. Alright. It is not only spicy but stinky at the same time. Hey, I thought you like it. I do, I do. I´m so excited. Yay. With spicy soup.Alright, now first of all.
How spicy is this?? Medium spicy.What does that mean? You have to try it to know it. See… Am I going start crying? No, no, no. It is like a work of art. Look at this. It is beautiful with a soup. This is beautiful. How do you say spicy in mandarin? „Là““Là”. Ok, should I try it? The soup first. A little bit. The soup first. Alright, here we go. Is it too much? No, it is ok. I am scared. Ok, here we go. My goodness, that is really hot. It´s burning my tongue. Really? It was useful being dramatic. I´m not so sure.
You are dramatic person. Is it alright? Ok, let me try a little bit. Oh, it is so good. It is, like, not that spicy. No, it is really spicy. No, no, no, it is super spicy. This is like Mexican spicy. Ok, then the tofu itself. What about the tofu? I haven’t tried the tofu yet.Here we go. Thank you. It´s too hot? Oh my god. It is really hot. What are you doing to me? I´m sweating. You are crying. No, it is really spicy. Ok, if you are not used to spicy, you better approach this very carefully. Ok, what about the stinky part. I´m on fire. I don´t notice any smell here. How do you say help? Jiùmìng! Jiùmìng! It is very interesting to try.
That’s why I insist of taking you here. I´m a fan of stinky tofu over spicy tofu. Visitors be warned: do not approach this dish, spicy tofu, without water. Where is my Bubble Tea? Where is the Bubble Tea? Thank you for introducing me to my first stinky, spicy tofu. Yes Oh my goodness. My tasty diary. Night Market impressions. Lively and colorful. Various smells, to say at very least. Stinky Tofu deep fried is delicious, but when your Taiwanese friend tells you that it is not that spicy, just know that he is probably not telling the truth, or maybe he means that medium spicy is actually super, sauna-style hot. But all in all, I give this market two thumbs up.