Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kaohsiung Liuhe Night Market (高雄六合夜市)

Today we met up with another couple who had contacted us via email after we had posted a language exchange personal on a popular Taiwanese website.

Milton & Jenny met up with us at the exit of an MRT station and we walked a short distance to a restaurant they had selected especially knowing that we were not strong on our Chinese language skills just yet. Another consideration that led them to choose this restaurant was that when they asked via email what kinds of food we do and do not like, our response (after consultation) was that we are happy to try anything but we would prefer to avoid internal organs!!

Our restaurant, “BAGEL BAGEL Western RESTAURANT” serves up spaghetti, pizza, Chinese food, salads, coffee and of course, bagels. It is one of a number of places we have encountered where a married couple own the restaurant and one is a foreigner and the other is local, so consequently the menu is a fusion of two cultures. The food was inexpensive and delicious. I opted for Gong bao ji ding (Kung pao chicken) and Amanda chose a vegetable spaghetti. Milton & Jenny spoke very good English and it was a really enjoyable meal where we were able to learn about Taiwan, practice pronouncing some key Chinese food vocabulary, and offered a few facts about Canada in what is best described as a cultural exchange.

After dinner we went to Liuhe Night Market (六合夜市) right next to Formosa Boulevard where Milton & Jenny offered to show us through the market and explain to us the different foods that were available while answering any of our questions.

I absolutely loved this as did Amanda. We have had a few opportunities to wander through night markets and we have even eaten at some of them, but it has always been a very cautious experience with a lot of worried looks exchanged between us. Encountering foods that look and smell strange, as compared to our experiences in Canada, is always interesting, but not nearly as enjoyable as when you have someone with you explaining exactly what everything is, where it comes from and how it is made.

Now I must apologise that I didn’t take any pictures of all the intriguing foods we were shown as we strolled up and down the night market. The next time we go I will definitely take my camera. For now, if you would like to see some of the foods that were being sold then I would refer you to a blogger called Jasonmumbles who has taken quite a few pictures of Liuhe Night Market foods and posted them here.

It was fairly crowded at the market - as to be expected for a Saturday - and so Milton and I stuck together while Jenny and Amanda were not far away. I will try my best to recount in the list below all the different things that we saw and with a little luck I can post some pictures of all these things at a later date:

  • Rice cake soaked in duck blood. Sometimes soaked in cow blood or pig blood. Apparently this is considered to be one of the most disgusting foods in Taiwan by westerners but Milton assured me that he eats it - though it is an acquired taste. I will definitely try this sometime and I’m sure Amanda will be happy to capture it on camera when it happens.
  • Deep fried octopus tentacle. I not talking about little rings here, I mean the whole tentacle, equivalent in size and volume to a 10-year-old’s forearm.
  • Gutted frogs on ice. They will cook them fresh in front of you. Another interesting fact, apparently frogs are also referred to as “four-legged fish” in Chinese.
  •  Chicken’s balls. Not to be mistaken for balls of chicken meat or chicken nuggets. These are chicken’s testicles we’re talking about. Milton very politely explained - with a wry smile on his face - that this is meat that you can only get from the male chicken...
  • Sugar cane juice. Amanda and I both tried this and we enjoyed it very much.
  • Pork intestine stuffed with rice and nuts. This is self-explanatory.
  • Coffin bread. This is a piece of thick, toasted bread cut open and filled with a variety of ingredients - sometimes savoury with things like mushrooms or sweet with ice cream. The piece of bread that is cut out is then put back on top of the filling as the “coffin lid”.
  • Lots of fresh fruit juice stands. See Jasonmumbles for more on the juice and fruit stands.
  • Lime flavoured jelly. This is a gelatinous dessert / drink. We’ve encountered this in bottles at convenience stores.
  • Lots of dumplings and meat filled buns.
  • Oyster and shrimp omelette. A Taiwanese specialty.
  • So much fresh seafood, a lot of it still alive and wriggling.
  • One stall specialized in duck products only and it seemed to have every last part of the duck for sale.
  • Mullet roe. Jenny told us this is a popular gift to give family at Chinese New Year.
  • Snakes! There was a street-side open restaurant that had an enormous sign depicting a cobra with glowing red eyes. As you can guess they were in the snake meat business and had cages of live snakes at the store front which we went and glanced into. Also drying in the air above the cages were rows of a small organ that had been removed from each snake.

The whole evening was the most extended social interaction Amanda and I have had with anyone but for each other since we have left Canada and we are looking forward to spending more time with Milton & Jenny and other friendly Taiwanese people we might meet through a language exchange.

No comments:

Post a Comment