Temple Run in Taipei

Taipei has been on my gastronomic hit list for a long time. Last month, I've finally made my way to the land of temples and food-obsessed citizens. While on a food hunt, don't be surprised to see a temple or two on each bustling street, and then offer some food and say a little prayer with Joss sticks. 

On my first day, my Taiwanese friend guided me around Taipei with a filling brunch at Fu Hang Dou Jiang, which I will blog about later, then to Dihua Street. I prayed in front of the God of Marriage (lol!), gawked at 19th-century architecture, did some Oolong tea shopping, and then worked up an appetite for lunch at modern, French-inspired tea house, 知貳茶館.

Dihua Street Temple
Popi popi. 
temple in Taipei
Dear God of Marriage...
Commercial Street in Taipei
Walk along the Commercial Street for old and new shops.
A Modern Tea House
At grandmom's tea house, expect some Taiwanese delicacies with a twist. The stinky tofu was topped with a variety of mushrooms that decreased the strong "stinky" flavor of the dish. Although the seafood paella (not in pic) is incomparable to the authentic Spanish version, my friend and I feasted on the steamed fish to the bone.

Taiwanese tofu
A different rendition of stinky tofu.
Taiwanese modern tea house
Adorned with kids' drawings on the walls. 
Taiwanese fish
Steamed fish with flowery spice.
Night Markets as Intricate as Temples 
A popular tourist spot is Longshan Temple at the Wanhua District. This is one of the larger temples in the city so I took my time to observe, people-watch and pray. By the time I was done doing all that, my tummy grumbled. Thank goodness for the night market a block away from the temple grounds. I sniffed my way to where all the fresh seafood were, but the gigantic red meat displays were something I frowned upon - some of which looked like pig's feet and intestines.

Taipei temple
Intricate details at Longshan Temple.
Taipei night market
What's this?!?
night market
Pig's feet. Ughh...

Taipei temple
Love the dragons on top.
Longshan temple
Flower offerings for the Gods.
The calm before the bustling night market.
My mum's pick of the night. Peanuts and chestnuts.
The night market is as intricate as the temples' architecture. I couldn't even identify some of the food and only eyed on the ones that I was 100% sure of.  For the first time, I saw how onion pancakes were made. Apologies for not taking any evidence of it since I was so enamored with the one-woman vendor who flattened and cooked the pancakes without stopping for hours. My next pick is my favorite fish balls. I was too eager and hungry that I burnt my gums on my first bite. #foodbloggerproblems

So many choices.
Which one to pick? 
night market
I burnt my gums from eating this freshly cooked fish balls :( 
night market
Deep fried crabs and shrimps.
bbq night market
Staring at these made me want to puke.
night market
Fish they will grill, saute or deep fry.
Taipei market
I really wonder how long these seafood have been hanging out here.
Taipei food market
Take your pick for dinner.
fresh seafood
Three dotted crabs as explained by our night market food vendor.
The Search for the Elusive Oyster Pancake
Taipei is a great place for oyster lovers. One of the must trys is oyster pancake so I searched high and low at the night market to find one by looking at what the dining patrons had on their table. When I found a bustling stall serving oyster pancakes though, my 20/20 vision caught a large gray creature running along inside what looked like the vendor's outdoor stock supply cabinet. I immediately turned back and continued my search. Cleanliness is definitely uncertain, especially at outdoor night markets, so proceed with caution.

At another seafood stall a block away, my mother started chatting with the server who we thought understood that we wanted oysters in scrambled eggs. Alas, we ended up getting lost in translation and ate deep fried oysters (see below) instead bursting with salty goodness. It would have been perfectly paired with a cold Taiwanese beer.

Deep fried oysters with matching colorful crackers for the win. 

Don't fret. My Temple Run Taiwanese series is not yet over. Up next is my Bubble Tea run in the land where this addictive drink was born. This will be dedicated to all my boba tea lover audience.

BTW, did you get to read my review of Modern Toilet aptly entitled Thou Shall Not Poop While Eating

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  1. Had to stop by and look at the pictures 'cause I have a friend living there. Beautiful.