Monday, May 26, 2014

Guangzhou Street Night Market (艋舺夜市) near Longshan Temple MRT Station @ Taipei [Taiwan]

To be totally honest, my real intention was to get to the first night market (Huaxi) officially endorsed for the tourists but the one ahead of me as i stepped out of Longshan temple MRT station was 艋舺夜市! 

I thought it should rightfully be pronounced as Mengjia (Monga) night market although internet sources generally refer to it as Guangzhou Street night market. Anyway, when your feet are tired, convenience is often the deciding factor. 

From the very beginning, i got the impression this wasn't the kind of night market that teens would enjoy. It had a very nostalgic atmosphere surrounding it; one that maybe could only be found when i was a child. 

Nevertheless, there were modern buys even though that should not be the focus for visiting Guangzhou Street. At NT$100 per cap, i am now wondering why i didn't grab any!! As Lavinia once pointed out, an obsession to take as many photographs as possible can make one myopic to his/her surroundings. 

Let's proceed to check out this place.

Get a free sampling cup of sweetened yet spicy ginger tea. It would absolutely warm you on a cold night and make the stroll down the street much more enjoyable.

Near the entrance of the night market were a few stalls right smack in the middle of the street that offered a delicacy that gluttons like me would find it hard to resist; cuttlefish of various styles!

I have no idea what they were looking at; the older ahjumma on the left seemed to give a disapproving stare while the boy had a cheeky glint in his eyes with the mother giving a loving look. Hm.... mating dogs maybe?

Coming back, there were easily four to five stalls and i literally circled around them two or three times before deciding that the one with the queue shall the one who will get my business!

NT$80 for the same cuttlefish on the right side of the picture. 

It had a more pungent aroma that some people would label as smelly. However, it had a saccharine flavour that i like and the fact that it was lightly toasted over charcoal totally enhanced the taste! Note it can be a bit too sweet for some of you.

There were ample food choices for those who have yet to have dinner. For me, a heavy meal at Mei Guan Yuan made it difficult for my stomach to digest more food other than snacks (like the cuttlefish).

Some of the food disgusted me by the way. I may be Chinese but i don't adopt the saying that anything with their back facing the sky is edible! For one, i don't really like braised dishes, especially those with ingredients like intestines! 

Including cute pork trotters! 

More weird stuff - eunuch chicken (太監雞)?! Basically, the male chick would be castrated when it is about two months old and fed herbal products for another five to seven months before it is sold to the market. The eventual product was said to be much healthier than typical chicken. 

Love phoenix claws and yet hate to chew its many tiny bones? These hollow chicken feet (空心鳳爪) should appeal to you!

Porn addicts would enjoy checking out the wide array of pornographic films openly sold in the night market and prices were dirt cheap! A disc cost only NT$20 (less than a dollar) and if you buy twenty discs, each one would cost less than fifty cents! 

Alex, ever the gamer, was more interested in the games! 

The game play was very simple; just think of it as bingo but exchange the numbers with the symbol on the mahjong tiles. Alex could not resist because mahjong was his favourite game at all times! 

You can only choose fifteen tiles from the stack.

Now's the time to rely on the picture on the table. It was there for a purpose and for those smart enough, you are right; it is the bingo paper where you draw your circle for the number that was picked. 

Except you are the picker now and you shall be responsible for what you have chosen to match the mahjong tiles on the picture. A no-brainer! 

8 games for NT$100; Alex paid for 16 games and got nothing back in return. A waste of money if you ask me although in the case of Alex, it's a matter of trying something new! 

In a way, i was extremely glad he didn't win anything as some of the items would be a hassle to bring back to Singapore! Not to mention our luggage was severely overweight when we left Taiwan for Singapore.

We often see bidding for products relating to Fengshui in Singapore's pasar malams but here in Taiwan, i saw a different phenomenon; people were bidding for toys!!! Yes, playthings for children! 

Prawning! Unlike Singapore's big pool concept, i can see the number of prawns in each plastic tank and this kind of motivates the "fisher" to be more patient to wait for their catch. 

Pachinko for kids?!?!?! That's a really early start for a gambler's life. 

Back to my treasured topic - food! I believe the many edible items sold in Guangzhou street night market would bring back fond memories for the older generation in Singapore. For example, you would not be able to get any pig blood, chicken blood and duck blood gelatin products in Singapore whereas they are in abundance here in Taiwan! 

I prefer less "controversial" food. Japanese pancakes sound good and look at that generous pile of filling! I was in fact contemplating if i should have an order of the pancake.

The aromatic scholar cake was eventually selected though. For my review, please click here.

Besides the night market on the street, there are shophouses on the side that you can explore if time permits. If it doesn't, you could always pop by in the daytime! 

We didn't have enough time to check out the many shophouses even though we did manage one; that of a foot massage parlour after our feet protested by refusing to walk any further! 

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Location
As you stand right in front of Longshan Temple, turn to your left and Guangzhou Street night market would be right in front of you! 

Map
As above (night market highlighted in orange).


For an overview of my 9 Days, 8 Nights Taiwan Trip [Cingjing (清境) - Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) - Taichung (臺中) - Taipei (臺 北)], click HERE.

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