Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Keelung Miaokou Night Market (基隆廟口夜市) - Eat & Eat & Eat Near Taipei @ Taiwan

Night markets in Taiwan are quite homogenous in their setup and you could hardly find any sort of uniqueness that visually really sets one apart from the other. There were a few exceptions and one of them is at Keelung (pronounced as Ji Long), a port that is quite near to Taipei. 

This famous night market was easily identified by the three lines of yellow lanterns on each side of the street and you just have to follow the lanterns to know its boundary. I didn't spend much time in Keelung (less than two hours) and the slight drizzle that day made it even more inconvenient for us to truly explore the port city.

Hence, please keep in mind that it would food and food and more food in this post! Now, most people know the night market as Keelung night market but the actual name is Miaokou night market, given its origins of being right at the entrance of a temple. 

From my research, i have identified four stalls that appealed to my palate and i managed to conquer all of them in this trip! First up was Wu Ji Crab Thick Soup (吳記螃蟹羹).

Don't you just love it when you can see at one glance the stall name and its registered stall number!? Searching for a stall has never been this easy in Taiwan's night markets (save for Shilin underground food market)! 

The rainy weather does make one crave for something soupy and the many pieces of crab meat by the side of the gigantic pot was sufficient reason to catch the attention of Alex, who insisted of having a bowl (NT$50) before we proceeded any further. 

Marvellous! This was akin to drinking shark's fins soup yet without the supposed cruelty known to have contributed to a decline of this delicacy in Chinese weddings. 

From the same stall was another must try - the oily rice (油饭) at NT$25. Frankly, this had the appearance just like the super delicious glutinous rice (Chut Bee Png 糯米饭) that my mom is well known for! 

Despite its English title, this wasn't as oily as our local glutinous rice and i would strongly suggest you eat it with the crab soup for more satisfaction! A word of advice to enhance the flavour; put in more shallots! 

The bite-sized Taiwan sausages (一口吃香肠) were alright tasting in my opinion. Freshly grilled; they were immediate stomach warmers as the rain continued to pelt us even though i didn't find them particularly different from those refrigerated ones i can get from NTUC supermarkets. 

Visiting on a Monday has its benefits; the market wasn't crowded at all! I believe the rain and the timing i went (around 4pm) might have also resulted in a reduced turnout as well. 

Being in a port city, it was said that Keelung would be a great and cheap place to have seafood. Funny we cannot draw the same comparison to Singapore, which is one of the world's busiest ports! The irony of life! 

To visit and not to have any seafood in Keelung would be embarrassing! Therefore, i had earlier researched and identified a local delicacy i must try; the cream crabs from this stall known as Old Soldier (老兵奶油螃蟹).

I totally didn't expect to be served this, which brought back memories of the milk crab i had back in Bangkok that was simply put; horrendous! To be fair, this (each crab at NT$200) was better with the much wanted sweetness resulting from fresh seafood. Meat was a bit mushy and i would have preferred the steamed version anytime. 

Menu as appended above for those who wish to have a full meal! 

冰糖葫芦 - it seems that the traditional candied haw is now slowly replaced by candied fruits instead. I had one in Malacca and totally hated the artificial sugary rush! Didn't try any in Taiwan even though i think it is worth putting on record in this blog that there were many stalls selling it! Maybe it is good? 

天一香魯肉飯 - i might have blogged on Huxuzhang first but my very first luroufan in Taiwan was from this shop in Keelung night market. For a quiet Monday, it sure was filled with patrons! 

At NT$20 a bowl, this was nice but as with review of Huxuzhang's luroufan, this also failed to blow me away!

三兄弟豆花 - after so much food, we must have something sweet to conclude our visit to Keelung night market. After much deliberation, Alex chose the one dessert that he has always like; beancurd! 

We ordered one with honeyed yam at NT$55 a bowl. Quite a disappointment as it wasn't as smooth as Singapore's very own selegie or rochor road beancurd and the honeyed yam was way too sweet for my liking! Gosh, i think age is catching up with me! 


Location Map
As above.

How to Get There?
I actually arranged a one-day private transport to bring us to various places in the Northern part of Taipei. From my understanding, you can take the railway from Taipei Main Station to Keelung Railway Station. For more information, check out a fellow blogger's page here

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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