Nothing to do with Shilin Night Market, but…puppies!
One of my mom’s best friends from college had just gotten two new puppies in 2007. Her last dog had died of lung cancer at the young age of 3. Really sad :(. But since her family is nuts about dogs, they couldn’t not get new ones. So they decided to get two golden retrievers, one for each of their kids that had gone off the college.
So meet Donut and Bagel. This was probably when they were about 8-10 weeks? I could be wrong. But man were they precious. My mom and I spent 3 hours just cuddling them. <3. Now they’re full grown, crazy, hyper, slobbering beasts when we go visit my mom’s friend. Donut is the slightly derpy one who runs into doors and chases his tail; Bagel is the sly and clever one who knows how to finagle mangoes and food out of you. Absolutely different personalities.
Anyway, here’s to the most popular night market in Taipei! The market is split into two parts: old Shilin and New. The old section has food vendors and small restaurants. There are over 500 stalls! It gets to be insanely crowded if you go anytime after 8pm, but things start dying down after 11pm. If you take the Jiantan 劍潭 Station on the Tamsui 淡水/Red Line, you can get off right in front of the market. Shilin has become one of the most touristy spots of the Taiwanese night markets.
I don’t even know where to start with what to eat or get, but anything with pork is a safe bet. Fried foods. Try anything and everything. But go with a lot of friends, so you can all splitsies with each other. 大餅包小餅 “da bing bao xiao bing” literally translates to “big bun envelops small bun”. Or small bun wrapped in big bun. It’s one of the most popular snacks in Shilin, and there are several vendors that sell it. The small bun is crunchy and crispy, and the big bun is kind of like a scallion pancake that wraps around it like a popiah. There are various flavors: sweet can have black sesame, peanuts, taro, red bean, mung bean; salty can have curry or chicken, among other things. Usually we go for sweet since those are the only vegetarian flavors.
Another popular one is the Shilin sausage, stir-fried cuttlefish, fried chicken, spare ribs stewed in herbal soups. Not a lot of veggie stuff, so I can’t say I’m an expert on Shilin food. 😛