Saturday, May 22, 2010

Snake Alley @ Taipei Hwahsi Tourist Night Market

We visited Longshan Temple the first day we reached. It was a beautifully maintained temple near which was Taipei Hwahsi Tourist Night Market with its most notorious street, the Snake Alley. I was very creeped out by the snake vendors, especially the one with the giant yellow snake and the vendor wearing a microphone headset and monotonously intoned "Come Come. Sit inside"or "two customers coming in", as if he was presiding at a (snake's) funeral.

Anyway I wanted to eat at this stall which was selling tiny little 粉圆, made of glutinous rice flour and not much else. The stall 北港 was opened in ROC 42 (i.e. 1911 + 42 = 1953), with more than forty seven years of reputation. It enjoyed a respectable to and fro of customers while we were sitting there eating our Red Bean soup with 粉圆, and Yam soup (which turned a suspicious sour taste but I didn't die on the porcelain bowl two hours later, so I figured that it was ok?) with 粉圆 as well. I watched as the old lady tossed little frozen white discs into the boiling masses of white discs before her, realizing belatedly that it was the local version of muah chee alias 麻芝 that she was making. While the Singaporean version is bite-sized, soft and chewy, theirs is a flat disc covered in the same peanut-sugar mixture but QQ.

The Hwahsi Night Market Gateway

The 北港 shopfront

Red Bean soup (tasted better than mine)

Suspiciously sour Yam Soup

White glutinous flour discs bobbing up and down

Taiwanese-style Muah Chee

Directions to the Snake Alley and Hwahshi Night Market:
Take the Nanggang-Yongning (blue line) and exit at Longshan Temple MRT station. It is near the very famous Longshan Temple.

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