Monday, March 2, 2015

Food Post 6: 夜市 ye shi (lit. night market) Night Market

I turned to Fiona in the car and said, "Taiwan has a great economy: people work and buy things all day, and then at night they work and buy more things."  We were talking about the prevalence of night markets, the exotic, bustling, loud, annoying, wonderful, delicious markets that pop up around 4 o'clock each day and go into the wee hours of the night.  Any respectably sized city has one, if not two night markets.  Even a small town like Baihe has two different night markets that are open about three nights a week.

Night markets are something beyond the normal street markets that you go to early in the morning for produce.  They mostly encompass food: fried, sauted, rolled, stewed, chilled, barbecued, etc.  But you can also buy clothing, from underwear, to jeans, suits, and even suits.  You can probably find a place to sit down for a meal if that's what you like, or you can just oogle at the sights as everyone seems to let loose a little bit.  Walking into a night market reminds me of the movie, Spirited Away, a Japanese tale where an abandoned amusement park becomes alive with all sorts of fairies and ghosts when a young girl gets lost there.  If you visit a road that hosts a night market at day, it looks abandoned, almost unrecognizable.  Also you can find--now that I have kids this is increasingly more important--all kinds of amusements and games at night markets.

This is Raohe Night Market in Taipei:

This photo below shows that they also sell exotic things, like chocolate cake with blueberries on the top!

Of course, they have the same old, same old as well, such as chicken crowns, butts, hearts, and feet!

Watermelon drink!  Delicious:

Fried whole fish:

It's actually quite hard to describe what a night market is, so how about you take a look at some video I shot, instead!  The best part is the end, where you can glimpse the national pastime of the Taiwanese, which is shrimp fishing.  Shrimp fishing, with a little pole and string.  There are complexities to this pastime, and what you see here isn't the same as if you went to a shrimp fishing establishment, but I won't get into those subtleties.

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