Monday, January 23, 2012

Danshui Night Market

I'm a huge fan of markets when I go abroad and Taipei was certainly no exception.  I had already been to the largest night market at Shilin so I was expecting something similar for Danshui but I was certainly somewhat surprised.

Danshui is at the northern part of the city and is easily accessible by the MRT (metro) as the very last station of the line.  The first thing I noticed was that Danshui was quite a bit cooler than the rest of the city (given it was winter in Taipei but I certainly hadn't felt really cold for most of my stay) and I suppose that comes from the fact that Danshui is right next to open water leading out to the East China Sea.

The market itself was bright and colorfully light like most other asian open-air markets.  There wasn't much of a crowd that evening as I had gone on a weekday evening so people were relatively sparse, unlike my experience at Shilin on a Saturday night.  The spaciousness of the market (perhaps due to the lack of people) gave me more of a rural feel.

One of the cool things I discovered, particularly if you're in a relationship, is that they have all sorts of cute souvenirs and unique items for couples. One shop, beside the boardwalk next to the water, was selling little keychains with small glass animal figures attached, containing some colored water and a piece of rice inside.  But the really cool part of this was that the shop could etch your name (up to 4 chinese characters) and maybe someone else's name =) on the piece of rice before they put it inside. Pretty unique if you ask me! While I was waiting to get my piece of rice get etched, I went for a short walk around the block.  Here's a shop selling live seafood:

One of the highlights of the night markets in Taiwan is the food. And in this case, I stopped by a shop selling some specialties supposedly particular to the Danshui night market. At an exchange rate of about $1 USD to 30 TWD, these snacks were pretty decently priced.

As you can see, I got the fish ball soup served in a broth and the 'ah ke' (arcade).

Both of these were like little bowls of heaven =). The arcade is essentially a fried tofu skin wrapping some soft clear noodle inside covered with some sauce to give it some good flavoring. The fish balls had some meat wrapped inside and were very chewy and tasty. Ah, what I'd give to get another few bowls of these!

Passed by a stand selling some more comfort food but I had already had dinner and some snacks on top so couldn't take anymore even if I wanted to.

I would have loved to have taken the ferry over to the other side, which is Bali district but unfortunately, the ferried had stopped running earlier that evening so that led to an end my quick trip to Danshui.

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