One of the inspirations for Mercato is the street food night market scene in Taiwan’s Shilin Market. We love the Xiao Tze (which means “small eats”) from the different food stalls in Shilin.
Here are the top food picks you should try when you visit Taiwan…
1. STINKY TOFU @ SHILIN FOOD STREET
We were on a mission to try Taiwan’s famous Stinky Tofu, and we found it in the food street of Shilin Market.
You can see various stalls offering weird street food like Wow Frog Eggs.
Grilled Vegetable wrapped with Pork (NT$10).
Different meat barbecues.
Fried Siopao (NT$50).
Finally, we found the stall cooking the stinky tofu (follow your nose — you can tell where it is because of its repulsive canal smell).
The fermented tofu is fried and cut in half.
They are set aside to let the oil drip dry before serving.
Stinky Tofu (NT$50) is served with pickled vegetables.
My vegetarian friend and Mercato partner RJ Ledesma was brave enough to try the Stinky Tofu first.
It’s actually bearable and yummier if you eat it with the chili sauce.
Ivan Henares of Ivan About Town loved the Stinky Tofu too. ?
The perfect partner for Stinky Tofu? Lamien (NT$50) noodles…
…served with sweet peanut sauce and vegetables.
2. OH MISUA @ SHILIN MARKET FOOD STREET ARCH
Along the food street is a temple with a welcome arch. Here you can find more interesting food stalls.
Fish/Squid Ball Stall?
Barbecue, pork innards, chicken blood, etc.
Finally, the Oh Misua Stall! This is a favorite snack of the Taiwanese.
The misua soup is served with oysters…
…and chili, plus other condiments.
Oh Misua (NT$30). Add this to your list of must-tries to complete your Taiwanese Street Food experience.
Chal Lontoc-del Rosario, a 50% Filipino 50% Taiwanese beauty, was our official Shilin Market food trip guide.
JM, the official Travelife photographer during the trip, was also happy checking out the flavors of the street food of Taiwan.
3. OYSTER CAKE @ SHILIN 1 B1 FOOD COURT
Another place to visit is the Basement 1 Food Court in the newly renovated area of Shilin Market.
It’s a series of food stalls in an airconditioned basement area. This is a good option, especially when it is raining, but it lacked the street food ambiance because of its more sanitized surroundings.
Another dish you must try is the Fried Oyster Cake. ?
Egg with oysters, topped with vegetables…
…and served with the stall’s special sauce.
The place has a cleaner and more organized dining area.
You can also try a wide variety of fruit juices, shave ice, and bubble tea.
4. HOT STAR LARGE FRIED CHICKEN
Don’t leave Taiwan without getting a taste of the popular Large Fried Chicken of Hot Star.
It’s a large, boneless fried chicken (NT$55) with signature spices.
(Big Daddy tried to replicate it here in Manila.)
It is so big that it is a meal in itself — good to share for two…or for one hungry person. ?
You can’t miss the blue Hot Star stall along the main road.
5. MOCHI PASALUBONG
There are a lot of Taiwanese candies and preserved fruits you can buy for pasalubong.
Some seemed a bit too exotic for our taste.
It’s also nice to check out the fruit stalls for a healthy dessert option.
Candied strawberries, anyone?
But the best pasalubong for me would be the Mochi with different flavors.
Tip: You have to buy the mochi in boxes versus the ones wrapped in plastic (although they are cheaper, they don’t taste as good.).
There’s still a lot of street food to try in the Shilin Market; any other recommendations?