Street Eats

During my recent trip, the food was an integral part of the experience. And while we ate a lot of meals traditionally, at a table, we also did a lot of outdoor eating, carefully trying not to make too much of a mess.

In Seoul, we visited a couple of the big markets. In Namdaenum Market, we passed several stalls selling snacks. We avoided anything with meat – skewers of raw meat were sitting in the hot sun, unrefrigerated, waiting to be grilled to order. But the green onion crepes – thrown on the griddle to order – were tasty, and the brown sugar-filled pancakes (hoddeok) were definitely memorable and craveable.

For tourists only...

In Seoul, we also saw a very confused food cart at the N Tower, a major attraction: churros and Heineken. There was a Cold Stone directly across from this stand, too.

In China, we didn’t see nearly as much street food, other than people selling food to take home.

The markets sold everything else, though. Clothes – premade or tailored to order – of all varieties. There was an insane array of fake goods: sunglasses, purses, shoes, watches, pirated movies.

Chestnuts (or similar) and lotus roots

But food-wise, there were chickens and turtles and pig parts, fruits and vegetables and the like.

In front of the “luxury mall” on the main shopping street – where every single store, without exception, was a big name, Western brand (Prada, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, etc), people stood outside with baskets, peddling chestnuts and what I learned were lotus roots.

But Taiwan… oh, Taiwan knew how to do street food. After 5 PM, night markets spring up in several locations throughout Taipei, varying in size and specialties.

Rows of stalls served everything from bao and grilled kebabs to fish balls and waffles filled with everything from chocolate to red bean paste.

Snails.

Most things were snack-sized servings, often for less than US$1, so you could assemble a meal by trying several different things. Going with people also meant you could try more things.

Shaved ice with mango. OMG.

And of course, you have to end the experience with a shaved ice, topped with fruit or candy and condensed milk. This mango shaved ice was incredible and giant, so I shared it with several people.

Waffles. These were filled with either chocolate or custard.

Yes, those are corndogs.

Some stalls had helpful pictures so you knew what you were eating. Other times, not so much.

The incredible thing to me about Taipei was that they do this every single night. In the US, we’re finally starting to maybe allow some food trucks, but for the most part, “street food” is a rare occurrence, tied to festivals. (And Christkindlmarket. But even that is temporary.)

Read on for more food stories.

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One response to “Street Eats

  1. Pingback: Eating Local – Wherever “Local” May Be | The Adventures of Elginista

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