Taipei is one of Singaporeans’ favourite travel destinations for food.
Thanks to the slew of night markets and eateries dotted around the city, it isn’t hard to find something delicious to eat at any time of the day.
If you’re planning on visiting Taipei soon though, here’s a cheat sheet to what you must try while in the Taiwanese capital city. Competitive eater Zermatt Neo was visiting the legendary Rao He Night Market, and he shared his top food recommendations in a YouTube video uploaded on June 28.
He did so with Taiwanese foodie and aspiring competitive eater Xiao Hui, better known as Yahui0215, who is no stranger to the country’s bustling food scene.
Armed with NTD 3,000 (S$130), the duo jostled with the crowd to secure their food.
Pepper pastries, tang yuan and more
First on the list were pepper pastries, which Xiao Hui revealed is filled with white pepper pork.
Before chowing down on it, Zermatt broke it open to reveal the generous pork filling encased within.
Hitting the right spot, the pair both let out a satisfied “mmmm” as they took their first bite.
“It opens up your appetite, right?” said Xiao Hui.
Zermatt likened it to the typical pork buns found in Singapore except that this was a roasted version with a pastry-like exterior.
To wash it down, they got papaya milk drinks, which Zermatt admitted he’s never tried before.
Upon taking his first sip, he noted that the consistency of the drink was “super thick”.
But, he was pleased to find that the drink wasn’t too sweet.
Next up, they had chee cheong fun from a famous stall that had a snaking long queue.
Opting for the pork and shrimp option, Zermatt pointed out that this rendition of chee cheong fun is pretty different from the Singaporean version.
“The ones in Singapore are very flat. This one is not flat, it looks like noodles, curled up noodles,” he elaborated.
“The fillings are all so fresh,” he said, adding that he found it interesting that the Taiwanese chee cheong fun had eggs in it.
After the savoury dish, Xiao Hui suggested they get something icy for their next dish.
Surprisingly, by that, she meant tang yuan (glutinous rice balls).
Icy isn’t the first word that comes to mind when Singaporeans think of tang yuan which is usually served as a hot dessert. But apparently, there is a cold version in Taiwan.
While the dessert bowl came filled with ice, Zermatt realised, to his surprise, that the tang yuan itself was hot.
“I like the contrast because the ice is cold but the balls are hot,” he said.
Next on the list was another savoury dish — cuttlefish.
Describing it as “snappy but not tough”, Zermatt said the seafood dish had a “bonito” flavour.
He also admitted that when he initially saw the cuttlefish on display outside the stall, he was worried that the texture would have been “extremely tough and hard”.
“But in reality, it’s the contrary,” he shared.
In fact, Zermatt liked it so much that he said it deserved a Michelin star.
After that satisfying dish, they went to get their hands on the renowned beef noodles featured in the Taiwan Michelin Guide.
Upon receiving their food, they noted that the stall was very generous with various cuts of beef provided.
“There’s a good ratio of tendon and meat, thus, a superb texture in the mouth,” Xiao Hui described.
“Beef noodles are a must if you’re here in Taiwan!” she exclaimed.
They paired the noodles with some dumplings as well, which Zermatt described as “extremely well-seasoned”.
“The fillings in the dumplings, the texture is good, there is a good ratio of lean and fatty meat,” Xiao Hui added.
Despite how chaotic the night market was, Zermatt had a good time.
“Actually I enjoyed it, the whole ambience and everything,” he confessed.
Zermatt and Xiao Hui also listed out their favourite dishes.
For Xiao Hui, it was the cuttlefish and tang yuan.
And Zermatt chose the cuttlefish (of course!), tang yuan and papaya milk.
“Actually, everything [Xiao Hui] recommended were all hits, there were no misses at all. Everything was good,” concluded Zermatt.
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