Taipei 2012 - Food Hunting in Ximending
While walking around Ximending, I was wondering why there were so few street stalls around. Later on I found out that actually street stalls are banned in Ximending. This makes it easier to walk around, but in my opinion less interesting. I guess the priority in Ximending is shopping and the authorities didn't want the clutter to spoil the shopping experience.
Walk around in Ximending long enough and you are sure to see the cat and mouse game that the street stalls play with the men-in-uniform. They will push their carts and hide in the dark corners when there are signs of danger, and come out when the coast is clear. I am sure the enforcement was only done half-heartedly though as I never saw any stalls being booked.
Despite these restrictions, you will not go hungry in Ximending. Of course there are food shops everywhere, but the street stalls also offer plenty of varieties to sample.
This hand-pulled flat-bread is a bit like our Roti Chanai in Malaysia.
Barbecued skewers are always popular. I definitely recommend the cuttlefish which are fresh and juicy.
These thick pancakes filled with ground pork and scallion are quite delicious.
I don't know why they call these Tempura because they are completely different from their Japanese cousin. These are a very popular snack in Taiwan - made basically of fish paste - grilled and served with a sweet sauce. I am not really a fan as I find them quite sweet and lacking in other flavours.
Besides the street stalls, the number of food outlets in Ximending is endless. One which caught my eye was this shop - literally translated the name means "flattened duck meat". It turns out to serve a rice vermicelli soup with slices of duck meat. Quite simple - but tasty.
Grilled mochi seems to be very popular. Mochi is made of ground rice and is usually served with a sweet sauce. I find them quite bland.
This tiny shop sells fresh fruit juices. The most unusual was bitter gourd juice. I though it would be very bitter, but it was very refreshing - more like cucumber juice. The lady boss is quite a character.
One very popular shop sells stewed duck - not just the meat but any of the parts you want. Duck heads seemed to be the most popular item.