Sunday, December 17, 2006

This is life 16: Taipei's night 1

Shilin in Singapore will mean those franchise outlets in air-conditioned malls, selling psuedo-Taiwanaese food. After experiencing Shilin of Singapore; the pirated form, it is now time to embrace copyright laws, and purchase the original taste.

It is simply difficult to imagine that Shilin in Singapore can be transformed to a massive night bazaar over in Taipei. This night market, fortunately for Singaporeans, can be conveniently accessed by the train systems. Right before exiting the train station, the frenzy of the night, the chaos of the people can be felt.

There was a food market, selling mostly Taiwanese food. Unlike a Singapore hawker centre, they do not have a common area for stalls and seats. Each stall usually has their own seats and it makes eating more exciting because customers can move around the market to try different food. The place was packed, all filled with the heat, hot food and flashing neon lights. It gets the head rolling, the blood pumping and the gastric juices oozing.

It was like a random error when settling down for a stall just because they seemed to be much patronising crowd. The oyster omelette was quite pleasing as it was not too oily but the sauce coming with it was too foreign a taste. Rice with beef was interesting because the rice was chewy with fragrant sauce, but beef must be expensive in Taiwan; only a small scratch of beef came with it. The squid soup had a smell that was similar to that of the drain nearby and the squid came in huge chunks that required teeth of the jaws to slice through.

After sampling some unenlightened Taiwanese food, it was time for the most famous drinks of all, the bubble tea. This was the moment for redeeming Taiwan's reputation. The drinks were not too sweet, superb in taste, had a really wide variety, stall owners were still quite polite despite all the frenziness, the pearls were of the right texture and were defined, the cup was really huge, probably 700ml, and price very reasonable (NT20-35; S$1-S$1.80).

The whole market covered a large area, spanning across streets, stretching for rows of shops. People filled every corner, jammed the stalls, squeezed through each other. If anything in Singapore resembles such a situation, it will probably have to be Chinatown during the Chinese New Year. Luckily, for Singaporeans, they only experience such a situation for a few weeks of the year. In Taipei, such circumstance is likely to be a permanent sight every day of the year, including even Mondays and deep into the night.

The stalls sell food, fashion, pets and almost anything. Temperatures then was air-conditioned temperatures of around 21 centigrade. Imagine walking in the open spaces, with air-conditioned switched on, it really makes shopping more efficient. With such efficiency, the famous chicken cutlet was spotted. It attracted crowds in Shilin, Singapore and also attracted crowds in Shilin, Taipei. However, the difference was that the chicken cutlet in Taipei, came in whole big pieces, and sometimes with bones. Althought this is much inconvenience, the most important difference was that the taste in the original Shilin was really great. There was not much oil to be felt and once a bite started, it just continues. It is really very unlike that of Shilin, Singapore, where after just the first taste, the oiliness deters any further eating. The 'no-cutting' policy is likely to maintain the crispiness of the chicken and prevent it from turning into soggy pieces of oily slabs of meat. Here in Shilin, Taipei, chicken cutlet, for a fee of NT45, can be enjoyed as real food.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wah... the night life is so exciting!!! Singapore cannot match up lor.

18/12/06 20:24  
Anonymous dev! said...

night time is meant for baby-making only. n mugging.

19/12/06 20:28  
Anonymous balex said...

That's why this is call Singapore, and that is call Taipei.

19/12/06 21:28  

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