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Taiwanese night markets Amongst the several activities the students of Hotelschool The Hague had the chance to experience, exploring the Taiwanese night markets was surely one of the most memorable. Night markets are inherent part of the culture and you can easily find them in every city in Taiwan. Open 365 days a year, they feature a mixture of individual stalls and stores hawking clothing, electronics, speciality drinks like bubble tea, but most importantly street food and snacks. Although some restaurants with full menus can be found, the night market stalls are known for mastering one signature dish and serving it over and over. From the famous dumplings to the delicious scallion pancakes, every single xiaoye (midnight snack) represents not only the attentiveness of the cook but mostly the conservancy of maintained and passed on family traditions.   The most fascinating aspect of the Taiwanese food markets is the transparency of the stand owners and cooks. You can find freshly cut fruits, fried mushrooms, blow-torched steak, grilled octopus and sweet milk tea with tapioca pearls; all prepared in the open and in front of drivelling customers for their viewing satisfaction. Additionally, as a result of the country’s colonial Spanish, Japanese and Dutch influences, the utter variety of snacks and dishes one can find in Taiwanese night markets is enough for people to cruise around continents without stepping a foot out of the land. Moreover, the elements of the country’s Chinese historical past bringing regional dishes from every province of the mainland enabled the development of a splendid cuisine.   Aside from the never-ending amounts of food items night markets have to offer, their captivating “hot and noisy” feature illustrates the Taiwanese community’s strongly rooted social phenomenon (Warden and Chen, 2008). Referred to as renao, it addresses you with an atmosphere of animation and thrill. Night markets can therefore be described as lively places, boasting a holy grail of powerful smells, bright colours and lights, as well as urging you with a sense of belonging streaming from the big crowds.   Visiting Tonghua night market in Taipei and Rueifong in Kaohsiung allowed us to try many of the Taiwanese specialities and have a taste of the country’s culinary wealth. Hence, here is a selection of must try treats: ·       Grilled or fried squid: served on a stick with a variety of sauces you can choose from ·       Popcorn chicken: delicious small pieces of fried chicken ·       Takoyaki: succulent deep-fried squid balls with a crispy skin and soft center ·       Scallion pancakes: filling and savoury green onion fried pancakes ·       Dumplings: famous pork and cabbage filled pot-stickers ·       Stinky tofu: deep fried fermented tofu with a smell that makes your trip memorable ·       Filled pancakes: Japanese-style pancakes filled with custard, red bean paste or cream cheese ·       Mochi: soft and sticky rice cake prepared with different fillings and toppings   All in all, night markets are the place to enjoy the Taiwanese rich and flavourful cuisine while experiencing the culture through the five senses. Henceforth, if you are ever planning on visiting Taiwan, experiencing its night markets has to be on the top of your to-do list.

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Profile for Hotelschool The Hague

Gastronomy Abroad Taiwan Magazine | Hotelschool The Hague student project  

Last April, a group of 20 students and 4 lecturers from Hotelschool The Hague travelled to a special gastronomic destination for their Gastr...

Gastronomy Abroad Taiwan Magazine | Hotelschool The Hague student project  

Last April, a group of 20 students and 4 lecturers from Hotelschool The Hague travelled to a special gastronomic destination for their Gastr...