February 26, 2023

Waiting for nutrition

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Sometimes I do feel bad that, for all the trips that Foursheets has taken to Taiwan with me, we've only gone out of Taipei on four occasions. As our main purpose for this trip was celebrating mom's big birthday, it made sense that we spent our time in Taipei. But I still wanted to take her somewhere she hasn't been before, and I figured hitting the night market in Keelung City (基隆市) would be something interesting for her.

We didn't leave home as early as I had originally planned, and by the time we got off the train at the new train station in Keelung and walked to the Keelung Miaokou Night Market (基隆廟口夜市), the place was already packed. This being her first time, Foursheets decided to walk pretty much the whole stretch of the market to see what was available, before choosing the food she would allocate stomach space for. A smart move, for sure, but one that had detrimental consequence for me...

Steamed meatball dumplings (肉圓) - from Tainan Shrimp Meatball (台南府城蝦仁肉圓). It seems that I keep coming back to this stall, although I was not the one who chose this. I do like the combination of whole shrimp and chunks of pork, seasoned with some black pepper. Basically done like a big wonton (餛飩), but Foursheets liked neither the starchy wrapper nor the starchy sauce.

Sausage - from Stall 43, One Bite Sausage (一口吃香腸). The line was pretty long and we waited more than 20 minutes. Pretty tasty, though, with plenty of smoky flavors from being chargrilled.

Rice flour roll soup (鐤邊銼) - from Centennial Wu's (百年吳家鐤邊銼), right next to the Dianji Temple (基隆奠濟宮). It's one of the specialties of this night market, although I myself have never been enamored with it. I do understand that the flour rolls have an interesting springy texture, but the flavors of the soup are just not that special to me... despite the presence of 12 ingredients.

Chargrilled oyster omelet (炭烤蚵仔煎) - from Stall 36. Yes, I do think I taste a little bit of smokiness.

The one thing I must have every time I'm here is the one product from Stall 58, Tian Sheng Pu (天盛鋪). It was sooo crowded in front (and in the back) of the stall when I circled back here after our initial walkaround. I haven't been here in a few years, so I didn't realize that they now have a ticketing system. In any case, since there are many people in front of the stall, you may not be able to touch the screen and get the ticket yourself, but ask whoever is right in front of it to help. When I got the ticket number 1684, the system screen indicated there were more than 900 people in front of me. I completely panicked. This would be at least a 3-4 hour wait, and there was no way I would get it before the last train left Keelung.

Thankfully I soon realized that the system wasn't being updated in terms of who had alredy been served. I think there were "only" about 300 people in front of me when I took the ticket, but of course most people who come will order more than one... I saw a lot of people ordering 4 or 5 of these. They have 4 people working at the stall, and each sandwich took about 15 seconds from the bread being cut open to getting filled and bagged. Meanwhile there's a guy frying up 3 rows of 9 buns at a time. It took me about 1½ hours to finally get mine.

Nutritious sandwich (營養三明治) - BABY, THIS IS WHAT YOU CAME FOR! With deep-fried bread dough (grains/carbohydrates), ham (protein), spiced egg (滷蛋, protein), cucumber (vegetable), tomato (fruit), and Taiwanese-style mayo (surely containing dairy and fat), this certainly had everything a growing boy needs! I was so, soooo happy!

The downside of getting mine so late in the day, I must admit, was that the oil used to fry the dough was no longer so fresh. This was definitely darker with a slightly heavier flavor profile in the dough. Having said that, I still loved this. Next time Imma come earlier for sure!

I couldn't fit more food in my stomach, so I passed up the opportunity for crispy pork belly at the next stall. We took a late train back to Taipei and got home just around midnight. Time for bed.

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