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We visited Taiwan twice this year and there is one place that we never fail to visit – Wufenpu 五分埔. Located opposite Songshan train station in XinYi District, Wufenpu one of the largest clothing markets in Taipei. One can also take the Bannan line to Houshanpi station and go out Exit 4. The market is a five-minute walk from the station along YongJi Road.
Although the market is definitely not a high-fashion zone, it offers the latest street fashions for a fraction of the cost found elsewhere, with many items priced at less than NT$500. Bulk buying generally yields a discount.
Wufenpu is open for 7 days a week and most of the shops start business at around noon and close after mid-night but on Sunday they will close around 9pm. Avoid going there on a Monday because it is reserved for wholesalers. You can still go but service might not be as good as usual.
Other than fashion, you can find a great variety of food and snacks too. We really like the fried chicken (NT50) from this stall 第一名香雞排 “No. 1 Fried Chicken”. Champion or not, I’m not sure but one thing for sure is their fried chicken is really crunchy and aromatic!
Another perennial favourite is this particular stall – 雪中紅大腸包小腸 (NT25) aka “da chang bao xiao chang” ( literally translated as “big sausage wrapped around small sausage”). It’s glutenous rice inside an intestine casing, with a pork sausage inside. On top of that, pickled vegetables, ground peanut butter and shredded cucumber were added so eating this is always a messy ordeal but it was all worth it! Sweet chewy Taiwanese sausage and slightly salty glutinous rice were such perfect match.
The Raohe Street Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市 is one of the oldest night markets in Taiwan. The Raohe Street Tourist Night Market runs 600 meters from the intersection of Bade Road, Section 4 and Fuyuan Street to the Ciyou Temple on Bade Road. It offers everything from daily necessities and clothing to communications gear. It is especially rich in its food offerings, with about 140 registered vendors cooking up Taiwanese snacks, northern Chinese noodle dishes, and specialty snacks. Crowds of gourmands come here to delight their taste buds and satisfy their hunger.
#1 Fuzhou Shizu Pepper Bun (NT40) is one of the most popular vendors in the Raohe Street Night Market. The queue starts to form since 5pm and it never ends! The secret of its success is the filling of its buns, made of fresh pork purchased that very morning and marinated in a sauce concocted using a family recipe, with pieces of green onion added to enhance the taste. The workers are busy placing the buns neatly in the oven to bake. Fresh from the oven, the pepper buns are crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, the stuffing fresh and juicy. Just smelling them sets the taste buds tingling. We did not join in the queue because we have already tried it at Shilin Night Market.
#2 Chen Dong Medicinal Spareribs. Walk around the Raohe Street Night Market, and you will smell the aroma of simmering medicinal foods everywhere. If you want to try some, your first choice has got to be Chen Dong Medicinal Spareribs.
This vendor simmers its spareribs over a slow fire with more than 10 medicinal herbs (Chinese angelica and astragalus among them); but the smooth rich broth does not have the nose-stinging odor of Chinese medicines. You know what, it’s like Taiwanese version of Bakuteh, but the taste is milder and sweeter. NT60.
#3 Dongfa Oyster Noodles. Dongfa has been standing in this same location for more than 60 years, its clear-soup noodles attracting an endless stream of customers.Most noodle soup uses starch to thicken it, but this shop uses beef-bone broth that eliminates the oily taste and the need for salt, soy sauce, and other seasonings. When hand-made noodles that remain chewy even after long boiling are added, the result is a dish filled with delicious flavor. Still more flavor is provided by intestines that have been stewed and then washed with salt to make them clean and crispy.
#4 派克脆皮雞排 Two Peck Fried Chicken – The best best best fried chicken in Taiwan! It is a new franchise that grows like mushroom after a rain. They are famous for the exceptionally crispy skin and assorted flavoring such as cheese powder, curry powder, pepper, sour plum powder, etc.
Can someone please bring in the franchise? wink wink!