Feng Jia Night Market, Taichung, Taiwan

22:53


Heads up, geography lesson here.

So Taiwan has Taipei, which is where the international airport is located at. Taipei literally means North Taiwan. Then there's Taichung in the middle, which means Middle Taiwan. There is also a Tainan, which means... Southern Taiwan.

After a few days in Taipei, three of us bid our Taipei hosts goodbye, and headed to the bus terminal next to Taipei Main Station. We were going to train it down to Taichung, but according to our hosts taking the bus was much cheaper.

We got on a Guo Guang bus in less than half an hour after arriving at the station. Keiko was right about the pricing - we paid about 140 TWD (RM15) or so to get ourselves to Taichung.

However, the drive there was quite scary. What with bumps and sudden swerves, I am actually quite amazed I fell asleep at one point from tiredness. I would have been clutching my armrest otherwise.

Once we got to Taichung though, we had to rely on taxis to get us about, because Taichung did not have the MRT system that Taipei has. We were planning to stay for the night, before heading back to Taipei the next day.

We stayed at a place called No Parking Taichung Guesthouse, Taiwan, booked via Hostelworld. To find this place, it is best to get a local number and take down the phone number listed in Hostelworld. It is not advertised in any way that it is a guesthouse.

In fact, after handing my phone to the taxi driver so that he could talk to the owner about its whereabouts, the taxi driver remarked that the guesthouse was probably not registered legally. Hence, he added, the lack of advertisement.

This really made me feel better, thanks taxi driver.

I was wondering what I'd do if we got kidnapped or sold, when the mildest looking man showed up at the nearby ABC Mart and proceeded to bring us to the guesthouse. Our room was on the third floor of an unassuming apartment, so thankfully there was a lift.

That was also the only time I talked to the mild-looking man. First he gave us the pass code for the main door to get into the apartment. Then he gave us the pass code to get into our room (you got into the room via pressing numbers on the door). Then he took payment in cash, and also said that we could stay up until twelve the next day.

Then we never saw him again.

I think that No Parking Taichung Guesthouse would probably elicit the worst feelings in the jittery, especially those concerned with safety. I mean, if the pass code remained the same all the time, would it not be easy for someone to barge into our room suddenly?

It was located in a rather dingy apartment, too. While it was practical to stay in it for one night, due to our main reason for wanting to be in Taichung, I would not have wanted to stay another night any longer.

When it came to convenience, however, the guesthouse was hard to beat! Its location was about three minutes away from this place.

































Tadah, the one, the only, the colourful, the noisy, and the tasty Feng Jia Night Market of Taichung.
































Look at the bustling activity. I adore night markets.

Between the guesthouse and the night market, tons of boutique shops were open as well. These shops probably capitalized well on the popularity of the night market. In fact, together with Aeryn and Poh Nee, we spent about forty or so minutes looking at and trying on clothes in the boutiques before actually making any headway towards the night market pictured above.
































Poh Nee and Aeryn, respectively. Also a bunch of clothes. Poh Nee very intelligently took along a huge economy bag as well, in preparation for all future shopping. This came in helpful tons of times later on.

Thank you Poh Nee. :3

On our way there we passed a pet shop, and we stopped outside to coo at the little puppies for a while. I still could not help shake that feeling of sadness, though, mingled in with my feelings of love for how cute the puppies were.

This is why.



About six or so of the cutest little fur babies, obviously of good pedigree, were locked up in cages barely larger than they were. They had space that were maybe three times the size of their bodies or so to roam in.

I also could not help but notice that they were all just babies, perhaps three or four months old. I did find myself wondering constantly in Taiwan what happened to the cute puppies that were not sold in the pet stores. Like, when they got too old to be sold on the cute puppy factor. Do they go back to the breeding mill? Get neutered and loved by the pet shop owners? Or...

Perish the thought. Maybe they'll take them to dog shelters. Yeah.

We finally got to the night market, and one of the first things we tried was this!
































Behold, the stall for... SMELLY/STINKY TOFU.

This version of stinky tofu is the deep fried one, along with vegetables and sauce to dip in.

I am not a fan of stinky tofu, by the way. I smelled it in Hong Kong once, and questioned endlessly why anyone would actually want to put something that taste like literal crap into their mouths. However, I was surprised this time around that I could tolerate smelling it. I was absolutely astonished when I found that I could consume it without my gag reflex activating.

I guess my body has gotten so used to me putting so much crap in it, then food that does taste like crap does not make much of a difference after all.

Heh.
































I think the reason I can tolerate this round of stinky tofu was that it was deep-fried, rather than the steamed version I once saw in Hong Kong and dreaded. I have no idea what sauce that is in the middle of the box, and I think I'm better off not asking.

Wikipedia says that

'Stinky tofu is usually served deep fried (often served drizzled with sauce and topped with sour pickled vegetables), grilled, or added to a Sichuan mala soup base (with solid goose blood, pickled mustard greens, and pork intestines.)'

Yeah okay I REALLY don't want to know what it was now.

I guess this dish was not too bad for someone who used to hate the smell of stinky tofu. I loved the crispiness of the dish, complete with the crunch-crunch sound effect. It did taste fairly a whiff of ... well, garbage, but I could ignore that and focus on the tofu taste, instead.

I HAVE LEVELED UP. YES.

Rating: 7/10

After that I went to get dessert.

I had a potted plant for dessert, by the way.
































Isn't it adorable? So tasty, too. The crumbly taste of the top, mixed with the base of the pot... such a lovely dessert.
































It's basically Oreo cookie crumbs on top of ice-cream flavouring. I had vanilla ice-cream, but there were other flavours too like Swiss chocolate and mango.

I did not actually eat the leaf, though. I am not too sure if it's edible or not.

Also the pot was cute and all, but I felt it probably contributed to a lot of wastage. I certainly was not going to bring a plastic pot home. Should have gone back and given it to the stall owners, haha.

It tasted exactly like Oreo cookie crumbs mixed with vanilla ice-cream. I'm sure this does not require explanation.

Rating: 8/10 (points deducted for environmental purposes)

We wandered about the street quite a bit, before hitting a dead end. It was surprising to us, because Feng Jia had been touted as the biggest night market in Taiwan. There were more streets to explore in Shilin than here, if this was the end of the night market.

Luckily we just had to come back out through the way we went in, and then walk towards the left from the entrance. There, yet another street filled with stalls and clothing shops existed.
































Just a note of interest. Taiwan night markets are big on fruit juices, so you will see plenty of stalls selling these in night markets. Let's just say that if you are... having a certain ailment common to people who are on trips and therefore drink less water, the fruit juices will be a big help for your... bowel movements. That is all.

I drank a lot of papaya milk juice in that country.

A lot.

It helped.

Ahem.

Moving on.
































More clothing stores to hang out in. I love this place already.

It is also in Feng Jia Night Market that I finally try the one thing I've really wanted to try since planning this trip.

BEHOLD.
































THIS IS BAKED POTATO WITH CHEESE AND BACON.

 I REPEAT.

BAKED POTATO.

CHEESE.

BACON.

Let us take a moment of silence to appreciate the beauty of this wonderful creation.

Ohm.

We had one to share among the three of us, and I was super stuffed at the end of this. Piping hot steam rose from the potato as we walked along, eating it. The perfect combination of baked hot potato, with the cheese melded in, and the overabundance of bacon in the dish made me wonder why we make life so hard for ourselves. Why can't we just eat meals like cheese baked potato with bacon every day, and fill our lives with wonder and joy all the time?

... Don't worry. They didn't put drugs in the potato. I think. It was just really good.

Rating: 10/10. 'Nuff said.
































Not adventurous enough to eat this.
































Too full to continue eating after the potato, but hey, the potato was worth it.

I know it sounds insane that we went to Taichung just purely for the night market (and that potato thing can be found in Shilin, anyway), but it was a good experience. There were sights to see, dingy rooms to experience, and even better, great clothes to buy that I did not see in Taipei.


























Physical haul of our Feng Jia night, and you know what? I'm glad we took a trip down to Taichung. Perhaps it will be better to stay more  nights if you want to explore more of Taichung, though.

We all went to bed with satisfied tummies that night. Taiwanese night markets are doing it right. Feng Jia has my seal of approval.

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