I am from the Philippines and like in most Asian countries, we also have our fair share of “unique delicacies”. I know that other countries also have this as well, like the barbecued tarantula of Thailand, or the puffer fish sashimi of Japan but, it really is different when you see it up close, all the more when you taste it! (That is, if your taste buds are adventurous enough for the task). So, for today’s post, I will be featuring some of the unique delicacies and street foods that I was able to try out when I went to the Shi lin night market of Taiwan!
1) Baby octopus takoyaki
The Takoyaki is a street food originally from Japan. It is a fried ball of batter, vegetables, and octopus tentacles topped off with sauce and bonito. The takoyaki here in shi-lin night market evolved to a whole new level. Here, they included not only bits of octopus, but a WHOLE OCTOPUS. The taste is not that far from the original takoyaki. Just imagine loading a takoyaki with chunks of octopus and you’ll have an idea of what this one tastes like. I’ll be honest- the baby octopus oozing from the batter is quite a sight. I feel sorry for the little critters though.
2) Grilled Octopus tentacles
Again, I feel sorry for the octopus for being edible and for tasting good. I was able to try another street food featuring the mighty eight-legged creature of the seven seas. The grilled octopus tentacles is pretty straight forward. They grill it, then sprinkle all over the poor thing your preferred topping. Taste an octopus and you’ll have an idea on what this one actually tastes like. I mean, the different parts of the octopus taste the same anyway- unlike meat products. I guess the thing that made me taste this was its visual presentation. Just look at the photo below, and you’ll know exactly what I mean.
3) Taiwanese pork jerky
Ahhh, pork jerky. Flavorful, protein-packed, compact and… crispy? Yep. Their version of jerky here is crispy and surprisingly good too! They were also able to put in some unique jerky flavors like seaweed for a more Asian taste. We bagged a good number of these. They were our favorite among all the other food we brought from Taiwan.
4) Pork innards, chicken innards, and I don’t know what else
Often we stumbled upon food stalls displaying skewered “things” that look very appetizing. You just get whatever you want, then give it to the person manning the stall. He cooks it for you and you just pay the bill afterwards. The entire process could be so much simple- if you have an idea about what skewered delicacy it is you’re getting. Communicating with the locals could be a pain sometimes, so I didn’t bother asking them what it is I was going to eat. I googled the stalls after I got home and laughed at the fact that I might have eaten pork innards, chicken innards, and I don’t know what else. Ignorance is bliss.
5) Frog Eggs drink
Frog dishes are pretty common in the night market. There is frog porridge, frog soup, grilled frog legs, fried frog, and stir fried frog- pretty much any dish that you could do with meat, frog could also be used. Just when I thought I’ve seen enough creativity, the frog eggs drink came into the picture. Yep, you read that right. BUT it is to my great relief that the frog egg drink is not actually what I thought it is. I did a little bit of research and found out that it does not contain a single piece of frog egg. The tapioca of the drink only resembles that of a frog egg, hence, the name of the drink. Talk about marketing strategy!
6) Stinky tofu
They did not call this one stinky for no good reason. Behold, the odor that would tell people yards away that the shi-lin night market is officially open. The stinky tofu is something you’ll be frequently seeing (and SMELLING) if you go to the different night markets of Taiwan. Some people like its taste, while others reject it the moment they smell its pungent odor. They say that this delicacy tastes better when the smell gets stronger.
Oh, and you may one to check this one out:
So, we came across this street that looked like your average night market. We took photos and curiously peeked on the the restaurants and stands. Then, one thing caught my eye: an aquarium with branches and leaves inside. I took a closer look, and saw that there are actually snakes inside the aquarium. I looked at the menu of the restaurant and realized that some of the photos shown are actually snake dishes. Then it hit me: most of the restaurants in that alley are serving snake dishes. I have to be honest though, I did not try eating any of the snake dishes. Oh, and this one is not on Shi-lin, it’s in Huaxi Street night market A.K.A The snake alley.
Want to go to Shi-lin?
Looking for a detailed map of the market or a list of all their available food? Then you may want to visit their website at:
As they say, tasting a country’s food is one way of knowing their culture. Whenever you stop by in Taiwan, make sure to pay Shi-lin night market a visit and try their dishes out. It will make you appreciate their culture more. After all, you would not settle for the common burgers and fries when you can taste authentic Taiwanese dishes right on the spot, RIGHT? Happy traveling guys!