Monday, October 17, 2016

Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市) [Travel in Taiwan 161016: RaRaRaohe (Delicious Taiwan)]


Have you been to Raohe Night Market? If you are planning to go to Taipei, then you should try to visit this place. The 600 meter Raohe Street spanning from Bade Road Section 4 up to Tayou Road is full of food every night ranging from finger foods to rice meals. The price ranges from NTD 35 to a NTD 100 and it depends on you if you want to spend more and be a glutton. First timers in Taipei usually come here as an addition to their Shilin Night Market experience. Like any other expats in Taiwan, I simply call this place as “Raohe”. Its convenient location from the Songshan Station of the MRT and the TRA makes it possible to have a different kind of dinner with family and friends. 

Since the first time I arrived on this country to my homecoming in the Philippines, I had made a lot of eating adventures in the different night markets of Taiwan. Raohe is one of them. However, I haven't made any exclusive blog post for this night market. The lack of any coverage for this famous place in Taipei prompted me to write a travelogue under my “Delicious Taiwan” program. So sit back, relax and let your gastric juices flow as I take you deep inside to the culinary wonders of Raohe Night Market.



[1] Pepper Pork Bun

Upon entrance to the gate of Raohe beside the Ciyou Temple, you will notice a long line of people. I bet that you will also join the queue once you come here in Raohe even if you don't have any idea on what the visitors are lining for. As I told before in my past food trips that if there is long line in a stall then the food at that store must be good and probably delicious. Here in Raohe, the pepper pork bun is the one that first catches the attention of the crowd. 

While I was in the queue for the pork pepper bun.
Workers were busy preparing the bread

the cylindrical ovens

A lid was opened and I saw the breads!

It was hot near the ovens but I could see the pork pepper buns.

How do they prepare the pork pepper buns? Grounded pork and these minced vegetables were mixed together and placed inside a dough.



the dough
The dough is rounded and made into circular buns and brushed on top with a transparent liquid.

putting sesame seed on the pork pepper buns

After the sesame seeds are placed on top of the bread, it will be then  put inside the oven.

Your ten minutes of waiting will not be wasted because you will have a chance to get close to the hot cylindrical ovens. Wait until a lid is removed. Peek inside and observe the dough of bread placed on the sides of the oven. It gets cooked by the heat of burning charcoal. Watch the workers as they placed grounded pork mixed together with minced leafy vegetables inside a dough. It will be soon sprinkled with sesame seeds once the top of the dough becomes sticky with a mysterious liquid that would be brushed on it. After a batch of the buns have been cooked, the newly prepared batch of dough will soon be placed inside the ovens to meet the needs of the hungry customers.

fresh from the oven



One order of the bread cost NTD 50. Be careful when you hold it because it would be blazing hot. When I made my first bite on the pepper bun, it tasted like an ordinary salted bread in the Philippines with a pork filling inside. But after eating all of it, I felt that my stomach became full. So one bread is enough for one person unless you're very hungry in Raohe.


[2] Ham Cheese Potato

Another heavy meal in Raohe is the Ham Cheese Potato. It's actually a ham cheese potato bake or call it whatever you like. Sliced potatoes are placed on a transparent container and mixed with small pieces of ham. A thick layer of cheese is poured on top making it enticing to it. If you don't like ham, then you can choose pork, chicken and other filling depending on what's available on the menu.

the menu

preparation of my ham cheese potato


A couple (or maybe not) sells this kind of food on the right side of Raohe if you happen to enter at the Bade Road gate. It was the second time that I have seen them and it seems that nothing has changed on their food. They have a Chinese menu but the lady who acts as the cashier could speak English. She explained to me the choices and I chose the ham. Hence, the name “Ham Cheese Potato” for this food in Raohe. 

This food was covered on top with a layer of cheese...

with tidbits of ham...

and potatoes.

Like what I said it is a heavy meal but the real challenge in eating this food is whether you want to eat it while walking along the street or just placed it inside a plastic bag. I opted to carry it. Just imagine yourself walking in a big crowd while holding a transparent container with a thick layer of cheese on top. Then you suddenly drop your spoon. Haha! It will be better eat this NTD 60 meal while sitting on a chair.

pork rib soup

pork rice


[3] Pork Rice and Pork Rib Soup

At the middle of Raohe is an area lined with tables and chairs and this is the best place to eat the Ham Cheese Potato. Just order the classic pork soup for NTD 70 and you won't have any problem while you sit on one of the tables here. Order a tiny bowl of the pork rice for NTD 25 and it would be a perfect combination together for your pork soup. 

It was so busy on this area.



Just your hands to eat the flesh on the bones!

Don't be surprised when your cup of pork soup is brought to your table. Bones of the pork are included and you might need to use your hands to eat the flesh. I did it and and I still enjoyed my meal. If you are not comfortable to eat with your bare hands then use a tissue but I guessed it will be more difficult. There was nothing extraordinary with the bones and if you are a Filipino then you might think that the bones as something like of 'bulalo'. It was the soup that makes it different and when I was sipping it from the hot bowl I thought of the taste something like Taiwanese beef noodles. 

Burp...
The spicy taste of the pork perfectly blended with the sweet taste of the pork rice. The rice meal was not new to me and I remembered my food adventure in Beigang. I ordered a tiny bowl of duck rice and it was so delicious that I would never forget its taste. For this pork rice in Raohe, it is a must to partner it with the pork soup because these two are like husband and wife. 


[4] Chicken Leg Roll

Enough of the heavy meals! Let's talk about a cheap food here in Raohe. Sausages are very affordable for a price of NTD 35 but these are very common in night markets in Taiwan. I was looking for something different in Raohe until I found a man grilling a sausage-looking food. Wrapped in chicken skin were probably tiny chunks of meat. The food was prepared like a sausage and anyone passing by the food stall won't be able to resist its burning aroma.

grilling the chicken leg roll


Choose from these set of condiments


I watched closely as the chicken skin slowly turns into a brown color. Its white spots disappeared fast at the heat cooked the meat inside. Since I don't speak Chinese, I made a V-sign to tell the vendor to give me two chicken leg rolls. Cooking the food took five to ten minutes and when it was ready I was asked whether to put some pepper on it or make it spicy. The vendor could speak English and he explained to me each of the condiments that I could choose from. 



It was still very hot when my order was given but I managed to have my first bite on my food. Its inside was packed with chicken meat and it had a familiar taste of fried chicken only that it was shaped into a sausage. If you are impatient to wait for the long queue in the pork pepper bun then try this chicken leg roll. You would have something to eat while searching for another food in the night market. 


[5] The “egg cells”

I don't know what to call this food so I just described it as the “egg cells”. You would see this dessert on both sides of Raohe and it was easy spot to spot them. Sometimes you would see them smoking like it was taken out from the freezer. They look so appetizing so I gave it a try. For a price of NTD 50, I was given a tray of these soft and chewy glutinous delicacy. The taste was just right to remove the saltiness of the chicken leg roll. The cells come in different colored spheres on its inside and it was covered with a translucent layer. 





The translucent layer of the “egg cells” was a mystery to me. While other customers were busy making buying their orders, I had the chance to observe how the “egg cells” were made. A viscous white liquid was scooped and put into a tray like marbles. I wasn't able to know if beneath the white liquid was glutinous rice or something made of taro but I was very sure that the colored balls were covered with the mysterious white layer until it hardens. 




The cells were somewhat sticky and a toothpick made it easier to eat this type of food in Raohe. But once you made your first bite, you would definitely crave for more. It was not so sweet and one order was enough to be shared to other people. There was nothing spectacular about the colored spheres because they tasted like ordinary taro balls in Jiufen. 


[6] Mango-Kiwi-Strawberry Shaved Ice

Last but not the least was my mango-kiwi-strawberry shaved ice. There are many stalls in Raohe selling this kind of food and you just have to look around until you see one. From those with red beans to only a single type of sliced fruit, Raohe will always have a wide selection of this dessert. I already ate inside a big dessert shop a long time ago and I wanted try something new. 

The menu and the one on the lower right corner is my order.

I was able to find one stall in the middle of Raohe where a sliced fruits can be easily seen. It was so tempting to eat that I immediately looked for the menu. A woman approached me and explained to me in English the desserts that they offer. The ice can be ordinary frozen water which was described by the vendor as “water ice” or if you want something fancy then try the “milk ice”.

the ice crusher

the ingredients

putting slices of mangoes on the shaved ice

mango-strawberry shaved ice dessert

My order! The mango-kiwi-strawberry shaved ice dessert

Slices of either mango, kiwi or strawberry can be added on the ice as a single type of fruit only or a mix of two or all of the flavors. I chose the three-flavored shaved ice where all the fruits were placed on my “water ice”. After each fruit was placed above the ice, thick syrup was added making my food richer in taste. At the end of the preparation, condensed milk was poured in a zigzag motion. If this wasn't enough to make it tastier, gelatin was then added to my order until my NTD 120 shaved iced dessert was placed on my table.



when the ice melted

Uhm... 

Still colorful!

Its arrangement was so colorful that I was thinking not eat it at all. The green color of the kiwi, the redness of the strawberry and the shades of yellow from the slices of mango were a perfect combination. Mixing it caused the ice melt but its liquid form made the dessert more delightful to eat. I wonder if it would taste better if I had chosen the “milk ice”. 



Okonomiyaki looks like scrambled eggs.

And this ends my night market adventure in Raohe. There were still interesting food to eat like the okonomiyaki which costs NTD 60. Unfortunately, my stomach was already full although I still have some money to spend on it. Maybe next time, I will come back again and make my blog roar with another RaRaRaohe.

My orders: 
1. ham cheese potato: NTD 60 
2. pork pepper bun: NTD 50 
3. egg cells: NTD 50 
4. pork rice: NTD 25 
5. pork rib soup: NTD 70 
6. chicken leg roll: NTD 35 x2 
7. mango-kiwi-strawberry shaved ice: NTD 120
Total: NTD 445

Overall eating experience: 4 out of 5 “luomujie” stars

a walk in Raohe Night Market (饒河夜市)

Bade Road Section 4 with Ciyou Temple

Address: Raohe St, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105

How to get here:
By MRT: Board the MRT to Songshan Station. Go to Exit 5 and cross the Bade Road Section 4 to reach the night market. 
By TRA: Board any TRA local train going to Songshan Station in the Taipei Line. Walk towards the Bade Bade Road Section 4. The entrance of Raohe Night Market is beside the Ciyou Temple.
By bus: Board Bus 203,205,276,306,605,668,678,711,1032,1191,2021 or 9069. Alight at Songshan Rail Station (Bade) and cross Section 4 Bade Road towards Ciyou Temple.
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