Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Nanjichang Night Market (南機場夜市) [Taipei kong mahal 180328: Please Fall in Line]


I have a good technique whenever I go to night markets.   To identify the food stalls that offer the best food, I just look for the one with a long queue.  It seems natural for people to behave in this way.  Our intuition would tell us that the reason that why there are people falling in line in front of a food kiosk is  because they knew that the food there is great.  It doen't matter if takes a long time as long as their taste buds are satisfied.  One night market in Taipei is known for these long queues of customers, even if the stalls are not yet open.  And I went there to join the line.





Nanjichang Night Market might not be on your itinerary when you visit Taipei but this food haven is something not to miss out.  The cold winter months is a great time to look for something warm to eat on this place in Taipei.  Although during my visit last winter, I was not sure of what kind of Taiwanese food to eat here.

How to get to Nanjichang Market?  Board the MRT to reach Chiang-Kai Shek Memorial Station.  Go to Exit 2 and walk towards Nanhai Road where you will find the Jiangou High School (Nat'l Museum of History) stop [Google Map].  Board Bus 204  and alight at the Nanjichang Apartment stop.




The Shānnèi Chicken Restaurant (山內雞肉) is located at the entrance of the night market.

From the bus stop, I walked towards Section 2, Zhonghua Road until I found the gate of the night market.  Just beside the entrance were customers standing in front of Shānnèi Chicken Restaurant (山內雞肉).   The young and old wait patiently for their turn to be served a delicious plate of the restaurant's signature dish.  I followed my instinct that the food here was really delicious. My only problem was how to tell the person who was receiving the orders on which food I want.  While on the line, I saw customers eating something on their table so I took photos of their food and I decided that this would be my meal. Haha!

Since I cannot speak Chinese,  I took a photo of the order of one customer and showed it to the restaurant staff.






I waited patiently and when it was my turn I showed the photo of the dishes that the other customers were eating.  Saying my orders became easy with the picture that I showed to one of the kitchen staff.   I was immediately given a tray and one by one my orders were put there.  A rice meal consisting of beef strips and one boiled egg became my main dinner at Shānnèi Chicken.   Their chicken dish was also part of my meal seat.  

I sat on one the tables near the long line of people.  They watched me as I enjoy eating my food.  I love the strips of beef especially the rice which was flavored with sweet pork sauce.  The chicken also tasted good.  It was put on an oblong shape platter and with some garnishings.   Eating the chicken with chopsticks was a bit of challenge until I decided to use my hands.  This kind of food is so common on Taiwan and I had eaten a similar kind of chicken dish in Taiwan Day 715 (Plan B) and Taiwan Day  834 in my Beigang food trip.  The two meals were not chicken but actually duck meat but I really like it especially the one in Yunlin.









Removing the aftertaste of Shānnèi Chicken became an easy task with a hot soup of red beans.  It was the typical tangyuan kind of food in Taiwan where sticky rice flour is rolled into small balls.    Aside from the tangyuan, there were also tapioca balls and some red beans that added color to my dessert.  The soup was not too hot but its sweetness was enough to remove the salty taste of the chicken that I ate.





Thinking that what I have was enough, I strolled around the night market and observed which other food stalls were popular.  There was a ramen house and on display on their cart were plastic models of the different kinds of ramen that you can buy.  They looked very real and probably one of the reasons people patiently stand at the back, and wait for the other customers to finish eating their noodles. 




Do you love to eat fried chicken?  There was a food stall where customers go crazy about.  Visitors were clumping in groups and vying to take home a few pieces of a fried chicken.  I did not buy anything because I was already full but based on the crowd I can say this chicken food stall had captured the taste buds of the Taiwanese.  


Near the end of the Nanjichang Night Market is another store where locals follow a queue.  Three people were selling some kind of pancakes which comes in different shapes.   I don't know the Chinese name of the food and I just described the food as a “flat”.  I ordered one which is just like an ordinary bread with no filling inside.  It was hot when I received it but when it cooled down it became difficult to eat.  The circular flatbread has a red bean filling inside and it was like “piaya” that Filipinos love to eat.  Of the two flatbreads, I chose the circular one because of the sweet feeling inside.



cheat sheet in buying bubble tea from  Ching Shin Fu Chuan Tea Station


If you got thirsty here, then don't worry because there are numerous bubble tea stores to choose from.  I bought a cup of wintermelon drink at Ching Shin Fu Chuan Tea Station (清心福全冷飲站)
.  I got addicted to its taste and no wonder that this brand of bubble tea had existed in Taiwan for three decades.  The staff were also friendly and thought of me as a “tourist” in Taiwan. Haha!



Ā nán Sesame Chicken Restaurant (阿男麻油雞)

While looking for good food in the night market, I saw a long line of people.  I tried to check what the Taiwanese were going crazy about and I saw that the store was not yet opened.  It was 5:30 pm and the people seemed to be lining up for nothing.   Around 7:00 pm,  the line became longer and longer and I got curious what the store was all about.  I hesitated to join the queue until I found out that it was a chicken soup meal of the Ā nán Sesame Chicken Restaurant (阿男麻油雞) and it looked so delicious.









It took me one hour just to reach the end of the line and be served with an invigorating soup with some pieces of check leg meat.  Ordering was very simple I just said “jirou” which means chicken and the guy that I'm taking to mimicked the action of slicing a meat.  The chicken was just ordinary but the soup was the one that I think deserves to be mentioned.  There was just something about it made it so addicting.  Even though your stomach is full you would still crave for it.   I even saw the helpers carry a giant pot of soup coming from somewhere to refill the store's giant pan.  



Nanjichang Night Market in winter focused on hot foods that would make our hearts warm.  It is a perfect place to experience authentic Taiwanese food that will force every food lover to follow a queue.  So in this night market, always be respectful of others.  Be an ant, follow the order of people, because a Taiwanese might tell you to please fall in line.

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My order:
Shānnèi Chicken:  chiken + beef strips and rice + soup = NTD 150
tangyuan red bean soup: NTD 40
folded flatbread + circular flatbread: The circle one cost NTD 12, the other one is NTD 15
chicken soup at  Ā nán sesame restaurant : NTD 100
winter melon tea: NTD 35
Total: 150+40+15+12+100+35=NTD 352

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Nanjichang Night Market
Address:  Lane 307, Section 2, Zhonghua Road, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City, 100
[Google Map]
How to get here: Board Bus 12, 204, 212, 223, 250, 670, 671, 673 and Blue 29.  Get off at Nanjichang Apartment stop and walk towards the night market.


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