That's actually as touristy as it gets though, hurhur. Rather than making the rounds stuffing our faces with as much variety of snacks we we could stomach, and getting overwhelmed by the sheer number of different stalls peddling their fare, AB led us in a beeline for his favourite "must eat stall" - Zhong's Original Shanghai Pan-fried Dumplings (鐘記原上海生煎包). Ever since he tried it years ago on a friend's recommendation, he makes it a point to come by each time he visits the market. There was a meandering queue despite the back-alley location of the stall, but it moves pretty quickly - we got our orders within 15 minutes, credit to a very organised and swift production line for kneading and filling the dumplings with either a pork or cabbage filling, then steaming them gently before pan frying them such that the bottom of the dumplings are a satisfying crispy brown. AB had declared that everyone should have three dumplings to maximise the enjoyment, but I had my sights on MY favourite and insisted on just having the one pork dumpling. Was I glad I stuck to my guns - although I was pretty famished by the time we got the orders, the smaller-than-palm-sized dumpling definitely packed a punch in taking up tummy real estate, and no wonder. It's the denser dough, not your usual fluffy chinese bun texture, but not cloying and done just right with a touch of chewiness that I guess the Taiwanese would call 彈牙, while the meat had no porky taste but was just perfectly seasoned. It was pretty tasty, and that one dumpling hit the spot in warming the tummy too. Yum.
Then to the amazement of AB and his parents, I queued and ordered a humongous fried chicken cutlet - the original Hot Star stall which started the fried chicken craze in Singapore too. Massively tickled that the name is a play on their infamous signature 豪大大雞排. Heeheehee. I remembered this being the one item I wanted to try on my first trip to Taipei years ago, and was glad that I wasn't disappointed this time either. It's still that gigantic piece of glorious crispy, spicy, artery-clogging yumminess. I chomped on that massive piece nearly all by myself (disclaimer: I was very happy to share! But none of the party were fans of fried chicken, although AB was curious and stole quite a few bites). Hurhurhur. I was stuffed by the time I was done, but no regrets! :D
While we didn't linger too long, we did take a short stroll through some of the alleys, and tried some other snacks, sipping on fresh lime and lemon juice that was perfect after the meats and oil we ingested. Didn't make it to the collection of stalls that were supposedly mostly clustered in basement foodcourt of sorts, but it still made a nice adventure for AB's parents, heh.
|Left: Big Star Fried Chicken. Right: Zhong's Shanghai pan fried dumplings.|
OOF. I remember those Taiwanese 油炸雞扒 are gigantic! How could you even fit it in??? Hurhurhur.
I like reading about your trip in this way. It's like, you don't need to text your friends about it, but when writing it down and having your friends read it, that's fun too.
@imp: Heehee, that's why I rationed my stomach to leave plenty of space for it!
Yea it's fun to write! Good way to remember the trip when I read back too. :D
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