Monday, October 05, 2009

night market/taiwanese: i strongly recommend LEHUA NIGHT MARKET

Yonghe Road and Zhongshan Road

MRT: DingXi Station

website: Public Health Bureau
hours: 4 PM- 1 AM


Kid friendliness: lots to eat and play, though can be crowded

Visit reviewed: 5/20/2009

Stinky tofu- check!

Shaved ice- check!

Cute animals to gawk at -check!

Cheap goods to bargain for- check! And rows and rows to shop and eat- check.

Now you know you are at a Taipei night market.

When I first came back to Taipei after 17 years for the infamous Love Boat, the only night market I knew about was Shilin. After all, that was the closest one to campus and easy to get to. It was the biggest and the best, so there was no need to discover any others. But since living and eating in Taipei with it being my home, there's an abundance of awesome night markets here.

Lehua Night Market has all those things, plus a few variations of the familiar, located in Yong He, a suburb which is a bit southwest of downtown Taipei city. I have an aunt that lives in Yonghe, so she is always wanting to take us there to eat, but I've only been there twice. It's definitely worth visiting.

It's the first time I had Snowflake Ice or "Shue Hua Bing" which is shaved ice with milk in it already, which my aunt delighted in being the first person to introduce it to me and my sister. "What?! You NEVER had shue hua bing before? Never?" she exclaimed in shock to both of us, in Mandarin.

Nope, never. But it was pretty fantastic. The ice itself is superfine, like how you would imagine sticking out your tongue and eating freshly fallen snow. It's also a bit sweet, since the ice has milk in it instead of water. Then of course, you dump more condensed milk ontop and your choice of toppings- pudding is pretty good- to eat before it melts on a hot summer night.

Or you can opt for Aiyu bing or a lemon jelly with chunky ice that we got with boba. But I'd pick the snowflake ice!

After the sweet, we had some salty, or should I say stinky. Apparently, this vendor is pretty famous and has the newsclips to prove it.

The stinky tofu had some of the crispiest skin I'd ever tasted, like a crunchy shell to the spongy pungent inside. Complete with a heap of pickled cabbage and sauce, the guy deserved his newsclips- it was some of the best stinky tofu I've had.

So wander over the Lehua night market if you've never been. It's oh so sweet and stinky.

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SinoSoul said...

I was at a Mid-Autumn Moon Festival and saw "Go 2 Taiwan"'s booth which immediately reminded me to visit your site again. They had stinky tofu at the festival but it doesn't look anything like what you posted. Super sad face.

abstractpoet said...

Oh man, I have such a craving for stinky tofu! The few places that make it here just don't go stinky enough...

Taufulou said...

ahh..just love your site.
tw is in my travel list next year.
just cant wait to hunt all this food.

MEK said...

So That's what it's called. The first time I had shaved ice was at Shilin night market, and it was the kind you wrote about today with milk already in the ice. I thought it was fantastic and have been disappointed ever since with shaved ice - I will need to look specifically for this kind to avoid future disappoints!!

joanh said...

sinosoul: thanks for visiting again! it's hard to find good stinky tofu in the states! i'll trade you some for some carne asada tacos. hahah

abstractpoet: yah, this place made it super crispy too!

taufulou: thanks! hope you find some good eats

MEK: i actually haven't had shue hua bing at shihlin, but i know it's there. it's definitely different than regular shaved ice. glad to help!

joanh said...

MEK: btw, is your blog still online? can't seem to get on it.

Joel Haas said...

I'm with your sister WHAT! YOU NEVER HAD SHUE HUA BING??!! You should have taken and posted some photos of the vendors making it. I'll be glad to email you some of my vendor over sat Shilin making some. It's a pretty ingenious process with round frozen 4 inch cakes of ice being set on a drill press and ground or shaved with a round sort of cheese grater.

kirbie said...

I've never had snowflake shaved ice either! I'll have to try it next time I go to Taiwan. It sounds delicious.

KK said...

My inlaws live in Yongho and I've been to this Lir Hua night market at least 3 times. There are quite a few excellent gems here. The stinky tofu is great for sure.

- Look for Ah Guor Hsia Ren Gunh, they specialize in shrimp in thickened broth. It's so damn good. Even better is their Tu Tuor Yu Gunh, which is a stuffed and fried fish from Tainan. NT$50 I think. Pic here:

-In Dec 08 when I was last there, there was a vendor that sold various styles of Malaysian/Indian Teh Tarik (hand pulled milk tea) and they could make it any style (British, Hong Kong, Okinawa with black sugar etc). They pour the tea in a thick black bag (almost like an American trash bag). Strong brew, but good stuff

- There was a vendor there doing Xinjian spicy lamb skewers. Ace stuff

- One of the sit down restaurants there had good generic fare, including smoked shark's skin.

I'm going back end of the year, will visit Lir Hua again fo sho.

brian said...

i've had stinky tofu three times...and will keep trying it. when i go there maybe i'll check this place out...

that custard ice looks awesome!

joanh said...

Joel Haas: hahah. yeah, I'll have to take more pics of the "making of" next time. I guess I was too busy waiting for my food in anticipation! :)

kirbie: ok good, i'm not the only one! :)

KK: thanks for the other recs!

brian: thanks for the comment! i can't eat it when it's too pungent, but i find that the kimchee/sauce and frying helps a lot.

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