Kaohsiung City Night Market is a lot like Maxwell Street Market, except it serves only Asian food, is open every night, and you must walk gingerly through it to avoid being flattened by lawless, insouciant scooter pilots (the sense of danger may heighten appetite).
It was very crowded on a Wednesday night.
I just filed an article about blood, and I’d never had pork blood on-a-stick until last night. This version was bland: I was expecting a burst of mineral flavor, but it was just gummy (combo of glutinous grain -- rice or maybe wheat -- and coagulated blood). If it wasn't for the cayenne mixture the vendor sprinkled on top, it would have had no taste at all. I tossed after three bites.
There was a LOT of food on offer that I could not identify:
Had to laugh when I walked past a woman scrunching up her face as she took a bite of stinky tofu; I been there. (Earlier, I thought I caught a whiff of this odoriferous snack, only to realize I was merely standing near a sewer; the two smells are alarmingly similar).
Finally, after having some very good noodles and a mushy elote (yes, even here!), I came upon this vendor with a sign documenting the momentous meeting of little fowl and little crustacean:
This street eat I enjoyed a lot, for its inventiveness (note tiny little chopsticks -- way to pull through a concept) but also for the rich quail egg and salty shrimp, sprinkle of herbs, sharpness of pickles (seemed Japanese type) and squirt of cream. There was a hunk of fresh pineapple in there for sweet-savoriness. The eggs had a slight, thin crispy breading, and there were four half-eggs here for under $2, the deal of the week.
This last meal of the day almost made me forget the spectacular lunch I had at The Wild Duck in Shuili.
A little reminiscent of salt and pepper shrimp at Little Three Happiness, these tiny little people were lightly fried and had loads of flavor, complemented by small chilies that packed a lot more heat than I’m used to having in Taiwanese food. I don’t have an address for The Wild Duck, but Shuli is a small town, and this booming neighborhood place is right across from the roadside stand where they sell betel nuts, which made my throat feel weird. But that is another story.
“We all have to stand before the kitchen gods.” Chef Jacob Sahaya Kumar Aruni