Taiwan’s unequivocal charm revolves around its night markets. Capping off our stay in Taichung was an evening stroll to Yizhong Street Night Market, a happening place in the northern district of the city, for a taste of a few local eats.
Hard to be believe that it’s already been a year since visiting the dreamland came to be true! Snippets of this trip often come across my mind and give me a sense of ease and calm that I need on schooldays of stress and no-sleep. I was never one to take note of dates of memorable days, but I can’t help but scour my planner and realize how this was all exactly a year ago. And this time, the wanderlust blues hitting me are like no other. Taiwan, I miss you the most.
As we were still quite full from the milk tea and bread we had hours prior our trip to the night market, we only got to sample a bit of the night market’s many food choices. With an endless array of dishes and drinks available, it can be overwhelming to know and decide what to choose from, especially when they all look and seem equally appetizing. But as they all say, eat where the locals eat! Or better yet, let’s put it this way—the long lines are worth it.
Minus the mayonnaise and oyster sauce, I’d like to think that this is Taiwan’s version of takoyaki. We also shared a meal of crispy salty-spicy chicken strips drenched in vinegar. Cheap and fulfilling, because one can never go wrong with street food.
I have a confession to make: I never got to know what stinky tofu tastes (or worse, smells!) like, and yes, that’s a regret. What. It’s like going to Japan and not eating sashimi! Still punching myself in the gut for not being able to do so (hehe, see what I did there).
Aside from the thriving food culture, the night market also has its fair share of clothing stalls. Many of the items sold are similar to what one can get at Divisoria or Greenhills, but even so, they’re heavily marked up, so you’re better off buying from the mentioned establishments instead. Perhaps, Taiwan isn’t exactly a shopping mecca when it comes to clothes, but really, I don’t mind—this country easily trumps others in many more significant aspects which I could make a list of, one of which is what else—food!
Clearly not the best picture with that unflattering angle and all that grain, but here I am browsing through the racks of NET, a local brand that happens to be Taiwan’s H&M or something like that. I remember seeing nice pullovers and sweaters, but they still lean more towards the expensive side especially for a cheapskate like I am (never have I been labeled such word until college came—in this relatively short time of being a university student, it has already immensely changed my life in many ways possible), haha.
Many establishments offer quirky, unique finds so browsing through them should not be missed. And SNSD—are they even allowed to use that name? Well, even so, it definitely caught my attention, as you can see.
This adorable pup paused our pace as we were passing through the alleys of the night market.
And earned a few new friends, too!
Oddly enough, we were always mistaken as Japanese tourists in Taiwan. It was quite hard to get by in Taichung (compared to Taipei) when conversing with others in English alone, so it was in this city where I had to squeeze all my linguistic Mandarin juices out (or lack thereof) to be able to get my message across! It was frustratingly fun ordering from this milk tea stall and it took us a good five minutes to be able to do so. The sellers immediately assumed we were Japanese, and kept on repeating the greeting of moshi moshi to us. They asked if I could speak Chinese, and did a hand sign signalling that I knew just a tiny bit. The only thing they understood from me was when I said， “一杯！“ to which they repeated in their delight. Ah, I actually said something right!, I cried. It’s like all the things I’ve known in these lazy years of learning just came to be, and wow, things never felt so real.
As shallow this might be to a lot of people, it was in Yizhong where I had a taste of what to me is ultimately the best milk tea I’ve ever had in my entire lifetime of obsession with cha (and I thought nothing could surpass Dakasi’s charcoal roasted milk tea). Funny how many of the great things we come across are those we find in places so unexpected—in unassuming corners, hidden alleys, or hole-in-the-wall stalls.
I actually still don’t know what it was made of, but that sip was definitely life-changing! That milk tea that changed my life is called 大岛奶茶, and according to translation is Oshima milk tea—a hidden gem, indeed.
And with that, Z Tea, I’m coming back for thee.
Awkward stand and sip. And what’s up with my bag being so low?
Two hours of incessant walking proved to be quite draining, so here we are masking our tired faces with pa-cute selfies, but what’s new, haha. Worry-free days like this I sorely miss.
I know how Fengjia Night Market gets much of the spotlight when it comes to Taichung’s evening places, but I do recommend taking a stroll around Yizhong Night Market—from my experience, it was way less crowded (considering the fact that Fengjia is located right next to a university), which really makes a ton of difference in the overall experience of shopping, nomming, and just simply getting by around! With it being easily accessible from Chung Yo Department Store, it’s not a very hard spot to miss.
Yizhong Street Night Market / 一中街夜市 Yizhong Street, North District, Taichung / 台中市北区一中街