Keelung night market
Rénsān Rd, Renai District
(near Keelung Train Station)
The first thing any tourist spots as they exit the station, walk through the overhead staircase, then toward the harbour, is the massive 25m×18m×18m yellow rubber duck. This was created Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, with the aim of ‘spreading joy around the world’, since 2007. (wiki page). We ended up view it just days before it met its unfortunate end, as a deflated yellow puddle… I was a little sad we missed such an exciting pre-2014 explosion!
As we were walking to Keelung night markets, we first came across another block of little night market stalls. Which had some decent offerings.
Dumplings at 60NTD were o.k. nothing to write home about, but decent. 6/10.
Then we thought we were buying sweet potato fries…. but to my distant realised I had just bitten into STINKY TOFU! Something, even as a food blogger, that I was intending not to eat. It was o.k and palatable. That’s what you get for forgetting a large chunk of your mandarin language skills. It didn’t look the like the regular stinky tofu on a stick. This had been crumbed and deep-fried, and then doused in hot sauce. The consistency of the stinky tofu was rather like eating into a dish sponge… 3/10.
Okay now on to real sweet potato fries… this was a good cleanser to get rid of the stinky tofu after-taste. I like how these stalls re-deep-fry their fries, so that they are piping hot when you bite into them. Mmmm. 7/10.
Next was the lightly battered deep-fried squid. This was the nicest thing we ate at these markets. A massive fresh uncooked squid is lightly battered and deep-fried behind the stall fresh to order. It is then drained for a couple of mins, then cut up into little pieces, and as it’s cut, you can see how tender and succulent the squid is as the juices just ooze out. It is much like a squid version of the Hot Star large fried chicken! … Yum, I give it 8.5/10
We then walked away from the small night markets, and through a shed with an inordinate and perhaps slightly disturbing amount of Keelung yellow rubber duck merchandise. The city and I’m sure Mr Florentijn Hofman are counting the dollar bills as we speak. From arcade games to toys, clothes, balloons, these little yellow rubber duck ‘bunny-rabbit-multipliers’ are everywhere.
We then finally reached the night markets, which are a few minutes walk from the station. I would say it’s worth going to. It’s fairly large with lots of food mainly.
I kind of liked how there were obviously fixed stalls, with signboards in English labeling what each one sold. I guess it does come across as slightly more touristy though.
Next and last food adventure at Keelung was my first taste of Taiwanese shaved ice desserts at Ice-Galaxy.
We ordered mango ice with fresh strawberries, and then just plain strawberry ice. Really enjoyed this experience. The ice is so soft and pillowy. I liken it to how shaved chocolate curls are made, it has that same consistency, but with ice. A bit like snow, if you push the spoon down, it would compact together, and then once it hits your tongue it starts to melt with the fruity flavours. The mango ice was better than the strawberry ice. I was surprised at how the strawberry ice was slightly creamy in texture. 180 NTD, I would eat it again, particularly the mango ice in a heart-beat. (Be careful though, paw-paw and mango look surprising the same on the menu, so be sure to specify (and often the stall holders can make out the names in english for you) so you don’t receive a wrong fruit choice.
Some final pics of the market…