Moving on with my Taipei escapades, once we were happily settled in our room at CityInn Hotel Plus, we put on our jackets (it was around 12C) and walked across the street to be immersed in the night life of Ximending. It was extremely convenient for us since we only had to cross a street and everything was accessible. The retail shops, the street food, the restaurants, you name it. We started our hunt for street food immediately, starting with the shop that had the longest queue – Ay Chung Flour-Rice Noodles.
Crowd in front of Ay-Chung Noodles
It was almost impossible to miss this shop, no thanks to the big crowd slurping piping hot noodles in front, as well as the consistently long queue. Being the curious tourists that we were, we took our places in the queue as well, and didn’t regret it. The line moved in a consistent and fast manner, with customers served within seconds of ordering. The only drawback was that there’s no place to sit. Everyone would have to eat the noodles standing, which perhaps added to the fun.
Smooth and tasty vermicelli (NTD30)
In the cold post-winter night, it was not just delicious, but very, very comforting. The noodles were soft and slippery smooth, with morsels of pig intestines that gave it a nice bite. Add on some garlic and chilli sauce, and it’s the perfect formula to cure a cold and hungry tummy. This was easily one of the best meals we had in Taipei, for we found ourselves returning to it for a total of 4 times the span of one week. For a tourist, that certainly speaks a lot.
Giant Taiwanese sausage as a side
Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodles
No.8-1, Emei St., Wanhua District, Taipei City
Ximending at dusk
Apart from the noodles, we spotted quite a few street food stalls scattered around Ximending, mostly illegal I’d assume, because we saw them pushing the carts and running when there were officers coming for inspection. There were some which we were already accustomed to, such as sweet potato balls and fried tofu, and some which were quite new such as BBQ liver.
Sweet potato balls
BBQ squid and more
Of particular mention was the muachee, or peanut-coated glutinous rice balls. They have always been my favorite and I have had a fair share of them over the years, but these found along the streets of Ximending were very fragrant and crunchy, with soft and warm insides. Usually, I would find it cloying after eating a few pieces, but I found myself munching a whole box of it away!
Muachee / Mochi
The next morning, we headed to Ximending again in search of breakfast. It was amazing how different the place was in the early morning, before most businesses started. Most of the retail shops were only open after 11am, and there were no street food available. In other words, it was actually, quiet.
Ximending in the morning
witch and Saucer at Ximending
The famous Red House Theatre
In the end, we settled for one of the stalls called 365 that was open in the morning. The selection of food was not much, but it was enough to keep us full for the morning. They were mostly quite tasty but not memorable. We didn’t return to the shop in the days after.
Oyster omelette (NTD60)
There you have it, our first night and day scouring the streets of Ximending. Our next location was to Yang Ming Shan, which didn’t turn out quite well due to the rainy weather. That would be coming up in the following post!
*Note: Read the rest of my Taiwan Escapade here!