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Kaohsiung, Taiwan: What to see and do at Ruifeng Night Market (Including buying a whole box of Taiwanese Instant Noodles!!!)

Kaohsiung, Taiwan: What to see and do at Ruifeng Night Market (Including buying a whole box of Taiwanese Instant Noodles!!!)

If you read my earlier posts, you would have guessed that I visited Taiwan recently. As part of that trip, I visited yet another Taiwanese Night Market: Ruifeng Night Market. I previously wrote about my experience visiting Ziqiang Night Market and Liouhe Night Market here. Ruifeng presented a totally different ball game altogether.

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Unlike Ziqiang and Liouhe, Ruifeng isn’t a night market that runs parallel and along the sides of a road. Instead, its a market squeezed into a large open space. The stalls are set out in rows with pathways cutting through that are no wider than 5 abreast. So it may be a squeeze walking through these paths as you browse the stalls. Do expect to face mini-jams when you are there as people tend to just stop abruptly to either to look at something or buy that delicious snack from one those bright eye catching stalls.

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My personal favorite is the grilled beef cubes (and I strongly recommend you try this). The chef will blast a juicy chunk of  steak with a blow torch searing both sides with that beautiful brown crust before cutting it down into bite sizes:

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There are also small eating areas managed by certain stalls that sell more substantive food instead of snacks. So if you want to have a proper meal, it is still possible:

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While I had branded Liouhe Night Market as being touristy (and with that, touristy prices applying), Ruifeng brings that to a whole new level.  If you are trying to find a lively place to spend your evening Ruifeng is one such possible spot. The atmosphere was great but I would prefer a less crowded environment.

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Th night market offers not only food and some shopping but also some friendly entertainment like archery or BB guns.

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Try your hand at one of these games. An easy game to win at such night markets are the BB guns. Super easy if you know what you are doing. A few tips to be a marksman for the day (I managed to get a 30/30 that night before being shooed away to the prize gallery):

  • Know your “master” eye. Unlike in the movies, not all of us aim with our right eye. If you are aiming with your right eye when your master eye is your left, you are doing it all wrong!
  • Hold your breath. Yes, you should hold your breath before taking a shot.
  • Squeeze trigger lightly. You don’t want your gun going off target, do you?

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Pro Tip (Where to buy carton boxes of Instant Noodles while in Kaohsiung, Taiwan):

For my Singaporean and Malaysian readers (actually, it applies to all my readers ><), if you are wondering where to get cheaper Taiwanese instant noodles to bring back home instead of buying from the many Family Marts and 7-11s around your hotel, Ruifeng offers a great opportunity as it is located close to a local supermarket. Supermarket = cheaper instant noodle prices!

The best part is that the supermarket has a packing area near the entrance where you can pick up carton boxes for free to pack your purchased products. Yes, it comes with carton boxes and also tape to seal those boxes with.

You can now check-in a whole box (or boxes) of instant noodles at the airport! Of course, there are many other supermarkets but if you are already at Ruifeng, why not just tick that off the list of things to do. You can then take a cab back to your hotel with your box of loot.

Address: Carrefour Nan-Ping Branch, 813, Taiwan, Kaohsiung City, Zuoying District, 南屏路369號

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Jonker Walk Night Market, Melaka – Review, Tips and Alternative Locations

Jonker Walk Night Market, Melaka – Review, Tips and Alternative Locations

If you have been following my blog posts, you would have accompanied me for the entire day I spent in Melaka. We covered quite a bit so far: Lunching on Peranakan food at Nancy’s Kitchen and visiting the historic sites in Melaka. We have now come to the end of the day and in need of our night entertainment to finish an awesome trip. Thankfully, the next destination is within walking distance from the Dutch Square where we last finished.

If you had the Watermelons or the Cendol by the river as suggested, you just need to cross the bridge and you would have reached the famous Jonker Walk Street. Jonker Walk Street is the main street of Melaka’s Chinatown and has its own night market every Friday and Saturday. The night market is one the more lively ones I have seen so far in Malaysia and is more “local” featuring things locals would buy instead of just selling plain old souvenirs. Yes, I am referring to you, Batu Ferringhi (a night market in Penang, Malaysia).

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Crossing the bridge

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Sanshugong

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The first main building that you will see belongs to Sanshugong (三叔公). Sanshugong is a shop specialising in the sale of local products. Whether be it coffee, tea or some local biscuits, Sanshugong should have them.

My personal favourites are the crispy peanut pancakes and also the peanut candies:

If you are there, why not give them a try?

Street Stalls @ Jonker Walk

Once you walk past Sanshugong, you will see stalls lining both sides of the street. As the street is rather small, it can be quite packed so just beware of your pockets and also your little ones. What I think makes this night market stand out is the contrast these stalls have against the traditional 1960-70’s shophouses in the background.

The street you are on will go on for quite a bit and you will mostly find stalls selling snacks and also other consumer goods. There will be a turning towards the end which will bring you to the main food area. There will be different push carts and also “fixed” stalls selling different types of street food. If you find it troublesome to locate a seat, you can always walk into a shophouse or unit being managed by a group of hawkers. These stalls band together to put up tables and chairs and each sector is managed by a group of stalls. The idea being that each sector monopolises on the customers using their tables and chairs (I think this rule is flexible and if you order most of your food from that one sector, the hawkers will likely close an eye to “outside” food).

We decided to plop ourselves down in one of these “managed areas” having discovered that our secret hideaway restaurant has since closed down. Each hawker in these “managed areas” would have its own staff going around. We had to order separately from the respective stalls as there was no centralised ordering system. We decided to go with the cockles with spicy dipping sauce, BBQ Sambal Stingray, stir fried clams, fried mini crabs, chicken satays, Nonya Laksa and Assam Lasksa. I personally liked the fried mini crabs for their crunch (who doesn’t like munching down on crispy stuff anyway), the cockles and the sambal stingray:

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Look how tender that sambal stingray is!!! The meat just comes off easily ><

Durian Puffs

On the way back, I saw a shop selling durian puffs. DURIAN PUFFS!!!

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For the benefit of my foreign readers, durian is a fruit (some say the king of fruits) native to parts of Asia. Some people regard the fruit as having a pleasantly sweet fragrance; others find the aroma overpowering and disgusting.

Personally, I think it depends on two things. One, whether I am actually going to eat or am eating durians. This makes a difference and I do get annoyed by the smell if I’m not actually eating the fruit. Two, the quality of the durians you are eating. In my humble opinion, I think premium durians may be easier for a first timer than the cheaper durians. Taste wise, it’s like a very rich custard paste. My Japanese friend describes it as being close to the taste of “Cheese” (I would hazard it being close to blue cheese ><)

One easy way for a first timer to try durians would be to have them as part of a dessert rather than the actual fruit itself. It may be cheaper on the wallet if you really can’t take the smell or taste.

Despite me being already full, my stomach somehow made some space for more food. I got myself 6 puffs. Unlike those in Singapore, the durian cream isn’t as thick and makes it easier to eat larger amounts without having a case of diminishing marginal returns.

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Durian puffs… an awesome way to finish an awesome night!

For those who want more of a dine-in dinner experience rather than street food or you have arrived in Melaka on a weekday, you can consider trying out the restaurants at the Portuguese Settlement (at a different location). This area opens up in the evening and serves Portuguese food as well as seafood. While I did not have a chance to visit and review the food on offer there, my colleague had in fact recommended I give that place a try. So why not try it out for me and let me know in the comments below.

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Review / Guide : Kaohsiung – Night Markets

Review / Guide : Kaohsiung – Night Markets

Review: Kaohsiung – Night Markets

If you are in Taiwan, night markets are a must do.

Whether you are looking for a quick cheap bite, shopping or plain simple fun, these night markets promise to deliver with their different food stalls selling food items as cheap as TWD 45 (USD 1.5 / SGD 2) to grilled palm sized oysters for TWD 250 (USD8.3 / SGD 11.20), clothing and other items and also game booths.

When I was in Kaohsiung the last week, I managed to squeeze in two night markets (for the first time in so many business trips to Kaohsiung): Liouhe Night Market and Ziqiang Night Market.

Liouhe Night Market

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Also known as Liuhe Night Market, it is a pedestrian only street that is lined with stalls on both sides from end to end selling food items. So if you are a foodie and are not interested in doing any substantive amount of shopping and/or visiting the game booths, Liouhe Night Market is just right for you.

The market has a bit of everything. You can find your papaya milkshake (apparently quite popular among tourists and locals alike) and other “small eats” ranging from teppanyaki beef cubes, grilled seafood, Taiwanese Oyster Mee Sua (i.e. wheat noodles):

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Look at the size of those things!

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Oyster Mee Sua

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Papaya Milkshake Store “木瓜牛奶”

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And a long list of other drinks on offer: Honeydew Milkshake, Banana Milkshake, Watermelon Milkshake, Bitter gourd with honey juice …

My personal favourite is the grilled giant oysters that are the size of your palm. Unlike oysters elsewhere, which are eaten fresh, the oysters here are grilled with a generous serving of ginger, garlic, spring onions and a good amount of pepper. So for all those who can’t stomach raw oysters, this is once chance for you to take in the good stuff cooked:

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Look at this beauty. A huge bite of grilled oyster!

If you want something fancy, why not try some snake meat when you are there?

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The market is spacious with wooden tables set out in the middle. This is free seating and you can grab your food and head over to an empty table. Just be sure to clean up after you are done. There are big trash bins strategically located along the street.

The only downside to this market is that it appears on tourist itineraries so you tend to see more foreigners here and also expect to pay more.

Getting here: If you are going by metro, the closest metro station is Formosa Boulevard Station (take exit 11). Be sure to stop by the station to take some pictures of the colourful “Dome of Light” that is the largest glass work in the world:

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Ziqiang Night Market

In terms of night markets, Ziqiang is on the other side of the spectrum when compared with Liouhe. You can consider it as a no frills market that is frequented by locals. The market is located close to the 85 Sky Tower and is not a pedestrian only market; cars and bikes still have access to the roads along which the stalls are found. This gives the market a more local flavour instead of the tourist friendly watered down experience you get at Liouhe:

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Bikes parked along the road and in front of the stalls

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If you want to take in the atmosphere, just drop by any stall along the road, order your food and sit at the tables placed beside the road. If you, however, prefer a quieter environment or an air-conditioned environment, there are also small eateries along the road that you can eat at:

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Dishes we ordered while at a small eatery – Greens, Bamboo shoots and a 四神汤 (a kind of herbal soup)

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Sour and Spicy Rice Mix – 酸菜烩饭

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Soup dumplings similar to xiaolong baos

The prices here are generally cheaper than at Liuhe.

For some comparison, a good sized sugar apple costs approximately TWD 200 in Liuhe. You can get similar sized sugar apples for less than half that price in Ziqiang (TWD 80 for one and TWD 150 for two!).

Getting here: The closest metro station is at Sanduo Shopping District Station.

Since you are at the night markets, why not go check out the betel nut stalls and give them a try. A small pack of 6 would be sufficient so be sure to ask the stall operator if they can sell you smaller portions to try. I shared my experience chewing betel nuts in another post. Happy chewing!

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