One of the best ways to find out which is a stall worth visiting is from its queue. There are many stalls selling the same thing at 师大夜市Shi Da Night Market, but only one has a long queue. Super 超人气. The rest are just waiting for patrons.
Shi Da Night Market is near the Taipei University, thus you will find this is a less visited and small (than Shilin and RaoHe) but a lot more vibrant and energetic. To get down here, take a train to 台电大楼站. There is quite a fair mix of yummilious street selection here, such 许记生煎包、烤玉米、碳烤雞排 and 阿鑫面线.
You can’t miss 灯笼卤味. It has big red lanterns hanging, and a queue of people holding on to pink plastic baskets like those you wash vegetable with at home.
First, grab a tong and basket aka how you would pick Yong Tau Hu. Then pick out food items that you enjoy. There is a least more than 50 picks, from the usual fish ball, tau pok, sausages, enoki mushroom to pig intestines, duck parts and some unidentified objects. The MUST PICK is a pack of 王子面 (Taiwan’s version of Mamee) for a salty carbo-load.
Operated like a factory line, one auntie will count the items and get you to pay up, one auntie will chop the ingredients up, one auntie will dump the items into the 卤汁, and uncle will cook the mash of items. You better remember where your basket land up because nobody is going to keep watch for you. I identified mine only by the 2 sticks of Taiwan sausages.
The items are cooked in 卤汁 and not just water, so items like tau pok will absorb the delicious sauce. After that, uncle will pour in a variety other special sauces and topped up with salted vegetable and spring onions. If you tapao, the uncle will pour it in one big plastic clear bag. Wah, so primitive, and certainly reminds you of Singapore’s Scissors Rice.
You can eat in the air-conditioned eatery instead, but there is a minimum drink order of NT30 (That’s less than $1.50).
What you pick is what you get, and the likely hood of you over ordering is quite high. That’s just too much. I had seen a group of friends share a massive plate with at least 15 ingredients! But tell you, it’s worth every bit of the wait. It revolutionizes the idea of “ugly-delicious food” because the mixture can look quite messy in plastic bag.
师大灯笼卤味 – When Yong Tau Hu meets Kway Chap meets Lor Mee.