[Taipei] Rao He Street Night Market 饶河观光夜市 though slightly off the city centre, is one of Taipei’s most visited night markets.
I nick-named this the ‘Oily Night Market’ as many stalls serve up deep-friend food (which is kind of ’heaty’). Notable stalls there include Chen Dong Herbal Pork Ribs, Tung Fa Hao’s Oyster Vermicelli, and a couple of businesses selling Okonomiyaki and Korean style fried chicken.
That one stall with the longest queue though, is Fuzhou Shi Zu Pepper Bun 福州世祖胡椒饼. (It has a branch at Shilin Night Market.)
Rao He, with an Owl mascot, is one of the oldest night markets in Taipei, located near Songshan 松山Train Station.
You can drop by if you have bought your clothes at Wu Fen Pu 五分埔, or take a cab from Taipei 101.
This 600m long street has a penchant for northern Chinese noodle dishes and oily specialty snacks such as fried chicken and sausages.
Along the side of the streets are clothing, shoes, sports, mobile accessories, CD and even eye-brow threading shops.
Remember to go to the end of the street, and spot a queue in front of Fu Zhou Shi Zu Pepper Bun 福州世祖胡椒饼. You cannot miss it.
It serves a type of Baked Pepper Bun (NT$50, SGD2.30, USD1.60) that originated from the Fuzhou region of China.
The secret of its success is the rich and juicy filling of its buns, made of fresh pork, marinated in a special sauce concocted using a secret recipe.
While queuing, you can observe a line of workers, filling up the buns with huge portions, quickly doughing them to the round shapes.
The buns would then baked over charcoal to over 200 degrees, and best eaten fresh out of oven.
The green onions were added as a separate step and note mixed with the meat fillings. This is to create that crunch and obvious scallion taste.
The plentiful portion of green onions and strong peppery taste is almost a perfect combination. The pepper buns, lightly sprinkled with sesame seeds on the crust, are crisp on the outside and piping hot in the inside.
As the buns are baked in a cylinder like high heat clay oven similar to a tandoori oven, the exterior has a cracker-like, crunchy thin layer.
You may have eaten Fu Zhou fishballs and realised that it’s similar – big hot balls with moist meat filling. This particular stall added pepper to enhance its original taste, and also ‘Pepper’ 胡椒 in 闽南话 sounds like ‘Fu Zhou’ 福州.
I must say I used to like them a lot better, when the fillings were juicier. However, this is still a worthy street food to have, probably a “Top 10 in Taipei”.
The queue took about 5 minutes, though most would say it average about 10 minutes.
You can probably see other imitations such as ×× 胡椒饼 around, but this is the real McCoy. Don’t miss it!
Fu Zhou Shi Zu Pepper Buns 福州世祖胡椒饼
249 Raohe Street, Taipei (within Raohe Street Night Market, near entrance with Chinese temple)
Opening Hours: 4:00pm – 12:00am
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