Travel Secret #329
By Siddharth Birla

The air is filled with an aromatic mix of soy, rice wine, and spices. Clouds of smoke waft from the sizzling cookers as vendors invite me to taste pork ribs, vermicelli, oysters, and steamed buns. I call myself an adventurous eater, but eyeing the spread, I wonder if I qualify for the badge.

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There’s duck’s head, boar cooked in bamboo pipes, pig’s blood cake, frog’s eggs, octopus balls and penis-shaped sausage cakes called gayke. Right now, I don’t have the stomach for them, so I buy myself a bottle of Taiwan’s famous Bubble Tea, find a bench to people-gaze and enjoy the rest of the glorious Taiwanese night.

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Note: Food at the night markets looks hygienic and costs little. My bubble tea is about Rs 100 (50TWD). Shanghai-style pan-fried pork buns cost Rs 20 a plate, and you can buy a filling portion of oyster omelettes and grilled mushrooms seasoned with pepper for Rs 120. Can’t communicate in Taiwanese? Simply stand in front of the stall and point at what you want.

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