After our day trip to Jiufen and Shifen, we stayed in central Taipei to visit the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
The square includes the National Concert Hall and the National Theater, with the Memorial Hall as the focal point. Its roof is blue and octagonal, a shape that represents the number eight, traditionally associated in East Asia with good fortune.
We were hungry after all that exploring, so we set out to find lunch. Here’s the part where I ask you to not judge me: we went back to Din Tai Fung. I know! So many incredible restaurants in Taipei and yet we went back for an encore. And what an encore it was.
Of course we got the truffle xiaolongbao again. The mildly flavored steamed fish dumplings were a perfect contrast. The noodles with spicy sesame and peanut sauce were hard to stop slurping. That noodle texture! But the surprise here was the stir-fried amaranth greens with yuba. I’ve never had amaranth greens before and loved their mellow flavor and hearty texture. Ever since I tried this dish I’ve been looking for amaranth greens to cook with in California.
Afterwards, we spent a couple of hours browsing through the endless streets of Wufenpu, Taipei’s gigantic wholesale shopping district. We walked for miles and I don’t think we even covered half of the little shops, although dodged more than a few (friendly) motorbikes along the crowded alleyways stacked with the latest fashions.
We eventually made our way to Raohe Street Night Market, sipping on sugar cane juice and sampling grilled meats from vendors as we went. The real standout though? This humble looking black pepper bun. Filled with the juiciest, onioniest meat, the bread is crispy yet chewy, and the pepper flavor lingers pleasantly. Located right at the beginning of the market, these buns alone are worth the trip to the market.