One of my favourite things about being in the vegan travel blogging space is getting to know all the other awesome vegan travel bloggers out there online, and then occasionally having the chance to meet up in person. While we were in Taipei, I was lucky enough to have the chance to meet up with Stephie from the Caffeinated Vegan and her partner, James who were both super lovely.
They suggested going to Keelung, a city just outside of Taipei one evening to check out the night market there. Sure, that sounded great. Little did I know just how amazing all the food offerings would be, and that I’d get to meet several other awesome vegan bloggers at the same time!
It turned out that Jojo from Vegan in Brighton and Jhenn from The Vegan Ronin were also in town with their husbands (Nick and Ed, respectively) and Stephie and James had masterfully organised us all together to take this short culinary pilgrimage.
On the train ride there, we chatted away, happily letting Stephie and James guide us. Not having to worry about missing our stop felt like such a luxury. I really hadn’t realised how much work it was to constantly be aware of everything around me while travelling independently, rather than in a group.
The first stop at the night market was a small stall selling entirely vegan food, where we squeezed onto tiny plastic chairs and passed around various dishes, which included all kinds of things that it wasn’t clear exactly what they all were. However, we knew for sure that they were vegan because Stephie had ordered them for us in Chinese!
There were some kind of vegetable rolls wrapped in bean curd…
…and an extravagant tofu platter.
All the while as we were eating, people were jostling to get past us, enviously looking over our shoulders and continuing on to try and find something as equally delicious.
Moving on, we walked cautiously through the crowd, keeping an eye out for the tallest in our group as an indication of which way we were heading. At one point, we passed a stall selling sweet potato pancakes. After a quick few questions from Stephie, they were confirmed to be vegan and we all ate at least one. Somehow they managed to be both sweet and savoury at the same time, and they were so good!
After a bit more wandering it was time for dessert. We queued up at a tiny, packed restaurant specialising in a typically Taiwanese iced taro dessert and tried to obey the waiter’s instructions in Chinese about where to stand. It was like trying to herd cats.
Eventually we sat down and Stephie ordered several bowls of this mysterious dessert for us. It consisted of various kinds of taro balls, soaked peanuts, ice and bean curd. I found it a little weird. Parts that looked like fruit were not, and the soggy peanuts had a slightly unsettling texture.
There was also peanut mochi, however, which was delicious. Chewy glutinous rice balls filled with peanut paste and topped with black sesame seeds and crushed peanuts. Yes, please!
The whole evening was a blast and I really enjoyed both trying out all this weird and mysterious food (safe in the knowledge that it was all vegan) as well as getting to hang out with such fun, interesting and knowledgeable people. Thanks guys, but the biggest thanks to Stephie for being such an amazing guide!
I’m afraid I don’t have so much useful information about how to visit the Keelung night market and find the vegan food, because I don’t actually remember where we went! Instead, check out Stephie’s post about it, and keep your eyes peeled for the symbols that mean vegetarian: 素食.
It’ll be an adventure!