There are 2 night markets in Hualien, namely Zi Qiang night market and the Rainbow night market (newly gazetted market on July 2015, which is a combination of 3 markets).
Remarks: Starting December 2015, Zi Qiang night market has officially moved and combined with the Rainbow night market in the centre of Hualien city. Goodbye Zi Qiang night market! It will forever stay in our memory.
|Zi Qiang night market 自强夜市|
It is hearsay that Zi Qiang night market is more to a local market while Rainbow night market is a sightseeing market, with games stalls for entertainment purposes and various stalls by indigenous people. As we have limited time at Hualien, we went to Zi Qiang night market to have a taste on the local night market.
Again, we cycled to Zi Qiang night market despite our stomach was growling before we started to cycle. Hopefully it would allow more space to accommodate more food in our stomach. The cycling journey took about 20 minutes.
Unlike the tourist night markets in Taipei we have come across, Zi Qiang night market is smaller in size comparatively but it has abundance of unique food to offer. It consists of a few alleys interconnecting with each other, just like the arrangement of gears in car manual gear. Put in this way, it is not easy get lost at Zi Qiang night market.
One of our must do list in Hualien is to try the renowned deep fried scallion egg pancake (yellow car or blue car) at Fuxing street in the center of Hualien city. However due to our kiasu-ness, worrying we might be too full tomorrow morning, raining, long queue or any other nice reasons to be used as covert for our kiasu-ness, we decided to try them at Zi Qiang night market.
There were a few tables provided at the stall so we opted for dine-in. For the deep fried scallion pancake, there is an option to add-on an egg or not for a difference of 10 NTD. Hoping to get the feeling of hot bursting egg, of course we went for the egg version!
However, the pancake just tasted average. Although it was appetizing due to the decent level of saltiness, the anticipated hot bursting egg feeling was not present.
Then we came to this glamorous grilled meat stall. It was located at at prominent area in Zi Qiang night market. We called it glamorous because you need to take a number and wait for your turn to pick up the grilled meat sticks, and it could easily take 20-30 minutes before your turn.
We ordered a few sticks just for the sake of sampling. The meat was heavily seasoned, and the sauce provided was nice and elusive in taste. No wonder there was a long queue of people waiting for it.
We then come across this shop which seemingly attractive by selling Dang Gui mutton. We were standing in front of stall, indecisive over which item to order but were swiftly persuaded by the server who came and asked us to take a seat first.
It was an embarrassing moment then. We wanted to order stew mutton rice, which was pronounced as "Yang Rui Hui Fan" in Chinese. However we did not how to read "烩" so we just told the waiter we wanted "Yang Rou Fan". Then the waiter confirmed with us "is it Yang Rou Hui Fan?". Oh my god, it was such an awkward moment and we feel our command of Chinese language really needed a strong improvement.
Back tot he food, the stew mutton rice (80 NTD) was served with tender mutton and the sauce was spicy and complemented the mutton well. The burning hot sensation was like waves, striking the papillae on our tongue several times and prolonged the hot and burning feeling.
This is a very localized stall in Zi Qiang Night Market - Jiang Family Coffin Board. We were puzzled initially why it is called coffin board as most Chinese tend to dislike this negative wordings.
We asked the owner then she revealed the food was alike coffin board, as our ingredients of our picked will be put in the centre of the sandwich toast, similar to how a corpse is laid in the coffin.
We ordered chicken mango coffin board (55 NTD) and the taste is heavenly good, credited to the mangoes. The mangoes were pleasantly sweet and soft, as if like no much chewing is required. Meanwhile, the sandwich bread has been toasted so it was crisp, making the sandwich bread and mangoes a perfect combination.
We opted to dine-in and free flow milk tea was offered.
The stall incredible fruit juice is a popular choice at Zi Qiang night market however it was closed for the day, and we went for the stall opposite which is selling fruit juice as well.
The stall seemed to be very popular and garnered a long queue waiting for it. There was even a displaying recognition plate that this stall is top 100 nationwide popular stall.
We ordered pineapple and mango juice (45 NTD) and it tasted mediocre.
There are many stalls in Zi Qiang night market which seem interesting. However due to the limit of our stomach, we had to stop. We will definitely miss this place as now it will only remain in our memory, and hopefully the new Zi Qiang night market within Rainbow night market still retain its originality!
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