Exploring Taipei, you never know what is around the next corner. It could be a beautiful modern building, an ancient traditional temple, or more likely both of them side by side. Taipei has embraced the hustle and bustle of modern capitalism, and yet maintained traditional, more personal ways of doing business
Just a 5 minute walk from our apartment is a long standing traditional market. Vendors as old as the market itself arrive daily to sell fresh produce and freshly slaughtered meat, the way their parents did business, all in the shadow of one of the world’s tallest buildings
In contrast to the dull gray cellophane wrapped meat in the super markets, the meat here is bright and alluring. Just point to the piece you want and they will cut to order. No refrigeration required. I haven’t seen a single fly
It’s best to pay with exact change unless you want your coins covered in pig parts though
Much of the seafood is fresh catch from the nearby sea. Many of the customers seem to have long standing relationships with the vendors, and come to socialize as much as shop. Except for a few grandchildren and hired help, we were the youngest customers by a wide margin
All of the work is done by hand, with speed and precision. I watched this woman segment a chicken faster than I could take a photo.
Winnie had a long conversation with the produce vendors about food origin and seasonality. I didn’t understand much of it, but they were clearly passionate about it
Outside the core market, vendors set up street stands to sell anything and everything. Prices are scrawled on random pieces of cardboard or not written down at all.
The level of specialization is impressive. Need garlic or ginger? Where better than from the garlic and ginger guy?
Heavily laden with food for a holiday party, we caught a bus back home. The view from the bus stop is hard to beat
Prices aren’t the cheapest, but they are competitive
This assortment of fruit and vegetables cost 435 TWD (~$14)
Not pictured here is 3 kg of pork shoulder, which we used to make some amazing carnitas. This cost 940 TWD (~$30) or about $4.5/lb
We have to explore further to see if we can find better value on groceries, but we enjoy the small family businesses. Where else will they let your man the meat stand while they take a break?