Pictured below is a reminder that nothing can be perfect, even if this means that we ourselves have to insert an imperfection.
Like the legendary carved gates that the artists made asymmetric on purpose, so that they don’t anger gods by creating something flawless. In the same way, the incredible taiwanese night markets have to have a flaw. So that we walk in them reassured that a small imperfection took care of this issue, and nothing worse can happen.
Also, pictured below is “stinky tofu”. And as the rumour has it, it actually tastes better than it smells.
The tourist who walks down the miracle of a night market will often wonder why there is such a widespread problem with sewage. There is no problem with sewage. This is the stinky tofu. Lending its distinct smell to an otherwise flawless evening – and eventually becoming a part of it.
The mini winter street food of the historical centre will begin at Monastiraki square. (The fruit stands are deserted in the rain but koulouria are always dependable.)
A walk through the market alleys…
…leads to waffle cubes and cuteness.
Turning back and taking Ermou, the high fashion street…
means it’s time for creative-ethnic koulouri sandwich (resisting for now the roasted corn and chestnuts outside).
Walking through Plaka brings along the sun, lurking pigeons and sachets of dried nuts,
just in case anyone’s hungry on the walk towards Koukaki,
and to a warming souvlaki next to Syggrou-Fix metro station.
Right at an iconic urban spot for letting the day set in the halo of distant sea-reflected light.
Through Yangmingshan mountain to Jinshan town by bus.
Fog, greenery, fog and the occasional blossoms.
At the small town, a temple of Manju.
And a street market and a coffee shop (with milk cream in the coffee and bakery-chain-level cakes).
And back, with flashes of places visited five years earlier.
“French bakery” is a category of stores in East Asia, where the romantic aesthetic tradition of Europe is well and alive. Tous les Jours is a popular korean chain of french bakery.
The beginning of each lunar year is usually in or around February of the “solar year”. And as everyone knows, each lunar year is the year of one animal from the chinese zodiac.
It was two years ago when I found out. When I found out that Tous les Jours prepares a lunar-year-cake design each year. Two years ago, when it was the year of the monkey.
Nativity, “Basil cakes”, piles of Christmas sweets,
sponges and spices in the old downtown,
cured meat, neoclassical buildings, end-of-year shopping in the sun.
How about a Greek snack break…
…with the quintessential street food to choose from…
…spinach pie, the odd pizza, sausage roll, and -drum roll- eight kinds of cheese pie!
Once, a traditional cup of tea, maybe in a tea house among verdant hills and foggy rivers…
Tea arrives with its half dozen containers (for leaves, boiling water, cooling water, used tea and more), accompanying snacks, and mosquito repellent.
In a tiny plot twist, focusing on the background…
and the view across said hills:
Everything’s inside “Bitan Scenic Area”, Taipei’s abrupt southern border; the fitting end to its unique urban continuum.
Idoru festival; fans waiting for face time with their idols.
Ice cream is the only food that can be eaten in public, ergo vendors on subway platforms.
Fab Cafe, coffee shop with 3D printers and space plants.
Refreshing cucumber on a stick.