Tourmeaway: Hunger Game (Jingmei night market tour)

This time we decided to try a food tour. The Tourmeaway Hunger Game Tour can be booked via their website  or Klook. The fee includes the food that you would be trying so it is definitely worth it. We booked out tour via Klook, so the review will be based on that.

The meeting point was at the entrance of the Jingmei MRT Station, where we met our jovial guide Asia. Our group had people that came from Tokyo, Philippines, Europe and America very diverse. Once the group was completed, we left from Jingmei MRT station (Exit 2) and headed to the night market across the street.

According to Asia, there is a university within the vicinity so students mostly patronize the night market. She, herself was a student of the university and was a regular at the market. Although Jingmei night market is not very big, it was an authentic experience as it was off the beaten track where there were more locals then tourists.

Here are the foods we tried as we ate our way though the night:

1. Traditional Tea
Traditional Tea at Jingmei Night Market
Traditional Tea at Jingmei Night Market
The first stop was a stall which sells traditional tea, we could choose between 3 flavors – bitter, herbal or beauty/floral tea. For the Chinese, the tea is something quite normal and nothing out of the ordinary but non-Chinese might find the taste unique.

2. Chicken (innards)
Chicken (innards)
The stall
Once again Asians might be used to it, or a least aware that the Chinese eat almost anything , but those who are not familiar and the unadventurous might find their stomachs churning. 

Chicken (innards)
Right: Chicken heart; Left: the butt
We got to try chicken innards like the heart, gizzard, and the butt (yes the butt). Gizzards are chewy and quite nice, and the heart brought back memories of when I was young and enjoyed it without knowing what it was. As for the butt, that was something that had to be overcome physiologically. It was not as bad as I expected and it was not funky or anything, it actually tasted like a really fatty part of a chicken (just had to keep telling myself to not think what it was).

3. Blood Cake
Blood Cake
Blood cake
This is one of the staples of Taiwanese night market culture. Pig’s blood is curdled and mixed with glutinous rice and steamed into square cakes. Once cooked, the cakes are put on a skewer and doused with some soy sauce, peanuts and garnished with coriander before being served. The texture was complex and the flavor something I am not comfortable with.

4. Stinky Tofu
Stinky Tofu
Stinky Tofu level 1
Tofu that has been fermented till it stinks is considered a delicacy apparently. We were told that there were 3 levels to the stinky and as amateurs we tried the basic version. It’s basically squares of fermented tofu, served with slices of sour cabbage which are like a Taiwanese version of kimchi, together with garlic and sauce. Past the first bite, its really not that bad actually, but when we were introduced to the next 2 levels, I don’t think I could take it no longer. Level 1 is good enough for me.

5 & 6. Scallion Pancake & Sweet Potato balls
Scallion Pancake & Sweet Potato balls
Right: Sweet potato balls; Left: Scallion pancake
The sweet potato balls for me were the highlight of the tour. Airy, soft fluffy balls of sweet potatoes fried till crisp; subtly sweet and chewy, while not being oily at all – extremely addictive.

A scallion pancake, also known as a green onion pancake or spring onion pancake is a kind of pancake made with scallions. It was slightly greasy but pipping hot and yummy.

7. Mochi
As it was quite a hot night, we had some mochi like dessert snack which were filled with different pastes such as red bean, mung bean, taro and green tea. The way they were being made were a delight to watch.

8. Oyster Noodles Soup, Pig’s intestine and Glutinous Oil Rice
For our second last stop, we went to a shop and order the above-mentioned foods. We were there for the oil rice primary and since we still had the stomach, Asia ordered us oyster soup and pig’s intestines for us to try.

Oyster soup
Oil rice: there a tradition behind it, usually when a baby boy is born then oil rice with chicken legs are gifted to relatives, and if it’s a girl two red eggs are given.
Pig's intestines: they were chewy and did not have any unpleasant aftertaste

9. Dessert
For the finale, we had dessert which was a lovely concoction of tofu pudding served with boba, yellow jell and sweet tofu on topped with melt in the mouth shaved ice.

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When travel collides with a byte, a unit of information made up of bits, TravelBytez is formed: snippets of ramblings on travel, food, shopping, living and anything else that comes to mind.


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