Salty chicken stands.

10.04.2010 § 2

KC. I made a promise to myself that the first food entry I'll write about will be the Salty Chicken man.

He's not half-man, half-chicken (that would be a weird combination), but he's this guy that sells a common street food known as "salty water chicken" 鹽水雞 near Taida (台灣大學). We use the short form "salty chicken man" to describe him to others. What's more is that he's a SUPER NICE guy. Named Finkel.

You should first know that Taipei is filled with street food vendors. Picture little mobile carts with goodies in them. They're not always at night markets, but around various populated places, like near universities, Ximending, etc. And since they don't have permits most of the time, it's illegal and if caught, they are fined.

So how we found out about Finkel and salty chicken was by coincidence. Actually, I think it was on the first day JC and I met each other, we were both craving for froyo so we walked over to Yogurt Art (will blog later). When we satisfied our froyo desires, JC was eyeing the salty chicken stall which was right in front of Yogurt Art. So we ended up chatting with Finkel, but we were too full to buy more food. But Finkel was so nice that he gave us a regular portion for free to take home. FREE FOOD!

So what is salty water chicken?

Look for a stand like this. You might not have Finkel and JC there like this, but you'll see a small cart upon which are several mini bags filled with veggies like lettuce, marinated carrots, cucumber, bamboo shoots, lotus roots, broccoli and enoki mushrooms.

Peer behind the shelf and you'll see a large circular pot with chicken (breast, drumstick, and butt, yes butt), small eggs, pig intestines and a variety of tofu products such as tofu skin, tofu that's chewy, and tofu that's a bit more hard. Oh and there's the Taiwanese local favourite: pig's blood + rice. It's the dark brown rectangular sticks on the right. Although JC and I both love food, we agreed that it is definitely an acquired taste.

So what you do is tell the vendor what you want in your salty chicken mix and the price varies according how many portions of meat and veggies you order. Then you tell him/her how spicy you like it (or not spicy at all). He/she'll then mix up your chosen ingredients in a bowl and mix in chicken broth + sesame oil + white pepper + some chopped up leeks (the Chinese onion). If you wanted spicy, he'll also add in hot pepper powder + a chili pepper.

This is what JC ordered on one of the multiple times we've been back. It's the perfect salty 小吃 that can substitute as a meal on a hot summer day.

I usually order a combination of chicken drumstick + broccoli + marinated carrots + tofu skin + spongey tofu, not spicy at all and no leeks please. So good.

Remember how I said Finkel is a nice guy? On the second time we went back, he told us to come the next day for some "special food". We thought it was some kind of awesome ingredient we can add to the salty water chicken mix.

Instead, we received this bag.

Which had this cute paper box.

Which had a chocolate cake inside.

Chocolate cake with a few bits of some kind of chewy fruit mixed in.

Very chocolatey but it was delish!

What an unexpected present. But it's exactly these kind of people that makes you wonder "wow there are such nice people in this world!". People that don't ask for anything in return. Thank you so much Finkel! :)

So make sure you grab some salty water chicken next time you're in Taiwan! Be warned that the later you go, the less options you have since certain items (like broccoli!) sell out faster than others.

LOCATION: populated places with street vendors.
Near Gongguan 公館 station, there's one in front of Yogurt Art/KFC and also another at the "Gongguan night market".
HOURS: Finkel's one is from 5:30 PM - 10:30 PM everyday. Girls, he only works part-time.
PRICE: Usually around $100 - $120 NT if you get chicken meat (~$4 CAD)

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