Day 1 (night) in Kaohsiung/Kenting: Kenting Street

Changing to our flip flops, we walked down to Kenting Street and turned left towards Xiaowan, or small bay. We meant to catch the sunset at Da Wan, so we checked Xiaowan out first. Along the way, we saw street food vendors setting up their carts, preparing for a night of cooking and selling. There was a Minions Store which was dedicated to Despicable Me merchandise, although I wasn’t sure about the authenticity of the items! More walking later, we reached the wooden stairs that led down to the beach. We were greeted by a few dozen colourful umbrellas, packed together to form a spectrum of shades! Xiaowan was adequately named, as the beach was quite narrow. A rock in the shape of a frog loomed to the west of it. Unfortunately, it also obstructed the view of the sunset, so we hurriedly left.

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Dawan, or large bay, was on the other side of Kenting Street, so we had to walk past all the street food stalls again, past our guesthouse and all the guesthouses beyond it. We made it just as the sun was almost touching the horizon. Minutes later, it dipped out of view. Seizing the opportunity before it became completely dark, we took photos of the beach and the sea! We also tried walking along the shore, which was much longer than that of Xiaowan, and it was tough to keep the sand from catapulting against the back of our calves and thighs haha. Not too far away perched Chateau Beach Resort, the location Cape No. 7 was centred around. As time passed, colours of orange and pink cascaded across the sky, followed by a deep blue. Spotty and Boo did an interview with us! We left just before the sky turned completely black.

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Instead of going back the same way, we walked along the quieter road adjacent to Kenting Street, where more guesthouses were located. This place really was engineered for tourists! We saw a public toilet and blasted the sand off our feet and flip flops there. Then, we found an alleyway leading back to the main street. It was dotted with colourful lights!

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Kenting Street was where the bustle was at. The whole street was lined with stalls selling street food and trinkets, as well as game stalls. There were also permanent shops behind the stalls, and a sizeable crowd thronging the street. Considering how isolated Kenting was from the rest of Taiwan, it made the fact – that this scene wouldn’t seem out of place in a busy city like Taipei – even more remarkable! Thinking back, I didn’t remember encountering that many people when it was still daytime.

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We started to look for our first taste of street food. Initially, we were struck by the huge variety of things to try, and paused in front of a stall selling baby octopuses to consider (there was a queue), but we eventually found our first target – a giant hotdog! It was in fact a sausage wrapped with batter and deep fried in oil, topped with a two choices of sauces. We went with chilli and cheese! Our second acquisition was what could be translated as fried milk balls. They resembled fishballs in shape and size, but were milky inside with a thin crispy batter outside! We chose to take these street food away, as that gave us the option of retreating from the crowd into the comfort of our room. Street food was meant to be eaten on the street, but that may not be the most optimal way to savour it!

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Walking again towards the direction of Dawan, a stall selling pan-fried xiao long baos caught our attention! Steamed dumplings, as street food? We just had to try it – it was quite cheap too! We got a box of 8 dumplings; half of them were sprinkled with a chilli pepper powder.

Throughout our time at Kenting Street Night Market, whiffs of a terrible, terrible stench occasionally came to us. It was this smell that made us fully understand that we were in a true blue Taiwanese night market. Still, we were not game enough to try stinky tofu, the originator of the stench! Ambling about, squeezing past the crowd, and seeing nothing else of interest, we got another drink, this time a standard milk tea from Presotea, and headed back to our cozy room, taking particular care to not enter with sand on our feet (Mr. Ma was particular about this, as he would be the one cleaning it up tomorrow)!

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Once we settled down, we laid our buys on the hand-painted table, then filmed ourselves eating them! Street food in an air-conditioned room was definitely our way to go about it (we paid for the room anyway)! Both the fried milk balls and giant hotdog were great, but the ‘best’ award went to the crispy pan-fried xiao long baos! The skin was not conventionally thin, but slightly thicker and harder and had more resistance to our teeth! The ones with the chilli powder were of note – the powder went supremely well with the soup inside! Delicious! This was to be one of the best street food that we tried during the trip! Unfortunately, the milk tea was of okay quality – I guess Gong Cha and 50Lan/Koi were more famous for a reason!

Clara has actually done a more comprehensive, to-eat-or-not-to-eat-style review of the food at her blog!

After we made it through the food, we crumbled onto the bed. The television was switched on and playing Adventure Time (shoutout to my slippers)! We looked through the amazing photos we took throughout the day and relived the moments once again. Here we were, at the southernmost part of Taiwan, away from anything else for miles and miles away, and we were feeling so much at home (and watching Adventure Time). Clara dozed off while I went to bathe. I called her after I was done, and finally we were on our bed, ready to sleep. Before we drifted off, it suddenly sounded like it was raining outside. A peek outside the curtains told us that it was indeed a torrential downpour! It was going to be a great night to sleep in!

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