Less Is More: Taiwanese Street Food Culture in Black and White

Street food is huge in Taiwan and from what I’ve been told competition between push-cart vendors and hawker stalls is fierce. When it comes to eating, Taiwanese will happily stand in line to get their chow rather than head elsewhere for second best. I have had the pleasure of seeing this for myself even managed to get a table and survived the ordeal normally associated with eating in seriously crowded places. Between one extreme to another, I managed to capture some of the everyday gastronomic moments in Taipei. I thought these street photos say a lot more in varying shades of gray than in colour which I found rather distracting. I hope you like this series as much as I enjoyed processing them in black and white.

Also in Taipei: Five Dime Boathouse Restaurant in Taiwan An Architectural Marvel

Street or hawker food vendors are regularly featured on TV and subsequently published in magazines or vice-versa. Taiwanese will not hesitate to stand in line for good food and this is regardless of whether it rains or not (my wife and I stood in line for what is considered Taiwan's famous large fried chicken).

Life in the big city: Taiwanese undeterred by rain

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Good food is a lot more enjoyable if you were in the company of good friends with whom you can have great conversation or family members who share the same passion.

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This photo was almost a hit or miss for me until I noticed the chatty exchange between the two seated female diners a direct contrast to the two cooks standing right in front of them.

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The boy at the far end of this table could wait no longer, reaches out with his chopsticks while the cook has their order covered.

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Massive energy saver bulbs stall owners make no attempt to put covers on much like the massive woks these ladies are cooking a large serving of veggies in.

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Eggs have to be one of the most consumed items here. I see more than just a few stalls with over sized hot plates that can accommodate a dozen eggs at any one time, including the photo immediately below.

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A female helper at this stall cracks yet another egg to meet demands from their non stop orders.

FOLLOWING THE SINGAPORE FOOD TRAIL

Singapore Food Trail is a unique 1960s themed food street in Singapore and an exciting dining attraction, located in the heart of the iconic Singapore Flyer, which will bring back fond memories of the good old days. Set against the nostalgic backdrop of the swinging 60s, the Singapore Food Trail will transport visitors back to a bygone era, to a time when people savoured popular local delights along the roadside. To bring back the nostalgic charm of olden Singapore, the Singapore Food Trail features specially-customised pushcarts and makeshift stalls along a tarmac road.

The stalls at the Singapore Food Trail are run by the original owners or second or third-generation hawkers who carry on the family business while preserving the original taste of their dishes. The oldest stall is High Street Tai Wah Pork Noodle which started in 1939 that was originally located along the Singapore River. It is currently run by second-gen hawker, Mr Tang, with over 45 years of experience and his two sons who ensure that the original taste of their family’s Teochew minced meat noodles is preserved through the generations.

Singapore Food Trail | Level 1, Singapore Flyer, 30 Raffles Avenue, Singapore 039803
Open daily from 10.30am to 10.30pm | On eve of Chinese New Year: 10.30am to 1.00am

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The Singapore Food Trail was officially opened on 25 Feb 2011 by Guest of Honour, Ms Aw Kah Peng, Chief Executive of the Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

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The Singapore Food Trail has an outdoor seating capacity of about 500 pax.

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With an indoor seating capacity of about 300 pax, Singapore Food Trail is the islands new gastronomic destination by creating the memorable mix of roadside hawker scene of the 1960s Singapore.

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Singapore Food Trail delights food lovers with a mouth-watering selection of some of Singapores best hawker fare such as Sin Ming Road Rong Chen Bak Kut Teh

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As per my Tweet, this stall that sell the all-time favourite Hainanese Chicken Rice had the shortest queue. I was exhausted and not feeling particularly adventurous or patient for that matter to wait in long queue.

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In spite of the excessive long queue, our determined guide got us to sample this interesting combination platter of Chinese Prawn Biscuits, Crunchy Chestnut Cake and Orange Tako.

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Love the round, multi-coloured bokeh from various light sources. This is a copy of the receipt for our sample of Chinese Prawn Biscuit, Crunchy Chestnut Cake pictured right above.

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The Singapore Food Trail is an eye-opener for tourists and the younger generation of Singaporeans into the life in Singapore in the 60s and evokes many fond memories for older Singaporeans.

Shuttle Service: from Raffles Link→Millenia Tower→Millenia Walk→Centennial Tower→Opp Suntec City
Timing: 11.45am–02.30pm, Mon–Fri, approx 20-minute interval.

$500,000 invested solely into 1960s décor. At the Singapore Food Trail, the authentic 1960s décor and furnishings take centre stage. With strict attention to detail, all the furniture and props such as tables, chairs, street signs, TV sets, doors, signboards and even cutlery are reminiscent of the 1960s. To ensure authenticity, representatives from Select Group searched for 1960s curios in Singapore and neighbouring countries in the region over six months. “It was not easy searching for such old items but we were able to find people who still held on to their old wares. One of the prized finds displayed at the Singapore Food Trail is an original 1960s jukebox, costing nearly $10,000 that still works.

A RAINY DAY IN KUALA LUMPUR

It’s raining as I write this and what perfect moment it is considering when I visited Kuala Lumpur five months ago and covering most of KL on foot (when not on the LRT), it was pretty darn wet. The last time I visited KL, the Twin Towers hadn’t been built then but in no time, they quickly became one of the most over photographed iconic structures of Peninsular Malaysia. Considering the timeline on which I decided to act on the OK given by Louis Pang for the Joe McNally workshop and seminar coverage, it was quite a spur of the moment decision on my part. The thing is, I came back with a ton of photos from the event and every single one of the images are still sitting on the hard drive—if it’s not one thing, it’s another thing that distracts me from working on them. So maybe these random images from KL are a sign that I’m slowly and surely getting there. So, I walked quite a fair bit in and around town with the PowerShot G11 which also got pretty wet and one of the first images I uploaded was some Facebook friends consider a great Malaysian Tourism poster. You think?

Commuter trains come in all manners of advertising. I waited for the right one to come along before getting this shot the whole time battling rain from marring the lens.

I love how the Tilt and Swivel feature of the PowerShot G11 allowed me to easily compose this shot without having to tilt and swivel my body in any awkward manner.

And of course you cannot just talk about Kuala Lumpur without mentioning its other all time attraction—street food.

Pictures like this work up an appetite for no apparent reason. Street foods in Kuala Lumpur and in most cities in Asia are a huge draw for locals, tourists and foodie TV programs.

I also met up with Nicholas who brought me to Restoran Tangkak Beef Noodles (practically behind The Coronade Hotel where I stayed) for an unforgettably delicious beef noodles. Check out his website and you’ll see that he’s quite the animal. :)  The other really good beef noodles soup I personally recommend is in Singapore at Food Republic.

The unforgettable beef noodle dining experience inspired by Nicholas Leong. It was so good I went back the next evening with my cousin Daniel and his wife Santi. Thanks buddy.

Right before our order came when the table was still visibly clean and clutter free!

Walking back to the hotel after a second night of beef noodles, we got lost somewhat and just let instincts guide us until we came to this back lane. The weirdly colour cast was a result of the street lamp which produced a rather interesting "Gotham City" mood contrast against the city building in the distance.