Zero Waste Street Food
On our second day in Taipei, we decided to be a bit more adventurous. We booked a car for the day and headed to the outskirts of town.
Of all the places that we visited, the one with the most food was 九份. It somewhat resembles Stanley market, but on sale was more food and fewer clothing items. I was slightly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of food that was available, so I decided to take a walk around before settling on my first purchase.
It was not the first vegan option I encountered, but it was the first one that stood out to me as something special. It had a fragile exterior but a heart of gold. It was a sweet potato bun.
The little bun was very sweet and dense, so I decided I would opt for something a little saltier next time. However, all of what I had in mind dissipated the moment I set my eyes on the glass shelf displaying a colourful selection of fresh mochi. There was mango, strawberry, matcha…anything you could imagine fitting inside a mochi, it was there. I ended up going for the mango and strawberry flavoured ones, because they seemed to be the most heavily advertised and they were the current fresh, seasonal fruits.
I was ecstatic to find a recycling facility for plastic bubble tea cups and covers behind the mochi stall, because it’s rather rare to find bins - let alone recycling bins - on the street markets of Taipei!
Once again, the mochi was also stuffed with a layer of dense, sweet, red bean-like filling. So this time, I followed through with my promise, and the next thing I ate was something salty. Salty and stinky.
It is not common that I eat street food in Hong Kong, so what excited me the most about this day was being able to use my own container for the first time. It was a painful sight to see nearly every individual around me using a disposable cup, bag, straw, bowl, etc, so I didn't want to further contribute to the waste that was being produced. At all the stalls I ended up visiting, the shop keepers were very open towards the idea of using my own container; they didn’t view it as a burden, but rather as a sign of promise. The container I used was from Japan Home Centre - it is extremely easy to carry around (it's even collapsible!) and is now on my list of travel essentials! I'd highly encourage you to bring your own container, especially while hunting for street food; it's a super simple way to keep your food clean, reduce your carbon footprint, and show off your inner eco-warrior!