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Taiwanese snacks steal spotlight at DC Red Eye market

Outdoor market pays homage to Asian foods and cultures

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First Red Eye Market takes place in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6.

First Red Eye Market takes place in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 6. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Some of Taiwan’s most famous snacks appeared to have won over the heart of Americans at a pop-up night market in Washington, D.C., on Saturday (Nov. 6).

Taking place on Pennsylvania Avenue, the “Red Eye Market” was an open-air market celebrating the foods and cultures of the Asian diaspora in D.C., with more than 50 stalls. The event was organized by a host of arts groups to support small businesses taking a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Long queues had formed outside the market before it opened at 4 p.m. local time, as people were eager to sample the variety of Asian cuisines. Taiwanese delicacies, including gua bao (刈包), or pork belly buns, as well popcorn chicken (鹽酥雞), were among the items so well-received that attendees had to wait at least 30 minutes to grab a serving, according to CNA.

Dubbed the Taiwanese-style hamburger, gua bao is a steamed bun sandwich stuffed with a slice of braised pork, coriander, brown sugar, and crushed peanuts.

Bao Bei (寶貝), one of the Taiwanese brands behind the popular treat at the market, prides itself on the use of 40 ingredients to make the stew that defines the flavor of the snack’s centerpiece — the pork. Also available were many riffs on Taiwanese gua bao, featuring fried chicken or beef.

Seeking to “give people a night of celebration, community, and discovery,” the Red Eye Market is likely to be held annually, according to the organizer.

Taiwanese snacks steal spotlight at DC Red Eye market

Taiwanese snacks steal spotlight at DC Red Eye market
Taiwanese snack, gua bao. (CNA photos)

Taiwanese snacks steal spotlight at DC Red Eye market
Taiwanese popcorn chicken. (CNA photo)