A Quick Guide to Taiwanese Black Pudding – A Must Eat at Taiwanese Night Markets

Taiwanese black pudding or pig’s blood cake is made of pig’s blood mixed with sticky rice. Like many famous Taiwanese ‘little eats’, the Taiwanese black pudding can trace its origins back to Mainland China. This little eat is thought to be invented by the farming communities as a way of utilising all parts of a animal’s body. Without the invention of the black pudding, pig’s blood would be just let to run into the drains and gone to waste.

Duck blood was the first animal blood to have been mixed with rice and steamed into a ‘blood cake’. As duck and its products grew more and more expensive, the Taiwanese look to other animal bloods that would form a steamed blood cake with similar consistencies. Pig’s blood became used and thus delicious variations of pig’s blood cake began to emerge. Duck’s blood cake is not readily seen on the streets of Taiwan any more.

Once the pudding is steamed, it is cut, typically into thick rectangular slices and fixed on a skewer. This is immediately dipped in peanut power and fresh coriander. It is also said that basil is some times used in place of coriander particular in summer when prices for coriander can make it not affordable. Although traditionally cut into rectangular slices, fancy shaped Taiwanese black pudding are sold by some with the claim that is adds to the texture and helps to enhance the flavour in every bite. Some puddings are up to 15 centimeters long and some require 2 skewers to hold it up. Some housewives simply cut up homemade black puddings into small cubes and added to clear soup served up with fresh ginger or coriander.

In the early periods, steamed black pudding dipped in thick soy sauce and sweet chilli sauce is the preferred flavours in southern Taiwan where as it was the north that preferred dipping the pudding in peanut power and coriander. Nowadays, the northern version can be seen in all corners of the island.

As customary, food at Taiwanese night markets are cooked in front of you and served immediately. Seeing the stall master lifting your pudding (on the skewer) fresh from the steamer and season the flavours as you wait makes it all the more tantalising experience. You will need to arrive in plenty of time particularly at popular stalls. Some stores are so popular, the wait could be up to an hour or longer and they may run out of stock early in the afternoon.

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