Is that a tray of deep fried sesame seed balls?
I casually looked around. No one seemed to be protecting the tray and other people—possibly blind people—failed to notice the tray of FRIED SESAME RICE BALLS, out in the open, free for the taking.
You can take one. Or more. No, just take one for now. If you want more you can come back later.
In the dim light of the TASS Night Market I nicked one of the beautiful, rotund fried glutinous rice balls. Actually, it was quite dark so maybe they didn’t look that good but they tasted damn good; slightly crispy on the outside, chewy and soft on the inside with a splodge of red bean paste in the center. This would occur a few more times during the time, and by “a few” I mean “too many”.
Now, it would’ve been bad enough if only that tray of deep fried sesame seed balls was there, but there was also a tray of miniature egg custard tarts. Wha—WHAT? Had I entered a new level of hell where my willpower would be tested by the chance to endlessly stuff myself with the most delicious Chinese desserts in existence? Now really, that’s just not a fair situation to present to someone all too capable of stuffing herself to the point of vomiting. And it’s not fair to my mental sanity.
I got to the Night Market at around 8:30 PM, a bit late since I had spent the day at Vassar College (also stuffing myself with a seemingly endless array of food; more on that later). I thought most of the food may have been gone by that time and the $7 entrance fee wouldn’t have been worth it, but despite a lot of the food having already been consumed, there was still too much left. I got some fried rice and rice and beef thingy, later some scallion pancakes, also a cup of bubble tea, but my downfall was triggered by the damn deep fried sesame seed balls at the egg tarts.
What kind of downfall? Did I stuff handfuls of the desserts into my bag to eat later? Did I continuously shove them into my mouth? No, but I can’t remember how many of each I ate, leading me to believe that I must’ve had more than five of each as I should be able to remember a number smaller than that. Together that means I ate more than ten pieces. That’s a lot. Think about it.
I can’t think of anything that compares to the perfection of an egg custard tart. They’re low on the sweetness scale but the sweetness level is perfect. The custard is the best part of course, and just the right softness. However, the custard by itself wouldn’t be that special, but putting it in a delicate pastry shell (perhaps wrapping anything in a wheat product makes it taste better) makes it so.
While popping an egg custard tart in my mouth I actually thought to myself, “I’m going to regret this later. Oh well.” And that I did. I thought about it for hours—how could I have eaten so much? Why did I do that? Why doesn’t my stomach just do something to tell me to stop? Come on, an explosion would’ve given me a hint. The human body is an amazing thing but sometimes it’s just stupid.
So far today I’ve had a persimmon for lunch. I guess I should eat dinner to prevent the onset of mental craziness from not eating. But I still feel guilty about the indulgence. I think it partially had to do with me eating by myself. The Night Market was cool and a good $7 dinner but I was essentially alone there. If I had some friends to share the ridiculous fooding with, I may not have thought about overeating so much nor felt as guilty about it. And maybe some outside influence would have stopped me from eating so much in the first place.
But I’m Robyn and somewhat friendless. That’s the price I pay. (I noticed a classmate from the school I went to in Taiwan in middle school and thought about approaching her, but decided against it in the case that she would have no idea who I was.) I think I shouldn’t go to events like the Night Market in the future by myself or any situation that may lead to a doomy stomach. I actually felt okay physically after eating all that (I mean, I’ve felt worse, perhaps comatose) but my mind totally brought me down. I digested in the Kimmel Center student lounge for an hour before talking the 40-minute walk back to my dorm (and I HAD to walk, despite the protests of my mother; if I could only burn 100 calories, it’d be better than nothing). I know it could’ve been worse—I could’ve eaten more or felt more guilty—but it was bad enough for me. I don’t want to experience that again. Or rather, I wish I could eat as much as I wanted without feeling like a fatty.
As for night markets, I absolutely loved them in Taiwan. Or didn’t hate them. They were ridiculously crowded and chaotic experiences with the added impediment of being at night, a time when one must rely on glowing electricity (which doesn’t really compare to sunlight) to pave the way. In my case this meant latching onto a friend/mother to navigate the streets. Strangely enough, I don’t recall the food well at all, but when I lived in Taiwan I wasn’t very into food. That makes me wonder where my interests lied at all. Hm.