We took a break from an epic Tainan street food crawl to take a boat ride down the mangrove-framed canal that runs alongside Cao Da-jhong Temple. Maybe it was the giant, prehistoric-looking crabs that lined the muddy banks, but I was somehow hungry again when guide Elisa Lu led us to Tainan’s Anping District – a former Dutch stronghold – for Chen’s Oyster Rolls.
People were shucking oysters on the street to serve surrounding restaurants. Promising.
Oyster Rolls sported crisp crusts of peppery, tempura batter. They contained small, plump local oysters and delicate milled milkfish, which we dipped in viscous soy sauce and smooth, slightly spicy chile sauce.
Shrimp Pie included shrimp, milled milkfish, carrot and scallion, all battered and deep fried.
Oyster Roast featured shells cracked open ever so slightly, allowing access to the plump prizes within. A quick squeeze of lime and the oysters were good to go.
Chen’s also had shrimp rolls, fried oysters, “fired oyster” and “shrimp cooked,” which I’m confident were also good considering how fresh and readily available the product is in Tainan.