A friend of mine in college once told me I had to get steak from a night market. I don't really think my friend ever gave a satisfactory answer as to why... he just kept saying, "it's not the same as steakhouse steak... it's not better, it's just... different." As dumb as it seems, I sort of understood what he meant. Night markets have a lot to offer, but there's something special about the smell of beef on a metal that can stop me in my tracks. When you offer it for 99 NT ($3)... well, then I can't really say no, right?
Yes. It doesseems questionable that you can serve steak dinners for $3 and still turn a profit. That's probably true in America, where you know... there's standards for what constitutes a 'cow,' and what's considered 'beef.' In Taiwan though, these places are all over the place. With several shops in a row with people touting their budget 100 NT steaks. Naturally, I went to the first place I saw in 臨江夜市 called 'Hot Doufu.' Yes, I'm the idiot that goes into a place specializing in tofu to buy steak.
Anyway, it's 99 NT for a steak. No lie. For $3, you get a hot metal plate filled with a piece of beef, some noodles stir fried in beef fat, and an egg fried in beef fat. The liberal use of beef fat has to be commended. The steak is... meh. Made with a cheap cut of beef, it's chock full of tendons, and they kind of ignore your order (or maybe my Chinese is worse than I thought, since when I said medium, they apparently heard rare), but it's not all bad. They mix the juices from the meat with pepper, soy sauce, and suger, and it magically becomes the perfect steak sauce. It is phenomenal. When combined with a satisfactory, if unremarkable, piece of beef, it acts as the saving grace... making the overall meal pretty damn pleasant. At the end of the day, I guess I should put this in perspective. I spent $3. I got what could pass as decent steak. That should count as a win... I think.