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Above: A hardworking oa jian cook prepares seven oyster pancakes at the Ximending Night Market.

It’s Christmas in Taipei and Dad and I hit a local night market to check out the food offerings. We were enchanted to find one of Dad’s favorite traditional Taiwan foods: oa jian, or oyster pancakes. Plump juicy oysters are flash fried, then covered with liquid sweet potato starch and fried to crisp perfection.

A layer of fresh eggs is poured over, then off to one side a pile of fresh bok choy is fried and then the pancake is flipped on top of it. Then the whole thing is scooted to a plate, and a light sweet gravy ladled over the top. Is your mouth watering yet? This unique treat is becoming rare in Taiwan, but the hordes of hungry diners lining up outside the restaurants suggests that it is still beloved.

Below: a plate of happiness, Taipei style.

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