taipei red lantern

The Red Lantern



bustle outlet to frequent
lantern stuck (2) shortage
pick hearty feel like
tripe fresh it depends
chop up to fancy throw/threw/thrown
pot noodles ingredient
pouch steam distinctive
herb spice one of them
owner run out cinnamon
anyway used to food stall
not as assemble regulars
appease recently all the time





Taipei, the bustling capital of Taiwan, is home to more than six million people. This is a city that never sleeps.

The Shu Da nighttime market is frequented mainly by young people looking for clothes and jewelry. There’s no shortage of restaurants and fast food outlets for hungry shoppers, and this snack bar is one of the most popular ones.

“Originally we didn’t have a name. You see the two red lanterns at the front there? Our customers, who are mainly students from the local university, decided to just call us ‘Red Lantern’. And the name stuck.”

This place takes the concept of self-service to another level. Customers have to put their meals together themselves — from around one hundred ingredients.

They pick out what they feel like.

“We have vegetables and lots of different meats, including tripe. It’s all top quality and always fresh. So it depends on what the customer fancies.”

Everything is chopped up and thrown into the steaming pot with the noodles. Then some a few special ingredients that make red lantern snacks so distinctive.

This pouch contains our secret mixture of twenty herbs and spices. Some of them are used in Chinese medicine. I’ll tell you this much: one of them is cinnamon.

The owners can’t say exactly how many portions they sell every night. They open in the afternoon and close at 1:30 at night. By then, they’ve run out of food anyway.

This is a family business. My father used to have a food stall too, and I’m continuing the tradition with my wife.

The portion this woman is assembling cost six euros, a price regulars are happy to pay.

Customer One: “I love the tripe.”

Customer Two: “It’s fresh and not as salty as other places. I come here all the time.”

Lin and Chen had a bit of trouble recently: the noise.

Perhaps they can appease the neighbors by inviting them over for a hearty, midnight snack.

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1. Taipei is a major metropolis. Yes or no?

2. There are many, many restaurants and food stalls in the marketplace. True or false?

3. What is the name of the food stall? How did it get its name?

4. Do customers order from a menu?

5. What is the secret of having good food?

6. Are they open from 8 am to 5 pm?

7. The Red Lantern is a franchise, like McDonald’s. Is this correct or wrong?

8. Are meals here cheap, expensive, or medium-priced?

9. What are common ingredients?

10. Is the place quiet or noisy?
A. There are marketplaces with food stalls in my city. True or false?

B. What can you find in marketplaces and food stalls?

C. What are some popular fast food outlets, food stalls, or street foods?

D. Are these food stalls good business? Are food stall owners poor, working class, middle class, upper middle class, rich, or it depends, it varies?

E. Would you or your friend like to own and run a food stall?

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