Eating at the Taiwanese night market is one of the best things ever: Grilled corn, sausages on a stick, taiyaki filled with chocolate, Taiwanese salt and pepper popcorn chicken (鹽酥雞)…The salty and peppery popcorn chicken, 鹽酥雞, usually came in little paper bag and I could eat two or three bags of the stuff. What makes this savory snack so different from the popcorn chicken that we have in the states is that it is aggressively seasoned so you don’t need to dip it in anything.
The main seasoning for 鹽酥雞 is close to a five spice powder — star anise, fennel seeds, cinnamon, Szechuan peppercorns, cloves — but you can buy special 鹽酥雞 seasoning in Taiwan. However, my dad’s memory of night market salt and pepper chicken is not the same as my mom’s. One claims no five spice while the other one does.
Whatever, I’m just going to make it the way I want to.