Maybe food stands like this one are part of the “roughness” of the neighborhood.
There is great honesty in the banality of the death of these chicken and fish. Men gotta eat. Coming from Germany I’m less used to animals sold in whole – especially when there is no ice and plastic foil around them. But chicken with heads (or their feet), whole fish (or their heads – for the soup) and even pig heads are not uncommon. Many Taiwanese I’ve met have proven dexterity to bite off tender bits of meat in cheeks and from behind fins.
It’s easy to meet this rawness with disgust, but compared to the industrialized sterility with which animals are hold, killed, slaughtered, sold, and eaten day by day, this rawness might be good. At least it reminds us that there is something dead that once lived and thought inside our food.
(We will meet the lovely owner of this particular stand next week!)