I’m sorry I’ve been remiss in my vacation updates! The holidays happened!
When I got to Taiwan, I usually end up in Taipei, an urban mecca of good shopping and good food. I don’t really care for the shopping part that much, but I cannot go without eating some of my favorite foods. Two top food categories I love about Taipei are the famous night markets and all the tropical fruits.
Traditional Taiwanese Snack/ Night Market Foods and “Little Eats”
A collage from a traditional Taiwanese “small eats” restaurant. The food was divine, for the most part (I refuse to eat #9 and #12)and I am slobbering as I write this: 1. Chili-garlic shrimp; 2. Spicy wontons; 3. regional clams in a spicy ginger sauce; 4. stinky tofu; 5. duck rolls; 6. sesame noodles; 7. stewed pork over rice; 8. clams in soy sauce; 9. fried tiny fish; 10. passion fruit marinated green papaya’ 11. squid; 12. blood cake; 13. fried tofu with pickled veggies; 14. stir-fried spinach
I know I’ve blogged about these fruits already, but seriously, if you ever get the chance, make sure you try some ripe sugar apples and lembu! They are juicy, sweet, fragrant and really hard to describe. You just have to taste it.
Of course, you cannot talk about a visit to Taipei without sampling some night market yummies. 1. grilled stinky tofu; 2. fried stinky tofu; 3. calamari and quail egg balls; 4. calamari balls with bonito fish flakes; 5. baked onion bread; 6. traditional oven with baking onion bread; 7. candied tomatoes with preserved plums; 8. scallion pancakes; 9. sponge cakes; 10. Henry getting held up a ala gun sponge cake; 11. oyster omelet; 12. stewed pork over rice; 13. shaved ice with various toppings; 14. stir fried veggies with shallots and garlic; 15. traditional round oven for making black pepper buns; 16. the best and juiciest black pepper bun
Some other traditional Taiwanese yummies that you can get from restaurants and small mom and pop establishments: 1. fresh hot mochi dipped in peanut powder and sesame; 2. Taiwanese (original!) shaved ice with boiled sweet peanuts, taro, red beans and longan; 3. handmade wontons; 4. from the root of some water plant – it’s yummy; 5. bamboo; 6. sweet peanut soup (dessert); 7. goose cold platter; 8. the best pastry in the world with its crunchy top and flaky buttery inside; 9. spare ribs noodle soup; 10. smoked duck with squid; 11. traditional noodle soup; 12. McD delivers on a scooter in Taipei!
More “Fancy” Taiwanese Foods & Other Cuisines
You can also get some of the best Japanese food outside of Japan in Taiwan. My godparents treated us to the most famous Japanese restaurant in Taipei, where we ate all the goodies in a private room. 1. very very fresh sashimi; 2. fresh and tender abalone; 3. sushi and nigiri platter; 4. scallop served in a clam shell with salmon roe and some other stuff; 5. roasted crab with ginko nuts; 6. kobe beef; 7. delectable salad with tiger prawns and crab; 8. mussel soup; 9. miso soup; 10. sea bass?; 11. japanese style tiramisu
One of the main reasons for going back to Taiwan was to attend the wedding banquet of my godbrother Henry (who lives in L.A.) and his bride Pei. Their family owns KHS bicycles and gave away several as raffle prizes, including 2-3 really cute tandem bikes.
1. Cold platter consisting of mullet roe, beef shank, smoked squid, chicken in a special wine marinade and jellyfish; 2. Sweet rice dumplings (a must for Taiwanese weddings) with taro, longan and white wood ear mushrooms; 3. Stewed pork consomme with bamboo, mushroom, taro, bamboo pith and chestnuts; 4. Stir-fried scallops with XO sauce (yum); 5. Lobster with garlic sauce (yum!!); 6. Braised abalone in oyster sauce (super fresh and yum!); 7. Steamed whole fish with scallions; 8. Braised pork ribs; 9. Wild black chicken soup in a ginseng herb broth; 10. Glutinous rice (yum!); 11. Molasses sponge cakes, hazelnut bars and sweet bean roll; 12. Awesome bike-riding ice sculpture
On our way to Sun Moon Lake, we stopped at a Hakka style restaurant: 1. Yogurt pudding; 2. Chicken & veggie pouch; 3. Japanese eggplant with long beans and spicy tofu stir-fry; 4. Mountain potato (I don’t really know what it’s called in English, but it comes in white and purple and can be sticky before you cook it); 5. Braised sea cucumber (something I won’t eat); 6. Fried shirmp; 7. stir-fried wide rice noodles; 8. salt & pepper chicken; 9. stewed pig legs over vermicelli; 10. pu-pu platter with jellyfish, abalone, roasted pork, chicken and picked veggies; 11. Taiwanese wild black chicken soup in herb broth (highly prized black skinned chicken); 12. Braised fish with capers.
Dinner at the Hotel de Chine resort at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan consisted of the following: 1. baked prawns; 2. whole steamed fish with ginger and scallions; 3. tender braised pepper beef with bamboo shoots; 4. herb consomme with stewed pork, mushrooms, taro and other veggies; 5. Cold platter with Fresh green salad with dragon fruit, spicy jellyfish and mushroom, special roe (don’t know what fish, but it’s a delicacy), preserved kumquats, I can’t remember what those white round things are, and smoked and braised bacon; 6. glutinous sticky rice (yum); 7. Squash and dried abalone; 8. sea cucumber with fire-roasted scallions and shitake mushrooms; 9. peanut mochi
Lunch at theDinner at the Hotel de Chine resort at Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan consisted of the following: 1. I think it was some sort of mushroom dish; 2. Garlic steamed fish; 3. Sweet rice noodles with black molasses syrup; 4. don’t recall!; 5. pork consomme; 6. delicious green salad with tomatoes, dragon fruit, nuts and passion fruit infused papaya; 7. My dad got silly with the twist-ties and fashioned rings for himself and stepmom; 8. fresh steamed scallop; 9. glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves and steamed scallop; 10. glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves.
Sun Moon Lake
Aside from all the good eats our resort hotel had to offer, it also offered fantastic view and amenities. The hotel still on top of a natural spring, so all the water in the hotel comes from the spring. Btw, Taiwan is famous for it’s natural mountain springs and the hot springs.
The hotel is designed to be a bit Japanese-style from the decor, to the robes, to the awesome fancy heated bidet toilet and the soaking tubs. The only problem I encountered with the robe? Well, they’re designed for people with less ample bosoms. I certainly didn’t cover mine well, especially if I move. Boob+robe issues aside, I did take full advantage and took a hot spring water soak in my Japanese soaking tub.
The views from my room, the mountain hike that I took and from our boat tour was simply fantastic and the foggy morning seemed ethereal.