I really wanted to update this blog. And then I didn’t. Blame it on school, blame it on laziness, blame it on the alcohol. Whatever way you spin it, it just didn’t get done. But here’s to a new year and a fresh start, with some old pictures.
Since I last blogged, two (food-related) important events have happened.
- I went to Taiwan. And it was delicious.
- I started living alone. And learned I hate cooking for myself.
Today’s blog will be on the first one. I spent a month in Taiwan doing work and eating, but mostly eating. You might be inclined to think that this little booger-sized country (seriously. I’m pretty sure New York is bigger than that whole island) has nothing to offer to the world of food, but you’d be surprised. Since Taiwan has been taken over by so much countries and cultures, it borrows from and tweaks so many different cuisines. And what’s sad is nobody really gets to experience Taiwanese-styled foods because they always get overshadowed by its Korean, Japanese, and Chinese counterparts.
Here are some pictures I took of lesser known foods from Taiwan:
- the MEAT SHELF! 😛
This picture looks like it’s part of the meat section of the supermarket, but it’s actually a part of a HOT POT restaurant near Taipei. Hot pot is like the Asian (and WAY better) version of fondue. You have your own personal pot and stove, with some light broth, and you pick your own raw meats and veggies to put into it (that’s what this shelf is holding). This way, everything is REALLY fresh, and you can tailor it to your own liking. Seriously, this is like one of my favorite things to eat!
I think it’s borrowed from the Japanese sukiyaki which is pretty much the same thing but with their own style of condiments. One thing I think only Taiwanese people do is eat it with raw egg as a dipping sauce. Dangerous, you say? I say, salmonellicious. For those of you who are horrified, let me tell you that Taiwanese people just aren’t that stringent about food safety. I mean, I’ve never had a problem, but I’ve also seen raw chicken and other meats hanging outside 80 degree weather for sale. And I’ve never gotten sick from anything, but maybe it’s just in my blood :P. But if you can’t handle living life on the edge, you can also do without the dipping sauce.
My personal hot pot
SOUPY DUMPLINGS (Shanghai Buns)
This is the right way to hold soupy dumplings. Do NOT jab it with a fork!
These are Shanghai Buns but I think it’s more accurate to call them soupy dumplings. They look just like any other dumplings but inside they’re filled with REALLY, REALLY, REALLY SCALDING HOT SOUP (so she learned the hard way). And the way to eat it is NOT to jab at it with a fork but to lift the top “knot” up with your chopsticks and place it gently on an Asian soup spoon (so she also learned the hard way). I could be wrong, but I’m guessing Shanghai Buns are from Shanghai, not Taiwan. But I’ve had them from Chinese and Taiwanese restaurants, and I feel like the broth used is a bit sweeter in the Taiwanese ones.
For America, “fast food” would be the McDonalds and Burger King type joints. Taiwan actually has those chains too, but they’re mostly in the city and I’ve yet to eat in one of them. If you live in the hick parts of the country, like I did, the staple food joints end up serving really rustic Taiwanese food. Instead of burgers, you get… noodles, soups, and rice dishes.
Rice Noodles and Fish Paste Soup
Fish Paste Soup only sounds disgusting because I have no idea what the English name would be for the food. But it’s AWESOME. It’s like Fish tempura, cooked in a delicious clear broth. Rice noodles… meh. I’m not a big fan, but then again I’m not crazy about noodles.
Seasoned Meat and Rice (Taiwanese people need to be more creative with their names...)
This is one of the most common rustic foods. Again, the name is misleading. But it’s pretty much ground meat that’s stewed with this unknown mystery sauce, and simmered to perfection. I’d be more descriptive, but I myself do not know how to make these things and it’s way cheaper and more delicious just to buy it off the street than to make it yourself (You can pretty much sustain yourself food-wise on $5 a day)
And… Everything else.
This is the way that Taiwanese people eat. It’s never one or two big entrees, but like a thousand little dishes, all family style. Maybe we have commitment issues.
Yeah… we’re weird. We eat chicken feet. And chicken butt on a stick. and (congealed) chicken blood on a stick.