More Taiwanese Treats, Part Two

Ready to gain a few pounds vicariously?

Fried broad beans in several different flavors, including curry.

Auntie working on some more pan bread.  I asked her if we could make it together, but apparently with all the waiting it takes about five hours.

It comes out shaped like Biscotti, but it’s nice and soft and chewy.

Homemade stir-fry with celery, onions, peppers, “dried tofu,” and squid.

Auntie’s sister brought over a pita filled with raw veggies and hummus.  I thought I’d have to wait until Turkey for one of these.

Marinated tofu skins.  Taste kind of like BBQ ribs.  “Kind of.”

Chocolate-coated sunflower seeds.

At long last, a new street-food: julienned and then deep-fried taro (left) and sweet potato cakes.  The perfect warm, crunchy, chewy, fatty, spicy or salty (depending on which sauce you slather on snack to munch on while walking along the boardwalk.

Another homemade meal.  Celery and oyster soup, snap pea and button mushroom stir-fry, and sauteed  purple greens.  I’m betting there’s another dish hidden behind the hot pot, but I don’t recall.

Rice, three veggies, and one fried thing for $1.50 or so.

Hotpot.

Hotpot places generally have a little buffet where you can make up your own dipping sauce.  Sesame powder, slices of green onion, chili flakes and oil.  Oil and fat and spice, ooh yeah.

Hot pot, again!  This one is Schezuan style.  Nowhere near as spicy as real Chinese stuff.

Tim the artist was too busy painting to enjoy the coconuts that dropped down onto his driveway.  Luke and I, on the other hand, needed something to do in between rounds of tossing the frisbee.  I

In the city, we found a bus stop called “fruit street.”  The green things on the left are some kind of cross between an apple and a jujube.  The red ones on the right are wax apples, all light and watery and crisp, something like what celery would be if it were sweeter and not so stringy.

Taidong is also known for its “Shijias,” which I’ve heard called Custard Apples and Buddha’s Head fruits.  Beneathy the warty surface is a big clump of ice-creamy stuff.  These cost about $4 a piece in Taipei, but only $1.50 per pound down in Taidong.  Unfortunately, none of these were ready to eat!  We bought a whole box only to find that all of the fruits were rock-hard.  Still waiting for them to soften up so we can chow down.

There were only two restaurants near Tim’s place, so over the four days we had a chance to visit them both.  This was the Vietnamese one, where for about $3 each we got a six-course meal.  Here’s the appetizer: fresh spring rolls, with shrimp for the omnivores and dried tofu for me.

Noodle salad.

The other place was Italian, run by a Sardinian named Michele.  Not only did I get to break out my extremely rusty Italian, but I got to have some real authentic stuff.  We ordered one of everything on the menu – tomato and eggplant sauce, pesto sauce, oil, chili, and garlic sauce, and vegetarian carbonara.

In order to savor the pasta we ate it “rotino by rotino,” i.e. spearing a single piece of pasta from one plate before moving clockwise to the next one.  It took the five of us at least half an hour to finish it all.  What with all the buffets and street foods, I had almost forgotten the pleasure of slow food.
It wouldn’t be Italian in Taiwan without some slightly funky Tiramisu for dessert.  This meal was my end-of-the-year splurge, and it cost me about $10.50.
In 2010 and 2011 I  really deepened my understanding and appreciation of Korean cuisine, exploring every nook and cranny of Daegu in search of local, organic, veggie fare, and even visiting farms and farmers to learn where it all comes from.  March and April took me first to Taiwan and then to Japan, I bid adieu to Korean cuisine throughout the late spring and early summer.  By September I was getting used to menus written entirely in Chinese characters, only to find myself mostly lost again when I landed in Taiwan in November.  Now it’s a new year and within another month or so I’ll be wrapping up my voyages in Northeast Asia and heading South-Southwest.  I can only wonder what wonders 2013 will bring.  Stay tuned!
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One Response to More Taiwanese Treats, Part Two

  1. Andy says:

    I can’t wait to see where 2013 takes you as well.
    I am very thankful I get to live vicariously through you while staying at home and being domesticated.