Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Kitty-chan, Bubble Tea, Wasabi Hotdogs and other cheap eats in Taiwan

The foodie portion of our trip got off to an interesting start with Eva Air's Hello Kitty themed meals.

Eva Airplane Food

Like most in-flight food, the taste was eh - but the cuteness! Note the Hello Kitty kamaboko and Hello Kitty custard buns (of course, I ate the head first.)

Aside from chowing down on some snakes, Christina and I ate mountains of delicious food while in Taipei and left regretting we hadn't had a chance to try half of what we wanted to.

The language barrier made things interesting, as neither of us spoke a scrap of Chinese, but there was a lot of good natured pointing and smiling and we didn't end up with a single bad dish.

This was our favorite find, from a street cart down the road from our hostel:

Favorite breakfast, Taipei

...a rice ball filled with meat, vegetables, egg, fried bread and perhaps pork floss? I'm pretty sure they came in different varieties but when the vendor discovered we had no idea what was going on he just gave us a little bit of everything. Soft and crispy, salty and filling, it made the perfect breakfast with a cup of the excellent coffee from across the road. Apparently coffee has recently taken off in Taiwan, and we were really impressed with how well they're doing it. Japanese coffee has always tasted a little burnt to me.

Some of the other highlights included wild boar with sweet chili sauce, sticky rice steamed in bamboo wood, wasabi and shiso hotdogs, coconut bubble tea, piles of dumplings and noodles, fried onions on everything, green beans stir fried with pork and ginger, creamy peanut ice cream and camphor smoked duck (if only it wasn't so bony).

Of course, when I said above that we didn't order a single bad dish, I wasn't including this ... interesting side to our tofu in Wulai:

Thousand Year Eggs

According to Lonely Planet, Thousand Year Eggs are "duck's eggs that are covered in straw and stored underground for six months (the traditional recipe has them soaked in horse urine before burial!). The yolk becomes green and the white becomes jelly." I managed to try a small bite of this, and honestly it didn't taste like much more than a strongly flavored egg, but just looking at it made me feel a little queasy.

Now that I'm home I'm digging back into my Japanese favorites and trying to ignore my cravings for that coconut bubble tea. I might have to try Pearl Lady in Shinjuku this weekend, but I'm sure it won't be TW$25, around 100yen.

Being a food dork I took pictures of almost everything we ate, and much that we didn't (tragic, I know). The full set is on Flickr here but these are a few of my favorites from around the nightmarkets:

Fresh fruits and stuffed cherry tomatoes...
Fresh fruits

Tiny shellfish by the bag (being sold alongside silkworms, which I forgot to snap a pic of)...
Shinlin Nightmarkets

No idea what these fried beauties are...
Taiwanese snacks?

The sign called this 'Wow, frog's eyes!' but it looks more like jelly and limes to me..
The alleged frog's eggs.


colbs said...

Creamy Peanut Butter Ice-cream? *shudders*

mmm snake... Have you had crocodile meat before?

Anonymous said...

The "fried beauties" are century eggs covered in wood(?)shavings...

Cass said...

Thanks! Wood shavings huh? Maybe I didn't miss out on much.