Nom Nom Nom
Taiwanese food needs, wants, and deserves it’s own post. I could write the rest of my blog just on the food in Taiwan alone. Oh my god, so, so amazing! I will just have to explain meal by meal why I love this food so much.
Breakfast: We have only eaten at one breakfast place so far, a bakery less than a block away, and already I am craving these pastries. The breakfast food available in this bakery is mainly different types of bread and flakey pastries. I couldn’t serve this food enough justice. Yesterday we had two pastries, one a twisted sweet bread with coconut, and the other, a different buttery, flakey twisted bread with more crushed coconut, that was absolutely to die for. You pick out what you want on giant trays with your own individual tongs, the smell in the bakery alone is heaven. When you can finally bring yourself back to Earth to make an informed decision, you take your tray to the counter, and each pastry gets its own cellophane bag. The pastry is meant to be eaten out of the bag because it is often very sticky. This morning we shared a big flakey bun that had egg and potato salad overflowing out of it. Absolutely amazing, you have to eat it to believe it, but my mouth is watering just thinking about breakfast.
Lunch/Dinner: We have already eaten Dim Sum for three or four different meals already, and all I can say is that Dim Sum is the olympics of Taiwanese eating. When you sit down, someone looks through the menu and fills out a card of which orders they would like. Then, they bring each dish out whenever it’s ready, not all at once. Therefore, as a non-Taiwanese-speaking person, there is really no way to tell when the food will stop coming! The food just keeps pouring in at unbelievable quantities, I don’t think I have ever eaten so much in my life! It comes out on little plates for everyone to share, there are no individual orders. Everyone takes from the communal plates one by one, not all at once like at a buffet, and eats their food on their smaller individual plate. Some foods we ate that are featured in these pictures include: pork buns (doughy white bread filled with pork), preserved duck eggs, egg-drop soup, dumplings (filled with every filling you can imagine-shrimp, vegetable, and fish) spring rolls, bok choy, mushrooms, and deep-fried shrimp wrapped in tofu skin. This is all in ONE meal, and I didn’t even name everything. I cannot stress how often food just keeps getting delivered to the table.
Dessert: so far I have had dumplings filled with a SUPER sweet purple taro, and a chilled coconut tapioca soup. Both were just okay, but I was very polite and ate them anyway! We have decided to go on a dessert crawl very soon.
So far I have loved just about everything. I have only had one experience where I had a really hard time getting the food down, and that was a wheat gluten soaked in vinegar, that makes me grimace just thinking about it. I managed to swallow it, but it was touch and go for a while!
I have had a wonderful Asian team advising me about dinner etiquette, all of which has come in handy! Many many thanks to Pete, Stu, Joey, and Joann! Everything they said has proved to be useful, and true, such as the advice not to sit until the host tells me where to sit! Asian culture takes their dinner seating very serious, and you are designated a chair every time you reach the table! Also, they have advised that I wait until I am served rather than just grab food for myself, and not to eat more than the host. All of these pointers have proved to be excellent tips!
One etiquette rule I tried to remember and follow was to pick up my cup and hold it with both hands if an elder was pouring me a drink. When the time came that my boyfriend’s mom was pouring me tea, like a polite Westerner, I picked up my cup, and everyone hurried to tell me to put it down because I was going to burn myself! I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, “But that was the fork I knew!”; )
Simply put, the food is an experience all on its own, and I haven’t even made it to the outdoor food-cart experience! I can promise there will be many more food-related posts to come. I plan on eating my way through this island.