It just doesn't make sense why Taiwan is not more of a Tourist desitnation. Esepcially for die-hard foodies (or fair-weather foodies like us). There is an amazing variety and abundance of food on the streets of Teipei. Just today we had to passed vendors for tarts from Macau (a mixture of Chinese and Portuguese foods) and tripe prepared in the a Hakka style (a local ethic group in Taiwan). There is a fantastic mix of Indigenous Taiwanese, Chinese, Japanese and Eurpean cooking styles on offer. The quality of ingstidients is exceptional and the level of cleanliness is higher than many cities we've been to in Asia. All around a wonderful place to explore and eat.
One of the first things Lilly suggested we do upon arriving was to buy our own chop sticks. A wise move. Most vendors provide chop sticks but they of the flimsy wooden kind. We now come well prepared for even the most difficult noodles or elusive dumpling.
We've really only begun to sample but I wanted to post a few of the highlights from our first full day in Taiwan. All the foods below were found at the Shida night market. The first are a favorite of mine. It was described to me by the vendor as a "Taiwan Hamburger". It is really fatty pork with pickled cucumbers, fresh cilantro and ground peanuts put into a sliced flour dumpling.
The next we followed a crowd and got into a long line at a small stand selling pork dumplings. It took us a good 30 minutes to order our few dumplings but it was well worth the wait. They came to us piping hot. The stall was a well oiled machine of workers cutting dough, filling dumplings, and preparing the steamer. The dumpling itself had a very simple pork and onion filling. What made these dumpling was the perfecct ratio of crunchy and chewy textures in the dough wrapper.
And lastely a favorite of Lilly's for desert. Shaved ice with jellied toppings and sweet beans. It looks something like alien brains, but stranger. THe taste however overcomes any science fiction analogy. It really is the perfect summer treat, somehow both filling and refreshing.
So even though none of these food actually required us to use our chop sticks I am still convinced it was a worthy purchase. I have no doubt they will play a more prominent role in future blog posts.