17 July 2008

Taiwan:Taipei Eats

I've sampled some Taiwanese food back home, but I had forgotten that Taiwanese cuisine is quite different from American-Chinese food. Taiwanese food is less about stir fry and more about pork, pickled vegetables, stewed meats, and unfamiliar spices (unfamiliar to me). Though the flavors are quite different, Taiwanese food vaguely reminds me of Korean food, though more brown than red.

I will admit that the food may not look very pretty, but it's often quite tasty. Though, I think J.IM and Cyndi would disagree.

I have to admit that we did a pretty terrible job of sampling the good eats in Taipei. This was primarily due to the fact that we only stuck to restaurants with picture or English menus.

At least, we tried some authentic Taiwanese beef noodles at the Rao Her Night Market in Shongsang.

We also tried out a shabu shabu buffet in Ximen. Unlike the hot pots back home, the broth was filled with all sorts of unidentified spices and dried thingamabobbies.

Cyndi had read about a placed called "Modern Toilet," a concept restaurant where you sit atop toilet bowls and eat out of dishes shaped like toilets and urinals. Against our better judgment, we decided to check it out.

The food was pretty disgusting, and I'm not even taking into account the fact it was served in a toilet bowl. Even the complimentary fro-yo (poop shaped-- mmm...) was disappointing.

Sadly, the best meal that I had in Taipei was the boxed lunch that I purchased at the train station. Back in the day, these travel lunches came in tin boxes. Today, the lunches come in a cardboard box or one of the plastic containers pictured below.

We asked the sales clerk about the contents of one of the wrapped box lunches. He said that it was "rice." I asked him if it was chicken, and he replied "yes." Then, I said, "Or, is it pork?" Again, he nodded his head, and said "yes." Thankfully, the mysterious box lunch turned out to be a yummy pork chop.

There's not much too look at, but I've compiled all of the highlights of our Taipei eats including photos and videos of our shabu shabu, Shilin Food Plaza, and the dreadful Modern Toilet.

I will dedicate another post to our eats in Kaohsiung, which were much more interesting and tasty.


Anonymous said...

what do you feel is the difference between Chinese and Taiwanese food? Is it worth trying?

annalog said...

I've yet to taste authentic Chinese cuisine (i.e. in China), but if I were to compare American Chinese food to what I sampled in Taiwan, I'd say that Taiwanese food seems to involve a different selection of seasoning. I can't articulate the specific spices, but I am vaguely reminded of South Asian food. Fruit and seafood are also very easy to find in Taiwan. My traveling partners didn't always find Taiwanese food appetizing due to the funky smells or appearances, but I enjoyed Taiwanese food. If you're a newbie to Taiwanese food, I would recommend the beef noodle, any seafood dish, bubble tea, and Taiwanese shave ice. Very yummy.

ZenKimchi said...

OH YES!! You checked out the the toilet restaurant. I don't care about the food. It's just one of those things to check of your list of places to eat before you die.

Anonymous said...

what song is this? it's soo catchy!

annalog said...

Oops. I should probably start crediting the songs that I use. The song is "We Break the Dawn" by Michelle Williams (fr. Destiny's Child). This has been my summer jam. I loves it.