food food food
Is there any other way to title this post?!
Well, folks, if you are ever in Taipei, you will know which 10 dishes not to miss!
not in order of preference & *means it's in the photo here
1. Wan Kueh, Bowl Cake*
Try the one at just across the LongShan Temple subway, on the row of shops before you get into HuaXi Jie Night Market.
2. You Yu Gen, Cuttlefish Starchy Soup*
This you can find everywhere. The one we had is just doors down from the Wan Kueh shop that dates back to 1921. Equally yummy is the one by Ah Liang (bottom left pic) in the Shilin Night Market instead. Cheaper and dirtier.
3. Ba Bao Bing, Eight Treasures Ice*
The stall we ate at is in Huaxi Jie Night Market itself, called Long Du (Dragon City). It dates back to the 30s. We also had Suan Mei Dong Bing there, which is Sour Plum Jelly with Ice.
1-3 were described here.
4. Ah Geh*
I think the name is short for "Agedashi" as in the Japanese Tofu dish. This is a local specialty of Dan Shui (take a 30min subway ride on the DanShui line to its terminal stop, where you'll find what was once Taiwan's largest fishing port). It's sweet Tofu skin stuffed with the Taiwanese glass vermicilli and sealed with fish paste. The whole thing is then steamed and served with a variety of sauces.
5. Tien Bu La
The name is Chinese for "Sweet Not Spicy" or it could also be a variation of the Japanese "Tempura". It's literally anything - fish balls, pigs intestines, all kinds of tofu, stomach of some animal - stewed in some dark soy sauce. There are tons of street stalls selling Tien Bu La - and most shops which sell noodles sell them too. We had a serving of this at Ah Liang's*.
6. Fried Chicken
Just not the Colonel Sanders sort. You can find this fried boneless Chicken thigh or breast in Shilin Night Market (we had a really crispy deep-fried "Ku-Ku-G"...yes, yes, that's the name of the shop) but you can also find it now occasionally at other street stalls. Sinful, unhealthy, but delicious. We had another serving of even yummier fried chicken at a shop* in Ximen.
7. Yang Cong Hu Jiao Bing, Spring Onion Pepper Bun
This dough is baked against the wall of a heated drum after it has been stuffed with seasoned mince pork, spring onions and pepper. What you get is bread that is crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, with filling that is juicy and very flavoursome. Costs only NT10. This is sold mainly along the streets or shops so tiny they spill out onto the sidewalk.
8. Suan Mei Tang, Sour Plum "Soup"
This is actually not a soup, but a drink made from boiling preserved plums. Some variety has a slightly more medicinal taste. We had the sweeter version at "Hong Ma's" in Danshui and the medicinal sort at a really traditional place just outside the 2-2-8 Peace Park in Taipei. The latter* is served in a small plastic bag, tied at the top with a rubber band with the straw already inserted
9. Hong Shao Niu Rou Mien, Beef noodles*
We had 2 bowls at a 2nd floor beef-noodleshop along Zhongxiao Fusing (above the La New shoe shop) - one of the usual stewed beef flavour, and the other with stewed tomatoes in the soup. Lovely lovely lovely!
10. Kungfu Rice
I don't know why it's called Kungfu Rice, but it's a delicious well-balanced meal: Plain white rice, covered in minced pork that's been stewed in soy sauce and a yellow-bean paste. It comes also with a hard-boiled egg, some vegetables and thick seaweed. While you are at a stall that sells this rice (or beef noodles), take the chance to try Taiwan's other Xiao Cai* (Small Dishes) - sliced stewed beancurd; cold tofu with preserved century egg covered with Japanese shaved dried cuttlefish; preserved vegetables in sesame oil and chilli; chilled brinjal/baby eggplant in soy sauce; seasoned seaweed with sesame and chilli oil; drief tofu skin tossed with bamboo shoots and spring onion.... OK, I think I need to stop now.