Monday, February 11, 2008

Taipei Snack City

So, Craig and I just got back from a 5 day trip to Taiwan where we visited my parents and ate 24/7. It's amazing how much food the human stomach can fit but when the snackage is sooo tasty, who can resist?! Not me.

Our first stop -- Jio Fen, an old mining town in Northern Taiwan. It was cold and rainy but our tummies helped us navigate this gauntlet of umbrellas in search of snacks.

These little nuggets are flavored rice gluten (like mochi) that you put into a sweet soup (red bean, ginger, green bean based)

See! Here they are...the yellow ones are sweet potato and the other pale purple ones are taro. yummmm.

These huge mushrooms (on the right) are bbq'd or fried. The fried ones are the best and are a nice vegetarian variation on the old Taiwanese favorite -- fragrant fried chicken.

At some point it was so cold and wet outside that we had to seek shelter in this tea house. The building itself is over 100 years old and the site of the tea pots roasting over an open flame was simple and beautiful.

These buns are unlike normal buns because they have a sticky exterior (again, like mochi). They are steamed on these huge crates above an open fire and are each placed on a separate pomelo leaf.

Stuffed inside are pickled, salty vegetables and minced meat.

These are those famous friend chicken pieces...soooo tasty. If anyone knows the secret recipe, please please please fill me in!

This block of peanuts and sugar is grated to create the peanut powder that gets places into a crepe-like wrapper (below). It's a smart representation of adapting a food to your intended purpose. If they had just grated the individual peanuts, this process would be so much more tedious. This way, the shavings are fresh and flaky and shaved to order.

So, those peanut and sugar shavings are placed onto a thin crepe-like wrapper, topped with cilantro and then two scoops of ice cream! This is a case when you don't think the combo would be tasty but it actually is. (Lesson to be learned: what we think and reality are often at odds so you have to try try try and experiment to get beyond our pre-conceived notions.)

Hungry In Taipei is a good blog for finding out more about food culture in Taiwan.

1 comment:

wakako takagi said...

Love the food collection!!!! Especially love the picture of the tea house. Pretty cool!