Friday 28 May 2010

2010 Taiwan Trip - Local Food

This post will round off my final write-up on our recent Taiwan Trip whereby I would like to summarized some of the interesting food and local products that we have encounter and tried.

On the 1st day upon arrival, we get to try this Black Sesame Green Tea Chiffon Cake with Black Sesame Green Tea Latte at their local Starbuck Cafe. This combination is origin from Taiwan where they used the premium oven baked black sesame seeds that are being grind into powder form together with good grade tea-green from Japan. Every sip and mouthful of the drink and cake are heavenly infused with the aroma of the black sesame fragrance.

This is something interesting that caught our attention too. It is known as "Guan Dong Zhu - 关东煮" which is often available in most of their 7-11 stores. According to them, this is origin from Japan, Kanto where they get the name from. To us this is similar to our local "Yong Tau Fu - 酿豆腐" where we get to choose our desire ingredients and eat with either noodle/steam rice. But from the photo, you can see that their ingredients are far more different from what we have here.

Before we went to Taiwan, a few friends and relatives have being sharing with us that it's a must that we must tried the Taiwan style "Braised Meat - 鲁肉" which can be commonly found in street stall, food center or restaurants. I was surprised to see their range of Braised item which consists more varieties compare to what we have in Singapore and also we find that the taste and texture of their items are much more fragrance and nicer too.

As from the left side of the photo above, you can see different sizes of "Tea Leaf Eggs - 茶叶蛋" where the biggest among them is the "Goose Egg". Most of their tea leaf eggs consists extra ingredients such as Dried Shittake Mushroom or Ling Zhi which add more flavour to the end products.

Jiu Fen - 九份 is a very beautiful mountain town located in one of the Taipei Country area. Although the roads that lead there are mostly steep, curving and narrow but it has never stop those visitors from coming to this beautiful town that is full of their local eateries.

Here I am going to share with you some of their "Must-try" items if you are planning for a Taiwan trip. Jiu Fen Yu Yuan - 九份芋圆 is a very yummy local dessert that can be served in either cold or hot version. Their colourful & chewy signature Yu Yuan - 芋圆 is made from Purple Yam, Taro and Orange Sweet Potato. These cooked Yu Yuan will be mixed together with other side ingredients such as cooked red/green bean, lotus seeds, peanut, tapioca pearl and etc to form a bowl of yummy dessert.

A few stalls away from the Yu Yuan, you will find this traditional Handmade Fishballs stall where they have this famous Assorted Fishball Soup for NT$40. It consists of Huge "Fu Zhou Fishball - 福州鱼丸", "Squid Ball" and "Meatballs". The soup is fragrance and together with it light and sweet flavour it makes a great company with those assort fishballs.

Along the stretch of food street, you will be able to find a lot of interesting stalls that will capture your taste buds. Above are the "Hong Zao Rou Yuan - 红糟肉圆" which I think we can't find any stalls selling in Singapore. The filling is made with minced pork that are cooked with Hong Zao - 红糟 and wrapped with a layer of rice flour skin.

I find that Taiwanese seems to love grill food such as mushrooms, meat, seafood and even shellfish. Look at the grill mushrooms, even a simple snack like this will taste great as a street food. (Read more on - Day 2 Trip)

Rei Suei Leisure Farm - 瑞穗牧场 is another lovely place for family with kids to visit. They has an open air cafe that sell their very own homemade milk ice-cream, cheesecake and steam milk bun which is one of their signature item. Not far from the cafe, there is also a souvenir store that sell all kinds of products with cow prints or design. (Read more on - Day 3 Trip)

When you visit Taiwan, there are so many "Must-try" items that perhaps you might lost count of which one to choose first. But most important, remember to try their famous "Mango Ice" dessert which is so fragrance and full of nature sweetness. This is sure worth the price comparing to those that you have in Singapore which is contains mostly added artificial colour/flavour.

We loves these..... love their taste, texture and sweetness. It is so different from what we have in Singapore where we can only find the Orange or White Flesh(from Japan) sweet potato. This golden sweet potato from Taiwan.

Yes!!!! This is my son's favourite McDonald which we can't easily find it in Taiwan. Or let's put it in a way that, in Taiwan they have much lesser fast food resturants like McDonald or KFC compare to what we have in Singapore. Perhaps it is due to those yummy food that they have over there.

Fong Jia Night Market - 逢甲夜市" is a night market which is near the Feng Chia University. It is sort of like a square junctions whereby there are a lot of local food stalls, shops and etc. During evening time, the street will be crowded with tourists or students who has finished their classes.

This is the "Sausage with Glutinous Rice Wrap - 大肠包小肠" stall where you can see a lot of different varities of sausage on display. We bought one of this rice roll which is a must try items from our Taiwan Food Searching list. This is indeed a very nice finger food which they grill the sausage and cooked glutinous rice then wrapped them together with some cucumbers and vegetables that make it look like a sausage burger.

"Smelly Beancurd - 臭豆腐" which makes you either hates it or loves it. There is this stall along the road side of the night market selling all kinds of vegetarian food such as "Rice Noodle - 面线", "Kimchi - 泡菜" and "Smelly Beancurd - 臭豆腐". So upon seeing so many people queuing, we decided to join in and we bought a box of vegetarian smelly beancurd which served with some kimchi and special chilli sauce. To our surprised although it really stinks while waiting for them to fried the beancurd but the smell is not that bad when we eat it. Rather the outer layer was very crispy and inside is so soft and juicy with the combination of kimchi and sauce.

Other than Feng Jia Night Market, there is another two famous night hangout such as "Shilin Night Market - 士林夜市" where it is divided into food centre and night market area. There are so many food stalls available inside the Shilin market ranging from snacks, drinks, noodles, hotplate and etc. We love to drink their special “White Jade Bitter Gourd Juice - 白玉苦瓜汁” which is surprisingly sweet rather than bitter when “bitter gourd” is mentioned.

Talk about "Shilin Night Market - 士林夜市", I am sure you will drool by thinking their "Large Fried Chicken - 豪大大雞排" from Hot Star stall where you will always see a long queue even during rainy days. The chicken is very crispy on the outside and yet tender and juicy when bite.

"Oyster Mian Xian - 蚵仔面线" and "Oyster Omelette - 蚵仔煎" is also another two types of their famous street food. But these hawker treats don't really taste like what we have over here. So must be prepared when you try this, it's either you love it or you don't.

Around the corner of the main entrance, there is a Sichuan style "Wanton Noodle - 云吞面" stall. Their noodle is very "Q" and the broth is full of flavour which make is a very tasty Wanton Noodle Soup. One special thing about their wanton noodle is they use "Sha Cha Sauce - 沙茶酱" instead of the chili paste, tomato sauce and etc that we have in Singapore.

While exploring the fashion district area around "Wu Fen Pu Wholesale Centre - 五份铺" we saw this wonderful dessert stall the corner of the road junction known as "Ku Cha Zhi Jia - 苦茶之家". Other than selling all kinds of herbal tea and herbal jelly(Guilingao), they also have a few interesting sweet dessert soup. We ordered their "Yam & Lotus Seeds" and "Red Bean with Lily Bulb", although they are kind of too sweet to our taste but overall it taste delicious.

The 3rd Night Market area other than Feng Jia and Shilin will be at "Xi Men Ding - 西门町" where all the youngster get around and shop for their fashion. At a street in Ximending, there is a very unique restaurant known as "Modern Toilet - 便所主题餐厅" where all the food are served in toilet bowl design cups/plates. You can read more about this at my post "Here".

There are a few famous food stalls in Ximending, just as junction of the main road, there is a stall selling Braised Goose Meat and Noodles which is known as "Ya Rou Bian - 鸭肉扁". According to the story, the boss of the shop was known as "Ah Bian - 阿扁" and since he was selling "Duck Meat Noodles - 鸭肉面" at road side stall most of his customer known him as "鸭肉扁" which comes about his name. I am sure those who has visited Ximending would have tried these before.

Yeah! For those who heard about this famous "Ay Chung Rice Noodle - 阿宗面线" from friends or TV program which introduce Taiwan street food. This the famous Mian Xian - 面线 with Big Intestines - 大肠. This place is always crowded with customers whereby you have to stand and eat or sit on stools without tables.

These are some of the Taiwan tibits and snacks that we have bought. My favourite is the Pineapple Tart which is very different from our version too. So far until now I still have not tried their "Tie Dan - 铁蛋" which is hard-boiled egg that has being cooked in spices for a very long hours till it is harden and chewy.

We also get some of their assorted flavour mochi, custard apple cake, fresh royal jelly too.......

Lastly, for food blogger like me who love to cook and bake. Taiwan is a great place to source for their recipe books which is so much cheaper compare to what we get from local bookstores. So must stay tune regularly at my recipe page for more new updates on Taiwan cuisine :p Posted by Picasa

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