Tawain eats

I’m alive.  It never ceases to surprise me how much time will pass between posts before I realize how long its been.  I should make it a goal to write something daily.  Maybe that’s a bit ambitious of me, perhaps twice a week?  Whatever would I say?

Well, this post is starting out already as saying nothing.  I haven’t written about food in a while.  I haven’t made anything interesting at home lately. My diet these days consists of a lot of watermelon smoothies with raw protein powder and rice, lentil salad usually tossed with cilantro, mango, lettuce.  Basically, its the same thing day in and day out, not because I’m lacking creativity necessarily, just because its what’s there and I’m hooked.   I haven’t really gone to any outrageously spectacular restaurants either.  However, when I have had time and am not going to bed at 8 pm, I’ve been able to dive into some local delicacies.

Taiwan has amazing food at even more amazing prices.  I’m presently in Chiayi which is one of the smaller cities.  In comparison to the bigger cities like Taipei or Kaohsiung, Chiayi is also apparently a lot cheaper.  A majority of their food is heavily influenced by a multitude of cultures.  There mostly seems to be a lot of Japanese and Chinese food. Do not confuse Taiwanese people with Chinese people, there’s a big difference. Don’t ask me what those differences are because I don’t know, but they’re very clear that they’re not the same, though they speak the same language.

And what visit to any country would be complete without trying some of the traditional food?  I know doing all this yoga causes me to obsess a bit over my food and what I can’t eat, but I don’t want to be so narrow-minded all the time.  Ashtanga women particularly can seem to be quite intense about the food thing.  Anyway, I like to make exceptions when given the right time and place.

Stinky Tofu

Stinky TofuIf the name doesn’t scare you off, the smell just might.  The whiff I got when I stepped out of the car was something like sewage, but I boldly stepped forward to the little shop.  As we walked closer and closer and finally into the epicenter, the smell all but seemed to dissipate.  Well, either that or my nose hairs had completely died.

The name of this delight is exactly what it means.  It’s stinky and its tofu.  It’s also fried and served with some sort of sweet and spicy dressing with their version of Korean Kimchi.  Actually, I really liked the cabbage on the top, it was sweet and sour with a crunchy texture that was every bit welcomed after the heat and oil from the tofu.  Where does the bad smell come from?  The tofu is fermented and can be served steamed, cold, stewed or most commonly, fried.

It was good, I’d eat it again.

Rice Noodles

Rice NoodlesThis was a very famous shop in Kaohsiung known for their handmade noodles.  I ate the ones from rice and my friend’s had the ones made from flour.  It was light and easy to digest, a little bland of flavors though, but it was good and the bean sprouts and scallions added a nice bit of extra texture.

I wouldn’t avoid eating it again, but I wouldn’t race towards it either.  It was a bit plain for me.

Fish Cake Soup

Oden

Is it healthy?  Possibly not as it’s processed.  However, I really love fish cake.  I used to enjoy this a lot in Korea all the time.  Of course, it’s prepared and served differently there than in Taiwan.  This was a light soup and altogether I wouldn’t argue that it is 100% bad for you.  The broth is simple, mostly water mixed with some fish or vegetable stock.

Would I eat it again?  Absolutely.  I love the cute little bite sized pieces.

Hot Pot

Taiwanese Hot Pot

If you’re looking for a lot of food, this is the way to go.  Influenced from the Japanese Shabu Shabu, Hot Pot is a full on experience and is kind of like a Chinese Fondue.  You typically choose the type of broth you want and then the ingredients (lots of variety, possibilities are endless).  When the food arrives, you cook it yourself and eat when ready.  It’s filling and its hot.  I’ve also had spicy hot pot, which isn’t just heat hot, its very spicy in nature.

Spicy Hot Pot

Given the cooking time and the time for the food to cool enough to eat, this sort of meal can be a lengthy and filling affair.

Taiwanese Breakfast

Breakfast in Taiwan

Fish for breakfast is definitely something that doesn’t usually happen in my world, but I wanted to be open minded.  This seemed much like a lunch or dinner sort of meal to me, but this was a breakfast shop.  There’s loads of dumpling stores and other fried eats that people eat a lot for breakfast as well, which I haven’t had yet.  Perhaps next time…

This was actually a really tasty meal.  It was light as hopefully nutritious.  The fish soup came with fish (obviously) and they put some rice inside as well.  Spinach was sautéed and we got a sweet soy glaze with wasabi to spice up the meal.  It was delicious and I’d definitely eat this again.  Light protein, vegetables, some carbs and not much sugar is a pretty good meal in general.

Counting down the days till I’m back in the states…16 days and counting.

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