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Showing posts from October, 2011

Days 017-020: Advice -- feeding yourself without speaking Chinese

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Look at this guy in the shop. He's waving and posing for my photo. Why?!
Because they really are that happy to see foreigners eat their food, so enjoy.

I was really lucky to have wonderful friends take care of me in Taipei, who enjoy the best food Taipei has to offer. But there were plenty of times on my trip I found myself on my own. I was staying near the student filled Shida area, but not near enough. Many of the restaurants and food carts in my area do not offer English or photos of food options.


Rows and rows of food stands

There are several approaches to hunting and gathering your meal in a completely foreign language. It only takes an ounce more courage than ordering for the first time any new place. The process is eased by how incredibly friendly Taiwanese towards a non-Chinese speaking person in their restaurant. They want you to enjoy a meal from them, and will go out of their way to help you.

Bubble tea also know as pearl tapioca is everywhere. Let the locals
tell you where t…

Day 016: Meals to Kill a King

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I'm in Taipei to eat and explore. Not traveling, just working while hanging out in a foreign land. I take eating very seriously. Ask me if I want to try it and the answer is yes. Especially if I've never tried it before. Every meal is big, big enough for a king, and often I have 2-3 a day to make any royal gout flame with fear.

Hot pot food station, pace yourself

I met up with an American friend, Chris, who has been living in Taiwan for more than a year. He has a lot of insight on being a foreigner in Taipei, which is a welcoming place. He answers all my, "How do you make this happen?" over hot pot. Hot pot is a buffet of raw ingredients you cook yourself in a pot of broth kept hot by a burner inside each table. Your first choice is between normal and spicy broth for the pot. Off you go to the food station where there are hundreds of fresh ingredients to choose from such as: cabbage, carrots, peppers, beans, asparagus, mushrooms, fish cakes, meat/fish balls, dumplings…

Day 015: The Day I Ate Snake

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Stir-fried snake skin delight

After a good long rest after my 24 hour first day I spend the afternoon working. Boo. But food is the main event, and night time is when the carts get cooking. Michael and Katherine decide to take me to Longshan to visit the grand temple. Not only grand, but functioning as an important local place to pray.

Longshan Temple

Longshannightmarket accompanies the temple, and its not too be missed either. Instead of all the youth oriented night markets full of university students, and skinny tie-dyed jeans. Longshan is full of home goods, hairbrushes, tea, massages, and prostitutes. Its also the place to eat turtles and snake.

Big ass snake, and rats for its dinner

Listen for announcements of snakes medicinal benefits and looks for the cages of snakes and rats. Snake is good for your skin. Its served as a soup. Ours came with 3 shots of other beneficial liquids. One of shots was possibly snake blood, the other de-poisoned venom.

Snake happy meal.

Ours was on sale fo…

Day 014: 24 hour day in Taipei

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Dragon fruit, guava, persimmon, peach, mango, kiwis, and more tropical fruit delights at the night market

I landed at the Taipei airport around 4:30 am. The airport and buses were still asleep. I needed the hour before everything opened to gain my courage. It was hesitant to enter Taipei, and Asia for the first time in my life. Would I get lost constantly, would I be able to communicate with anyone, how will I know what to eat were all the thoughts troubling me before arriving. NEVER MIND those worries. Taipei is awesome. They really love foreigners, especially Americans here. They love helping you and making you feel welcome. They love helping you find subway stops, new destinations, jobs, and breaking down menus and customs. Come right over. Don't hesitate. This is a vibrant city with style and tradition, nature and architecture, and lots and lots of motor scooters.

Kind people bringing me to food right away

I had booked a 2 week stay at hostel in Guting/Shida, near the universitie…

Australia's Exotic Fruit Farm: 2 Fruit Tasting

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Tasting fruits in whole form
You're greeted with a cool glass of water with splash of West Indian Lime at the Cape Tribulation Exotic Fruit Farm on arrival. The flavor is recognizably lime, but subtler, less tart. The fruit farm has been collecting and growing unique tropical fruits since 1988. The tasting is a chance to get up close and personal with some very rare fruits, many of which are grown on the same land the farm sits on. Trish, our instructor also offers lots of information on recognizing when the fruit is ripe, peeling and cutting the fruits, and recipe and flavor pairings. Its a fruity dream in a tropical rain forest.
Tasting list
Breadfruit is a large spiky fruit. When its fully ripe, its a falling apart mess. Its eaten in its starchier state, and has lots of uses. We had ours roasted like potatoes. The flavor was nutty, and rooty. Very like a parsnip.
Roasted breadfruit
You've probably heard of the next one, jakfruit. Its available in a can in the states, and I'…