Taiwan street food in Tainan: a coda

This is the third post detailing my eating adventures in Taiwan. Previous posts include the sun moon restaurant and du fun cafe. I wondered about how I write about the food considering that the way to eat in Taiwan is just eat one dish at one place and hop on to the next one and this continues until we cry out ‘stop’ for our tummies just cannot take it anymore. I’ve decided to just detail what I’ve eaten in a particular city in one post (If I did not have a proper sit down meal), but this does not mean that the places I ate at are the best, there are many other stalls waiting to be discovered. I was just lucky that I was with several locals who knew where to go most of the time.

So Tainan is less than an hour’s drive from Kaoshiung, we took a day trip to catch with other old hostel buddies before the wedding. It was clear from the get go that the point of the trip was to eat. Dutch fort and ancient Ming temples? Nah. It helped too that I had been to Tainan before, so I had already done all the touristy stuff before.

Beef soup/Beef tongue/ Beef organ soup – Eaten at a stall along Guohua St, Sec 3. We were told that this stall should be our first stall because the auntie here opens shop at 5am and she usually sells out before lunch. I’m not really adventurous when it comes to food so I stayed clear of the beef organs, though I was persuaded to try some beef tongue. Our table was right next to the stove so I could literally watch the auntie take our orders, shuffle a few steps to her stove and cooked everything fresh in front of us. Beef tongue is mostly muscle and cooked well, it tastes like any tender piece of meat. In this case, it was really good, especially with the fresh garlic and spring onions. The beef soup was just as good. The beef slices were mostly raw than cooked, so we left it in the hot soup which allowed the meat to cook a bit more, but that’s just personal preference I reckon.

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Rice cake – Eaten at Fu Sheng Hao, located at the junction of Minsheng Road and Guohua Street. We were pretty stuffed after the beef soup, but J (as a Tainan local) insisted that we try this glutinous rice cake. Fu Sheng Hao specializes in the black rice cake variety and although the serving looks really small, it is really filling and we shared two bowls among 7 of us. As with glutinous rice, it has a very starchy texture, but it was very smooth and very tasty, despite it being a simple dish. Clearly, what counts here is the technique in which the rice cake is made.

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With already full bellies (It’s really hard to get hungry in Taiwan), we went off to Anping for some beancurd. However, enroute to the stall, A saw this long queue of people waiting for fried dumplings and pancakes so she decided to get some too. It turned out to be a good decision as these were really good and we ate them fresh from the pan. I was sitting at the back and was able to watch the cook and her colleagues go about making the dumplings and they were really just making them on the go as demand was just so high. Everyone in the queue seemed to order at least 5 when it came to their turn. Some even took the risk of double parking their cars in order to get their snacks! The dumplings consisted of a vegetarian filling, with tofu, glass noodles and spring onions.

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Anping Bean Curd Jelly – eaten at Anbei Road in Anping district. We tried the original, the black bean curd jelly, original with red bean and milk, original with lemon. The original was my favourite, followed by the original with lemon. The beancurd was really smooth and silky and I quite liked the zesty flavour that the lemon brought to the dish as well. The black bean curd jelly was just all right, while I avoided the milk version as poor me is lactose intolerant (Taiwan milk is so so fresh that the stomach reacts much faster than usual).

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 Pig trotters – eaten along An Ping road in An Ping district. It’s amazing that a stall can survive just on selling pig trotters alone, but it’s possible here. Every table in this restaurant has a bucket for you to spit all the bones you’re gonna encounter when eating pig trotters. And yes…. I’m not usually one for pig trotters. So you can pick which part of the trotter you want to eat – 腿蹄 (front portion with hoof), 腿節 (middle portion with the most tendon) and 腿扣 (top portion with meat).  We got all three types, the top portion part + pork knuckle was mainly for my benefit as I was not interested in the bony areas 🙂

I must say that I really enjoyed the flavours of the stewed meat. Those who had the pig feet also really enjoyed theirs, a must try if you’re into pig trotters and in Tainan. Apparently the restaurant even offers take away, carefully packed into boxes for your ready consumption later.

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