Reflecting on my time in Taiwan, I must say that I did not eat a lot of the ‘usual’ foods that most tourist books/blogs will rave about in their eating experiences in Taiwan. I did that my first time in Taiwan when I was travelling with a fellow first timer. Perhaps this time, I was with locals and hence I was brought to places where they normally went. Night markets are more of like a rarity for them. Regardless, I did eat some very interesting dishes which I really enjoyed
Yi mee (鳝鱼意面) – Eaten at a stall along Wu Heng Road (Near Sogo departmental store). S’pore sells yi mee as well, but the version in Taiwan is remarkably different. A common version is to serve the noodles with eel or squid (your choice!) and the broth has a slightly sourish taste to it. Interestingly, the chinese name for this dish 鳝鱼意面 is quite hard to translate into English. We had several discussions on whether 鳝鱼 really meant eel, but after much discussion, it was decided that this served as the closest translation to the type of seafood that was served in the noodles. I thought the sourish broth gave the dish a really unique spin. It was really tasty and really light. It was easy to finish up the plate though for practicalities sake (wanting to try other foods), A and I shared a plate between us.
Pork ribs/wontons in Herbal soup – Eaten along Wu Heng road (Near Sogo department store). At first glance, the pork ribs soup may remind one of the Malaysian bak kuh teh, but one sip of the soup and you know it’s two different dishes. I thought the pork ribs were cooked well, though the more interesting concept for me was the wontons cooked in herbal soup. It was a simple dish which I enjoyed very much.
Open sushi and seafood soup at Yuan Ye Japanese restaurant, located at No. 670, Jiangong Rd., Sanmin Dist, Kaohsiung. I must say I’ve never had open sushi before I came to Taiwan. Instead of rolling the sushi up, they serve it flat on a plate, cute into squares for your easy consumption. Even more interesting is the seafood soup served in teapot. Squeeze the lime, eat the seafood inside if you so please, and pour the soup out into a tea cup and drink it as if it is any other normal cup of tea.
Meat dumplings – This is really hard to find a direct translation for. When A’s cousin tried to describe it for me, she called it a meatball. So imagine, a dumpling made out of a dough similar to a soon kueh dough, but the filing is filled with minced meat. The dumpling is then served with a starchy broth and chilli sauce, topped with cilantro and garlic. Admittedly, it’s a messy dish, really hard to photograph, not very appetizing in looks, but once you dig in,it’s really delicious to eat.I really liked eating it with the chilli sauce, I think it made all the difference.
Curry meatballs/ Ai Yu jelly eaten at Rui Fang night market – possibly the most touristy stuff I ate in Taiwan. Came highly recommended courtesy of A’s elementary school friends. What’s interesting is that on top of boiling the fishballs in curry (as us in Singaporean are apt to do), the fishballs are also coated with curry powder. The alternatives include seaweed powder. However, what I personally appreciated in Taiwan were its drinks – never a day went by without me having ai yu jelly or black tea or winter melon tea. So so so refreshing.
Though I only had a short stay in Taiwan (5 days!) I was really fortunate to be able to try so many different foods. And that is really only because of A and the wonderful locals who brought me around (and even introduced me to riding on a scooter for the first time!) Hopefully I’ll get to go back again soon 🙂