Taiwan trip 2011 day one eats

I'm still working out this blogsy software, sorry about the formatting. I decided to make this trip sans laptop and try to do everything off the iPad. I have to say, not having internet is a real handicap but when I actually manage to find access it's been pretty successful. For instance I managed to find some wireless while at my grandparents (open wifi at a hotel across the street) and uploaded a bunch of photos to start my post. I worked on the content offline and waited for more internet to post. I'm still getting use to it, I have a photo connector to download new photos from my iPad.

Anyhow first full day in Taiwan and visiting relatives and off course it's all about the food over here so day one didn't disappoint. We started our day in Tao Yuan.

Breakfast starts off with hot soy milk and fried "donut" (literally called Oil stick) in a flaky sesame bun. The donut itself isn't sweet nor is the flat bread like bun which is somewhere between a flatbread and a pastry dough in consistency. As with the an American breakfast, it's got a good share of carb goodness to start your day.

The other breakfast specialty here was the Dragon purses, or soup dumplings. It's a steamed bun with meat inside, the way it's prepared there's also a good bit of broth that spills out as you bite into it. Some places specialize in giant versions of this that you first drink with a straw before cutting into it. This was a big favorite of my brother in-law, he claimed he could have wolfed down a couple more trays of those.

We hopped a train and proceeded to visit my grandparents and uncle in Hsin Chu. One of the things you'll notice when coming to taiwan is that there's a shrine pretty much as often as you would see a starbucks in the US. The one pictured above is a very famous one in Hsin Chu and is happily located next to a food market.

These markets probably wouldn't pass any health food inspection back home but of course that's where you find the best foods. My uncle explained that the little food stalls are actually passed down generations and that the 30 square foot of cooking/eating space is probably some of the most valuable realestate around. Most of the vendors carry the same type of stuff and my uncle brought us to one place where he has dined with family for about three generations during his lifetime.

First we start with Oyster Pancake. It's a pan fried mixture of oyster, egg, vegetables (I think chopped bok choi) and batter. The batter consists of, tapioca flour and stock. It's topped with a sweet sauce, which I think is oyster sauce. It's a love or hate texture, but a definitely authentic taiwanese dish. The resulting dish is a bit gooey and hard to cut into and remains pretty true to the oyster in it's raw form.

Second course was a noodle soup with beef tendon meatball. There were two types of noodles here, an egg noodle and a rice noodle vermicelli. The stock for the soup has been stewing a long time with large hunks of pork shoulder.

Next was a fried plate of Fried oyster pancake, fried sweet rice cake, and chicken roll. I'm not sure I heard the name of the chicken roll correctly because I believe it had pork in it, the wrapper was a tofu skin wrapper. Needless to say all three were delicious, kind of hard to go wrong with fried stuff. All three were served with a sweet chili sauce.

Above we have Hsin Chu sausage. It's a steamed sausage, that's very large whole chunks of pork fat and thick walled intestines as casing. It's unusual since normal sausage has very thin casing.

Pork intestines. Came with a chili sauce. This is one of those things that my uncle told my brother in-law to just eat it and ask questions later. I give him great marks for being adventerous, being Chinese there are few very things that I won't eat, as an American I didn't think he'd go for it but he went full gusto and enjoyed it. The texture was like eating a properly prepared squid, which is to say has a chew but not like eating a rubberband. There's no real flavor to mention, its a great container for whatever condiment you use it with.

Remember the pork stock I mentioned from the noodle soup. The resulting stewed pork is what you see above. The meat is not very flavorful since it all went into the stock but it is very very tender and goes great with a garlic soy sauce.

Here's the most awesome part. I think we had about two of each dish plus one I didn't get a picture of a squid soup. The whole thing fed five of us and we had some to take home. All that cost us around eight bucks in US money. Can you believe that? I'm finding food to be extremely reasonable here. The cost of gadgets is about the same but street food is very inexpensive.

Ok this post went long so I'll have to revise this. We went to the fish market later on so I'll do a post on that when we go to Fu Long today to go rock climbing. Ok TTFN.


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