Friday, February 23, 2007

Eating My Way Through Taiwan Part 4: Finer Foods

So, I should be doing work, but it's much more fun to post food pictures. This will be the last Taiwan food post :( . Anyway, I've been writing about the 'down-and-dirty' yummy foods, by which I guess I mean food that is obviously and directly enjoyable. But subtler and more 'refined' foods are to be had in Taiwan as well.

One night we had the pleasure of eating at a hot pot restaurant specializing in organic foods and native herbs. Here's a selection on my plate of things about to go into the pot:

Tofu, fresh fish and paper-thin-cut beef and pork, what looks like spinach but is probably a native plant, and fish cake ("tien-bu-lah").

Here is herb tempura (like Italian fritto misto), a taro-coconut confection (I think), seaweed, fish ball, and inari (rice wrapped in deep-fried tofu skin). Here, only the fish ball and seaweed will go into the pot.

A great meal for a rainy day - look at the steam rising from the pot. And aren't they cute?

What do you bring back for relatives in the States when you go to Taiwan? Tea! Taiwan produces marvelous tea - better than China, by far. This was taken at a tea shop, where the shopkeeper poured us cup after tiny cup of the most aromatic teas.

The leaf - once dried but now unfurled from the hot water - shows the quality of the tea: it has been carefully hand (not machine) picked , and there are two whole leaves and one shoot on each stem (a standard of quality).

Finally, we can't talk about Taiwan food without mentioning mochi. It's actually a Japanese confection, but, of course, the Japanese had rule over Taiwan from 1895 (after the Sino-Japanese War) until 1945 (the end of WWII). The Taiwanese call mochi 'moah-ji' - it is a delicious chewy, soft rice cake, usually with a filling inside - anything from green tea to red bean to lotus seed. Here are some lined up in an amazing mochi shop:

Aren't they beautiful? They aren't usually this fancy - you can buy them like snacks at any 7-Eleven or grocery store. These, though, are special.

Here are two that we bought from that shop. The one of the right is green tea and the left is mango. Mmmmmmm.

Well, that's it for Taiwanese foods. What a life it would be if I could be a food travel writer! Someday, maybe.

1 comment:

Moltmannian said...

Dear God take me back right now...pleeeeaase!