We spent two weeks in Taiwan, visiting relatives I have not seen in a long time, catching up with old friends and new alike. We also spent plenty of time admiring sites, like a jade cabbage, a former tallest building in the world, hiking up some mountains, hanging out in parks, seeing monuments and memorials, visiting temples, riding on fast trains, etc.
Taipei 101, Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial, Jade Cabbage, High Speed Train (300 km/hr)
But for us, the real highlight was EATING.
Let me start by explaining how efficient many of the restaurants in Taiwan are. In this example, upon being seated (or even before, if there is a wait), we were handed a menu to order from. In the blank space, we had to indicate how many of that item/dish we want. You’ll notice in my menu below there are what look like “T” (2) and “-” (1). You could write the numeral (1,2,3,4,5,etc), but the locals use a system based on the strokes to write the word 正. (So what looks like a T is the first 2 strokes of that symbol – hence 2 of that item.) There are 5 strokes for that word. I’m not sure how you order more than 5.
But what if you can’t read traditional Chinese characters like me (damn – should have paid more attention in Chinese school). There’s always Google Translate, an incredibly useful app. I can speak Mandarin and get the waitstaff to explain to us most of the menu items; we did that once and it was tough going for everyone. Hopefully the waitstaff will just be frustrated and throw you a menu with pictures on it, woohoo! Then you just have to match pictures to Chinese characters to the ordering menu (which can be time consuming itself).
Everything on this menu looks awesome. I want to eat it all.
Here are some of the meals we had during the trip.
Scallion pancakes, etc
So many buns (包子) and steamed breads (饅頭)
Peach bun filled with red bean paste
Dumplings steaming in front of a bakery. Yes, you can have dumplings for breakfast.
Hot pot and shabu shabu
Check out those crusty cauldrons (filled with pig feet)
Can you believe this was only a tiny selection from the food court in the basement of Taipei 101?
Rice with chopped tea leaves, tea and citrus fish, tea smoked goose, mmmm….
Dumplings, turnip cakes, beef rolls, custard buns, and more…
Delicious Hakka cuisine
Even the ramen is good.
Markets & Night Markets
Oyster omelettes were new to us all (not my thing)
Hope you enjoyed our culinary tour of Taiwan. We certainly did!