The gastronomic wonders of a tiny island

A few months overdue, but better late than never: we were in Taiwan in December (and then in Japan, but that’s for another post). As before, I was struck by the boundless enthusiasm and open-minded connoisseurship of the people there for eating, and of course by the food itself.

Like the exploding butter bread at one of Taipei’s countless bakeries (like Starbucks in its penetration and like Japanese bakeries in presentation and sometimes product). Innovative? Probably. An improvement? Unclear. Edible? Couldn’t try it, as I was saving space for

xiao long bao and pork chop rice.

In between dinner and breakfast, of course, you’ve got to stave off hunger at the nightmarkets.

Taiwanese imagawayaki. Of variable quality — and it’s not always easy to determine what quality before buying. Fortunately, you can usually get a few for a dollar.

Avocadoes as big as your head.

Rice sausage, just like mom used to make.

Everything (squid, mochi), grilled.

And then there are the covered markets,

where you can get freshly milled sesame oil.

Variations in the key of seaweed.

Fresh meat,

fresh noodles,

and fresh fish.

Other Taiwanese staples include

fish balls in every color and texture, and sometimes posing as other foods or even as cartoonlike characters;

dried persimmons;

sticky rice, as in those sausages previously;

stinky tofu.

In Taiwan, the seafood restaurants, especially in Kenting, at the very southern tip of the island, look an awful lot like some exotic pet stores.

But the contents of those tanks make for an excellent Christmas dinner.

In Taiwan, this is how you start your day:

And it only gets better from there.


1 Response to “The gastronomic wonders of a tiny island”

  1. 1 Fāsuto fūdo « Fat is flavor Trackback on April 17, 2010 at 12:51 pm

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