Star anise ribs, chicken with chili, potato starch prawns, intestine, stinky tofu and chili, chicken with glutenous rice flour balls, green beans, stir fried squid.
In Taiwan you will experience things you probably wouldn’t get a chance to in the West; over the past couple weeks I’ve had things like fish jaw, intestines, jellied pork blood, sea urchin and god knows whatever else.
On top of that, the Taiwanese are very generous and every meal is a sharing, caring and rather excessive experience.
As you can imagine my trip was incredibly valuable because it expanded my knowledge of food considerably and after I’ve had to *ahem* digest my holiday here are some of the highlights…
Top Secret Japanese Restaurant
A top secret Japanese restaurant somewhere in Taipei. I am led to believe it was quite high end because they had those private rooms where you had a mini garden and they made you kneel under the table and they said you can`t take pictures. Like, oops.
Top left anti clockwise: pickled mackerel, chestnut, sugared sea weed; fish soup with prawn, benito, fish bones; panecotta, molasses, wheat crumb; sashimi; ultra rare sushi collection.
In the ultra rare sushi collection I could only identify the salmon roe (bubbly things) and sea urchin (orange stuff, left). I don`t know what the pink stuff was. Sea urchin tasted like the smell of rockpools -which sound pretentious but it`s accurate – and the pink stuff was really creamy and rich. What is pink stuff though? Help me out in the comments.
Michelin Star Dumplings
Here we are at via Din Tai Fung, an award winning dumpling restaurant chain based in Taipei and I`ve managed to sneak into the kitchen to see how they prepare their signature dish. Each staff member has a very specific tasks and they go about their mission with military precision and weren`t even put off by the fact I was naked. Srsly.
Baking and desserts
The Taiwanese love their sweet things like this assorted bakery action in Taipei central train station.
And this ice cream parlour in Taichong which had eighteen! EIGHTEEN!! flavours of chocolate ice cream.
And the shop is staffed by elves and it is Christmas EVERY DAY.
Super Crispy Chicken
About an 30 min drive south west of Sun Moon Lake are a number of road side joints that sell super crispy chicken cooked in those egg things from the film Alien.
The meat is served with a variety of side dishes like cabbage and goji berries, sweet and sour chicken, stock, chicken with garlic and Thai basil:
The chicken skin was amazing BTW.
I think this was in a neighbourhood on the outskirts of Taichung. The food is super fresh and includes lots of unusual ingredients, especially variations of tofu and fungi I had never tried before.
One of the stalls in the market sold these amazing ribs with corriander.
This bowl cost about £1 and was as insanely rich and delicious as it looks.
Going Out With The Locals
They will order lots of weird things and you should try everything.
Bottom left, clockwise: fish jaw, beef with Thai basil, deep fried chicken, very rare steak, crispy pig intestines. Intestines were challenging, that’s all I will say.
Luckily the locals ply you with drink. Top tip: you can’t drink alone; you must always nominate someone to drink with each time you have a sip.
If you go to Taiwan you’re going to have a LOT of hotpot and it might look something like this:
And after everything has cooked you have the most insanely delicious stock!
Award winning Street Buns
I believe we are at Sun Moon lake and all the famous Taiwanese stars go to this little bun shop by the lake shore.
Flour buns are stuffed with cabbage and other goodies and deep fried.
They were really nice.
Question: why is there so much deep fried stuff in Taiwan? Would they like Scotland’s deep fried Mars Bar and Pizza?
During my trip I happened across a fair few strange things.
Like this spray can Godzilla off a square in Taipei.
And this dessert made from ice, condensed milk, beans, cane sugar.
This giant sea snail. Tasted weird and rubbery. Avoid. The restaurant, however, was amazing…I wish I could remember exactly where it was.
This fried egg mascot thing.
Update: “the “strange mushrooms” you took a photo of are “king oyster mushrooms” (杏鮑菇) and they’re the best kind of mushroom. Eat them grilled or deep fried (found at most night markets)” h/t reddit
The Satanic Church of the 5th Adventist Slayer Fan.
And so ends my journal of my travels round Taiwan. I had an incredible time and if you get a chance you really ought to go; the diversity of fresh food and generosity and kindness of the people make it a truly special place
Flights about 20 hours from UK including stop over in Dubai from about £750.
I would like to thank KK for organising everything and being so patient.