This, my friends, is brined chicken feet, which my girlfriend’s relatives brought to a restaurant some time when I was in Taiwan recently and it serves to highlight the great variety of food one can expect to encounter when you’re out there on holiday.
As it turns out, chicken feet are ‘enormously challenging’ and it took me 45 minutes to turn one of those guys into one of these guys:
Taste: salty, vaguely sinister; texture: carteniligious, gelatinous, chewy as all hell, gristly AF. In fact, brined chicken feet taste what I expect Gremlins to taste like.
Well, hey ho! That’s me lost about 95% of my readers 🙂
Joking aside, in Taiwan you can expect a great deal of seriously amazing food – especially street food.
Like this roast pork joint in Taipei station:
Or this lunch box place in Yangmei:
And then there was this ‘bun’ place in Taipei:
Which specialises in radish cakes covered in chilli sauce:
GF (girlfriend) says this is what she used to eat most days while she was at university and it’s testimony to say that this place is still around after nearly 14 years.
In Taiwan you’re going to get taken out by the locals who will a) get you blind drunk and b) plied with enough food that you never want to eat ever again.
Which may variously consist of:
Goose a l’Orange (fatty, yet tender and flavoursome).
Taiwanese saucisson (dunno, but this is the best approximation):
Brined pork with star anise and other flavourings:
Super Mario characters:
Actually, these were from Sonic the Hedgehog and were made out of bread with sesame paste stuffed inside. They were OK I guess but I never got any power-ups after eating them.
Oh look, here’s another ‘all you can drink and eat’ dining experience somewhere north of Taoyuan:
Speciality: grilled chicken anus!
Which, you know, was actually pretty good; a bit chewy and oddly crunchy in places but totally endorsable if you like that kind of thing.
Or how about restaurant 竹家莊避風塘漁家料理 (no translation, soz) who served an amazing duck with tarot puree and crispy topping:
This was off-the-scale rich and I could only manage one slice. But it was goddam lovely; the duck tasted a bit like pork belly and the tarot like mashed potato while the crispy stuff lent a really neat texture to everything. Plus, the gravy you can see to the left really helped to bring everything together. Nom nom nom nom.
And then there was this restaurant in Neihu:
Superpower: roast duck:
Which they will carve with military precision at the table for you:
^^^ This is probably the best crispy duck I’ve ever had and I can see why the folks come from all over Taipei to eat here; fat rendered into brittle oblivion and really tender, lean meat.
Incidentally, this place is also know for congee, which is cooked from the duck bones:
Super rich and tasty, but not too heavy.
Other highlights on my Taiwan trip included a visit to a restaurant called 吉松日本料理 (no translation again, sorry) where we had sea urchin:
And cod’s liver (oily but super flavourful):
Then there was Chilli House where we had pork belly:
Which was goddam exceptional: cooked for hours; tender and umami and something I highly recommend, just like the Michelin Guide does (it really is in the Michelin Guide).
What else to look out for? We ran into this old couple selling bamboo shoots in Taipei, but I think we we’re slightly ripped off after they charged us 300 TWD (about £7.50) for not that much:
The wee bams.
And the final thing I’d like to mention about my trip to Taiwan was this Korean BBQ in Taichung:
And I’m getting goddam hungry looking at that again FYI.
And that ends my summary of another excellent culinary adventure to the Far East. But have you been to Taiwan? What did YOU eat? What else did you eat that I didn’t that you would recommend (I’ll try anything as long as it’s not Mogwai).
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