Posted by on Aug 2, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 4 comments

As some attentive readers may have noticed, S.S. Munchies shall be categorizing Taiwan related topics underneath the category of “Eating like an Emperor – in Taiwan”. Now, why so long? It’s certainly a mouthful isn’t it? We decided to dub our Taiwan ramblings due to an old proverbial saying of: Chī fan, Huangdi da. That is to say that eating is similar to that of being an Emperor, the act of it is so important that no one is allowed to bother you. Fancy that! Next time I’m busy and I don’t want to be bothered all I have to say is “I’m eating!” and silence shall follow…or not, but wishful thinking never hurts.

Speaking of eating, or feasting rather, like an Emperor – that was exactly what we did on our trip to Tainan, Taiwan. Stepping gingerly through the sliding doors of A-Sha, a restaurant specializing in the traditional foods from Southern Taiwan, we were treated to several dishes of delectable seafood.

Seafood’s always been a favorite of mine (along with several other food groups) but a family favorite that we view as a Lunar New Year treat would have to be Wu Yú Zi, or fish roe. For some, this condensed piece of fish roe may be overwhelmingly salty but eating a few pieces of fresh radish washes it down to a nice salty tang. For those who favor a bit of spice in their life, slices of fresh scallion or even garlic is yet another option to try.

Mm-mm! That does look scrumptious, now doesn’t it Jas? Ah, I see that she’s busily eying her food and committing it to memory before it disappears into her bowels. Poor thing.

But the fish roe (delicious as it was) was only the beginning of our meal. Followed with abalone and these interesting little shrimpy crab balls. For those of you who have never had abalone before, it’s a rather large clam that’s sliced and served with mayonnaise. The fishy smell and taste can be a bit intimidating to some but the texture itself is tender and chewy like…well, clam! The shrimp/crab balls were quite interesting. Fried just enough so that its thin outer layer is crisp, but the inside is soft with the slight surprise of a crunch from water chestnuts here and there.

Afterwards, a plate of assorted foods (from sausage to chicken, all the way to veggies to tofu) with shrimp. Not just any shrimp! Shrimp with curly feet. Yes, that’s right. Curly. Almost as if they’re dancing for joy…straight into my mouth that is.

Anyway, drooling aside, what really stood out within this meal blew everything else away. The crab sticky rice, the steamed fish, the stir-fried peppers and scallops…the winner of the meal was…this little sucker.

Ooh yea, just look at it staring so venomously at’cha. Pretty intimidating huh? Not so much when its body’s a mere bony patch.

Served in a ginger broth, much like a soup, these little critters were just swimming around in there until fished up by us. A light finish to the meal, the fish sat nicely in the stomach along with the refreshing ginger broth. Soft and tender, the meat easily falls off its bone with a little nudge of encouragement from my spoon and chopsticks.

Apparently the Flying Mud Fish like to jump onto the shore’s rocks and sun themselves for a while – which also happens to make them rather easy to catch.

All in all, a delightful afternoon spent with family…some of whom I’ve never met until just then! If any of you readers have found this post to be interesting and happen to visit Tainan, Taiwan sometime in the future…be sure to ask the taxi driver to drive you by A-Sha restaurant for its delectable delights.

~ AJ ~

Food photographs taken and provided by Jasmine Hwang
Photograph of Jas taken by yours truly =]
For complete selection of photographs, please refer to the photo gallery: Seafood Galore [8/2/10]


  1. Aug-2-2010

    That mud fish must taste delicious. It reminds me of catfish o.o, which also seems to have that kind of texture when cooked broth.

  2. Aug-2-2010

    Great articles but too few pictures. I thought you took a boat load of pictures. You should create a new page for Photos and upload all the pictures there. If we can’t eat or smell those beautiful dishes, we should at least be able to see them.

  3. Aug-30-2010

    Stumbled on your blog post via live search the other day and absolutely adore it. Continue the good work.

  4. Sep-1-2010

    Seen your web blog via yahoo the other day and absolutely find it irresistible. Continue the excellent work.

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