A Taste of Taiwan: Taiwanese Munchies

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan, Recipe | 2 comments

Hello everyone! Here in Taiwan, I have been faithfully sticking to this blog by eating several snacktime munchies every single day. This is extremely easy to do, as the nightlife in Taiwan is practically completely centered around the yummy food stands that come out. Instead of sitting down and eating a meal, why not enjoy food on a stick, or in a bag? I say YES. Here are some traditional/strange munchies that Taiwan has offered my tummy: We stumbled across this traditional style sweet potato stand that bakes the sweet potatoes in a wooden crate over coals. Extremely huge and piping hot! The insides are a bright yellow and this traditional snack is filling and healthy! I’ve had this so many times, it’s addictive. Taipei Milk King’s freshly made papaya milk is soooo good. They blend huge Taiwanese papayas with milk to produce something that actually tastes like the fruit! None of that artificial syrup stuff. Plus, its HEALTHY. I think I may have talked about stinky tofu before, but this stinky tofu in particular is on another level. There’s this tiny stand/shop in the Gongguan area that is famous for its stinky tofu, and I know why. The tofu is not extremely stinky, more like aromatic. Plus, its steaming hot and has a thin crispy skin and juicy insides that are stuffed full of cucumbers and parsley. Yummmmm. Taiwanese coconuts are small and round compared to the ones we see in U.S. supermarkets. Yet the insides are very sweet, and MAN do they have some refreshing brain juice. I know I talked about takoyaki during my previous visit to Taiwan, but here’s something I’ve never tried until now. Usually, takoyaki are small delicious little fried octopus balls that come 6-8 in a container. Each one is barely a mouthful. But look at the giant takoyaki above!! One takoyaki is bigger than that guy’s fist, believe it or not. Plus, the typical takoyaki contains a snippet of octopus and maybe some onion or whatever if you’re lucky. Here, you get one ball in a soup bowl (THAT big) and inside it’s filled with dozens of octopus pieces, shrimp, broccoli, corn, potato, scallop, etc! It’s a whole nutritional meal in a fried ball! Heaven. Here’s a picture of a pretty good piece of pig blood rice cake covered in peanut powder and parsley. Again, I’ve mentioned this delicious snack before. But guess what? This piece of yummy is probably one and a half times the length of my head! We’re talking about almost a foot of blood rice cake here…plus it’s delightfully chewy and not mushy like some can get. No, that is not pee pee in a cup. It’s actually sugarcane juice with no added flavors! Just pure, liquified sugarcane. I remember eating sugarcane when I was little, and we would have to rip a chunk of the sugarcane, chew it to get the juice, and then spit out the fibers. A very tedious process. Here, they squeezed the sugarcane to a pulp, resulting in fiber/wood free juice. Not too sweet, and very sugarcane-y.  I took a video of the fun process, but unfortunately the file is apparently to big to upload! So much for a 1 minute video…  Anyways, hope you guys enjoyed this post, more will follow :) Yay Taiwan! – Jas                                                                                   Photographs taken by Jasmine Hwang...

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A Taste of Taiwan: Sushi Takeout!

Posted by on Jun 19, 2012 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 3 comments

Hey everyone! I’ve officially been living in Taiwan for about a month now, which was enough time to stuff myself fat and take a couple hundreds of pictures of food. All for you guys! At first I contemplated making my first Taiwan series post an overall view of what I’ve been eating and visually drown you all in delicious pictures of food. But what’s the point of dozens of pictures without words…right? So I’m gonna break it down into categories, starting with da da da DUMMMM….Sushi Takeout! Now pretty much everyone who knows me can verify my obsession with sushi and sashimi. Usually, I only get to gobble the babies up for special occasions when we decide to go to a restaurant or something. But recently I have been able to sate my sushi cravings whenever I want, and that is because ladies and gentlemen, there is a delicious Sushi Takeout shop in practically every subway station in Taiwan! Not only that, but everything is made fresh throughout the day (as it should be) and the prices are laughingly cheap and only get cheaper with every hour at night when items are discounted to sell out the days worth of food. Of course, you would assume that the sushi must be plain, simple, and average tasting if the prices were that low. NOT SO. Here’s proof: At Sushi Takeout, you can either custom make your own meal by taking the various plastic container sizes they have available and filling it with individual sushi pieces which can vary in price from 5NT to 15NT (15NT being 50 cents), or you can grab one of their custom made options. These include several sushi, nigiri, and bento options. Above, I got a delicious meal of eel, salmon roe, shrimp, broccoli, and a whole bunch of rice with egg AS WELL AS a separate container not pictured full of around 10 pieces of handpicked sushi for around $6!!! All the sashimi is fresh and the sushi filled with chewy rice that’s not mushy, limp, and stuck together. Yum yum. This wonderful place also sells the typical convenience store wonderfulness of breads, drinks and snacks, but I will talk about convenience stores in another post! For now, just ogle and awe at the greatness of Sushi Takeout. I know I do! Even without the nightly discounts, buying during the day is also a great lunch or snack for cheap. If it wasn’t so filling and if Taiwan didn’t offer so many other delectable foods to devour, I would just stuff myself with sushi…but thank goodness that isn’t the case. Hope you enjoyed this toast and make sure to try out the easy convenient sushi if any of you visit Taiwan! Btw, did anyone notice I typed toast and not post? Yes, I love food…ok that was corny. Anyways, thanks for reading ^_^   – Jas                                                                           Photographs taken by Jasmine...

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Food Ramble Time! (Picture Heavy!)

Posted by on Mar 10, 2011 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan, Miscellaneous | 4 comments

Hey guys! Rest be assured, we have not abandoned this blog! Things have been so busy that I was surprised once I realized it was already March! Wow, how time flies… On another note, I thought I would get this blog back up and running by putting up a simple post of me rambling. About food that is. xD Recently I’ve been craving so many things! Most of them are Taiwanese street food, which is sadly inaccessible for me now. :( The first thing I will do when I return to Taiwan is eat, eat, and eat. I’ll just spend the day shopping and then head over to the night market and eat through all the stalls. Ah, pure bliss. Until then, I spend my time thinking about it, which might be driving my friends crazy. These days when I’m talking to my friends, the conversation somehow ends up on food most of the time. I have no idea how this happens. Just the other day my korean friend was telling me about all the spicy korean food that I had to try, and now I want kimchi fried rice to satiate my cravings. In the meantime, I feel happy looking at the pictures I took last time. Here are some foods I want to eat again: Are you guys hungry now too? The other day my friend treated me to Haagen Daz! So happy. I tried the Belgian Irish Cream flavour with a waffle cone. Yum yum, so good. The lady gave us two huge scoops, which needed heavy tongue licking action to keep from dripping. Don’t you guys think that ice cream tastes so much better in the winter time? Lately, my favorite thing to eat when I get home from school is hot rice straight out of the rice cooker, with an extremely gooey barely cooked egg on top, and with dashes of soy sauce and sesame oil mixed in. Then I break the egg, let the yolk sink into the rice, and mix it all together. SO DELICIOUS. Easy to make, and perfect to fill your tummy. Okay, I think I will finish up this post. Extremely random, but hoped you guys enjoyed! I will probably elaborate on some of the dishes in the pictures in future posts, so comment if you want to know more! – Jas Photographs taken by Jasmine...

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Lavender Bears…no wait, Ice Cream!

Posted by on Sep 25, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan, Itadakimasu Japan! | 4 comments

During the three hour flight from Taiwan to Japan, my sister and I were excitedly anticipating the landing and impatient to fully immerse ourselves in the experience of Hokkaido. Three hours and a few days later, it soon became apparent that if we weren’t soaking in the hot springs in attempts to become prunes, or busy taming bears and seeing the sights, then we were either sleeping or eating. I know. What complete and utter sloths huh? Well, that’s vacation for you. I’ve received a few requests asking to see more sweets introduced on the blog. So, with that in mind, here’s a look at all the different types of soft ices we sampled. Though I’m usually not a big fan of soft ice, I realized after tasting the creamy milk ice that I may have to change my mind. Or rather, I would, if the soft ice in the States were this good! Creamy in both taste and texture, it made my dad’s rum raisin nothing but a mere backdrop. Compared to the soft ices I’ve had before, this one could almost be categorized as ‘heavy’. The taste of the milk was definitely there, and it was like eating frozen cream that got magically churned into a swirl.   Next would have to be my favorite of the bunch. Lavender ice!…along with my dad’s rebellious honeydew (thus the reason why it’s already half-eaten). My mom’s is the one on the right with the swirl of milk…but as you can see from the picture, we were all so eager to try this out that only my sister remembered to take out the camera in time before it was completely devoured. Lavender seems to be really big in Hokkaido, no doubt due to its beautiful lavender fields and gardens. In fact, it was such a big hit that Taiwan even has it’s own chain of Lavender Cottages…but that’s for another post. The vibrant color of these ices were what caught my eye first. A pretty pastel purple, this would’ve matched my room perfectly. (For those of you who are utterly convinced that purple is my favorite color…it’s second only to red.) I’m not sure how to describe the taste of lavender besides…well, instead of the fragrant smell of relaxing lavender, this danced along your taste buds and tasted as great as the plant smells. Even though this might make lavender sound really delicious right now, I wouldn’t suggest eating the actual plant. Would you just look at that monster? This softee is not only huge but a must-have. With six different flavors and thus six layers stacking on top of a teeny cone, this frozen dessert is as dangerous as it is fun to eat. Just make sure you don’t topple the whole thing. If memory serves me right, the flavors are strawberry, chocolate, honeydew, milk, pineapple, apple from top to bottom. Thanks to my sister and her fastidious journal keeping…I’m pretty sure that’s right. I think? Either way, there’s no doubting that this was an interesting buy and an even more unique combination. Or rather, it seemed that the store literally just put down a swirl of every flavor available. All in all, perhaps not the tastiest mixture of ices but still something to try out just for the sake of saying you did. Our last venture into frozen desserts while in Hokkaido, Japan was actually due to a mistake on my part. Seeing that pastel purple ice, my mind jumped to the lavender ice cream from before and hoped for one last taste before hopping on the plane...

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Sandwiches, wraps, or snacks?

Posted by on Sep 18, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 6 comments

When the words ‘night market’ are mentioned, images of crowded streets and stores ranging from food to shoes to lingerie pop up. When visiting the Shilin night market, you realize that this is the night market. Traffic is atrocious due to pedestrians spilling off of sidewalks and into the road. Entering the throng may mean having to fight your way to an exit after several hours of traversing a maze of small alleys and side streets…but is it worth it? Oh yea. Separate from the rest of the shopping area in the night market, Shilin has an entire section dedicated solely to food. That’s right. Nothing more and nothing less. Just food. The place is so crowded that people are no longer lining up inside the actual building itself, but down a line that winds back so far it’s intimidating to the eye. One can only imagine how long the wait for certain stalls are. Here’s one stall that caught my eye while passing. At first, it looks like a sandwich. That is, until a thick slice of plain toast is quickly fried in hot oil, leaving a crunchy outer crust while the inside is still soft. Once the bread has been fried to a lightly golden perfection, it’s sliced so that one ‘crust’ is able to be pried up, leaving a ‘shell’ to be filled with various fillings. Slop some corn chowder in there, top with shredded chicken and tuna along with a few pieces of shrimp and you have something similar to an Asian version of a clam chowder bread bowl. When just passing by, this strange concoction had caught my eye and sparked my curiosity. Now that I had it in my hands…I’ll admit, it didn’t look too appetizing. But this just wouldn’t be fun if we didn’t try out strange foods right? You have to admit, that looks pretty disgusting. I don’t blame you at all for being grossed out since I had to think twice before taking a bite myself. Surprisingly? Not bad. Even though the mixture of ‘filling’ seemed strange, the flavors managed to combine well together and it just tasted like chowder…just thicker. The bread exterior was light and crunchy, not too oily. If I hadn’t watched her making it, I would have thought that she’d scooped out the bread in the middle and left only the crust – that’s how thin it was. The eating was messy (as expected) but I think that it was an interesting new take of chowder bread. Next up, this stall is famous for their simple, but tasty snack wraps. Two different ‘crackers’ are the main ingredients of this wrap. One large outer layer (da bing aka big cracker) that closely resembles that of a tortilla skin, and then a smaller and crunchier ‘cracker’ (xiao bing aka small cracker) is smashed to bits and wrapped inside with your choice of flavoring. We got the sesame flavored wrap (left) and the original wrap (right). Apparently all flavorings are basically just added in the forms of powder. I suspect that it’s the same powder used for bubble teas…but I could always be wrong. Either way, the combination wasn’t as spectacular as I would have expected from the line. Besides the additional flavoring of sesame, it was what it was. A soft dough that would probably be a tortilla if it had been baked any longer, with the lightly salty crunch of the crushed crackers inside. Though in actuality, it should probably be described more as a fried cracker instead of salty. Until next time! For now…envy me as...

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Delicious Randomness: Snack Till You Drop!

Posted by on Sep 17, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 1 comment

Heyyyy all. So. Delicious randomness. What does that mean? It means, salty, sweet, fried, iced….Taiwan street food smashed into one long post! So let’s get started, and hope you guys like my occasional random pictures. First up is this delicious grass jelly milk drink. A sort of milk tea, they add plenty of sweet cream and grass jelly to make the overall taste a light sweet milky flavor with a bit of tea thrown in. Yum yum. Next are these mini pancake treats with various ice cream mousses inside. My sister and I were walking the streets of Taipei, Gong Guan when we saw this vibrantly green store. Immediately we were all “Stop! We must get these!” but alas, the adults ahead just kept on walking in oblivion. Luckily, I was able to snag them the next day, and thankfully I was able to remember to remember the shop location. Mmmm, they were cold and frozen on the outside, but melted as you ate it, and had a soft chewy texture. The mousse had a nice whipped airy consistency. Here they are: green tea&red bean, taro&mochi, and cranberry&vanilla. Oh, and we also had this great soup with fish balls stuffed with meat. The store we went to is supposedly famous for this soup, and I can definitely understand why. Although it looks plain on the outside, the soup is well flavored and has a meaty flavor to it. The balls also have a chewiness on the outside, but the inside is juicy and fatty with plenty of meat. Just the juice dripping out of the balls was good enough for me! Next, we have sweet and cold little chewy balls made out of powdered rice and turned into a chewy sort of jelly. They were filled with green bean and red bean. A strange first for me, as they were cold, but not hardened. Very interesting. And here’s the cute little birds and rabbits a lady was selling right nearby! Okay, now let’s get to…fried food! Now everyone loves fried food (unless you’re a health fanatic, in which case I sympathize) and once again the food I’m going to introduce is balls…fried that is. Hm, it feels like all the foods so far have been circular haven’t they? Anyway, these were absolutely addicting. First, they make two different types of batter: yam (purple), and sweet potato (orange). Then they fill the batter with taro mochi, roll them into bite sized balls, and proceed to fry the life out of them. The result is hot, chewy, gummy, sweet, and most of all, fried. No need for anymore words to explain this. Alright, I guess I’ll continue my babble next time…look forward to tons more little snacks soon! By the way, I decided not to title it as my street food series since a lot of the foods I talked about weren’t exactly sold on the street, but rather in stores, so hope you guys like this new post! Peace~ – Jas Photos taken and provided by Jasmine...

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Soup Dumplings

Posted by on Sep 12, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 0 comments

On Yong Kong Street in Taipei, Din Tai Fung’s original restaurant can be found popping out steamer after steamer of their specialty all day long – soup dumplings. Although a bit pricier than what you might find at other stores, this place is still worth a visit for the Taiwan tourist. With stores located all around the world, this shop is not only well known but they know how to attract the tourists. A small gift shop selling various accessories with their mascot is right in front of the shop, giving the people waiting on line plenty to do until they’re seated – not to mention possibly emptying their wallets before even eating. Inside, the restaurant is surprisingly big and of course, packed. The middle of the floor is occupied by the kitchen. Glass panels make it so that all curious customers can peek in on the busy chefs and attempt to invade their personal space. Or at least try to win a staring contest while making sure nothing’s slipped into the dumplings. I kid. Seeing as how all the other tables are busily gorging themselves on various assortments of soup dumplings, we decided that a steamer per person (ten dumplings each) should be more than enough. First off, the vegetable soup dumpling. Let me just say that I have no idea why we ordered this. Sure, it wasn’t all that bad. The inside was stuffed full of finely chopped veggies. The skin itself wasn’t too thick and didn’t fall apart once you poked it either. But where’s the soup? And that’s just it. There wasn’t any. So, I’d like to throw in my two cents and suggest that this thing just be called a dumpling without the misleading ‘soup’ attached. Even though the first steamer left me a bit disappointed, I was quickly put at ease when the second steamer arrived. Now these were the real deal. Though it broke my heart to do so, I poked one open just so that you lovely readers could get a better look at it in all its delicious glory. Lightly seasoned meat, skin that was nice and thin – the little knot at the top didn’t even taste too doughy – and most importantly, the soup. One poke said it all when the precious little spoonful of meat broth spilled out. Things were looking up and the last steamer didn’t disappoint either. What do I like more than an original soup dumpling? Soup dumpling that has tender bits and pieces of shrimp in it, that’s what. When the container came, I was feeling a bit skeptical since I saw that these dumplings had been shaped the same way as the vegetable ones. These fears were soon put to rest. Do you see that? That’s not bits and pieces of shrimp. That’s a whole entire shrimp hiding in my dumpling! Not to mention it’s still got a decent amount of juice lurking inside it too. Now how could I not get excited by this? Compared to the original, these were lacking in the soup department, but what they were missing I felt was completely made up for by the shrimp. All in all, the place really isn’t that bad and I was pretty satisfied at the end of the meal. Full actually. With the prices though, I probably wouldn’t go back too often despite their fame. If anything, this is a one time thing just for curiosity’s sake. By the way, for the tourists under the age of twenty, you’re viable to apply for a Youth Travel Card. If you pull...

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Taiwan Street Food: Part 3! (plus my 7-eleven ramble)

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 1 comment

Hey guys, sorry I haven’t posted for awhile. With my birthday and school coming up, I haven’t found the time in the past few days. But not to worry! I’m back in the mojo, and would like to start off this post with a great big THANK YOU! to my dearest big sis for putting so much effort for making my birthday special. Not only did she make breakfast and a delicious cake for me, she also blackmailed tons of you guys for your birthday well wishes. (Thanks guys!) I thought I would revisit Taiwan’s awesome street food, as I miss it so much more now that I’m back in New York. First up, I have to point out that the 7-eleven’s here in the US are nothing, NOTHING, compared to the ones in Taiwan. The Seven’s in Taiwan come fully equipped with: ready made food, microwavables, an ATM, a post box, a movie ticket machine, magazines, face wash, ointments…you name it. Man, I miss the Sevens. Here’s a taste of what I got there last: Tea eggs. Although I technically didn’t buy this in the streets, they are sold pretty much everywhere. What I noticed about the ones in Seven are that they are all cooked thoroughly with the delicious tea sauce, allowing the flavor to fully seep through the skin and into the yolk. When they are cracked and easy to break open like this one, you know that it will be a tasty little treasure. Mmmmm. A variety of sandwiches made fresh everyday and packaged to the stores. These come in flavors that usually aren’t found in America. They have more asian flavors, such as shrimp, or egg salad with tuna. The one I had was very satisfying, and the fillings were stuffed to the brim, so no skimping there. Milk! The milk in Taiwan usually has a much sweeter flavor than what we Americans are used to. Since Taiwanese usually prefer sweeter drinks, the milk made in Taiwan usually has sugars added in it, which I don’t particularly like. However, Dr. Milker doesn’t add those sugars, resulting in good, rich, natural milk. Quite a find. Oh, and my friend kept raving to me about this particular brand of pudding made in Taiwan, so I had to try it: Honestly? Not bad, but I can make better pudding than this. =] Alright, now that the 7-Eleven ramble is over, let’s get back to the real street food. My Uncle took us to this little shop one time that was famous for its shi sen soup (large intestine soup with four kinds of grains). I can see why the place is well known, as the soup was good, and they even gave free refills of the soup as long as you didn’t finish all the grains and intestines. The soup was well flavored, with enough wine to keep it from being tasteless. We also had a rice bun, a meat bun, and more importantly, Peanut Milk! Sadly, I forgot to take a picture (gasp!) but I remember it perfectly nevertheless. Being the first time that I’ve tried peanut milk, I automatically assumed it would be thick and goopy with chunks of peanuts. Boy was I wrong. The peanuts are crushed so fine and mixed so well in the milk that it just tastes like peanut flavored milk. Pretty thirst quenching as well. So good that I regret only having half a cup. Here’s another little snack that I enjoy: baby tomatoes stuffed with sour plums. The sweet yet tart chewiness of the plums go amazingly well with...

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Tian Mama

Posted by on Sep 4, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 1 comment

On our last day visiting family in Ilan, we stopped by San Xing (Three Stars – literal translation) for dinner at Tian Mama (Mom’s farm) restaurant. Even though it was rather late, resulting in deserted streets and empty storefronts, the workers were more than happy to serve us – the last customers of the day. Out of the entire meal, there were three dishes in particular that I feel deserves mention. Not that everything else wasn’t delicious, but just that these few were a bit more…special shall we say? First up, is something that falls in as an appetizer and is rather common. Scallion pancakes and meat buns. Some of you are probably wondering right now what’s so special about plain old scallion pancakes and a couple of meat buns. Don’t shake your head in denial, I know because I was thinking the same thing when they set the plate down. Piping hot, these pancakes were crisp and flaky with plenty of scallion in every bite. However, these weren’t just dense pieces of flattened dough. Instead, you could see several thin layers making up the entire piece. Thus the delicious crunch and flakiness. The meat buns were best when hot (like practically every other food out there) and may need to be juggled around a bit before eating. Soft dough that didn’t stick to your teeth and still had it’s own chewy texture, you find that after biting into it the juice from the meat within hits your tongue first. The ‘juices’ aren’t too oily and is flavorful enough that you almost don’t mind a bit of tongue-burning in the process. This tells you that not a lot of fatty meat was used for the filling, and with a nice amount of veggies it was good enough to warrant a ‘mmm’ and greasy thumbs-up. The downside to the ‘appetizer’ is that it almost left you too full to finish the rest of dinner. Almost, but not quite! Next up is this succulent dish of squid. What makes this dish special? Besides the fact that it was the only cold platter in the entire meal, this dish is spicy and sweet. Chunks of pear and peaches are hidden beneath the squid and make for a pleasant surprise to the taste buds. Light and refreshing, this cold platter made use of the season’s fresh fruits and turned a simple dish of squid to something new and delicious. Last but not least, pears make yet another appearance in traditional herbal chicken soup. I’ve always loved herbal chicken soup, the flavors of Asian herbs mixed together with chicken broth? Always a nice way to end the meal. This time, there was an additional flavor added to the mix. The light fragrant sweetness of pears. Truth be told, I thought they were radishes at first glance (same with the squid dish) but one bite told me I was wrong. Added to the soup at the end, the pears were cooked but not to the point that they had lost their own flavor. All in all, a satisfying meal that showed me alternative ways to incorporate fruits into ‘traditional’ dishes. Not surprisingly, we found out from our grand uncle later on that the restaurant is famous for their scallion and pears. Hrm…no wonder! =] ~ AJ ~ Photographs taken and provided by Jasmine Hwang. For complete selection of photographs, please refer to the photo gallery: Tian Mama...

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My Ilan Trip: Day 2!

Posted by on Aug 30, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 0 comments

Hey guys, sorry for the slow update! Since I just recently got back from Japan, and am already packing to leave Taiwan, things have been hectic. Here’s a post, nevertheless, of my second day in Ilan teaching kids: First I wanted to mention this delicious ice I had: We got this after dinner, at a famous shop in Ilan called Ilan Black Shop. Sounds kinda suspicious, but not to worry, all they sell is creamy icy goodness. We walked in, and I immediately noticed the big buckets of ice cream, which came in traditional flavors. You simply pick as many flavors as you want, as long as it all fits on your plate or in your cup, and they measure the weight. I enjoyed: red bean, peanut, milk, and dragon eye. Out of all of them, I would say the red bean and peanut are my hands down favorites. The red bean has chunky beans and is only slightly sweet. The peanut is packed with flavor, and very creamy. Together, they make me verrrry satisfied.   For dinner, we were once again treated, and we all went out to eat at a restaurant. Surprisingly, I’ve been to it before on my previous trip to Ilan. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the name. Well either way, here’s some of my favorites of the night: This fish is directly translated as Big Eye from Chinese, and boy does it have one! What they did was they first cut half the fish as fresh sashimi, and the other half… …steamed! It was delicious both ways, as I love both sashimi and steamed fish. In fact, since I was little I was taught to love every part of the fish: the cheeks, the eyeballs, the brain…. And so, here’s what resulted from a mixture of my love and curiosity: (warning: slightly disturbing picture ahead!) Yes. I mean, if the thing’s called Big Eye, you have to go for the eyeball right? And man, I have to say it was the biggest and slimiest one I’ve ever eaten! If you look at it compared to the size of my soup spoon, you get the idea. Now that my eye craving was satisfied, I turned to the cheeks, and they were not bad at all either… Another dish of the evening: Little seafood dumplings stuffed into wonton skins, they looked just like little treasure bags! So cute, and they tasted wonderful paired with the vegetables and juicy meat. However, I would have enjoyed them purely for aesthetic reasons. And finally, for dessert: A sweet soup of mango pudding with very chewy almond tofu. It looks just like a sunny side up egg doesn’t it? Although the mango was delicious, there was something just not quite right about the almond tofu. Maybe it’s because the only almond tofu I’ve ever eaten has been like crisp jello, and certainly none of them had felt so… rubbery. Overall, it was a twist from the traditional sweet soups to say the least. And finally, Ilan’s specialty, fried red bean! Mmm, this tastes great when it’s freshly made, and piping hot. It’s sweet on the inside, and fried on the outside. Perfection! Hope you guys enjoyed the post, what are your thoughts on the dishes? — Jas Photographs taken and provided by Jasmine Hwang. For complete selection of photographs, please refer to the photo gallery: My Ilan Trip: Day 2...

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