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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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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My Ilan Trip: Day 1!

Posted by on Aug 10, 2010 in Eating like an Emperor - in Taiwan | 1 comment

Hey guys! In the middle of July, I went on a short one week trip to Ilan to teach kids english in a church program there. Not only was it a fun and memorable experience, but we were invited to dinner nearly every night with the staff. I thought I would post some of the delicious delicacies I was able to enjoy in Ilan. So first up, day 1 of my Ilan trip! We arrived in Ilan Sunday night, even though the program didn’t start until Monday. Right away, the first thing on the agenda was dinner. As I had just gotten off a very bumpy bus, I can’t say I was that excited, but the food kind of made up for it. Here’s just some of the main dishes we had, roll over for some short descriptions! We spent the rest of the night getting to know all the other volunteers, and began planning our teaching courses. The next morning, we all woke up bright and early to grab breakfast from the various street shops just outside the church. I was amazed that I didn’t notice all the great food places the other night! There was even a whole traditional styled fruit and vegetable market just one block away. Since we didn’t know the area that well, we just went into a random shop that looked appetizing. Luckily, it was! My mom had a rice roll filled with eggs, veggies, meat, and etc. However, it wasn’t the usual rice roll. This was made with black whole grain rice! They mixed white rice and black rice together to get that nice purple color: I had a little sandwich, which was quite satisfying and filling. We both had the same drink, which consisted of whole grains, seeds, and other good stuff. It was surprisingly delicious, and had a pretty purple color. Lunch was prepared by the church, and completely free of charge. Now I was one happy camper! It was mainly just dumplings though, and sour&spicy soup. Nothing special, but then there came dinner. After a long day of looking after kids who were struggling with English, I was definitely hungry. Since there were just too many dishes to review, I’ll post all pics in the Photo tab. Go take a look! Here are my two favorite dishes of the evening, scroll over for my opinions!: Whew, that brings Day 1 to a close. It was definitely tiring for me, but good things always come at a cost! My stomach was happy, if not overly full. Have you guys tried any of these dishes before? — Jas Photographs taken and provided by Jasmine Hwang. For complete selection of photographs, please refer to the photo gallery: My Ilan Trip – Day 1...

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