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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