Our reader went to Taiwan and returned with food tales!
If Singapore is a food paradise, Taiwan is a food heaven. I went to Taiwan for the fourth time last April, and boy, did I enjoy the food! I am sure you have heard about Taiwanese snacks through our media (or even tried them from various franchises bearing the name "Taiwanese snacks"), but in this article, I shall highlight the less commonly seen ones!
Do prepare the tissues to wipe your mouths before proceeding!
MINCED PORK RICE
The Taiwanese street stalls serve mouth-watering minced pork rice at delightful prices that will definitely not burn another hole in your patched pocket, as a BIG bowl only costs around TWD 45 (that is about S$2!) The rice is steamed to absolute perfection and the meat is luscious - it is an incomparable dish that contains so much flavour. No exaggeration here, you just have to try it for yourself.
While seen in Singapore's hawker centers as well, the gravy in the Taiwanese version is, well, distinctively Taiwanese - there is a tinge of sweetness which adds more flavour to the dish. I have yet to find any stall here that prepares it the same way!
Have you ever tried Shihlin Street Snack's Oyster Mee Sua? Love it? Then you really have to try the most original one- Ay Chung Mee Sua. It has retained the same authentic taste since 1975 which got everyone smitten, and both the oysters and mee-sua used differ from local ones. The oysters are a lot bigger, more chewy and succulent, while the vermicelli is thicker and every slurp of it is so gratifying.
When shopping around Taiwan's night markets, you will also notice local snacks that cannot be found in Singapore. Even the steamed egg cakes in Taiwan are cuter! My mom commented that Singapore used to sell them in her younger days, but they are rarely seen anymore. I think having these steamed egg cakes in different shapes and sizes make them more inviting- though you might not bear to bite into them at first!
When you go to Taiwan, drop by TaiChung and Kao Hsiung. Unlike Singapore which is but a puny dot on the map, Taiwan spans a vast area more than fifty times our size! As such, each individual city of Taiwan have different varieties of food, some of which cannot be found easily in Taipei. If you do not have time to head to these destinations, there are also towns bordering Taipei which are just three to four hours away.
Just bordering Taipei, Jiu-fen offers its unique local spread of black-pork sausages, iron-eggs and barbecued mushrooms, amongst others. It is a place rather different from metropolitan Taipei, as it was a rather undeveloped area in the past. Instead of high-rise buildings, you get to see (even more) mountains and the endless sea. The view is definitely postcard worthy.
If you are going to Jiu-fen, why not head to Shi-Fen as well, where there is a beautiful waterfall and places for you to release sky-lanterns? These scenic spots (where a scene of the popular movie You Are the Apple of My Eye was filmed) are absolutely beautiful, and the memories and experiences you gain cannot be experienced elsewhere. It is beautiful and satisfying to see your sky-lantern (filled with hand-written wishes) fly up high and away!
While this article highlights my immense love for Taiwanese snacks, I have to emphasize that my memories of Taiwan are made even more beautiful by the Taiwanese. Be it the ever-friendly salespersons, the cooks or the locals on the streets, the Taiwanese are well-mannered, warm, and helpful, making sure that a tourist will feel right at home in Taiwan. You do not have to worry about getting lost in Taiwan, as there are always locals around to offer a helping hand.
Taiwan is truly a beautiful city with beautiful people and it is little wonder why Taiwan is such a popular tourist destination. Thank you Taiwan for the memories!
(I should have asked you to prepare your wallet instead, huh? Book your air tickets to Taiwan now!)
ziai, thanks for your submission to Your Turn To Write! We enjoyed reading your contribution and we hope you enjoy our surprise gift to you!