Sunday, May 27, 2007

Food, food, food, and a trip to Ilan County (with food)


There’s no question that the Taiwanese love their food. People in Taiwan mainly talk about food. There’s a snack shop every three steps and a restaurant every five. Eating out is a popular activity for the Taiwanese of all ages, I’ve experienced it many times. They like crowded restaurants with bright lights, eating as much and fast as possible, and immediately after that they go outside. I really don’t like chicken with skin and bones, tofu with totally no taste (I always try to order tofu as spicy as possible), duck-blood balls and most of the food of the tiny, dirty, little shops on the markets or small streets. The foods most people consume on a daily basis, what might be called Taiwanese siao-chih, can also be divided into eight main categories:

Poultry: boiled salted duck, roast duck, a-hsiew Yilan-style marinated and smoked duck, chicken stewed in Chinese herbs, “drunken” chicken (steamed in wine), rice with shredded chicken meat, steamed chicken, etc.
Meat: beef noodles, cow viscera soup, mutton rice noodles, mutton stewed with Chinese angelica, dried meat, crispy meat, preserved or processed meat, meatballs, ba-wan (meatballs in dumplings), etc.
Fish and seafood: milkfish porridge, steamed grouper, fried white hairtail, o-a-zen (oyster omelet), mangrove crab porridge, etc.
Rice and noodle dishes: Hsinchu rice noodles, Nantou slender noodles, Taiwanese rice noodles, “slab” noodles, glutinous rice tamales with meat and other fillings, wa-guei “bowl-pasties” (stuffed flour dumplings), and o-a-mi-sua (noodles with oysters), etc.
Bean curd and vegetarian fare: Shenkeng tofu, Dasi dried bean curd, “stinky” tofu, and various kinds of vegetarian dishes.
Sweet and savory pastries: sweet stuffed dumplings such as mua-ji, aboriginal millet cake, and Hakka glutinous rice cake; egg-yolk shortbread, pineapple cake, crispy wedding meat pie, crispy cookie, sun-shaped pastry, ox-tongue-shaped pastry, salty pie, Yokan, white gourd cake, cake made from glutinous rice powder, maltose puff rice balls, etc.
Beverages: honey bean ice, papaya milk shake, taro ice, honey, carambola juice, grass jelly, sugarcane juice, bitter tea, Hakka leicha (pounded tea), jelly fig ice, pearl milk tea, etc.
Sauces and seasonings: spicy soybean sauce, fermented bean curd paste, pickled vegetables, pickled mustard tuber, sesame oil sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, soybean sauce, etc.



We made a trip with our tutor of the hospital. Victor and his friend picked us up early in the morning to make a trip by car to Ilan County. He apologized because he had to the post office to receive a package. He dropped us with his friend at a market and we bought 4 or 5 different kind of fruits. After 15 minutes, Victor came back with even more bags with fruit. So with to much fruit in the car we started our trip with FOOD as main topic.

We went to the East-cost and make a trip through the mountains. After we finished some pieces of fruits in the car we stopped at a city (Ilan) with a small harbour to go to a fish market. Of course we tried many pieces of fresh fish, dried fish, fish candy’s etc. We bought souvenirs as packed dried fish for home. The following activity was eating in a restaurant! Victor ordered 4 bowls with fish and vegetables. The shrimps were on a stick and still alive. The way you eat them? Cook the living shrimps in a hot pot and do it quickly, otherwise the shrimps will suffer too much. The food was really delicious!! However Gertje and I were totally hěn bǎo (full).
Some pictures of the trip:

Together with Victor and a friend

Waterlelies and a windmale


Seaside North-East coast
In-shore fishers
A rich guy build this house with an Arabic architecture.

Fish market at Ilan

Fish market at Ilan
Fish restaurant with the 4 bowls of fish and hotpots

Close up picture of the living shrimps. I am sorry,
you probably still don’t see them moving.

Nice architecture!

Children playing in the river

Talking about the meaning of life…