A Travellerspoint blog

Taiwan

Where the food is the main attraction.

rain 85 °F

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Several people told us that Taiwan is “all about food”. How on earth can a city’s main attraction be food? I quickly realized that our friends were right. First, it is so hot and muggy in Taipei that people seek out air-conditioned spaces – restaurants and shopping malls. Second and most important, the food is amazing in Taiwan. After a week of lackluster food in China, Taiwan’s cuisine was very welcome. The four lbs. I lost in China very quickly returned in Taiwan. And I enjoyed every bite of it!

Some favorites:
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Steamed Pork Dumpling- These little tasty treats have pork and soup twisted inside of a little dumpling. They are served with a soy, vinegar, and ginger sauce. We had these 4 days out of the six and I dream about them at night.

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Black Sesame Steamed Bun- Hands down my favorite food ever. Black sesame is rich, creamy, and kind of nutty. The texture and flavor are divine. I could eat these all day.

Dragon Fruit- There are two colors of dragon fruit but they taste exactly the same. One is white with black seeds and the other is beet colored with black seeds. The red colored one stains so we had to be very careful when eating it.

Mango- The mango in Taiwan is so incredibly fresh and sweet. We ate this whenever it was available.

Lychee- Fresh lychee is only available for about a month and we arrived in the midst of lychee season. Lychee is incredibly sweet and refreshing.

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Noodles with sesame and peanut- Noodles are very popular and very tasty in Taiwan. You can get any number of things to put on them, but my favorite was peanut and sesame. I think I ‘m a bit obsessed with sesame.

Spicy wontons- The spicy wontons were soft, not crispy, and came drenched in a red hot sauce and topped with crushed peanuts.

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Beef soup with brown broth- Taiwan comfort food. It tastes a lot like ramen noodles. People were lined up outside of the noodle shop. It was good, but not my favorite.

My favorite restaurant by far was Din Tai Fung. They are expanding to the US and have a restaurant in Flushing and one in LA. Everything they serve is delicious. We went to the restaurant in Tapei 101 three times. I could have eaten there every day.

Posted by SusanConradWang 08:36 Archived in Taiwan Tagged food taiwan Comments (0)

Chinese Acrobats

Don't try this at home, folks.

overcast 78 °F

We couldn’t leave China without seeing an acrobat show. We had really high expectations and the performers definitely delivered. I spent half of the show with my hands up near my eyes and mouth because the acts were truly terrifying. One man stacked chairs higher and higher and would do balancing tricks as he went. It was fun to watch until he leaned the top chair in a very precarious position and then performed a few tricks. He was about 20 feet in the air and one little mistake and he would have been hurting. Another act had two men balancing in impossible ways off of each other’s bodies. One man was about 18 inches taller than the other and he actually stood on the guy’s head on one foot. Ouch. We weren’t allowed to take photos and I wish that I could have because the acts were unbelievably good and thrillingly dangerous. The final act was a caged motorcycle act. A huge circular cage was on stage and a motorcyclist drove all around on the inside, around and around and around. They added a second motorcyclist, a third motorcyclist, a fourth motorcyclist, and then a fifth motorcyclist. They were zipping by each other at a break neck face and barely missing one another. When they finally opened the cage to let out the first cyclist, an audible sigh of relief could be heard. It was very stressful to watch! (And entertaining!)

Posted by SusanConradWang 08:33 Archived in China Tagged boats shanghai Comments (0)

Yuyuan Gardens and Bazaar

A quiet garden in the heart of Shanghai.

overcast 81 °F

During the Ming Dynasty, a wealthy Shanghai family built a beautiful garden in the heart of the city. The paths in the garden meander over several acres of garden, lake, and rockeries. There are several buildings for tea, opera performances, receiving guests, offices, and general relaxation in the garden, too. It was a refreshing break in our afternoon. I’ve noticed that a lot of the gardens feature giant rocks and asked our guide why. There is a famous lake in China that has beautiful rocks and rock formations. They call it lake rock. It was very popular in gardens and every garden has some of it. The gardens of the wealthy had a lot of the lake rock. In fact, they might build fake little mountains out of it like in the Forbidden City. Inside the Yuyuan Gardens is one very special and large piece of lake rock with 72 holes in it. It was originally for the emperor, but it sunk in the river while it was being transported. A wealthy businessman in Shanghai somehow retrieved it. The head of the Pan family, the owner of the Yuyuan Gardens wanted it so he arranged for his daughter to marry the man’s son and accepted the rock as her dowry. He really wanted that rock! It is in a special place of honor directly in view of his study so that he could gaze on it whenever he wanted. I wonder if he thought of his daughter when he looked at it?
We also had lunch at a restaurant that sold tasty snacks. At least that is what everyone calls them. They look more like tapas to me. We went down a really long counter that had dozens of different types of food and selected the items that we wanted to eat. I chose buns, custards, a soup with mocha balls full of red bean, dumplings, and a cream puff dessert that was almost too pretty to eat. It was the best food that I had the whole time we were in China.

Posted by SusanConradWang 08:31 Archived in China Tagged shanghai Comments (0)

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