Eating in Taiwan Part 1 of 3
Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Here’s the first to a couple posts on what I ate while I was in Taiwan last month. Whenever I visit Taiwan, it’s a never-ending eating affair with my relatives. Thankfully, Taiwan is known for their savoury snacks and small dishes so at least you won’t have to worry about portion control. That is, until you add it all up.

About a 10 minute walk from where I live in Taiwan, there is a really popular stinky tofu shop. They serve stinky tofu in all forms: steamed, fried, or in a hot-pot. Honestly, aside from the smell, it taste just like regular tofu.

Fried stinky tofu is one of my favourite Taiwanese dishes. It comes with pickled cabbage which is supposed to cut some of the ‘stinkyness’ but taste-wise, it’s an excellent pairing.

At this particular restaurant, they poke a hole in the centre of each piece of fried tofu and fill it with lots of green onion and garlic. A very light soy-based stock is poured over the tofu.

The holes inside the tofu soak up the delicious soy-based stock. Having some pickled cabbage with every bite is key!

Another popular small dish is oden (fish cake). It’s usually served fried or simmering in a big pot of stock.

Here is an assortment of oden to choose from simmering in a bit pot of stock. You can choose what you want and then they will cut it up and plate it for you.

You will also find these giant pots of oden in all the 7-11 shops in Taiwan.

Here’s our plate of oden for lunch.

We also had some fried oden.

And some sticky-rice filled intestine with sweet, juicy, grilled Taiwanese sausage. This is often served like a hot-dog in night markets. The sticky-rice filled intestine serves as the ‘bun’ and they cut it lengthwise and put a sausage inside.

One of my aunts took us here to have lunch. They served a lot of typical Taiwanese small dishes.

First, the famous stewed pork belly (meat sauce) over rice. This is really the essence of Taiwanese cuisine. The meat sauce is made by stewing chopped fatty pork meat with garlic, shallots, five spice, and soy for many hours.

Boiled squid with ginger and soy.

Fish roe. I’m not sure if this was smoked before it was boiled. In any case, it was very light tasting. You’re supposed to dip it in the mayo but I really dislike Taiwanese mayo. It doesn’t taste like Hellman’s or Kewpie (Jap mayo). I  have no idea how they make it but it’s just terrible in my opinion. It’s got a cornstarch-thickened consistency and tastes a bit tangy and greasy at the same time. Blagh.

Fresh bamboo, just boiled. Mayo on the side.

Onto the noodles! So remember that meat sauce from the rice dish above? Well, we enjoy it with noodles as well!

A common noodle dish is served with some meat sauce, only this version has some dried shrimp in it.

You can have these noodles dry or in-soup. Both are good!

On our way home from lunch, we saw a lady grilling corn on the street. Apparently, this was a famous stand for grilled corn in the area. Our uncle insisted we should try it even though we had just finished lunch.

You’ll also find this at the night market. It’s a sweet and spicy sauce (with a hint of satay) brushed onto the corn while it’s on the grill. It’s really fragrant, wonder what’s in their secret sauce recipe?

It was good for the first few bites but then the sauce became a bit too much. In the end, it feels like you’re eating more sauce then grilled corn.


2 Comments so far...
  • Nelson
    July 25, 2012
    We went to have stinky tofu at the night market in Toronto (Night it up), and the smell was overpowering when we were waiting for it. Do you think the fermentation process and smell adds to the flavour? Or is this just a gimmick?
  • Nelson
    July 25, 2012
    Does anyone know if there's a place I can I get the taiwanese 'common noodle dish' in Canada?