Eating in Taiwan Part 3 of 3
Sunday, August 12, 2012

Here’s the third and last post on Eating in Taiwan. Unfortunately, my camera broke during the first week of my trip so I had to rely on borrowing other people’s cameras. This meant that I couldn’t document as much of my eating and travelling experiences as I would’ve wanted to.

On my weekend trip to Taipei, my cousins invited me to The Guest House, a chinese fine dining restaurant on the 17th floor of Sheraton Taipei Hotel. The restaurant specializes in Szechwan and Yangzhou cuisine. It was an interesting experience, enjoying chinese cuisine prepared and presented delicately. They served the best Dried Fried Green Bean (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou) dish I’ve had. I really enjoyed the variety of cold appetizers they served (approximately NT $150 – 200 per dish or CAD $5-7) which we all shared.

Pork Jelly.

Handmade mung bean noodle salad in a sesame sauce. This was another one of my favourites. The sheets of noodles are almost transparent and have a soft and chewy texture.

Black silkie chicken salad in a spicy soy-based sauce.

Preserved egg with marinated hot peppers.

Dried Fried Green Beans (Gan Bian Si Ji Dou), a very common Szechuan dish. The green beans were very thoroughly dried and flattened before being deep-fried with garlic, shallots and chilli. The result was a very fragrant dish. This is going to become my standard for Dried Fried Green Bean dishes now.

Shark meat. This was my first time trying shark meat. I’ve had shark fin in the past on special occasions. The texture of shark meat is similar to fish, though more dense and less oily. However, it’s not dry, but that may depend on the preparation. Also, there isn’t a strong fish taste to the meat.

Sweet potato leaves in a preserved egg broth.

Red bean pancake.

Now finally, some pictures of Taiwanese shaved ice desserts. Being a country with a tropical climate, ice dessert vendors are a staple. You will find them on the streets, at the night markets, and inside the department stores (usually expensive and not the best). Most places will serve bowls of fine shaved ice (not rough like a granita) with your choice of toppings, finished with a drizzle of condensed milk. Unfortunately, this type of dessert is quite uncommon outside of Taiwan and even if you find it, the ingredients are just not as good!

Here is a typical shaved ice stand. This one happened to be my favourite place in Kaohsiung for a traditional bowl of shaved ice.

The owner cooks and prepares all the ingredients daily, getting up at 5am! She opens her storefront at 3pm and usually sells out by 7pm. I guess it’s more of an after-work snack in this case. In the front row of trays, left to right, you can choose tapioca pearls, red bean pearls, rice cake, taro and yam rice cake, ai-yu jelly. In the back row of trays, left to right, there are green beans, red beans, taro, chewy noodles, and grass jelly.

Here’s what a typical bowl will look like. Because of the hot weather, they put the ingredients at the bottom (so it won’t melt your ice) and shave the ice on top. The top is drizzled with condensed milk. A bowl like this is about CAD $1.50.

Here is another type of shaved ice dessert. The ice machine is different and it’s called xue hua bing (literal translation: snow flower ice) because of the delicate, fine layers of ice you get. Rather than just using plain ice, a milk-based recipe must be prepared to make the ice for shaving.

A popular place for ice desserts in Taipei is called Ice Monster. They make ginormous plates of ice desserts. Beware of long line-ups!

Here’s their mango ice dessert. Mango ice cream, mango puree, mango chunks, and panna cotta. Mango overload.

Ai-yu and jasmin tea xue hua bing. Citrus sorbet, jasmin tea shaved ice, and ai-yu jelly.

That’s the end of the Taiwan posts! I’ve been doing some baking almost everyday at home so I’m going to continue blogging about stuff I’m making at home.

Well? Let me know what you think. Write me a comment below!