Sunday, July 6, 2008

Little Eats = Big Stomach, Taipei

The density of food stalls in Taipei is unbelievable. You will literally see one every 50m or so. It's impossible to go hungy here but easy to put on weight. E remarked in some bemusement that this was the first time where he didn't have full meals but kept on having a series of small snacks. Here's just a sampling of the "little eats" that we had:
Danshui Yuwan Soup and A-Gei: Danshui used to be the main fishing port in the north of Taipei City, near the mouth of the Danshui river that meanders through the city. They are famous for their "iron eggs", fish crackers, fishball soup, and a-gei. Pictured here are the fishball soup which is like foochow fishballs with minced pork encased in the centre, and A-Gei - fried tofu with crystal noodles and sweet sauce. Quite nice, but I wouldn't go back for it. (Will post more about iron eggs and fish crackers in later posts).

"da chang bao xiao chang" or literally small sausage wrapped in big sausage. The small sausage is the sweet Taiwanese sausage grilled till fragrant while the big sausage is a glutinous rice bun. This was yummy.

"A-Chung Noodles", my all-time favourite. This is thin rice noodles cooked in a broth of pig innards with a dollop of super-hot chilli sauce. Sounds unappetising but it is oh-so-good. This hole-in-the-wall outlet has no seats but the legions of fans stand, squat, lean outside the shop and slurp up the hearty bowls of noodles. I bought 2 bottles of their famed chilli sauce back.

Fruity Shaved Ice. A perennial favourite in Taiwan in the hot summer weather. The shaved ice is much finer than those used for the ice kachang in Singapore and is usually flavoured with milk or fruit juice. Super refreshing.

Yam ball. This is the famous must-try in Jiufen, which is a 40 minute train ride away from Taipei City. Jiufen was where the famous Taiwanese movie "City of Sadness" was shot and still retains its historic architecture and teahouses, though sadly the main thoroughfare had degenerated into a kind of tourist circus.

Food in Taiwan is very cheap (compared to Singapore and other cities like Japan and London). Eat all you want at the peril of your belts!

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