Thursday, August 23, 2012

Good Thing I Hiked a lot...

.....or I would've gained an easy 10 pounds on this trip.

I was trying to decide how on earth to organize and write about my time in Taiwan and upon looking through my pictures decided that the food would need it's own posts. So here it is - from night markets, the 7/11 snacks to sit down restaurants, the [documented part] of my diet in Taiwan.

Thursday after our hiking adventure and stop at the National Palace Museum Grant decided it was a great time to introduce me to the night market culture.  Since we were close we made our way to Shilin (the most famous and touristy of them all).  Grant explained that he judges his CouchSurfers based on what they will or will not eat, and how much. Not being one to disappoint I was ready for the challenge. We made our way to various different vendors and after having more bags than we could carry found a place to sit and eat.  There's really not too much explanation needed so I'll let the pictures do the talking.
Bubble tea
Huge fried chicken!
Our spread - mango juice, sausage, egg thing, fried chicken, bubble tea and sweet potato fries
not pictured: chicken curry wrap - I guess I ate it too fast
Pigs worth the 3 bites I had
Gua Bao "Taiwanese Hamburger" decent but the market by Grants house had better

Stop taking my picture (eating Gua Bao "Taiwanese Hamburger")
Before our epic hike on Saturday we stopped to get some snacks - Grant and I had already bought some fruit, cold noodles and "kimbap" triangles at 7/11 but the group thought we would need more than that so we also loaded up with some traditional "lunch boxes". Basically you fill a little box with rice and whatever else you desire -  look at all those yummy options!

I don't know what 90% of those things are
At the end of the hike and finally back on the train to Taipei we realized that we hadn't yet eaten dinner - well we were in luck.  At one of the MRT stops there are women running up and down the platform selling lunch boxes - similar to what we had earlier that day but this time you don't get to choose what's inside.
Sausage, fatty pork, chicken? tofu, egg, veggies and rice
Train feast 
Enough of the random hiking foods and back to the night market - being the great host that he is Grant wanted Cory to get a taste of the night market.  As soon as we got back from our hike and showered we were off to the Linjiang night market for more food.

Squid, didn't purchase but looked good
The next day after exploring Taipei 101 and Sun Yat Sen with Cory Grant felt that we should have some traditional Korean food.  We went down the street from his house for some Beef noodle soup - a local favorite.  Not wanting to get 3 of the same thing we also ordered a pork dumpling dish and a vegetable noodle soup - which was supposed to have some chicken but the pieces were minute.

Beef Noodle Soup 
Then after our hike we made our way to another night market - seriously all I did was hike and eat. But it was awesome and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

Pork rice and veggies
similar to the soup from lunch - where's the pork? 

Oyster Omelet, yuuuuuuum
Scallion pancake, again yuuuum
Add captionIce cream with peanut shavings and cilantro wrapped in rice paper
Would've been delicious without the cilantro.
The next stop on my food journey took me to Chiayi the nearest city for travelers looking to go to Alishan.  On our way to the station that morning we stopped at a food truck selling traditional Taiwanese breakfast.  I wasn't even hungry and stopping may have caused us to miss the first train (so at the moment I was a bit annoyed) but once I started eating (about 20 min. later) I realized Grant made the right decision.

Radish cubes (kind of spongy)
Tuna, egg, corn sandwich - strange combo but oh so good. 
Turkey rice at veggies in Chiayi
Bamboo rice 
1000 year egg - not cooked, fermented in the ground for a year
Out of the mountains and back to a city our next stop was Kaohsiung, after getting off the train we higt a night market and then the next day had some of the best (and definitely freshest) seafood of our lives.
Eel and noodles at the night market - one of my favorites 
Amazing [cheap] seafood
Lunch and back again for dinner
Add captionMango and fruit shaved ice - really similar to Patbingsu

So as you can tell I ate a lot during my trip - thankfully I had travel buddies that were willing to help me along the way.  With all the hiking we did I think I managed not to gain weight, I don't think,  so thankfully I won't have to go out and buy a new wardrobe.  The food was good but i'm not sure if it stood up to the hype I heard/read before leaving for Taiwan.  I think one of the problems was that most of the night market food is either deep fried. breaded or unrecognizable.  Along the same lines it was frustrating going to a restaurant and not being able to read or recognize anything on the menu.  I actually found myself missing some of the things I eat regularly in Korea - one day I even asked Grant if I could get something with rice! (shocking, I know.) Funny enough though, I still haven't missed any of the foods from back home in the US.  Oh and on a similar note, while having lunch with my new co-teacher yesterday she was asking how I stay slim.  I told her that I like healthy foods and rarely, if ever, eat fast food and junk.  She laughed, shocked, and asked if I was really America.  Yes, America - everyone really does think we're all obese, way to go.


  1. Bubble tea and scallion pancakes - I think those are the only two things I would enjoy. YOU are very adventurous, I must say. AND, for sure I wouldn't try anything unless I knew what I was eating. I would fail miserably but good for you!!

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  3. i love that you're wearing an oktoberfest t-shirt in Asian. One could argue that it's from Germany though, not the US