猴年快樂!

猴年快樂! Happy Year of the Monkey!

This last year was a very busy year. With two trips to Taiwan, a month in the (unusually hot and dry) Pacific Northwest, and various trips around the Mid Atlantic and New England states to see friends and attend a couple of weddings (one Korean American in DC, the other Chinese American in Flushing! Both had a lot of food). Then came Fall with the preparation for another move. My better half accepted a better position in upstate New York. So with the New Year comes a whole set of new things that a new location brings. Not the least of which is, where in the hell is the nearest Asian market?

Knowing for some time that I was to leave New England filled me with a sense of urgency to visit many of the places I will miss most. Whether that be the simple simple and oft visited places such as the Asian and Middle Eastern markets of Rolfe Square in Cranston (mostly to stock up). Or the more occasionally visited, such as Boston’s Chinatown or Newport RI.

Really there are so many things that I will miss about New England that it is not even possible to start to list them. There are a lot of things drive me nuts to, but nostalgia tends towards the former.

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Penang Malaysian restaurant in Boston

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Scotch Eggs at the White Horse Tavern (Est. 1673) in Newport RI

So all I can say to New England is “fair thee well” for now.

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Though to be quite honest I have not quite wrapped my head around my own little ‘Journey to the West.’ But I am sure I will get use to it.

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Burger (and fries) and Poutine at the No. 10 Tavern in Hamilton

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Taitung, There and Back Again

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OK, only getting this written two months after the fact, but hey I’ve been busy.

I seldom seem to take the train directly from Taichung to Taitung, but with little time to spare on this trip there was no stop off in the southwest of the island. There is lots of new rail line construction in that part of the country and the new elevated tracks allows for a whole new view of Pingtung. And next time when I do have time I think I may have to explore the temples on the south side of the rail station, the side of Pingtung I have never been on.

Lunch was the oil rice, 油飯 (yóu fàn) I got from the stand at the Taichung station. Which happens to be my favorite part of the Taichung station. I hope they don’t do away with the stand when the new station is completed. But I have my fears that “modernization” will mean they do away with the more rustic elements.

By the time the train pulled into Taitung I was getting peckish. So straight after checking in at the usual place I headed to the closest restaurant I could find. Well actually I had one in mind. There was this place across from one of our normal breakfast places that I’ve been eyeing. It said it had Milkfish congee  虱目魚粥 (shī mù yú zhōu) and since my favorite congee stand seems to have closed down I need to shop around for a new place. The congee wasn’t bad, thin like a lot of Taiwanese places and they also had a pretty mean stir fried rice with goat meat. Like I said it was ok, but I am still shopping around for a good southern style congee place.

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Stir fried rice with goat

 

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虱目魚粥 (shī mù yú zhōu)

Speaking of breakfast the next day we were at our usual Mei Mei breakfast stand. I don’t remember the exact address, but both it and the afore mention congee place are both 230something Fujian Rd., just north of the intersection of Fuxing Rd. Honestly I go there because of its proximity to the place we stay  but they do have a pretty good 蛋餅 (dàn bǐng). And that is important because I consider a dàn bǐng essential for a breakfast experience in Taiwan. If you are not familiar with a dàn bǐng think of it as a very thin crepe with an egg and a number of other ingredients of your choosing all rolled up. Simple and perfect.

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蛋餅 (dàn bǐng)

Since it was a short trip there was little in the way of  new ground broken on the food front. Mostly I was just filling in the holes left in this years earlier trip. Which meant I had to to to go back to Seaweed (海草健康輕食館 hǎi cǎo jiàn kāng qīng shí guǎn) for the side dishes they are famous for, their 溏心蛋 (táng xīn dàn).

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溏心蛋 (táng xīn dàn) and a rice bowl

Later that day we were set to have a BBQ with some Amis friends of ours. I do not want add to the (often racist) stereotypes about the indigenous peoples love of drinking and singing. But it was a damn good time…all six hours of it. And I do have some fuzzy recollections of loudly (and probably rather poorly) singing Xiao Mi Jiu (trust me I do not sound good, but it is one of the few mandarin language songs I more or less know) somewhere during the evening.

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The next day we had to move house. The downside of traveling with a very loose itinerary means our usual place was booked up for the weekend with a wedding party. Such as it was. Luckily our friends at Denim Elephant renovated a building for use as a hostel.

So we were saved from being homeless and from the hassle of taking our chances with other economy lodging in town (and also saved from the recent boom of over priced, luxury lodging that has popped up around Taitung). It was my first experience with a hostel. Since we usually travel as couple it is usually more economical to get a room together than to pay per person. But this was still pretty cheap and very, very clean.

The place is called 映像你是我 (yìnxiàng nǐ shì wǒ) it is at 145 Guangdong Rd., Phone # 0972 369145, e-mail 145youandme@gmail.com. Look ’em up if you need a place to stay.

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A room with a view

I noticed that across the intersection (Guangdong Rd. and Zhongzheng Rd.) there was a place called Happy Green Bean Soup 幸福綠豆湯 (xìngfú lǜdòu tāng). I really like 綠豆湯 the barber I had in Taitung always use to bring me a bowl when I went in for a haircut in the summer. Unfortunately he is no longer at the shop, his father still is though and when I went in for a haircut on this trip I had to sit in a lawn chair in the middle of the room, because the old guy is too short to cut my hair when I sit in the barber chair. But I digress.

Back to the desert stand. They have been around for nearly sixty years and really focus on the simple (and cheap) deserts that I love so much about Taiwan in the summer. Simple as it is I really like sweet green bean soup and their shaved ice was nice as well.

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Happy Green Bean Soup

 

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Menu Board

 

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Passion fruit shaved ice

 

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綠豆湯 (lǜdòu tāng), yeah not much to look at, but I like it

The hostel had a couple of quote, unquote “bikes” for patrons use. Being that there was not really enough time to rent bikes from the train station Giant shop and go for a real ride I made due with what was offered. Because no matter how lowly the bike I am never more happy than when pedaling. Especially around the rice fields of Taitung…just don’t ask me to do any hills on this thing.

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Some sort of medieval torture device…

For three days straight I walked past the Green House hoping to find it open. There was no sign of life, no notice that they were on vacation, nothing. I was seriously worried something had happened. Finally on the last day they were open. Oh joy of joys, I was relieved and very happy to get one of the best set meals in Taitung. I was so excited I even ordered the slightly more expensive braised pork intestines meal!

And upon leaving I told the owner that we were worried when we hadn’t found the place open. And I told him how special his drunken chicken is. And how great all his food is. And how every time we come back to Taiwan we have to make a trip to his place. To which he replied in surprise, “you don’t live in Taiwan anymore.” Made me happy that he remembers us and yes I guess we still make a regular enough appearance that he though that maybe we were still on the island.

Walking away my wife says, “I can’t believe you engaged him in conversation.” Yeah, I may have been overwhelmed from the meal and the relief that he was still around. Because I have more or less only heard him speak Taiwanese and he always has a mouth full of betel nut and well my mandarin is pretty poor right now. But it went fine, and I am really happy that he remembers us.

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Braised pork intestines and all the fixins

The next day we were out early and on an unusual course. Generally we always do a full circle around the island. But it was a holiday weekend and while we could get to Hualien, getting from Hualien to Taipei was seriously suspect. So we decided to backtrack to Kaohsiung and take the High Speed Rail (HSR) to Taipei.

Which actually fulfilled a secret wish of mine. I had not been on the HSR since we had somebody else footing the bill for it. Not that it is very expensive, but it is relatively expensive.

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Railway lunchbox stand

We took regular train back through the thirty some tunnels to Kaohsiung (technically Xinzuoying, but it is just north of Kaohsiung). Where we got some lunch boxes and hopped the High Speed Rail like actual middle class people would do. To ride in style and comfort to Taipei.

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Lunchbox, the Alishan edition.

 

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185 mph makes for a damn quick trip from Kaohsiung to Taipei, about an hour and forty minutes total. It is pretty surreal looking at the world pass by at those speeds.

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I am not sure if it was because we did not go all the way around the island or just the short duration of the trip at under two weeks, but it didn’ feel quite like a real trip to Taiwan. Though with all the jet lag it did feel real exhausting.

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A Day In Central Taiwan

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Pretty Kitty

After a another day of business and such in Taipei we headed down to Taichung. With the duel purpose of popping into Tunghai University (東海大學 Dōng hǎi dà xué) Chinese Language Center. Then later in the afternoon heading up to Puli.

First thing in the morning we went to the Taunghai campus. It has been several years since I’ve been on campus and it definitely filled me with a bit of nostalgia for the time I spent there. But arriving at the doors to the Chinese Language Center I began to sense a feeling of apprehension building inside me. Which nearly instantly turned to a combination of fear and dread when I spotted and was spotted by one of my old teachers. Oh how rusty my conversation skills have become the last couple years.

After a short and wonderful, if not slightly painful, reunion with a couple of our favorite teachers it was time for them to start their classes and time for us to decompress a little. So we took a long walk through campus before catching a bus back downtown.

Having time to spare before we needed to catch the bus to Puli I decided to take a walk through Taichung’s Jiangguo Market (台中建國市場 Táizhōng jiànguó shìchǎng) located on Jianguo Rd., just north of the train station. Because I simply cannot resist the sights and smells of a good market. And while I have walked past this market I don’t know how many times I never actually went through it.

So here we go.

Dried meat and sausages

Dried meat and sausages

 

Dried seafood stall

Dried seafood stall

 

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Better than KFC

 

Tofu stall

Tofu stall

 

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Young ferns (Hart’s Tongue Fern or similar, I believe) and a type of 絲瓜 (Sīguā), Luffa gourd.

 

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Bamboo shoots are in season

 

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Sweet Potatoes!

After a looking around a bit we caught one of the numerous buses up to Puli. This portion of our trip had the objective of going to the Long Nan Lacquer Museum  to meet up with our wonderful friend and to pick up a couple of presents for people back in the States.

We decided to take a rather circuitous route from the bus stop to Long Nan so we could pick up a bite to eat and explore a little. Which is how we came across something I’ve never seen. A temple under construction. I’ve seen plenty of temples in all their splendor and a number in  a state of disrepair, but never one under construction. I looked upon it as not only a great chance to see a new state of being of a temple, but also to see the latest in the craftsmanship that goes into the decoration.

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New Guard Lions

 

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They are blindfolded so they won’t run away.

 

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Retired Lion

Done with little bit of exploring we went over to Long Nan. And of course we could not get out of there without being on the receiving end of quite a lot of hospitality. So we found ourselves on the way up to Sun Moon Lake (日月潭 Rì yuè tán). Not that I was going to argue, I hadn’t been to Sun Moon Lake for a while.

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Sun Moon Lake (日月潭 Rì yuè tán)

 

It was a misty day up in the hills making for a comfortable if not a little tropical afternoon.  After a few stops we ended up at the Wen Wu Temple (文武廟 Wén wǔ miào). Which I haven’t been to since I was taking Chinese classes at the aforementioned Tunghai University Chinese Language Center. And that was some years ago.

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A rather large Guardian Lion

 

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The central hall with Guan Gong, the God of War (the one with the red face) and the warrior-God Yue Fei.

 

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One big Earth God.

 

 

With darkness quickly approaching we headed back to Puli and then on to Taichung. It was too short a visit and in the morning we would be off to take the train around the southern tip of the Island and to Taitung.

 

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Holiday Snaps, Taipei, Part II

Wall window

After another night of too little sleep and another breakfast of the same old stuff; soy milk (warm not hot, with half sugar), and some assorted eats. We were off to do a little sight seeing before it got too terribly hot.

We always take the bus into Taipei from the airport when we come to Taiwan. And it always travels through the north end of town on its way to the Taipei Main Station. And I always notice a couple blocks of interesting temple architecture that it passes by. And I always say we should go check that spot out. So this time we did.

By checking the bus route map I found that the spot I wanted to go to was only a couple blocks down Kulun Rd. from the Yuanshan MRT stop. So off the subway and into the blinding sun we go. Two blocks down we come to the ornamented red brick wall I’ve noticed time and time again. Turns out that this particular wall is the exterior wall to the grounds of the Taipei Confucius Temple. And it is closed on Mondays….Damn.

Maybe next time for that.

However, I’ve learned not to let such things deter from travel experiences. So I walked across the street the the next ornamented red brick wall. Which just happens to surround the front gardens of the Baoan Temple.

Baoan Garden Worker

Garden Wall detail

Colored tile wall scene.

Another Garden Wall Detail

Colored tile detail.

The garden portion of the temple is colorful to the point of bordering on gaudy….or perhaps well into the realm of gaudy. But it does give a place for the old folks to come and practice their old timey music and hang out in the shade.

Old folks in the park

Rockin’ the Erhu!

Behind the garden portion is the Dalongdong Baoan Temple (大龍峒保安宮 Dà lóng dòng bǎo’ān gōng), which dates to the early part of the 19th century (c. 1831) and is a UNESCO site. It more than makes up for the Confucius Temple being closed. Incredibly ornate and well maintained it was also not too terribly busy on a Monday morning.

Dalongdong Baoan Tmeple

大龍峒保安宮 Dà lóng dòng bǎo’ān gōng

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Lanterns of the front hall.

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Main Hall, home of Baosheng Emporer (and some circa 1805 carved dragon columns).

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Mural on exterior wall of the Main Hall.

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The dragon wall of the Main Hall.

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Under the eaves and above your head.

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The Rear Hall.

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Shengnong Emperor in the Rear Hall.

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More gods in the West Wing.

After a good look around the temple we headed back to the MRT to head south a couple stops to Shuanglian station, to reap the rewards of the reconnaissance mission I mentioned in Part 1.

But first I want to grab a quick lunch. Which meant popping into the nearest MOS Burger for one of their rice burgers. The “rice burger” uses discs of pressed rice in place of a bun (they also have burgers with actual buns as well). I would have gone for pretty much anyplace that had air conditioning at this point. But MOS Burger was perfect because it was also not a terribly big lunch. And my next destination was less than a block away and it had dessert.

Mos Burger

MOS Burger’s Yakiniku Rice Burger

I can’t tell you the joy I had finding Bing Zan (冰讃 bīng zàn) the day before. We had sort of looked for it the time before when we were in Taipei and couldn’t find it. All I could remember is its general direction from a MRT stop, the color of the signs outside and the tables inside, and the appearance of buildings directly next to it. I couldn’t remember the name or which stop it was near for the life of me. All I could really remember was that on a hot day back in 2011 it had the best mango shaved ice EVER.

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冰讃 Bīng Zàn

The mango milk shaved ice (芒果牛奶冰 máng guǒ niú nǎi bīng) is a classic of the shaved ice desserts. Shaved ice topped with sweet cubes of mango and a drizzling of sweetened condensed milk. Perfect for an extra warm October day.

芒果牛奶冰

芒果牛奶冰 Mángguǒ niúnǎi bīng

The other offering of Bing Zan is the latest and greatest in Taiwanese shaved ice desserts. “Shaved snow,” 雪花冰 (xuě huā bīng) is made by shaving a frozen block of a milk water mixture. The result is a velvety, creamy sweet base for the topping of your choice. I chose red bean.

紅豆雪花冰

紅豆雪花冰 hóngdòu xuěhuā bīng

Shaved ice and shaved snow procured we took an empty table next to the window. And after my myopic concentration on my dessert subsided a bit I began to notice that nearly everyone else in Bing Zan was Japanese. Seems they made a hit with one sector of the tourist market.

And so I never forget. Bing Zan is located at

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Along the alley

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Benz where a house use to be.

My life feeling complete in every way. There was little to do to top the morning, so we just spent the rest of the afternoon kicking around in bookstores and stuff like that. Until it was dark and we were hungry again.

Wandering around back near the hotel I really had no idea what I wanted to eat. Something inexpensive and maybe something different. I think I was really just too tired to care.

虹品鍋貼水餃專賣店

虹品鍋貼水餃專賣店 (Rainbow Pot Stickers and Dumplings…roughly translated) No. 41, Guling St, Zhongzheng District, Taipei

Back on one of the side streets we came across a dumpling place promising “thick corn soup with dumplings.” Well that would certainly be new to me. I was curious. I mean they put corn in seemingly everything in Taiwan, so I might as well try this.

Essentially the 玉米濃湯  (yùmǐ nóng tāng) turns out to be kind of a Taiwanese corn chowder, in this case with dumplings. The sweet smooth soup complemented the savory pork dumplings rather well. Not an altogether bad combination.

玉米濃湯

玉米濃湯

So concluded the day, next we head south.

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Holiday Snaps, Taipei, Part 1

Taipei Wunchang Temple 台北市文昌宮

Taipei Wunchang Temple 台北市文昌宮

Well it wasn’t really a holiday and it was too short of a trip to even fully recover from the jet lag, but I did snap some pics.

First off I would like to say, it has been a long time since I’ve flown to Taiwan from New England…I hate it. It has to be some of the most grueling flights ever, 12 hour time difference and a full 20 plus hours in the air. And because of the grueling flight, wicked jet lag, punishing itinerary, and the fact I am writing this retrospectively, the details may be a bit fuzzy at times. In fact without the pictures I might not remember much of any of it. So bear with me as I piece it together.

So after after a few hours of sleep and a few more of just laying in bed exhausted, but awake 6:30 A.M. finally rolls around. At which point I figure it is probably late enough to go find some breakfast. And by find I mean walk out of the door of the Taipei Teachers Hostel and walk half a block to the 新民生豆漿店 (xīn mín shēng dòu jiāng diàn), the same breakfast place I go to every time I am in Taipei. I think the 永和豆漿大王 (Yǒng hé dòu jiāng dà wáng) down the street the other way has better salty soy milk (鹹豆漿 xián dòu jiāng), but I like this place’s rice roll (飯糰 fàn tuán) better.

新民生

6:30 a.m. just opening up and the streets are still largely deserted.

In addition to my usual fàn tuán and soy milk there was something else I’ve been looking forward to for some months now. Something I meant to get last time I was in Taiwan, but just couldn’t fit it in with all the other eating. That being the 燒餅油條 (shāo bǐng yóu tiáo). Which is essentially a split, flaky, baked, rough puff pastry, the shāo bǐng enveloping the tangy, crispy, fried yóu tiáo. It is probably not all that healthy, but it is surprisingly filling. And should be experienced at least once.

燒餅油條

燒餅油條 (shāo bǐng yóu tiáo) under the lovely florescent lights.

Breakfast in Taiwan is the best. Mostly because it is cheap, tasty, and filling. Though the fast paced nature of sales and therefor the seemingly anxious demeanor of the sales people is a bit of a shock first thing in the morning. But (probably due to the help of my better half) I seem to get through it.

So after breakfast my aforementioned better half is off to a conference and I am left with some time on my hands to wander around a bit.

Liuzhangli Cemetery

I wonder how the garbage incinerator figures into the feng shui of the Liuzhangli Cemetery

Waiting for God

Waiting for God

Which means even though I am jet lagged and feeling the heat I set out to hit a spot I noticed last time I was in Taipei. So I wandered down the narrow little alley of the Chenzhong Market (城中市場 chéng zhōng shì chǎng) to find the rather well known 老牌牛肉拉麵大王 (lǎo pái niú ròu lā miàn dà wáng), which roughly translates to “Old Plate Beef Ramen King” (Address: No. 7, Lane 46, Section 1, Chongqing S Rd, Zhongzheng District, Taipei City).

老牌牛肉拉麵大王

The first thing you will notice about Lao Pai’s is the setting. Far from being the dreadful, shiny, posh, name brand, upmarket Taipei this is the old Taipei. You wind your way down the alley filled market stalls crowding the edges, leaving at best only a few feet of walking space. The corrugated and tarpaulin awnings leave only a narrow, irregular gap for sunlight to illuminate the path. And near the end of one of these lanes is a very crowded restaurant hawking beef noodles. So crowded in fact that, as I suspected, I had to sit at one of the tables huddled under an awning across the alley. I don’t know how one would be so lucky as to get a seat inside this tiny place.

The second thing you notice of course is the noodles. Beef noodles are, by some, considered the national dish of Taiwan. Others would argue against that notion, since while it was invented in Taiwan it was invented by Chinese who came over after they lost the civil war in 1949. And to add to that, prior to that eating beef was considered by many Taiwanese to be taboo. That said, nowadays you will find beef noodles all over the island. Witch means there is a lot of variability in quality and style. The places that have garnered a longstanding reputation have for a reason. And while I happen to love the setting for this place, it is famous for the food not the atmosphere.

So what makes a good beef noodle soup? Well it is more than just the braised beef to be sure, the noodles and broth really make this dish (along with a good helping of pickled greens). The noodles here are thick with just the right amount of chewiness to them. I don’t think I’ve had noodles this good since grandma’s homemade chicken noodle soup and that was thirty years ago. The broth, oh wow, the broth. Now that was just amazing, thick and rich with a bit of spice and heat. Some of the best I’ve had in Taiwan I am definitely coming back here next time.

牛肉麵湯

牛肉麵湯 (niú ròu miàn tāng) a noodle soup without beef. If you want it with beef it is simply 牛肉麵 (niú ròu miàn).

So after my beef noodle epiphany I wandered around the market area a bit. Which is where I came across a strange fruit. Nearly the size of a volleyball, the outside is black as coal, and the inside is a bit tannish and with sort of grainy looking texture, it started life as a pomelo. Which was then hollowed out, the pulp mixed with a variety of herbs then stuffed back into the skin. Where it undergoes a lengthy drying process. The end result is, well, rather medicinal. It think they are good for head colds or something.

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麻豆柚子蔘 (má dòu yòuzi shēn) I think they are good for head colds or something

Well I think I will have to do more research on those later.

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Tea Shop

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And of course the tea snack shop next to the tea shop.

Generally I am not overly bothered by the heat, but it is a bit of shock on top of the jet lag. But I had to seek refuge this time.

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That would be about 90 degrees

So after a quick rest up and cool off back at the hotel I was off to wander around the long linear green space that runs from the Taipei Main Station up to Tatung University. Partially the reason for this bit of wandering was some reconnaissance, to find a place I’ve been to a long time ago, but have since forgot where it is at. But more on that in part 2. Beyond my own desire to track down a particular spot the green space is an interesting strip of park that runs above the red line of the MRT (subway). There are numerous little shops and sights to see along the way. Including the Museum of Contemporary Arts. Things you would otherwise miss if you were below ground. Still it has the convenience of close proximity to MRT stops in case you get tired or want to escape the weather (heat or rain as the case may be).

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Snack seller along the park.

With the daylight waning I headed down to National Chengchi University to meet up with my better half.

Oh thank god the sun is going away

Oh thank god the sun is going away (street scene near National Chengchi University)

Taipei 101 looms large over the dead

Taipei 101 looms large over the dead of Liuzhangli Cemetery (obligatory holiday snap of Taipei 101)

So with the day exhausted and rather exhausted ourselves we headed over the familiar surrounds of 咕咕麻油雞,麻辣臭豆腐 Gū Gū Má Yóu Jī Má Là Chòu Dòu Fu for what else, but a bowl of 麻油雞 (má yóu jī) sesame oil chicken and a bowl of 麻辣鴨血臭豆腐 má là yā xiě chòu dòu fu, the hot and spicy ducks blood and stinky tofu soup. It was good to be back.

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麻油雞 (má yóu jī)

晚安

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中秋節快樂!

Wow it is the Mid-Autumn Festival already. Which is easily my favorite Asian holiday, thanks in large part to Hong Kong style Moon Cakes. But I guess it also means summer is over. I think I missed it.

River Boat Wilmington, NC

Started off the summer going down south to Wilmington, NC

There was a trip up to Cambridge, Mass to check out the little H Mart there

After which I  went up to Cambridge, Mass to check out the little H Mart there (I needed a couple bowls) and found this little colorful gem next to it.

Then there was a trip to the Hudson River Valley.

Then there was a trip to the Hudson River Valley. To see friends and take in some new scenery.

Then there was this trip to NYC. Where I managed to catch 'China Through the Looking Glass' at The Met.

There was this work trip to NYC. Where I managed to catch ‘China Through the Looking Glass‘ at The Met.

After that back out west for a while.

Back out west for a while to catch up with family.

Last time I was in Portland I checked out the Japanese Garden, this time I figured it was only appropriate to stop by the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Last time I was in Portland I checked out the Japanese Garden, this time I figured it was only appropriate to stop by the Lan Su Chinese Garden.

Out west it was unusually hot and unusually dry, but I still tried to get as much riding in as possible.

In Washington it was unusually hot and unusually dry. But I still tried to get as much riding in as possible and to enjoy small town life.

Even stopped by my brother's farm stand

Even managed to get down to the harbor and stop by my brother’s farm stand down in Copalis Crossing.

The garden shot.

A shot of the garden.

After an nice break in Washington I had to hurry back to the other Washington, D.C. that is to crash a Korean wedding.

After an nice break in Washington I had to hurry back to the other Washington, D.C. that is. To crash a Korean wedding.

And while in DC one must do some obligatory touristy stuff. This exhibit on alcohol caught my attention.

And while in DC one must do some obligatory touristy stuff. This exhibit on alcohol caught my attention. Seriously I actually read all the text in Spirited Republic. Which I seldom do in an exhibit, it was that good.

All that museum stuff made me hungry. So I headed over to DC Chinatown to find some cheap eats.

All that museum stuff made me hungry. So I headed over to DC Chinatown to find some cheap eats.

Noodles with duck

DC’s Chinatown Express fit the bill. With a simple bowl of noodles with roast duck.

Back in Providence

Back in Providence. Of course had to stop by the annual Taiwan Day and Dragon Boat festival up in Pawtucket.

Then later I found myself in small town, er village USA. Hamilton, NY.

Some time later I found myself in small town, actually village USA. Hamilton, NY to be exact.

Where I happened upon a wonderful bar that served poutine.

Tired and hungry from the drive I found a promising looking watering hole known as the No. 10 Tavern Where they just happen to serve a pretty mean poutine (and a damn fine burger as well).

Back to the city. Flushing, NY, possibly the best city in America. It is like a trip to Asia that doesn't require a passport.

Back to the city. Flushing, NY, possibly the best city in America. It is like a trip to Asia that doesn’t require a passport. I was actually in Flushing for a Chinese wedding banquet at which I was far too busy eating course after course of food to take any photos of.

Taiwan in Flushing

Next day I was out and about trying to walk off all that food and I came across the Taiwan Center in Flushing

There were roasted sweet potatoes at the Flushing H Mart. Perfect for a sunny but cool day.

Then I found a H Mart where they had roasted sweet potatoes. Perfect snack for a sunny, but cool day.

I think this speaks for itself. Which is good because I can't read Hangul.

I think this speaks for itself. Which is good because I can’t read Hangul.

It may have been a little late in the game, but I found this Mazu temple. So I went in to pray for safe travels.

It may have been a little late in the game, but I found this Mazu temple. So I went in to pray for safe travels.

With time to kill before the train decided to do some more touristy stuff. So I wandered over to Grand Central.

Back in NYC with time to kill before the train. I decided to do some more touristy stuff. So I wandered over to Grand Central.

I found Taiwan in Grand Central Station.

And I found Taiwan in Grand Central Station.

Some of my favorite things.

Some of my favorite things.

Well now it is Fall and I am preparing (or at least I need to prepare) for an upcoming trip to Taiwan.

So 中秋節快樂 (zhōng qiū jié kuài lè) Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

中秋節快樂!Happy Mid Autumn Festival! I Hope you got your Moon Cake!

中秋節快樂!Happy Mid-Autumn Festival! I Hope you got your Moon Cake!

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薑絲麻油蛋 Eggs Fried In Sesame Oil With Ginger

薑絲麻油蛋 (Jiāng sī má yóu dàn) is about as simple a recipe as a recipe can get. After all it is just a slightly fancied up fried egg. It is quick and easy, which means it meets my requirements for the amount of time I want to spend in the kitchen in these dog days of summer. So if you are looking for a simple homestyle Taiwanese recipe this is a good one.

To be honest I learned of this “dish” from the Taiwanese drama 我的自由年代 (Wǒ de zì yóu nián dài) or “In a Good Way”. Which I have to admit I rather enjoyed, it was a little better and a little more mature than the average Taiwanese drama (IMHO). And it sent me looking for this recipe.

薑絲麻油蛋

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 15 g. shredded ginger
  • 3 T. sesame oil
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 c. rice wine

Method:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium low heat, add 3 T. of sesame oil to the pan. Fry the eggs until just set, sunny side up. Remove the eggs to a plate. (If you use a wok add 1 T. of sesame oil and fry one egg, then repeat)
  2. Next add the shredded ginger to the pan, fry until fragrant. Add the rice wine and return the eggs to the pan. Add a dash of salt (omit if your rice wine is salted). Fry until the rice wine has mostly evaporated.
  3. Remove the eggs and ginger to a plate and pour the remaining liquid from the pan over the eggs.
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