Taiwan Day 2

Continued from Taiwan Day 1.

I held out last night against my jet lag and went to bed at 10:30pm. I woke up at 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, and finally woke up for good at 6:00. Damn you jet lag.

The goal today is to first visit my grandma on my mom’s side and then eat my favorite meal in the world.

My aunt picked up my sister and I this morning and took us to breakfast.

It doesn’t get much more traditional than this for Taiwanese breakfast.

Fried dough that puffs up into the orange things that you see on the right. The name in mandarin literally translates to “oil stick”. Heart healthy option, right?

I had hot soy milk with an egg cracked into it and egg is flat bread with green onions. I guess you can think of it like a breakfast taco, but made with a real egg instead of powder.

Also had this vegetable filled dumpling thingy.

While sitting outside during breakfast, I noticed this ad for political office candidates. I just realized that political candidates in Taiwan almost always wear a vest with their name on it. I wonder when this became in vogue and why it got started? Can you imagine Barack Obama wearing a vest with Barack Obama written on it when he goes for reelection?

Grocery store across the breakfast spot, so naturally, I had to go resupply…ohhhh…what is that I see?

Giant super sized egg pudding!! Only reason I didn’t buy it is because even though it looks just like a larger version of the other egg pudding that I had, it’s actually made by a different company. It’s like eating a giant 2 foot long Snickers bar that isn’t actually a Snickers bar, but just very similar. Sorry, not the same.

The main reason why we came to this grocery store. This coconut flavored milk drink was a childhood favorite of mine. Very few places carried it then, and even fewer places carry it now. This grocery store is one of the few places that still carry it. I am afraid that one day in the near future, I’ll come back to Taiwan and I’ll never be able to find it ever again.

Rice paddies. All the rows of rice are planted by hand. Literally back bending and breaking work. I remember as a kid I used to walk by the rice paddies and look at the snails that would lay large clumps of pinkish hued eggs. They were pests, but as a kid, all I wanted to do was play with the snails.

I hate this road going in this direction, but love it going the other direction. This road leads to my childhood elementary school. The betel nut and the banana trees didn’t seem like they’ve changed at all.

Taiwan is moped central. They all ride dangerously too, weaving in and out of traffic. I am always surprised that I don’t see more of these things on their sides skidding across the road.

Isn’t my grandma the cutest old lady with her parasol? I always laugh and smile when I see her. Since I only see her once a year or so, I am always taken back by how many of my mom’s mannerisms mirror my grandma’s.

After visiting with my grandma for a while, it was time for us to head to lunch. My grandma only speaks Taiwanese. I am completely fluent in Chinese, but I am only fluent at listening to Taiwanese and not fluent speaking it. It makes for a choppy conversation with my grandma. I don’t really know how to talk to her anyway since she’s in her 80s, and I don’t know how to relate to an older person well. We mostly just looked at each other and smiled, which felt oddly comfortable to me.

My favorite place to eat in the world. I’ve been eating at this place since I was probably 5 years old. It was my favorite place to eat as a kid, and it’s still my favorite place to eat as an adult. I’ve realized long ago that there is nothing that I can eat in this world that will knock this place off. I had a conversation with my friend RF about death row food, and I had mentioned this place because I had this food ingrained into my head at such a young ago. When those memories and experiences happen at such young formative years, they are impossible to change.

It is much fancier now than before. They even have a whole buffet line now. It used to be in a different location and was much cozier. If I had it my way, I’d prefer to eat it at the old location.

Same exact place mat from when I was a kid.

There it is! Pork chop with onion. The best part is actually the egg. As a kid playing with my food, I would mix the sauce with the egg and scramble the crap out of it. The egg was to die for with the sauce. Then the adults caught on and all started copying this little boy who scrambled his egg with the sauce. Everyone in my family eats the egg this way now. My aunt who had lunch with us today scrambled her egg with the sauce. The food is good, but you won’t see it with Michelin Stars. But to me, it’s without equal.

This was some old lady’s helmet.

Green. Go go go!

After lunch, we ran a few forgettable errands, and then came back to my sister’s apartment. I blogged, checked emails, read news and whatnot while she furiously cleaned the place. Then it was time for dinner.

We will be eating here. It is one of my dad’s favorite restaurants. It’s located in a small town south of where I grew up and it’s located off the beaten path in the middle of a small residential area.

They were not very crowded today, unlike every other time I’ve been here. I guess this would be considered country eating for Taiwan. For some reason this never occur to me before, but this trip around, I realized that for the first 9 years of my life, I lived amongst very humble people. Most of the people who lived in Nantou(where I grew up) will never leave the country on vacation. Most of them will probably never go on an airplane. Many of them will forever ride mopeds because they can’t afford a car. Lucky me…

The thing to do here is to walk up to the fridge and see what fresh ingredients they have in stock for the day.

That blue/green thing is an eel. I picked the ingredient that’s in the yellow container in the back that you can barely see.

Fish eggs, yum.

Time to drink. Whenever I look at the original brown glass bottle of Taiwan Beer, I always come to this memory of a big table of blue collar men, sweating, wearing dirty wife beaters, flip flops, talking really loudly, playing drinking games, and drunk. As an adult, I can now appreciate how much fun they were having.

Fatty layered pork marinated and slow cooked. Ahhhh!!!

Water spinach.

Sliced fish eggs with sweet mayo based sauce. Let’s not forget the plastic faux flower garnish.

Chicken soup with the soup base made with this root that smells and tastes similar to ginseng.

Small white bamboo shoots.

Peel away the outside and dip liberally in the sauce before consumption.

Chicken testicles! Ah yes, this was the ingredient in the yellow container. I’ve got no problems with putting balls in my mouth and swallowing. Are the ladies impressed yet?

Red bean ice cream.

Mostly all food pictures today. Tomorrow, I actually have plans to go visit this lake that I used to visit as a kid.

To be continued at Taiwan Day 3.

3 thoughts on “Taiwan Day 2

    • Yup, you bet they did. They put sprinkles on sliced fish eggs in other places too. It’s part of the recipe!

  1. Your description of the importance of food that you ate as a child definitely resonates with me. However, since I am on a diet, the food that YOU ate as a child resonates with me as well!

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