I love eating out and discovering new flavors. Especially when the settings are right. Actually, there’s no better moment for this than when I’m travelling, because the whole experience that surrounds the dishes makes the moment unforgettable.
Oyster Noodles in Taitung
We arrived late at night the previous day in Taitung (pronounce Tai-Dong). We spent the first morning running some errands, preparing for the afternoon spa.
Hsiao-Ching knew this lunch spot place from back in college. It’s probably her favorite dish, and she wanted us to give it a try. Freshly cooked oysters with vermicelli noodles, Chinese parsley you probably call coriander and a broth I’d not be able to describe, as it has nothing to see with the westernized Asian food we know.
This thing, you would not be able to order it in a restaurant outside of the island. My brother said he couldn’t match the flavors to anything he had tasted in his entire life. To me, it was the one of the most Eastern thing I ever ate, at the furthest city in the Eastern World I had ever been to.
Peaceful tea in Maokong
To escape the energy & noise of the vibrant Taipei, we took the MRT to Taipei zoo, and took the Gondola up to the tea farmers village of Maokong.
Up there, it was raining. We stopped at the first place for a green & black tea ice cream, with a cat biscuit as decoration. As we were ready to go back, we decided to go uphill and, as it was getting dark, stopped at a tea house.
The way they serve it has nothing to see with the bags & cups. It’s also quite different from the Japanese tea ceremony I had experienced.
The process is the following: the leaves infuse inside the pot, which can be refilled up to 7 times, with the nearby boiling kettle. You serve it in tiny bowls and a special tray will absorb the water you pour around the pot.
The atmosphere plays an important role. Piano music was playing, it was getting dark and slightly rainy. A French business man was discussing with Taiwanese partners a bit further, and the tea house cat even came next to us.
The breathtaking view on Taipei was what gave this place its charm. We’d wait for the perfect shot, as the Taipei 101 disappears in the fog. I felt so relaxed I didn’t want to leave. Refilling the tiny cups over and over again was really enjoyable.
Late lunch pancake by the seaside
Where I’m from, we eat three times a day. Here in Taiwan, not really. Food stands will take you by surprise at any moment of the day. Unfortunately, it’s really hard to resist.
This family-owned business made delicious egg & spinach pancakes. You could see they were in a rush, preparing orders as many weekend tourists had made their way to the coast of Taitung.
Tip: When the line is long, it’s usually worth it. Here it was the case. Greasy fingers, not so much. One of the downsides of Taiwan though is that you can be missing out on food if you don’t speak the language. Ordering dishes in remote parts of the island can be a bit tricky. Make sure to learn a few words in advance or bring someone who does speak the language
Three special food experiences is of course not enough when you think of everything the island has to offer. Now that Taipei is my home base, you’ll see many more of these in the future.