Taipei 101 during the Lighting Fesitval
Taipei 101 can be seen standing tall over all the other buildings in Taipei
Lanterns near Taipei City Hall during the Lighting Festival
So Taipei is beautiful, in case you didn't notice from the pictures I just posted. I was talking to my Mandarin teacher about how I love Taipei and I mentioned how I am a big fan of the architecture here. She said to me that many people she had talked to had said to her something along the lines of "I really like Taipei, but the architecture here... eh..." I constantly strive to see beauty in everything and I rarely fail to be able to do so. I am taking classes at Tai-Da which was built by the Japanese while they occupied Taiwan. The entire campus is breathtakingly beautiful and, despite the hostility that any nation has for a foreign nation which decides to invade and occupy it, the Japanese aesthetic has been maintained and cared for since the campus was built. The palm-tree lined streets and red brick buildings of Tai-Da contrast sharply with most of the city which ranges from utilitarian apartment complexes to the bamboo-inspired Taipei 101.
Tripe, Knife Cut Noodles, Green Onion and Shaved Ginger
So I can't figure out why but I just can't get into ginger... I know! I eat snake, snails, organ meat, stinky tofu... you name it and I love it... but ginger... I know its good for you! It just doesn't work any sort of magic over my taste buds. None whatsoever. Its a shame really because the dish pictured above is just one of a slew of similar dishes I have had here with a liberal application of shaved ginger. I mean I still enjoy all of the dishes, if its food and in front of me I generally can't complain.
So I'm starting to get stinky tofu. Maybe. I mean I like it better in Taiwan anyways. I don't know. I'll keep eating it until I figure out why I should go out of my way to get it instead of the million other types of tofu available here.
Thin Beef with Green Onion in Sweet Sesame Wheat Wrap
So... it's sweet... and cold... didn't really expect either of those. I'm definitely not complaining though because it was delicious.
The bottled beverages here are awesome. I totally thought I was buying grape juice and then I opened the bottle to find a super thick fluid that wouldn't even begin to flow out from the bottle. The viscosity of this fluid having temporarily stymied my attempt to quench my thirst, I stuck the bottle in my backpack and set back to my room to conquer this new substance. I have since found a plethora of jelly substances for sale in the 7-11s, family marts and O.K. convenient stores. A Taiwanese friend clued me in to the fact that the proper method to drink these beverages is with a straw, so I am now able to imbibe jelly drinks while walking around town.
niu ro xian bing - Beef Bun
Those of you who have ever eaten a sausage wrap are likely to have experienced the sensation of biting into a flour-wrapped-meat product only to be rewarded with the discovery that the meat inside is really just a host for projectile molten grease napalm (MGN). I stained many pairs of pants and many a shirt while in high school by attempting to consume sausage wraps from Rosie's to-go while driving only to repeatedly fall victim to MGN attacks. Both I and my Canadian friend Josh have fallen victim to MGN attacks while consuming niu ro xian bing here in Taipei. There is a surefire way to disarm the MGN trap however, which requires nothing more than puncturing the flour-wrapped-meat product with a fork or chopstick; or simply the resolve to break whatever flour-wrapped-meat product you are about to consume in half before biting into it. I know that flour-wrapped-meat products always look so delicious and inviting and that it is easy to forget the danger of the almost guaranteed MGN trap lurking inside, but only through constant vigilance can we be safe from MGN attacks.
This is one of many street stands in Taipei where one may order food by grabbing a basket and tongs from atop the stand and then using the tongs to select the food which you want to consume and placing each item into the provided basket. You then hand the basket over to the chef who cooks your food and then hands you a delicious plate of food cooked to order. I have become a regular at one of these places that stays open until past midnight right outside of the Yongchun MRT station. Without needing to speak at all I can eat exactly what I want to eat, its amazing. I already get the feeling that I will miss this style of street food when I leave Taiwan in the hopefully distant future.
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