Before this trip, I thought Japanese food was my favourite food in the world. I mean, I love all Asian food, but I thought Japanese was my best. But now...? WOW! I never knew there could be such a variety of food as what we found in Taiwan!
We ate and we ate. So much. Each meal contained many dishes. Jeff and I quickly learned to pace ourselves and go easy on the rice so we could get through the 10+ dishes often served during a meal! Rita explained that a typical dinner includes noodles or rice, one or two vegetable dishes, fish, one meat dish, and soup. Soup is thought to be an important part of a balanced meal. A yin/yang thing. Rita also explained that in Taiwan, the appearance of a restaurant is not thought to be as important as the quality and flavour of the food. Her family loves good food, so we were taken to all their favourites, ranging from classy, hotel buffets to small, dirty, out-of-the-way holes-in-the-wall. Everything was good. Jeff's favourite quickly became the dumplings. I'm not sure what my favourite was, but as usual, I loved all the seafood.
This is one of the hole-in-the-wall places we were taken to about three times. Rita's mom has been going here for breakfast for 10 years. The couple you see is retired and simply runs this business for fun, for their friends. They are only open till about 11am every day. They make cheap, delicious breakfasts for their friends and chat. Now that's what I call community. My favourite here is something that I can't really describe! It's fried. There is egg and some vegetables and flakes of a sweet meat inside. And the outer "shell" is kind of pancake like, but not really. It's really really flaky. And you eat it like a taco. So Good!!! I could eat that every day. A popular breakfast drink is a sweet soy milk. You can get it everywhere, cold or lukewarm. Not my favourite. I always opted for the tea.
And well, two western establishments in Taiwan I have to brag about:
Starbucks. They need to learn in North America to make them this big. This one had three floors of seating plus an "art gallery" on the fourth! The decor made it feel like we were in a comfy ski lodge. Rita said most of the Starbucks in Taiwan are like that. Now, admittedly, we were in Taipei, which cannot be compared to say, St. Catharines (HA.) However, don't you think we could use a little more seating, even in puny old St. Kitts?
Rita also went on and on about KFC. Kept saying how popular it is in Taiwan, and how it's far superior to the ones in Canada. I'm not a big fan of fast food, so I didn't care, but finally we caved. We tried it... the Taiwanese Chicken burger.
Here it is, folks. Yes, how photogenic. Jeff, who is an avid fan of fast food, took one bite and exclaimed his admiration, "Why, it's fantastic! The meat is so much more juicy! Not dry at all!" (or something to that effect). He's a believer. Someone we met later on our trip said it had to do with using free-range chickens. Whatever.