I tasted memorable things in Taiwan when I was young. When I thought about it, it was seems I was dreaming: these moments of delight were so far away!
But that was before: a few days ago, I went to a gourmet marathon in Taiwan! Do not worry, I did not have only moved to this … Fasten your seat belts, or rather, release a little bit your belt, lets dance chopsticks!
J1: Following the horribly spicy lunch during the flight with Air China, I arrived at Taipei Fullerton Hotel. We're in THE breakfast 's street, facing the King of soy milk.
It begins with a beautiful fruits tray with green clementines (I'll explain later why they are green). At the same time, I finally check Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and GTalk. Because Taiwan is China, but with more freedom of expression.
Then we go window shopping on European restaurants as Olivier, a French bistro managed by a Chef lady from Nice.
We arrive at the buffet at Shangri-La hotel:
- Taiwan's speciality is vegetarian cooking on barbecue, for example, young bamboo shoots 烤 莨
- as it is on an island, we do not forget sushi and sashimi "on demand"
- steamed bouchées sweet, salty, shrimp, chicken, pork …
- noodles and rice
- curry sauce and other dishes, excellent roast beef served with mashed potatoes spinning, ice cream, fruit platters, chocolate fountain …
And to top it all: cookies with coffee purifier.
J2: After a night into feather duvet's paradise, we do skip the buffet breakfast. We go directly to see the sea at Hsingchu.
There, I find my old friend MiJiang 米浆. You can try all the shops in the world, there is only in Taiwan is so good. It is a rice milk made with rice roasted and then ground with peanuts and sesame seeds. Just sweet, refreshing and ultra nourishing, I like it especially hot.
To complete breakfast: seeds. Yes, it's very bio-bobo regime. But make no mistake, I can guarantee you that 2-3 bites of this nougat 5 seeds + a glass of MiJiang give you the calories needed to keep the day.
Moreover, it is already 11am. Go with my aunt for lunch: steamed fish, Chinese cabbage pork feet … and moon cakes 月饼.
Because we are the end of September and it is the Moon Fest, also known as the Mid-Autumn Festival. My aunt has accumulated half a dozen boxes of cakes with varied tastes ans shapes. Moon cakes are shortbread cookies containing a thick layer of filling: lotus, soybean paste, sesame, pineapple, and even meat. But be warned: traditionally, the shortbread should be based on lard and the center of the cake is topped with salted egg yolk.
Personally, I prefer "vegetarian" without eggs or lard.
Then, digestive walk by the sea: here juice fruit vinegar. Presented like that, it is not very appetizing, but in fact it is acid, fruity and refreshing effectively!
Come on, it's time to find the night market and the temple. From all this we only see the food stalls. Mandatory stop at each step:
- rice dumplings,
- ravioli 饺子,
- noodles 面,
- oyster omelette (yes, I know …),
- rolled pancakes with noodles and peanuts 软 饼,
- fried tofu 臭豆腐 (literally "smelly tofu") ,
- donuts 油条,
- another mijiang 米浆 and a sweet cake 烧饼.
- My cousins still want to go for a tea tapioca balls 珍珠 茶 …
J3 : I'll spare you the details of the breakfast to arrive directly at the "greedy library" made in Taiwan. This country is great because there are cookbooks in English AND Chinese. Ideal to improve my Chinese and learn traditional recipes.
Indeed, the Chinese who fled the communist "cultural revolution" went to Taiwan, including the emperor and some rich bourgeois. It is for these reasons that the Chinese word written in TaIwannese is more complex: it is the traditional typography. Besides writing, culture and gastronomy in general are more traditional than in China.
Well, it is hungry, let's talk about eating :-) For lunch, we go to a very small shop in the student area.
Upon entry dishes, we choose appetizing small plates, the equivalent of entry dishes. For me it is green algae with sesame oil.
Then the famous Bolognese taïwannaise: the Zhajiang Mien 炸酱面, or fried noodles with sauce. Basically, it is pork or beef fried then simmered in a sauce of fermented beans and tomato. As a Bolognese. Again I'm in heaven: fermented beans give that little extra that makes the sauce so exquisite!
For dessert, we could not miss the speciality: a little bowl of glutinous rice ball stuffed with cream 汤圆 : black sesame, peanut and red bean. In France, we can find them frozen callaed "rice ball", in Japanese, it is called "Mochi" and I love it too!
In the evening, after a hard afternoon of shopping (yes: Dolce Gusto tastings, wine, etc..), We are facing the gourmet restaurant W (Largo Winch in my heart ! :-)
Between beautiful dishes and beautiful view of Taipei, a pumpkin soup, vapors, roasted duck … pfiou a coffee please!
J4: The restaurant Genghis Khan is from the childhood memory of my mother! This means that after 60 years, she still remembers this concept restaurant, I could not miss it.
The concept is now well known: we choose our raw foods in a large bowl, then the Chef cooks them in front of us. Except that in Mongolian style, the curing takes place on a large hot plate with very long wooden sticks. It's pretty impressive to see as speed, dexterity and endurance are required!
And then quickly, time to fly back arrived… Just a little delay to have a small bowl of sweet soup with sticky rice and green soybeans.