Taiwanese Foodies

March 19, 2012 Tessa Bradford 7 comments

This weekend we headed to Tainan for a food tour with a group of Youming’s friends. They planned the trip for us; Tainan is considered a food center of Taiwan, and so we spent the day sampling some of the more famous dishes around the city. 

As Youming said at the start of the day as we rode an early morning train, “The purpose of today is eating.”

It was a roasting hot day, so after renting scooters for the day (to the tune of about $4), we picked up some ice cold winter melon tea. Extraordinarily sweet, but exactly what you need to remedy the island heat, it was a good start.

Next we pulled up to a little restaurant with metal tables and a crowd, where we got rou yuan. They were doughy balls with roast pork inside, covered in a little bit spicy, a little bit sweet sauce.
The third stop was for doufu bing, or tofu ice. Shaved ice is a particular favorite of the Taiwanese, and I had more than my share this summer, but this was especially good. I had tapioca balls with cream jelly and caramal sauce. Ok, I know. It doesn’t exactly sound wonderful. But I promise you, it is.
After our shaved ice we wandered over to a park while a few from our group took off to pick up pizzas from a favorite restaurant. They brought them back and we sat under the shade of crooked trees while we munched on slices of pizza.
We took a break from eating, then. A few of the girls wanted to shop. I sat very patiently— my mother would be very impressed. Then we got to go to a huge flower garden in the city center. Try and beat a flower garden on a tropical island. Go on, I dare ya. It was fantastic, with genuine fields of color wrapped around a lake with a floating pagoda and swan paddle boats, and all of it was edged with palm trees and vine covered gnarled trees and blossoming ferns.
After a lazy stroll around the lake, we once again set out in search of

 food. The next meal was called a casket meal, because of its box shape. Ok, confession. I didn’t eat this one. It was seafood, and there were squid tentacles poking out from under the “lid” of the box and… well… I just couldn’t. But Youming assured me it was delicious. Basically it was a crispy piece of bread hollowed out and filled with a creamy seafood soup.

Our final stop was to the same restaurant that I’d gone to with Nicole and Dan B this summer when we searched so doggedly for waffles. However, the real treat at the restaurant, Chador, is not their waffles— it’s their honey toast. Ohmygoodness. Honey toast is a very thick slice of bread, the consistency of toast but with the taste of cake. I ordered strawberries and cream. It was shameful how quickly I devoured my honey toast… I was the only one who wasn’t sharing with someone else, and I still finished first. But it was worth the indecency. Because ohmygoodness. It was followed by a caramel latte, and I was very, very happy (and very, very sleepy).
We ended the day back on a train to Pingtung with heads full of good memories, heavy eyes, and very full bellies.

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