Wednesday, April 10, 2013

CNN's Top 40 Taiwanese Foods! Which would you try?

Taiwan is abundant with food. Ridiculous amounts of food everywhere. It's cheap, it's good (even the bad food is good), it's convenient, and there's always a few places open, no matter what time of day or night!

Here, CNN has made a list of the top 40 foods we cannot live without! I have tried almost all of them, but since I no longer eat meat (still eat seafood), there are some I cannot try now :( There are more and more vegetarian versions of these foods popping up though, so I hope that one day I'll be able to easily get vegetarian XiaoLongBao or Ba Wan without the need to special order it!

Here are some of my favorites from the list (in no particular order):
Braised Pork Rice
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I get the vegetarian version. The topping itself is quite salty, but with plain rice it balances out and is very fragrant and filling.

Oyster Omelet
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Oyster Omelet is good no matter where you get it. The amount of ingredients vs. the omelet base is key to getting a good one. Too much omelet base and it won't have enough flavor! The sauce you add on top is important, too. Some places have diluted sauces that aren't very flavorful.

Gua Bao
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You can actually buy the white bread separately and prepare this at home very cheaply! It's really good and easy to make a wide variety depending on your favorite flavors.

Tian Bu La
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This is just really good. I love the QQ texture and the sauce and just everything! Note that some places will cook it in a broth containing meat products, so if that is a concern, make sure to ask!

Oyster Noodles
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I LOVE this! It normally comes with intestines so I ask for it without the intestines. Some places may cook it all together and if you ask for no intestine they will just pick it out, so I try to go to places that cook the noodles separately from everything else. This is very good with some soy paste and hot sauce!

Stinky Tofu
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I used to think I hated stinky tofu. I tried it time and again at a stall at the night market by my grandparents' house. That stall had been on TV and in the news and was supposed to be really good. I never liked the stinky tofu. Then one day, at XiMenDing I tried stinky tofu at a random stall, AND IT WAS SO GOOD! So make sure you try food from different vendors! In addition to fried stinky tofu, there is also grilled (my favorite) and boiled stinky tofu. I don't like the "pao cai"/pickled(?) vegetables that goes on it, but the sauce and hot sauce is really good. Some foreigners are put off by the smell at first, but the flavor is actually very good and unique. I would definitely suggest trying it! Some vendors have different flavors you can put on your tofu, too.

Xiao Long Bao
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Literally "Little Dragon Buns/Bao," this is one of the things I miss most about meat! Ding Tai Feng has the most famous XiaoLongBao, but in the USA we could get them from oriental food stores in the frozen foods section. Be careful when preparing them not to tear the skin, or the delicious juices will leak out!

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Hands down, my favorite food is BREAKFAST. OK, so that's a meal, not a food, but Taiwan has the best breakfasts! Breakfast shops are everywhere. I love traditional breakfast with soymilk (no sugar), rice balls, sesame flat bread (pictured) with egg, dan bing (egg pancake), and sometimes the fried Chinese doughnut (pictured). YungHo Soymilk is probably the most famous chain, and some are open in the middle of the night so you can have breakfast food as a midnight snack (heaven!). Unfortunately, there are none near where I live. I would probably gain 10kg if there was!

Spicy Hot Pot
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I LOVE hotpot. I LOVE spicy. Therefore, I LOVE LOVE spicy hotpot!!! I'm sad that most mala (numbing spicy) hotpot is made with either duck or pig blood, so I cannot eat it. However, if you get the chance, I would definitely suggest trying this!!

What food is your country famous for? And which of the top 40 foods would you like to try or think are horrifying and would never dare to try? I love to talk about food and try new food and see food from other countries!!