Buns, Buns, Buns! How To Lose Weight in Malaysia Part 27: Talking about Taipei!

Apparently Taiwan is a bit of a food destination for some travelers. I must admit it was never on my radar for those reasons, even in the smaller setting of Asia. Living in Malaysia has spoiled me in some sense for most Asian cuisine. I do not know if I can say definitively that it is the best or even the cuisine I like the most. Good Thai food really hits me in the feels, as the kids might say. But when you live abroad the foreign becomes normal and the normal becomes foreign. What gets a smile out of me food wise is something really different, really special and memorable. (Note for any Kawan Malaysian who might read this and for anyone thinking about trying Malaysian good: I love Malaysian food. It MIGHT be my favorite, but because I live here that statement is very biased and I did not want to make an outright declaration)
What “helps” to spoil other foods is the fact that Kuala Lumpur is a big diverse city, full of great food. In particular there is a lot of great Chinese food here, since about 30% of the population is ethnically Chinese. In advance of traveling to Taiwan, which is not China but certainly shares more than a few food characteristics with it, I was not overly excited to eat the food. I was not dreading it, not in the least, but it was not filling my heart with song as our trip to Hong Kong – a foodie paradise if there every was one- did.

But I forgot a few things in my calcuation: Wade Chi and memories. Wade is married to Mo. Mo is a very good friend of my wife Iris. So therefore, Wade is a good friend of my wife and therefore is a good friend of mine. The best part of marrying Iris, except for everything, is that her friends are now my friends and my friends are awesome. Wade was born and raised in America. He has only been in Taiwan once previous this trip. But he speaks Mandarin and he loves his mother country. His enthusiasm to eat EVERYTHING was infectious and made me excited to eat all the foods, even the ones that were familiar to me from my Malaysian life. As for memories, this is a two fold kind of thing. The first part is Wade’s memories. Like I said, he had only been to Taiwan once before this trip but oh man, does he remember it like it was yesterday. These memories of Taiwan drove a lot of our eating habits and I am glad they did. It was exciting to see that look on Wade’s face that was a mix of utter happiness and innocent remembrance. It turns out that on his first trip to Taipei Wade ate a lot of good food, which meant that on our first trip we ate a lot of good food too!

*Side note because I always forget something: We stayed in an apartment near one of the biggest night markets in all of Asia-That helped with eating good food too! I am not sure I even got pictures of all the food because it was so easy to just grab some good and go morning or night.

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Eating peanut butter filled waffle kind of treats. Super good. The lady was not too happy that we only ordered two but we….wait…what is that on the board? Is it another mascot/kind of creepy and weird ad?
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Why yes, yes it is
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We did hurry up and eat him quickly, and he was wonderful
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Some Tim Ho Wan, which is an Asian chain out of Hong Kong. We have one here in KL but the line is always long so we never go. Now I realized why. On the left that is baked Char Seiw Pau and it is AMAZING! Pork balls of of course on the lower right, and when in Asia you must always have noodles so we got some

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Simple rice and pork. Turns out it was a Korean restaurant that is actually a chain…still good though
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Now this, this was something to write home about! The friend of Wade’s whose name I cannot remember, told us it’s just called a Taiwan burger or something like that. It is a steamed bun roll, grilled pork and grilled pork fats, with some greens to top. Freaking amazing! I spent the rest of my time in Taipei looking for more of these!

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Now for the grand meal: Soup Dumplings! The wait for this restaurant, which was in the basement of a very fancy mall, was over an hour. But dear lord, was it worth it! I have never had soup dumplings, despite having been to Shanghai which according to many is the proverbial home of soup dumplings. Proverbial or literal? Either way, they are well know and well done in Shanghai apparently. So I can not compare these to any other soup dumplings. Considering the wait, I would be willing to guess they are generally considered pretty good!

We were going to order just 6 order of the dumpling, which would be only 36 pieces…we ended up ordering 11 in total I think. They just really were that good!

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The dumplings are all made by hand
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This guy was the pro….
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…and this guy was just learning
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Look how excited we are to eat soup dumplings!

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Of course we have to take a picture of Wade with the dumplings. Before we left the apartment he gave us two meal choices: Pork noodles or soup dumplings. We picked pork noodles and the restaurant was closed. Thank goodness!
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Oh, and we got some sides too..

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There were even directions for how to eat the dumpling or as I can now remember because it’s printed in the picture, Xiolong Bao.

Seriously, it was an amazing meal. It is apparently a chain restaurant once again. We saw another location in the mall at Taipei 101 later, with another huge line, and I guess there is a location here in KL too. But I bet while the dumplings will be great in KL, they will not equal this meal, eaten with good friends in a strange and distant land on the other side of the globe from where we originally know each other. The setting a meal makes it a lot of times, and this was a case where it helped for sure. I could probably eat these dumplings in hell with the Devil poking me with a fork and still find it to be enjoyable, they are just that good.

Next up, PORK!

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You have to mix your own sauce. Iris was a pro at it, even if she did look a little menacing while doing it

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My dish: Fried pork on noodles with an egg on top. Not too kosher I think, but really really really good
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Iris’s dish, equal as good as mine. No wait, better because she had her table made sauce with it

Turkish Ice cream. Apparently it is a thing, it is popular, and they love to mess with you before serving you.

Do you know what that is? Oh if only computers were scratch and smell…you would all ruin your computer screens scratching at this picture only to find out it smells bad because it’s stinky tofu. Taiwan is famous for it’s love of stinky tofu so of course I had to try it. It was amazing! I think it was a bit weak in the sour fermented smell and taste category. For comparison, the stall selling it at the Setia Alam pasar malam here in Malaysia smells like dead fish that someone has kept in the sun for a few weeks. This just smelled a bit bad. I or course made a video or two about it, and of course the locals were laughing at me for eating it…yeah, they were not laughing at me for my awesome video right?

Now if this was the end of this post, then the title of the post would not be so sarcastic. Of course you don’t lose weight in Malaysia! or in Taipei, the food is just too good! So yes, let’s see some more food!

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Chicken
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Greens
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and desert! I forgot the name of this…snow something. It is shaved ice, similar to ice kacing we have here in Malaysia but much better. The ice is shaved in such a fashion to make the dish nice and smooth. They also use real fruit and some ice cream so yeah, that helps! This is the strawberry variety
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This is, I believe, the pineapple version and somewhere there are photos I forgot to take of the other kind we had which I do not even remember the flavor of…kiwi fruit maybe

So that’s it. Theat’s all I have for this post. It is not even half of the food we ate in Taipei. Like I said, being in an apartment where a big old market was right outside our door made getting food easy and documenting it a bit of a hassle. I got all the highlights though. Enjoy!

 

Jumpa Lagi

Kevin


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