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.
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!
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!
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!
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!