Monday, February 11, 2008

Taiwan Pt. II: 鼎泰豐 Din Tai Fung, More Street Food
I have finalized my Spring Break plans - and will be traveling to London, Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris! We are in the itinerary planning stage, so any restaurant suggestions are welcome.

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After dinner, we all decided that we should have Taiwan's most famous beverage - bubble tea, or boba, tapioca, pearls, etc. etc. The bulbous drink finds its roots in Taiwan, and has since proliferated all over Asia as well as North America. Shown here are 3 large ass mugs of the drink - a foot tall, at least. There is a lot of variety on the menu, and I proceeded to order the jasmine green tea with aloe vera. Cleansing and astringent, slightly sweet with strong, bitter tea flavor. I like.

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Buttered toast. Too full to really enjoy anything at that point.

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The next day, we were set to go to lunch w/ T's family at Din Tai Fung, the world famous soup dumpling (xiaolongbao) restaurant. I had blogged about it previously when we visited the satellite store in Los Angeles, and likewise, this original store had a huge line of patrons awaiting dumplings.

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A vegan appetizer with soy protein and mushrooms

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Another vegan appetizer with vermicelli and soy protein

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Shrimp and pork dumplings

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I was not expecting it to be juicy. The skin was wonderfully thin and elastic.

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Broiled, peppered pork.

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Herbal chicken soup, which you pour on:

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Noodles.

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The prized soup dumplings themselves

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Dumplings with glutinous rice

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Snowpea shoots

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Dessert: pasty taro dumplings

After that very rich and satisfying lunch, we proceeded to the National Palace Museum for art and things. All I know about this museum, which houses the biggest collection of Asian art in the world, is that it has two pieces that look like food. Apparently, these two highly prized pieces were excavated from the Forbidden City.

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The "meat-shaped stone", a piece of agate, the strata of which are cleverly used to create a likeness of a piece of pork cooked in soy sauce. - Wikipedia

Yum.

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The "Jade Cabbage", a piece of jade carved into the shape of a head of cabbage, with two insects attached. The fame attached to this piece is due to the masterful utilisation of natural colour variations in the jade to recreate colour variations in the cabbage. - Wikipedia

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What got me even more excited was the proximity of the museum to the biggest Taipei nightmarket. Very crowded, as you can see.

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Candied fruits

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A big vat of oil to fry popcorn chicken

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A vendor flipping dough to make Indian style wraps. A naan-like dough is freshly baked inside a clay oven, then topped with your choice of marinated beef, pork, or chicken, then finished with yogurt or curry. SO GOOD.

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A stand literally named "Very big fried chicken"

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A deep fried pocket of meet and vegetables. Very "hot air"

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Skewers

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Japanese style doriyaki

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..And more doriyaki

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Japanese style fish balls with egg and cuttlefish

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Topped off with fish flakes and a sweet sauce. Delicious.

Part III

鼎泰豐 Din Tai Fung
194 Xinyi Rd., Section 2
Taipei City

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are going to London consider this Punjabi restaurant.

I had the Pakora and the flavorful Chicken Madras (sublimely hot!).

It's the 60th anniversary of the family owned restaurant and they cook and serve with the reserved pride that you can only feel if you are truly the best.

The biggest shocker was the surprisingly reasonable prices, especially for London.

I was in London for ten days mid-February and this was by far my best dining experience.

btw, your photographs are excellent.

3/21/2008 3:47 AM  

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