- Donggua cha: Donggua, or winter melon, is usually prepared as a vegetable in mainland China, but in Taiwan it is processed and used to flavor a delicious variation on the usual milk tea. The donggua imparts a rather earthy flavor — almost like Korean barley tea. We had ours sweet and milkless, with a generous portion of boba (dark chewy tapioca balls).
- Baozi: For a pit stop in between temples, we split a large soft baozi (steamed dumpling) with pork, mushrooms and a preserved egg yolk.
- Migao, fish balls, and assorted cold seafood nibbles: At two stalls deep inside a covered market, we sampled a few plates of local seafood goodies. A “tasting plate” of cold items included shark skin (!), fried shrimp rolls (almost like a miniature egg roll), and a terrine of crab. We shared a small bowl of fish and pork balls, plus a generous portion of migao (米糕): sticky rice topped with mushrooms, fatty pork, daikon, and a sweet brown sauce.
- Hongcha: Hongcha is ubiquitous in Taiwan, but this was apparently the old fashioned style — a little less sweet and more strongly tea-tasting. It actually reminded me more of American-style iced tea.
- Oyster omelette and fried oysters: You wouldn’t have known it from the modern decor, but the oyster restaurant we visited in Anping was actually an “old famous brand.” I ate countless oyster omelets (蚵仔煎) over the course of my stay in Taiwan, but this was the best by far. The oysters were big, the egg was fresh, and the chewy potato starch didn’t overwhelm the dish. And what’s not to like about tiny, peppery fried oysters?
- Seafood feast: After our afternoon snacks, it was time for dinner! We joined our host’s extended family for an exceptionally delicious seafood feast. Highlights included a huge slab of buttery wild cod, more shrimp rolls, steamed shrimp, steamed sea snails and a sweet-and sour fish.
- Eight-treasure ice: Our bellies were bursting, but there was one more stop before bed: dessert! Eight-treasure ice is a more traditional variation on the shaved ice desserts that are available across Taiwan, and it can actually be served hot or cold. For the cold variation, a bowl containing the “eight treasures” — red beans, green beans, lotus seeds, oatmeal and four other ingredients — is doused in a sweet brown sauce and then topped with a giant mound of shaved ice. Yes, it’s a little weird to eat beans in dessert — but delicious all the same!
I meant for this post to include the second part of our eating adventure — breakfast the next morning! But clearly, enough eating went on to warrant two posts, not one. So keep your eyes out!
This post is part of Wanderfood Wednesday! Head there for more posts on the intersection between food and travel!