Thursday, 23 September 2010

Taipei Food Journey Day 3

17 September 2010

Day 3:

We took the bus to a small town called Jiu Fen in the Riufang District of Taipei. The town is situated on a steep hillside by the river opening out into the sea at the northern part of Taiwan. This small town has a very long narrow street that goes round the town in a big circle, with shops on both sides of the street. This is called Jiu Fen Old Street. There are many shops selling local delicacies and dishes only found in Jiu Fen.

Jiu Fen Old Street
Fuchow style Fishball
Minced meat fillings in the fisball
Wild boar sausage glazed with honey
Lots of squid balls
A stick of squid balls
Stuffed Tofu
The inside of the tofu

Taro/sweet potato Balls Dessert

Fuchow style fishballs - Taiwan is an island off the coast of a state called Fuchow, mainland China hence lots of Fuchow/Fujian people settled in this island. This is also where a lot of the local delicacies and dishes orignated from. The Fuchow style fishballs were made from local fresh fish made into paste. The fish paste was used to wrap around marinated minced meat, then producing round-shaped fishballs. These fishballs were then cooked in homemade soup and served hot.

Wildboar Sausage - Sausages made from wildboar meat gives a taste of game meat. The sausages are chargrilled with coal and glazed with honey which gives them savoury and yet some sweet taste.

Squid balls - As the name says, these are deep fried balls made with squid and dipped in homemade chilli sauce. These squid balls are really chewy and goes really well with the chilli sauce.

Stuffed Tofu - Another Fuchow styled dish. Stuffed tofu is also a Hakka delicacy. There are two main differences, that I found, between Hakka and Fuchow style stuffed tofu. Hakka stuffed tofu are normally stuffed with mixture of blended fish, minced pork, prawns, some herbs (they may be some varieties of different ingredients depending on what was taught to the next generations within Hakka families). Fuchow stuffed tofu are stuffed with marinated minced pork. The second difference is that Fuchow style tofu are stuffed with filling THEN the opening is sealed with fish paste to keep the moisture in. The stuffed tofu is then cooked in homemade sauce.

Taro/Sweet potato balls dessert - Only found in Jiu Fen is another local delicacy. It is either served hot or cold. These taro balls are made from Taro (sometimes called yam) and sweet potato, sweet potato flour, water, seasoning and sugar. These balls are cooked then served in sweetened water, red beans, green beans or yellow beans can also be added when served.

After spending the morning in Jiu Fen, we went back into the city centre of Taipei and hunted for the famed Hello Kitty Sweet Shop.

Hello Kitty Shop in Da An:

The sweet shop/restaurant has a Hello Kitty theme. The shop offers many cakes and desserts shaped in Hello Kitty or has some sort of Hello Kitty deco.

After doing some shopping, dinner time fast approached. We wandered on Yong Kang Street as recommended by a sales lady at a departmental store.
Plate from 吃饭 Restaurant
As we were walking along the street we caught a glimpse of a restaurant called 吃饭 'Chi Fan' which literally means 'eat rice' in Chinese. As we havent't had any rice for days, this was of course the obvious choice amongst all the many restaurants on that street.

Three layer pork belly 'stewed'
Rice served with chopped pork belly
Restaurant Special Tofu with dip
As you can see from the photos, it was a really good choice of restaurant. Starting with the three layered pork belly meat. The meat is made of a layer of skin, second layer of fat and third layer of meat. The pork belly was stewed in restaurant own-made sauce for hours and hours which created a very tender meat and the fat melts in your mouth. I have only one word to describe this dish - YUMMY!!!!! As with any great dish, as a Chinese, I must have rice to go with it. This odinary looking bowl of rice is far from ordinary. The rice was boiled from 'high-class' rice grain. The texture of the rice is chewy, soft and has a perfect level of stickiness which makes it a very delicious bowl of rice. To add to the deliciousness of the rice, chopped pork belly stewed for hours add much flavour to a simple bowl of rice!

We also ordered the house special fried tofu (beancurd) with a chilli dip. Although this dish is uncomparable to the deliciousness of the pork belly dish, but still, it is a very nice dish to go with the rice.

After dinner, of course we must have dessert. This mango dessert was recommended by the sales lady at a departmental store. According to her, a popular Korean celebrity once visited the shop for it's famed mango dessert!

Mango Avalanche
The mango dessert in this shop is not famous for nothing. As with many shop that serves very nice food, this shop was very crowded, all the time! With many different mango desserts to choose from, we opted for the 'Top 1' popular dish called Mango Avalanche. The dish is made with mango syrup poured on blended ice, then fresh mango pieces, mango jellies are piled on it then topped with shop own-made mango ice-cream. Just by looking at it can make one drool!

Dessert be continued on Day 4

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