A TASTE FOR TAIWAN
“I tried, pigs blood soup, I shot snakes blood, ate pigs feet but stinky tofu cracked me. My western taste buds obviously need to evolve before I can appreciate this local delicacy.”
Taipei feels welcoming. Although not as rich or gentrified as Singapore, I found the gritty street culture more authentic and the city very livable.
Where I Stayed…
The Regent is proof not all five star hotels were created equal. This was next level – I mean…I had my own butler ! (Full review to come)
My friend Dave is the Asian Anthony Bourdain. He is the man responsible for coining the term ‘Eating is a Sport’ and helps satisfy my desire to eat my way around the world. My favorite meal was a traditional Taiwanese breakfast we had near the Jin Mei markets on my first day in Taipei. Dave ordered enough food for ten and proceeded to force feed me until I had tried everything. There were cockroaches on the floor but with food this good, my care factor was zero.
Dai Bing – savory pancake with egg (my favorite)
Scallion Bread with sesame seeds
Fresh Soy Milk (made fresh daily– super refreshing)
Rice Breakfast Roll filled with powdered pork and pickled cabbage
Some type of hot salty soymilk
The locals practically salivate when talking about stinky tofu; the stinkier the better. Personally, the smell alone makes me gag. I just can’t understand how something that smells so bad could taste so good. I tried, pigs blood soup, I shot snakes blood, ate pigs feet but stinky tofu cracked me. My western taste buds obviously need to evolve before I can appreciate this local delicacy.
Picking fruit with Dave and his grandma: Dave’s grandma is hardcore… I watched her fashion a bamboo tool designed to pick fruit in under two minutes. Dave showed me how it was done while I gorged myself on fresh Longan.
Hot Springs near Yangminsan National Park: Best way to recover after a 15-hour plane flight
Joining a scooter gang and riding through the city (thanks playboy): As a tourist this would be super dangerous but with a local…super fun J
Eating street food at the night markets: The night markets are an absolute must to experience the local cuisine and culture.
Being complimented on my chopstick skills: Pretty much my proudest travel moment.
Drinking snake blood with liquefied snake penis in Snake Alley. I gagged on the second shot…it was touch and go there for a second.
Get your phone unlocked and buy a sim card. You can buy pre paid cards for super cheap. The wifi comes in handy to operate google maps…you won’t understand the street signs but you can always follow the bouncing ball.
The garbage truck plays Greensleeves to remind people to put their rubbish out. Feels surreal considering my childhood connection to the song and the ice-cream van.
Thanks to Dave for acting as my guide. Dave visits his family in Taiwan every summer and when he invited me and offered to show me a local’s only side to Taiwan – I knew it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity.