Getting to Taiwan this time took us over 24 hours of traveling including a 13 1/2 flight from Detroit to Osaka, Japan. We landed in Taipei late in the day, and just slept in our tiny hotel room with no window. We plan on staying in Taipei for 3 days before traveling to Taichung.
Trying to type this is frustrating because I have to use what little I have of my laptop's battery. Although our room has free internet via a wire behind the television set, the only outlet for power is located in the bathroom at the farthest point from the internet port... so they cannot be plugged at the same time. I am also exhausted from jet lag and walking all day. I also realized that we forgot to pack the firewire for the camera (either that or NWA lost it because they left a pocket open on my suitcase after searching it). Tomorrow, we will buy a card reader, so if you don't see any pictures... just check back later.
We had a quick breakfast on the street.
It was pork meatballs in broth and 'three treasure' cold noodles. The noodles 'treasures' were pork meat sauce, sesame paste, and preserved vegetbles... that and the additional treasure of Starbuck's latte which we bought earlier. We later met up with Ming's friend, Pei-Jean, who came with us to the city of Dan Shui. Dan Shui is a cool fishing village with some interesting food.
We ate many things while wandering around, but the best came later when we took a boat ferry to Fisherman's Wharf. There I had the very best mussels I've ever eaten. Fresh green lipped mussels like these were something that I am not accustomed to. They were sauteed 'san pei' style (which means 3 cups: soy sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil... a Taiwanese traditional cooking method for many dishes). Handfuls of fresh Asian basil were added in with the mussels, and the flavor was fantastic... not to mention the incredible tenderness.
Dan Shui houses many seafood markets in its streets and alleys. Fish and shellfish are kept alive and healthy in tiered aquarium tanks. The water is constantly circulated by pumps and waterfalls keeping it loaded with oxygen. Here, we saw everything for sale from spiny lobsters to horseshoe crabs to sea urchins and countless fish that I could not even name. We also took time here and there to play a few of the games that were also everywhere we went.
I also reluctantly tried a bite of stinky tofu here. The name is fitting, and the smell was enough to keep me from trying it on my first visit to Taiwan. This time, I partook in the interest of broadening my food knowledge. Now, I am not really sure of the exact process that produces stinky tofu, but the stink is definitely inherent in the flavor as well as you can tell by my expression. Afterall, the olifactory and taste senses are close neighbors.
Later on, we found our way to the Shi Lin night market in Dan Shui. Another of Ming's friends, Pi, joined us here. We shopped around for bargains and bootleg items here as well as ate more food. It really seems that we did eat all day. This was one of my plans for vacation anyway, and I could not possibly list the many things that went into my stomach this day. We did eat some original Taiwanese fried chicken. Move over, Chef Mike... this chicken was pretty damn good... although not Big Bad Mike's. It was also one of the biggest semi-boneless pieces of fried chicken I ever ate. Ming and I shared one piece and could not finish it. It was marinated with the breast plate still intact and part of the backbone connecting to a nice chunk of dark meat. I also took a minute to eat a piece of battleship sushi with wasabi tobiko. Everyone was staring at me to see what my reaction would be, but I couldn't even taste wasabi in it. Later on, we all ate some bean curd and tapioca in flavored syrup... not my favorite thing, but what the hell.
Enough for one day... walking, riding MRT's, trains, and boat ferries. Tomorrow, there will be more food. Yes, there will be food... there will be food...