Tastes of Taiwan (Day 4): Spirited Away

Breakfast - Wu Pao Chun Bakery and Hard-Boiled Eggs

Morning came! I finally got to finish off yesterday's leftover bread! Toasted the bread. Peeled the eggs. Stuffed my face. Doesn't get much better than this for breakfast. 

Lunch - Xiao Cai (side dishes), Cornmeal Porridge, Niu Rou Mien (Beef Noodle Soup), Niu Rou Juan Bing (Beef Wrapped w/ Scallion Pancake), Xiao Long Bao (Chinese Soup Dumplings)

My parents took us to a restaurant they like nearby. Good! I especially liked the side dishes (3 for $1) with the complimentary porridge. The porridge perfectly balanced out the saltiness of the side dishes. I picked them! We had bean curd, sardines, and pig neck. The niu rou mien was wholesome and satisfying. Was it the best in Taiwan? Probably not. But it was cheap and better than any I've had in the U.S. and that's plenty good enough for me. 

Once again forgot to take a picture before digging in. 

Once again forgot to take a picture before digging in. 

On the walk home, we picked up some bubble tea. I like how, back home, getting bubble tea is almost like an event. It's a once-in-a-while type treat while here, because of how cheap it is, bubble tea can be more like just a casual beverage to us. 

Pat got Sunkist Mango Tea with boba and I got Rooibos Tea with "frog eggs" and coconut jelly. 

Dinner - Spirited Away on Jiufen Old Street

YES. We drove about 40 minutes east to Jiufen, the inspiration for the setting of Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away. The town was enchanting and the view of the surrounding mountains and coast was gorgeous. I'm so grateful to my parents for taking us to this lovely village. And besides the charm of the town and the captivating scenery, my craving for Taiwanese street food would finally be satisfied. 

Beautiful. But I can't eat mountains and trees so let's get to the food. 

A list of tonight's snacks in order of appearance:

  • Hong Zhao Rou Wan (Red wine pork wrapped in a pocket of translucent rice served with a savory sauce and a cilantro garnish) - loved it. 
  • Snail - First time trying it. It was more interesting than it was tasty. 
  • Taro Balls - Served in a chilled soup consisting of sweet red and green beans. The taro balls had the flavor and consistency of mochi. Cool and refreshing.
  • King Mushrooms - Grilled or Fried and seasoned with salt and pepper. Like the snail, it was more amusing to eat than it was tasty. 
  • Fish Cake - Cut from a giant block and served with bonito flakes and a salty sauce. My dad's fav.
  • Peanut Ice Cream WrapsVanilla ice cream in a light rice wrap with crunchy peanut powder. Cilantro garnish optional. Possibly the best thing I've had in Taiwan, and that's saying A LOT. SO. GOOD.
  • Stuffed Tofu - Fried tofu stuffed with fish cake and pork. Totally my thing. Perfect. 

Of these, my favorite would have to be the peanut ice cream wrap. I'll be dreaming of it from now until the next time I can get my hands (or mouth) on one. The Hong Zhao Rou Wan and stuffed tofu were also excellent runner-ups. I didn't get to have the pearl sausages of stinky tofu tonight, but there will be plenty of other opportunities for those. Pat also got curry and cheddar flavored rice crackers, fish balls on a skewer, and a sausage hot dog wrapped in a rice bun instead of bread. 

All in all, it was an amazing day and my favorite destination and dinner so far this trip.