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Archive for March, 2012

I feel like in every country I visit, there is one dish or snack that I feel compelled to consume as much of as possible during my trip. In Thailand, it was mangos and coconut milk sticky rice and in Korea, it was hotteok .

In Taipei, it was hot soft soymilk pudding with a sweet peanut soup and sweetened red beans. You can find dou hua 豆花 in many Cantonese dim sum restaurants, usually served with a sweet ginger syrup, and sometime I see it in Japan, drizzled with a black sugar syrup. Taipei serves it up at stalls devoted to Chinese style desserts soups, and you can add a variety of sweetened beans, mochi made of taro and yam, and jellies to your order.

My standing order was dou hua with hot sweet soy bean milk, boiled peanuts and sweetened large red beans. Most stalls serve their dou hua in a light sugar syrup, but I much preferred the hot soy milk instead. The dessert is light and not too sweet, the tofu is custardy and silken in texture, mixing well with the soft peanuts and red beans. I had it for breakfast, and as a late night snack after a day of eating. I even lugged back instant dou hua mix and peanut soup in an attempt to make it at my apartment, but it isn’t the same. I guess I’ll have to make a trip back to Taipei to eat it again 😀

Ningxia Night Market @ Taipei, Taiwan

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Taipei and I have history.

It is a city that is a food lover’s dream, with so many different and unique flavors, and a lovely attitude towards all things delicious. However, the last time I was visiting Ilha Formosa, I had an unfortunate case of bronchitis. After a visit to a Taiwanese doctor, I was promptly restricted from eating anything spicy, oily, fried or cold. In other words, everything to be found at a street market was off the menu for me. Being ill is probably the only time when I am not hungry, and while I saw a lot of what Taipei has to offer culturally and historically, my experience with Taipei’s food culture was limited to some steamed dumplings and rice porridge that I could barely taste due to my stuffed nose.

 I was so happy to be able to spent some time over New Year’s to finally explore and eat to my heart’s content. I should be a bit embarrassed to admit how many things we ate in Taipei, but you won’t find a shred of regret! I was lucky to go with two friends who love food just as much as I do, and didn’t think I was crazy at all for wanting to try a different night market every night, or take a train out of Taipei just to eat dinner.

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