Thursday, September 23, 2010

My September Dream- Taiwan

I took a little break, a five day trip to Taiwan and Hong Kong. It was like a dream, a blur. Even two days after I returned, I could not wake from it. It was as if I had a film over my eyes, and through the film, I kept seeing foodshops, shopping havens, design hotels- walking, shopping, walking, eating.

Time to wake.

Wake up.

"I'm up."

I'm recounting my September dream- Part One: Taiwan.

My mum and I arrived at a very hot Taiwan. It was summer. I would have preferred Spring and Autumn, perfect temperature for shopping and eating. Nevertheless, I am grateful to be even allowed to go for a holiday. Thank you mum, thank you FLOR.

So we arrived in time for dinner at a Japanese restaurant called 欣葉. It was a "Oh it looks good, so let's check it out" kind of thing. We glimpsed it on our way to the hotel, and quickly got the address down then took a cab back out to look for it. We didn't even know what kind of Japanese cuisine they serve, therefore we got a surprise when we got to the dining room- it was buffet-style washoku 和食. Normally I wouldn't choose to have buffet if I can help it. But this was high-quality (of a la carte standard), detailed and wide variety. They had sashimi cut-to-order, nicely grilled fish, a wide array of appetisers, tempura etc. I ate till I can't eat anymore and went back to the hotel to sleep on my bloated stomach.

That was day 1 in Taiwan.

Day 2, we started with one of the best European coffee in Taiwan: Wilbeck Cafe, which only serves coffee, nothing else. Cute eh? Funny how all good coffees seem to originate from hole-in-the-wall places. Wilbeck is no different.

When I was there, just outside the cafe, a young man was sorting, throwing out bad green coffee beans by hand, then roasting them in this small industrial roasting machine. They don't have much roasted coffee bean for sale, most of the blends are still green, which goes to show how fresh their coffee is.

One for shots, one for milk. Can I assume that this cafe is manned by young people? Young men passionate in the art of coffee making- really rare.

Latte. Bittersweet, a hint of chocolate, ultra smooth with no sugar added. The feeling I get when I drink Wilbeck coffee can be described as the familiar rush of happiness when chocolate melts in your mouth. It is all in that "hmmmmmm...." that comes after.

Me holding onto my trophy cup.

Followed by a long afternoon of shopping which I will not bore you with.

Night: Shida Night Market 師大夜市. Yes, more shopping but not without dinner first. I came here the first time I was in Taiwan and I made a promise to come back again. It is the most popular luwei 滷味 stall in Shida. This stall serves massive numbers each night, most of it customers are students from the university next to the market.

It works like this. You choose your ingredients: pig's intestines, tofu, duck meat, fried pig's skin, noodle of sorts, then the lady will chop them up and dump them all into this boiling pot of herbal soup. This pot of soup, infused with all the previous customers' selection, is flavourful and fragrant. When your share is cooked, the lady will dump it all on a large plate, squirt some sauce, chili and pickles onto it and pass the steaming plate to you. You then carry your plate like a prize to the tables behind.

And that concludes my Taiwan leg of the trip. I shall tuck into my 滷味...



Bean Sprout's Cafe said...

wow, taiwan taiwan.. wanna be there... wat is the last dish? did u try the smelly tofu?

Heidi said...

Hi Ja, how are you? the last dish is called lu wei, a type of street food. very nice, but not healthy.. haha. I didn't try smelly tofu though..