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  • Taiwan is a place you want to visit on an empty stomach because one of the main activities you'll want to engage in is eating.

  • As it is around the world though, eating food isn't just fueling your body for another day,

  • it's tied to social and cultural norms, to memory and ritual and so much more.

  • This video is all about traditional Taiwanese foods and if it whets your appetite, check out the other videos in our Taiwan series on the top foods to try

  • street food, desserts, and Taiwanese cooking to really get your tastebuds going.

  • Let's get things fired up by starting off with hot pot.

  • I've heard this referred to as Asian fondue because it's very social and not something intended for dining solo.

  • Hot pot is basically a pot of simmering broth that sits in the centre of the table on a portable burner while everyone gathers around it to cook their own food.

  • We went to Liu's Restaurant in Kaohsiung, which is best known for its copper hot pots made with salted cold fermented green cabbage, which it makes in-house.

  • We had different side dishes like dumplings, calamari, chicken, and beef rolls with green onion.

  • And there are lots of choices of sauces as well.

  • The green vegetables are shoots that have the best name in Taiwan: dragon whiskers.

  • This was also the first time I ever tried Taiwanese apple cider, which if you've seen my other videos, you know I've started a pretty serious obsession.

  • We also tried a smoked plum juice that's really popular.

  • The unique taste reminded me of barbecue sauce.

  • When dessert was served, it looked to me like Wonder Bread and Funfetti sprinkles but was actually a steamed red bean cake.

  • From the social hot pot, let's next jump to a typical Taiwanese meal packed for one that's popular for quick on the go meals: a box lunch.

  • We went to a place in Fulongafter the International Sand Sculpture Festivaland I just love when restaurants have plastic food outside.

  • Does anyone else know what I'm talking about?

  • It just reminds me of, like, traveling or playing supermarket with toys as a kid.

  • And speaking of nostalgia, box lunches are about the size of an old VHS tape and they typically come served with rice, cabbage, pork, tofu, pickled vegetables, sausage, and a hard-boiled egg.

  • Next up is a well-known restaurant in Tainan called A-Sha, where the signature dish is steamed sticky rice with mud crab.

  • We also tried a fish that's special to southern Taiwan called 'shan-ooh'— I hope I'm saying that rightwhich is similar to eel and has no bones.

  • Also on the menu were sautéed milkfish with dried peanut, boiled chicken, and a platter of sausage, steamed mangrove crab, meatballs, and fried shrimp nuggets with bamboo shoots.

  • Bonus points, by the way, for noticing that the shape of this plate looks like Taiwan.

  • My favorite part of the meal was dessert: a sweet soup made with taro, tapioca, and purple rice.

  • Those little pink balls, by the way, are made of glutinous rice and they're called tang yuan.

  • Delicious.

  • There was another place we ate in Tainan that also made a lasting impression.

  • It was started by a fisherman in 1895 who needed to make money while fishing was difficult during typhoons.

  • So he sold noodles that he carried around with a pole over his shoulder.

  • The name of the restaurant literally means 'living through the bad months.'

  • And the noodles were so popular that that bucket of noodles he carried on a pole is now a restaurant run by the fourth generation of that fisherman's family.

  • They still serve those famous noodles and the recipe has been passed down for more than 100 years.

  • That's why they're called 100 Year or Dan Zai noodles.

  • They're seasoned with special minced pork, shrimp, vinegar sauce, and prawn soup.

  • The table was also laid with grilled milkfish belly, deep fried wonton, intestine, tofu, chicken leg, sausage with garlic, and bamboo shoots.

  • To drink, we tried an old-fashioned soda that has a marble in the top and, of course, apple cider.

  • To end the meal, we tried a popular treat found in bakeries in Taiwan: a butter flake pastry called sun cake.

  • You can never eat enough noodles, that's a fact, and I have to share another unforgettable bowl of noodles we had on the tiny island of Xiao Liuqiu.

  • The restaurant is open-air and roadside and people can just pull up with their scooters for a quick bite.

  • It's famous because the braised pork here is cooked the old-fashioned way, meaning over drift wood and dried twigs instead of gas.

  • Along with braised pork, the noodles are served with egg, bean sprout, and vegetables.

  • This place is bumpin' and everywhere you look, people are tucking in to a big bowl.

  • They also served sweet potato leaves topped with garlic and braised pork and wontons, fried meatballs, pig ear, and pig's blood rice cake, which is made of, as you might guess, pig's blood and rice.

  • It's a really popular dish and Marc likened it to eating fruit leather.

  • I couldn't make a video about traditional Taiwanese food without talking about my love for dumplings.

  • We went to a popular spot in Taipei called Takumi.

  • You pre-order outside and they bring you in once a) your order is ready - obviously - and b) there's a free place to seat you.

  • They serve three types of dumplings.

  • One has pork and garlic.

  • Then there's their signature dumplings with chives, cabbage, and fresh pork.

  • And the most unique one that they're famous for: the green scallop dumplings.

  • The pastry is made of green algae and inside is cabbage, pork, and dried scallop.

  • All the dumplings are made by hand right in the back of the shop.

  • I could actually see where they were making them from where I was seated in the restaurant.

  • And I dare say they make them as fast as you can eat them.

  • Other than a mountain of dumplings, we also had a common Taiwanese appetizer which is tofu with a preserved duck egg covered in a sweet sauce and green onion.

  • One of the most interesting places we ate was at Old New Restaurant in Kaohsiung.

  • It's covered in antiques and collectibles from days past in Taiwan.

  • There we had seafood like deep fried shrimp with sour spicy sauce and steamed fish with green onion, plus crab cabbage soup.

  • My favorite soup, however, was very suitably served in this adorable little pumpkin pot: pumpkin congee with seafood.

  • They also served diced beef, cashew nut, salad, and king oyster mushrooms, plus what I thought were mushrooms when they were first brought out but are actually buns with a cream filling.

  • And now I just call them Super Mario buns.

  • For dessert we had fruit, with heart-shaped watermelon, of course, and taro coconut milk with sago.

  • Sago is a starch extracted from the pith of various tropical palm stems.

  • A meal we'll never forget was at James Kitchen in Taipei.

  • It's tucked away on a narrow street and the entrance is ridiculously charming.

  • It's small and cozy and, on our way there, I realized Anthony Bourdain had been there on one of his shows.

  • Going there to have a meal felt like a fitting way to pay tribute and say thank you to him.

  • We ordered a vegetarian braised tofu skin roll, Taiwanese noodles that came with vegetables and seafood mixed in, and minced pork rice.

  • Minced pork rice is a staple dish in Taiwan and this is personally the best one I tried.

  • When the bill came the name Tony was written on it, as in Anthony Bourdain, which may have been coincidence, but gave me goose bumps anyway.

  • I feel really lucky I was able to try so many new foods in Taiwan.

  • I'd love to hear if any of these foods stand out to you as ones you'd like to eat so leave a comment and let me know what you think.

  • And check out the rest of our Taiwan series for more videos as well as videos from other foods we've tried around the world.

  • Give this video a like if you enjoyed it and make sure to subscribe for more travel adventures.

  • Thanks for watching!

Taiwan is a place you want to visit on an empty stomach because one of the main activities you'll want to engage in is eating.

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B2 US TOEIC taiwan taiwanese pork rice braised

Traditional Foods to Try in Taiwan

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    Emily posted on 2022/08/08
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