Thursday, May 18, 2006

Taipei Food Shopping

I just got back from a little getaway to Taipei with some friends. I didn't expect myself to be astounded by the multitudes of really great tasting stuff in their convenience stores!

Sure... the food streets served pretty palatable stuff, but if you aren't used to the unique taste of the sauce that covers most of their foods, you might not enjoy the lunch and dinners there.

Food shopping started innocently enough, we initially wanted to get some bottled water from the convenience stores and maybe a bottle of Green Tea Milk to quench our touristy thirst. In the end, a pack of Green Tea with Milk, led to Green Bean flavoured Milk, leading to Instant Beef Noodles with real beef within, to Pineapple Cake, to Sun Biscuits, to fast dinners on the go, to pastries and cakes and bread. The possibilities of food you could get in a singular convenience store was mind boggling. The best part was that every random food/snack we bought tasted darn good!

We also ventured into the town called Wu Lai filled with authentic aborigin-like sweet desserts hand made by the locals. This is where I went nuts over their mochi. You name it, they can mochi it. Things like Sakura Mochi, Blueberry Mochi, Green Tea Mochi Cake, Molasses Mochi covered with a dusting of peanut powder, Black Sesame Mochi, Peach Mochi, etc.

I travelled with a small little luggage, less than half full. I came back with the luggage bulging, a straw bag measuring 1metre x 1metre, and a duffle bag measuring almost a metre in length. All of these were brimming with mostly foodstuff such as :

Green Tea Mochi Cake. One of my Favs. The mochi isn't too sticky where you have trouble cutting a little piece each day as a snack. Goes great with a cup of hot Matcha too. They had it in Cherry Blossom Flavour as well but that was a disappointment. Perhaps their Mochi is too intense a taste for me to discern the fragrance of Cherry Blossom within.

My Favourite-test Drink To Date:
Green Bean Flavoured Milk
Tourists fall in love with a particular country or sight, or even people... I fall in love with food and drink. Sounds like such a Glutton. *sigh*

These are quite simply, the most delicious Rice Puff ( 小米) Crackers I have ever tasted. There are tonnes of varieties amongst which are rice malts, sakura, black sesame, original, etc. Loved it.

This packet of Milk with Green Tea (抹茶奶绿) is my second favourite drink during the trip. Mmmm...

Lu & Sons Sweetened Instant Green Tea Milk.
My third choice of Drink. You just scoop a tablespoon into a mug, add either hot or cold water, and you have a mug of frothy Green Tea Milk. I wonder what would happen if I added Milk instead of plain ole water?

The infamous 'Tie Dan' (铁蛋) from Dan Shui. Quite literally translated, it means 'Steel Eggs'. The ones here are vacuum packed hard-boiled quail eggs, baked in the oven with a variety of flavours such as original Tea, Herbs & Spice, Black Pepper, Garlic, BBQ, Spicy Hot, etc. I got at least one pack of each. *Sigh*

This is the Taiwanese' answer to Beef Jerky. Large slices of beef, semi dried but still moist enough to chew on. It has an array of tastes within, spicy, sweet, a little tad of herbs. Mmmm... Oishi!

These were bought by word of mouth from folks back home. I think they originated from Hong Kong but I guess it transcended into something the Taiwanese could do well too. It is a square little cake with a filling of semi thick pineapple jam with loads of texture.

I walked into a very girlish candy store in XiMenDing because I saw one panel of the display window stacked with pic on left. I was wondering what sorta marketing theories these people were conjuring, stacking feminine products in the display window. I realised much later, that all of the above pics were edible candy. Warped but cutesy. A little too reminiscent of the cutesy stuff Japanese gimmick stores have though. I had to buy these nonetheless... too odd to pass.

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