I have to tell you something. It breaks my heart a little bit to do so, but I’m happy to do it nonetheless.
It’s a paradise.
No joke. I’m okay with letting you in on it, but don’t tell too many people, because I love Taiwan too much to give it away. The people are warm, the weather fantastic, the opportunities endless, the recreational drugs affordable, and the food out of this world. Honestly I can’t ask for anything else.
I wrote a post a little while back about how glad I am to be living in Taiwan and not cooking my own food. This means that I don’t know much about the home cooking scene. I’ve heard that the produce is fresh and the health consciousness pretty powerful, too. What I know about is my cafeteria, general trends, and street food. And I can tell you this: eating paleo is easier than it ever was in the states for me. It’s more of an adventure, too.
For protein, you have your choice of: fish filets, whole fried fish, squid, octopus, shrimp, escargot, shellfish, chicken, chicken heart, liver, duck–that is, an entire, fried duck, beak and all– blood tofu stew, beef skewers, pork bones, and every cut of beef or pork you can think of.
For fat, you get brilliant sauces that come from a combination of native Taiwanese, Chinese immigrants from the north and south, some Indian, and even European influences. You also get: brains, chicken feet, fish skin soup, fried chicken or pork skin, vegetables stir fried in strips of pork fat… goodness, you name it. None of that low fat bullshit here. Not at all. Lay it on, friends! Come and get it while the getting is good.
And their eggs! You can get them scrambled with vegetables, with cheese, plain, over-easy, poached, hard boiled, hard boiled in tea (boil your eggs a little bit, then crack their shells, and simmer them in a pot of tea, anise, soy sauce, and whatever else you want for a couple hours– it’s amazing, go do it, do it, do it), or–get this: deep fried! Fry your eggs over easy them throw ‘em in a deep frier. It’s worth trying. Trust me.
Vegetables are well prepared and hugely variable. I honestly have no idea what half the vegetables I eat are, but there are giant varieties of mushrooms and eggplants, and seaweed. I eat at least three servings of seaweed a day. I think it’s really, genuinely helping with my PCOS. They also have: kale, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, carrots, onions, tarot, tomatoes… all of it. The whole gambit, and then some. Bamboo! Oh, the bamboo, the bamboo! Is it ever tasty.
Taiwan is also well known for it’s fresh fruits. This one stall I walk past every day gives out free samples of guava in this salty sauce, and it’s incredibly tasty. Honestly, though, my only other fruit experience was some grapes of my roommates. Oh, but they were so good!
Taiwan does do rice, and they do do noodles. However, at a restaurant, if you don’t want ‘em, they just give you more veggies! It’s amazing. They also have a fair number of bakeries. I just don’t go. Do they tempt me a little bit? Sure. The Taiwanese also love chocolate. My professor tries to get students to do homework by promising us chocolates. It’s absurd.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure the Taiwanese use canola and sesame oil a lot. I try to make up for these by eating a lot of their delicious whole fish. On the other hand, I know that animal fats are used a lot, too, as evidenced by my ‘pork fat green beans’ and the ‘pork fat seaweed’ I eat every day at lunch. I know pork doesn’t have the best PUFA ratio, but I am glad that I get to eat animal fats as often as I do.
I had my first conversation yesterday explaining my eating habits to people. Pretty hard to do in Chinese, and I ended up, duh, resorting to English. People didn’t think I was as crazy as I had thought they would, and even knew what insulin was, and what causes diabetes! It was pretty cool.
And now, the photos!:
Seaweed and strips of whitefish soup. This was maybe the best soup I’ve ever had. Ever. Ever.
Some chicken heart on skewers. They’re sold all over the place. Enormously tasty, and two skewers costs about 1.50 USD.
Pork dumpling, seaweed roll, and tea egg in broth. This is a real quick meal I like to get from 7-11. Each 7-11 (and there’s about one on each corner) has a station with a variety of foods like this floating in broth you can choose from. Each food item costs about 10 NT, or 30 cents. You can take as much broth as you want, so I usually get a bucket full. Other items available at the stations include shrimp rolls, bamboo, and all varieties of meat balls.
My favorite meal right now: a bed of greens, composed mostly of seaweed, topped with whatever seafood is being served. This time, three giant hunking squid. The flavor in them is just out of the world. Giant thumbs up. Two dollars for this meal, and it’s simultaneously super filling and super tasty.
I have many more photos, and I can post some more soon, but these are pretty representative of my palate right now. Loads of seafood and veggies and flavor. My life is a wonderland.Tweet