Sunday, November 1, 2009

How to lose weight in Taiwan

I will try anything once. Within reason. Here are a few culinary delights that require some courage to taste - in most cases, courages that I have yet to call up.

A thousand-year-old egg: I have avoided trying preserved egg in Canada but Tina looked so positively excited about eating the dark, green goo oozing out, I figured, why not?

"Do you taste the urine?" Tina says.
"What? No, don't tell me."
"Do you taste it?"
"No, I have a cold."
"My dad said that they used to soak the eggs in horse urine to preserve it. Now they just use chemicals that have similar properties."

(The fried silk buns at the left of the egg are heavenly. Location: Golden Chicken Garden on Yongkang street, near Ice Monster and Shida University.)
Fried lizards and crickets: The dinosaur-themed Jurassic Restaurant on Bade Road was mostly empty when we ate there but it was a weeknight; and according to this recent Reuters story, the place is bumping. I just found it all strange.
Snake, turtles, etc: I found Taipei's infamous Snake Alley or Huaxi Street Night Market (by the Longshan Temple MRT) to be sad and seedy.
The shaded street is lined with sex shops, massage parlours and restaurants displaying caged snakes and rats. A bowl of snake soup costs 150 NTD or about $5. There was something tragic about seeing a pile of pale, headless, shell-less sea turtles on a counter outside one eatery. On the way out, a man invited us to try a massage with dull meat cleavers.

1 comment:

  1. Thousand-year-old eggs taste WAY better than they look. The first time I tried them in Hong Kong, a woman in the group said they looked like her 3-year-old's nose on a February day. Snake is fantastic, either as soup or fileted. I had deep-fried rack of snake in HK -- good but very bony. Do they eat dog in Taipei? If so, you should try it. Delicious and it'll get you through the winter snuffle-free.