Monday, December 19, 2005

Pigs Blood Cake and Papaya Salad

My favorite thing about Taipei is the street food. People set up little booths and stands along the street throughout the city, each specializing in a certain Chinese delicacy. The food is cheap - anywhere from 25 cents to 1 dollar American, and most is prepared fresh in front of your eyes. Bowls of thin noodles in thick sauce with coriander garnish, hot sauce and bits of tripe, popcorn chicken, endless varieties of dumplings, every part of a duck you could imagine (even the head), pigs blood cake, dipped in ground peanuts and served on a stick, grilled rice cakes, grilled vegetables, grilled chicken, grilled fish, grilled squid, grilled liver, lime flavored jello and sugar cane juice, egg and bacon sandwiches, popcorn chicken, roasted chestnuts, deep-fried tofu, papaya salad with passionfruit sauce, pineapple ice-cream, hand-rolled sushi, oyster omelettes, avocado smoothies - I've only scratched the surface.

Tyler and I have spent most of our time here walking around, and every 500 meters or so we stop and buy a new delicacy. From 9 am to 9 pm we grazed our way around this vast buffet of a city, spending perhaps $10 each and eating like kings. Both last night and today we ended up drinking the local beer in parks with new-found Taiwanese friends.

This has been a good buffer between orderly Japan and anarchic Cambodia. Taiwan is a little bit of both - vendors selling clothes illegally on the street, scooping up their wares and running when the police drive by, a touch grimy around the edges, dogs running wild through the streets and sleeping in parks - these are things you would never see in Japan. But when we hit Cambodia, I'm sure Taipei will seem as modern, clean and sterile as the government district in Shinjuku, Tokyo.


Anonymous ryan said...

feels good to be alive!

5:15 PM  

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