1) spend quality time with relatives
2) sight see (for once)
3) eat as much great food as humanly possible
if given a letter grade for how well each objective was met, i'd give myself a B- for numbers one and two, but a solid, golden A for number three. i have to thank my cousins for my triumphant grade, as they absolutely excel at eating. in fact, i had forgotten how much more they love food than i do- something i think most people who know me would find difficult to believe.
almost everything that passed through my lips during the trip was delicious (and really, no exaggeration here). i think it was a combination of my family's good taste, my genetic predisposition to love taiwanese food (if there is such a thing), and the icky asian food that i've had to put up with since our move to boston. hearing me proclaim that i planned on gaining twenty pounds on my trip, my cousins accepted the challenge seriously. they did quite a bit of strategic planning, that often called for random stops on the road so they could wait in an absurdly long line for an interesting beverage or other street vendor food. we would then all share a portion to ensure that we wouldn't get too full before the next food stop.
one of the best places to eat a wide range of delicious goodies is at the night markets. i also really enjoy being able to watch as my food is prepared. here's a brief glimpse of some of the goodies we devoured.
hot hot hot scallion pancakes
i watched in fascination while this man made incredibly thin wraps (ours had a variety of vegetables inside) with just the twist of his fist.
i tried one of these for the first time - a thin crepe like shell with a red bean filling. we also tried ones with cream filling and vegetable filling. mmm. so. good.
watching the red bean crepes being made
we also visited this trendy cafe.... where they served THIS:
a small loaf of lightly sweetened white toast filled with custard/cream ice-cream and berries. they offered different combinations of tasty toppings.
we also had lunch at din tai fung (sogo department store location), famous for their soup dumplings. i've visited one of their locations in LA, but the one we visited in taipei blew it out of the water. the dumpling skins were much thinner and everything was overall much more delicious. especially the taro dumplings.
look how beautiful they are...
they had a window display where you could watch them work. each piece of dough is weighed before they roll them out into perfectly thin, round pieces. it was like watching art being created.
me and my cousin watching, absolutely mesmerized... and developing little foodie crushes
by the end of the trip, i was all fooded out. it certainly didn't stop my relatives who simply ignored my claims that i was so full that i was going to explode. they just stuck more food in my mouth as i begged for mercy. by some miracle, i actually discovered that i lost a pound after i returned to the states. when i told my cousin, she said that we had to do better next time.
i can't wait.