A meal in Taipei

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One of the most enjoyable aspects of a trip to Taipei is the wide variety of Asian cuisine on offer. After sampling Japanese, Cantonese and Vietnamese food on previous evenings, we opted for a traditional style Taiwanese restaurant. The décor itself was quite something, with souvenirs adorning each wall along with signed photos of well known people who have dined there. I was with my girlfriend and another friend, both of whom are Taiwanese, so the lack of English (and pictures) on the menu did not prove problematic. We chose six dishes between us, followed by soup.

The first dish was stir fried leek in a garlic sauce. I’m a great believer in making green vegetables exciting so as they are not left to the side of the plate, and the garlic really made this dish. Next was ‘Drunken chicken’, which is chicken marinated in a fortified wine and served cold, with ginger. Then came a dish which looked suspiciously like an omelette, and tasted like one too. It had finely chopped green vegetables and pork inside, and worked well.

I wasn’t told what the fourth dish was until I had tried it, and it turned out to be spicy black duck egg with red chilli. Not a dish I might have chosen myself, but the egg was soft and full of flavour, having been boiled for a long period beforehand. The chilli rather overpowered the rest of the dish though, and required a cool local beer before moving on. The next dish was very finely sliced strips of pork with equally finely sliced vegetables and spring onion. Finally we had small cuts of beef on a bed of crisp white cabbage, generously coated with soy sauce. The last one was perhaps the least complicated dish, but my favourite.

We rounded the meal off with a ginger soup with mussels and spring onion, and then tea. Although I had eaten very well, as we strolled past Taipei’s neon lights back to the hotel, I couldn’t resist opening the pack of caramelized walnuts I had bought earlier in the day.

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