A 626 Night Market Fairy Tale

"The eyes are wide but the stomach is narrow." -Chinese proverb _______________________________________________________________________________________________ The Tale of the Reappearing Fish: a 626 Night Market Fairy Tale   Once upon a time, there was a princess named Jennifer. The royal chef made plates of Chinese delicacies for her to consume but forbade her to eat until the designated meal time. The princess would watch the fire dance in the pit of the wok's belly and smell … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Giant Boba

Giant boba: tapioca found in the world's largest cup of milk tea In honor of my love for the bubble drink, I've dedicated today's post to one huge cup of milk tea. I didn't actually drink this one, but I marveled at its size at the 626 Night Market this past weekend. Check out this video to see how they assembled the 5-inch balls. On a side note, I did purchase a similar but more consumable beverage and discovered white tapioca balls! They're the same size and shape as the black ones, but … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Minced Pork Noodle

Minced pork noodle: a dish containing those two delicious ingredients It sounds deceptively simple. All that's needed is ground pork and noodles. Every time I've tried to make it, though, I've failed to capture the correct taste. There's something undeniably yummy about slippery noodles with a slight give to their texture. Then, there's the savory meat sauce that makes you crave for seconds. It's the quintessential go-to-dish for a quick snack. In fact, I'll see if I can find some when I … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Lumpia

Lumpia (Taiwanese-style): fresh spring rolls populated with a mix of vegetables and meat I admit it, my first association with lumpia is the fried Filipino version (very tasty, by the way).  The Taiwanese ones are more akin to spring rolls or mu shu than egg rolls. It uses the same technique as the fresh rolls, by softening a wrapper and placing all the cooked goodies (use any ingredient you desire) inside to bundle together. Fresh garlic paste can be smoothed on to provide an extra kick. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Three Cup Chicken

Three cup chicken: an aromatic, spicy chicken dish   The "three cup" refers to the primary ingredients used in this flavorful dish: sesame oil, soy sauce, and Chinese rice wine. The recipe (try the Allrecipes version  or the tasty one from Yum of China) calls for three equal parts of each ingredient. Fresh basil also lends a nice minty touch that complements the flavor, and provides an elegant decoration to the platter. I first tasted this chicken courtesy of my brother-in-law prior to his … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Yam Balls

Yam balls: deep fried balls of sweetness  These are simple snacks that offer a hint of sweetness. Despite being deep-fried, the outside should be dry and not oily. They're best when freshly made, with a soft but chewy interior and a crispy exterior. They often come with skewers, so that you don't burn your hands by touching their hot goodness. … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Taiwanese Sausage

Taiwanese sausage: a plump and tender sausageUnlike the dried and harder Cantonese version, Taiwanese sausages are juicier (probably because they use fatty pork). They hold a sweet flavor and may be called "fragrant" sausages. Fresh pork is used, and in Taiwan, local butchers will sell them. They can also be made directly at home. Taiwanese night markets also boast a special variety, known as the double sausage. This is a "small sausage wrapped in a big sausage," which consists of a smaller pork … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Mochi

Mochi: a glutinous rice dessert with sweet filling   Mochi skin has a certain chewy texture that exudes tenderness and firmness at the same time. It was an acquired taste for me to bite into something that had two opposing characteristics. The Japanese version of this treat offers different varieties, including some with a more pastry-like exterior. The ones I tried in Little Tokyo are also very elegantly decorated, with a sprinkling of sesame seeds or a colorful flower. By contrast, the … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Fried Tang Yuan

Fried tang yuan: sweet mini glutinous rice ballsTraditional tang yuan are round dumplings served in soup. They can be made by mixing water with glutinous rice flour, combined with lots of kneading. They contain different fillings, like black sesame or ground peanut. (Asian grocery stores also offer pre-made frozen versions that can be tossed into a pot.) In contrast, fried tang yuan remain hollow.   … [Read more...]

Foodie Friday: Tea Egg

Tea egg: a hard-boiled egg with a splash of tea flavorI grew up eating soy sauce eggs as a child and found tea eggs later on in life. These appetizers often show up in tapioca drink shops. Typically, they're served on their own, but during my trip to Sun Moon Lake, the chefs complemented them with locally-grown mushrooms. If it's a contest between the actual tea and the flavored egg, the beverage wins hands down for me. Once in awhile, though, it's a nice ethnic twist to a plain breakfast egg. … [Read more...]