Asia. A vast area comprised of thousands of ethnicities, countries and regions with many common traits yet with even more differences. Much of the globe is taken up by Asia and this year our family vacation set out to visit some of those countries. Our July vacation began with a long flight from JFK in NYC to Taipei, Taiwan. This was only a layover on our way to Bali, Indonesia so we only were in the airport. Of course what do you do between flights? You eat. The biggest misconception with the Asian cuisines is that they are all the same. False. We absolutely loved the bit of Taiwanese cuisine we were lucky to enjoy during our short stay. Wandering around the airport after a full day of work then a 1:30am flight for 15 1/2 hours made us pretty spaced out but we were hungry. And A Food Obsession was very excited to try some Taiwanese food. The first dish was a bamboo steamer filled with Taiwanese soup and pork dumplings. I’ve had them at home before and love them but these were a few notches higher on the flavor chart. A wonderfully rich and hot steamy broth caught between the soft dumpling and the lightly seasoned pork filling filled them up. What made them even more delicious were the cooks . The dumplings are called XIAO LONG BAO.
Wouldn’t you enjoy a meal cooked by them? Here one of the workers is preparing a bowl of Wanzhou dumpling soup. This soup was a rich chicken broth with these large filled thin skinned pork dumplings simmering in the mix. Some greens and mushrooms were added as well to the broth. Another dish we sampled was steamed Pork ribs in a carrot and black bean sauce. Fantastic. The plate came with loads of steamed rice. Tofu stir fried with chiles. Edamame. And a sliced and chopped green pickled vegetable. That plate cost me 7.00 US. At the top of that picture in the left was another Taiwanese favorite. Beef Noodles Soup. Made with beef braised in soy and aromatic then mixed with noodles is rich and satisfying. It’s called HONG SHAO NIU ROU MIAN. So glad we tried all these dishes in our short time in Taiwan. By the way this was all eaten for breakfast at around 6:16am I love the different way different cultures eat breakfast. Many times it’s the same dishes you have for lunch and dinner. A host of Taiwanese sweets to choose from. The desserts for me are no where near as good as their savory foods. When traveling though try as much as your comfortable with. These are great memories to bring home.
The stronger US dollar is making this trip quite the bargain. My family ate this huge lunch which also included water spinach sautéed in garlic and oil and delicious Taiwanese iced tea. I don’t think we spent 22.00 us. I’m bringing home a treasure chest of new ideas and dishes to my kitchen. Nothing tastes as delicious as travel. Next up….Holiday in Bali.