Archive | November, 2013

Aboriginal Dishes in Wulai

20 Nov

Bees and Raw Meat (and a beautiful waterfall)

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Wulai is a beautiful mountainous area just outside of Taipei New City, takes about 30 minutes by bus from Xindian Station (map). It’ll take you to a lovely market street, an uphill walk to a beautiful waterfall and an aboriginal theme park. Oh and a lot of hot springs.
Information: Wulai 烏來 is a town in Taipei County. It’s known for a large amount of public and private hot springs and its aboriginal history (not to mention stunning scenery). It’s crazy how you can find such beauty just outside of the city. One of the popular restaurants is Taiya Po Po, which specializes in aboriginal food, like that of the Atayal people. The restaurant was mentioned several times on the internet as well as some food programmes; so we had to give it a try. There were two dishes on the menu that were hard to resist for the average food adventurer; Fried Bees and Raw Pork Meat (的麼面), next to those we also ordered some traditional rice steamed in a bamboo tube and some stir-fried vegetables. But let me begin with the beeezzzz. I had no expectations, other than the fact that I hoped I wouldn’t have to taste any hair. Luckily the dish was quite good. The bees came on a plate with several fried vegetables, which made for a very crunchy combination. Bees were crispy and although they didn’t have that much flavor; they complemented the rest of the dish. Crispy protein rich treats, pretty tasty really, surprised me! The fried vegetables were really good as well. Texture-wise, I think this dish is worth a try. flavor-wise I’d give it a 7 or so. Speaking of flavor! Raw pork meat; something that was unfamiliar to us as well. This dish 的麼面 consisted out of raw mountain pork with rice and salt, stuffed in a jar, left to ferment for 2 weeks and served on a plate with ice cubes. Such a crazy idea, you might think, but if you were missing out on the flavor till now, then I wouldn’t skip out on this one. 的麼面 tasted like a very very salty dry-cured sausage. The texture was a little too tough though; the chunks of meat were quite big and it took a while to ‘devour’ them. (hah, website-pun joke in there).  But, trying new things (I believe) is all part of living here, and so it was worth a try and the flavors were worth it. Oh yeah, the bees were also caught in the mountains, and so the price for that particular dish was a little higher than expected (450 NTD). But what better way to blend in than to try the local food (that even Taiwanese people may not have tried before).  Wulai; highly recommended, beautiful place, interesting history.. and loads of food! wulai3 wulai4 wulai5 wulai6
Categories: Lunch / Dinner

Ringer Hut: Nagasaki Cuisine

5 Nov
photo (2)locationdesNearest MRT Station: Taipei Main Station. Go to the food court on the first floor in the main hall of the station.
Information: The Ringer Hut is a Japanese chain restaurant (although not a really big chain) that is specialized in Nagasaki-style noodles. These noodles include champon ramen and sara udon. Champon ramen is a type of noodles with a salty broth made from pig and chicken bones. This is normally topped of with various vegetables, meat, and seafood. The champon ramen at the Ringer Hut was stuffed with vegetables, pork and seafood. The broth, however, was a little bland. Sara udon is a interesting type of noodle. The noodles are basically not cooked, but are in fact solid. Have you ever tried eating your cup noodles without adding water? It probably tasted like crisps. Try to imagine this, but with a thick sauce with lots of vegetables on top, plus some seafood and meat. It’s great and it has a unique crispy flavor to it. The Ringer Hut knows how to serve you a good plate of sara udon. No nonsense, good food. The side dishes tasted pretty standard; nothing special about it and also not bad at all.
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Rating: Although the champon ramen might not be the best the sara udon is really tasty. I would recommend everyone to give the sara udon a try. It is most likely my favorite dish from the Nagasaki prefecture, and there probably aren’t many places in Taiwan that sell it besides the Ringer hut. Expect to spend about NTD220 a person.
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