wine bottle and a table at C’est Bon, Taipei
xialongbao – pork soup dumplings
shrimp shumai | eight treasures sticky rice
First, we stopped at Din Tai Fung for lunch. We really enjoyed the dumplings, especially the xialongbao – pork soup dumplings. After many many plates of dumplings and other delights, we finished with the eigth treasures sticky rice – unfortunately, it looks better than it tastes, unless you are a big fan of very sweet beans and rice for dessert. While we were waiting for our table, we were able to peek into the kitchen area, where a small army of cooks were busily preparing what must have been thousands of dumplings. There is a large window that you can watch through on the first floor.
water caltrop – it looks like a little devil-nut
Din Tai Fung is very popular with tourists, so it took a while for us to get seats at lunchtime. While we waited I bought these water caltrops, which are also called bicorn water chestnuts (but are a different species from the water chestnuts most of us are familiar with). They look a little evil, don’t they?
the kitchen at Din Tai Fung
pastries at the soy milk stand
For breakfast the next day we stopped into a local soy milk shop where we enjoyed sweetened soy milk and lots of baked and fried pastries stuffed with eggs or other yummy goodies. Around the corner is a bustling marketplace, which turns into the night market after the sun goes down. Although we went to the night market, I never got a chance to try the infamous “stinky tofu” because I was so full after dinner every night.
a vegetable stand
Mr. Takahashi recommended a restaurant that specializes in Peking duck. First we started with some cashew chicken followed by the Peking duck full course, which was crispy duck skin wrapped in pancakes, followed by duck meat, and finally duck soup. Dinner for the five of us was only about sixty dollars (total).
rice steamed in bamboo at Wulai hot spring
fried shrimp and fish
our lunch restaurant | a stand selling wild boar
steamed buns | shaved ice with kiwi and ice cream
Next we took a day trip to the Wulai hot spring area where small shops lined the main street. Most of the shops seemed to be selling local specialties such are rice steamed in bamboo, stir-fried vegetables and noodles, and dishes made with wild boar. We stopped for lunch and had stir-fried wild boar, fried shrimp and fish, noodles with vegetables, and steamed rice in bamboo with plum sauce. After some cycling and sightseeing, we had giant bowls of shaved ice for dessert.
a giant teapot in Pinglin | tea plants
vegetable fields and apartments in Pinglin | a banana tree in Pinglin
The next day we went to the Pinglin tea growing area outside of Taipei and took a walk around town. Taiwan is known for it’s fine oolong tea and a lot of tea is grown in Pinglin. We also visited the tea museum there where we learned about tea cultivation and production.
Finally, on our last night, we had a fabulous dinner at C’est Bon, which I learned about from a recent article in the New York Times, Feasting at the Table of Taipei. This was definitely a meal worth remembering, which I’ll discuss in my next post.