Sunday, September 7, 2008

Taiwan: 宜蘭 [Yi'Lan]

So, Yi'Lan is my mom's hometown. It's about an hour and a half away by train and 40 minutes by bus from Taipei. It's known for hot springs, and pretty much really good food. A lot of people from Taipei go to Yi'Lan for the weekend to relax and enjoy the nightmarkets there. The 羅東 nightmarket is really well known since it has a lot of specialities that other nightmarkets just doesn't have. I go to Yi'Lan almost everytime I go back to Taiwan, just to see my grandma and my aunts, and of course, eat :]

Taiwanese-style green onion cake with egg. It's from this one stand that has people waiting in line since 8am in the morning. Crazay. He fries the dough with green onions on a hot skillet then adds an egg on top so it fuses together. After, he adds a soy sauce based sauce to it and that's pretty much it. Absolutely gdamn delcious.

Yessir :]

打磕麵 "snoring noodles." It's called snoring noodles because the line is so long that it's said people start falling asleep waiting for it HAHA. Awesome. It's a little bit of pork fat mixed with celery, vinegar, hot chili sauce, and black pepper. You stir it and it's ready to eat. So simple, yet so good.

Their 餛飩湯 wonton soup, which is famous also.

It only looks slightly empty cause we went at 11. By the time we finished, the wait was about 40-50 minutes!

After the noodles, we saw a stand that sold 仆鴨, which is fried duck meat, but instead of it being salty, the mixture they dip into into before they fry it is sweet. Pretty interesting.

羅東nightmarket during the day, which is pretty... dead haha. Afterall, it is a nightmarket but still plenty of vendors selling food :D

龍鳳腿, which they wrap cabbage, ground pork, and mayo with pig skin membrane, then fried. I know it sounds nasty, but it's surprisingly good hahah. Mom said she used to eat this as a kid in Yi'Lan.

The famous 龍鳳腿.

Giganitc 碳烤炸雞排. They fried these big pieces of chicken steak, then they grill it with coals, coating it with the sauce or flavoring that you chose. I had it with teriyaki suace cause the lady recommended it haha. Can't really go wrong with fried chicken! :]

AND when night comes, my aunt went out and bought these delicious goodies :D

Of course, popcorn chicken, done the RIGHT way (fried with basil)

Fried tempura, pig blood, and yams from the same stand. Glorious.

Then she also got an assortment of braised and marinated items. Duck wings, pork intestines, pig blood, cabbage, and... some stuff I have no idea what it is, but it's delicious haha.

Next day, my aunt took us to a place where they've gone and ate Taiwanese food since they were a kid. It's owned by the neighbors so they always give discounts to my grandma and aunts whenever they go. Had to get 魯肉飯 (minced meat rice) of course hahaha.

Dish #1: marinated clams. Just soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, chili peppers. So simple. Best I've had in Taiwan too.

魷魚羹 squid soup? I don't know how to translate it, but it's damn good haha. This restaurant is known for it, as well as...

... this! It's 鯊魚煙 smoked shark, and you dip it in this sauce made from soy sauce paste and minced garlic. So damn good.

腮棒肉 pork cheek. It's just boiled pork cheek meat and you dip it in the same sauce as the shark meat, with a little bit of ginger.

燙A菜 boiled vegetables (potato leaves). They just boil the vegetable then they add minced meat over it with soy sauce paste.

溫泉蛋 hot spring eggs. Since 宜蘭 has a lot of hot springs, a lot of their dishes are named after it. They boil the eggs so it's half done, then they add soy sauce and other flavoring to season it. Heavenly.

After we ate, my aunt took us to the last place we'd visit before my sister and I went back to Taipei, to this place called 橘之鄉, which sells all sorts of preserved fruits and meat jerky, but mostly snacks made from 金柑 (kumquats).

This is preserved kumquat using salt. Interesting taste compared to what you usually think of citrus fruits.

Same kumquat, preserved with sugar. A lot more familiar tasting than the salted one.

Sour preserved kumquat. They just let these dry and let the natural flavors take over.

Made from a different fruit... totally forgot what it was but it's good hahaha.

I love Yi'Lan :]