When we arrived in Taipei last July, I read on Twitter that Anthony Bourdain was in town. Nearly a year later, I had a chance to view the episode he filmed at the very same time I was eating my way through Taiwan. Hey, how come he didn’t ask me to tour him around? He did a great job eating his way through Taiwan’s favorite foods– oyster omelets, fresh seafood, bawan, stinky tofu and bamboo shoots, with a requisite pilgrimage to eat xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung. But the beef noodle soup his guide took him to eat was the less popular clear broth version, in which he was visibly unimpressed: “The flavor is very mild.” Hopefully he had a chance to taste the much more flavorful and more popular soy and spice braised version. If not, I could make him a bowl. This reservation aside (and it is actually a major one; in his intro he even cited beef noodle soup as the one dish that would most likely make Taiwanese around the world homesick), the show does a great job of covering the great variety of food in Taipei with fun interviews with local and returned expats, including several interviews with a woman soaking in a hot spring and another getting her hair shampooed.
Another dish which I associate strongly with Taiwan that the show did not feature is wa guei, or steamed rice cake in a bowl, topped with a pork and vegetable sauce (like a ragu). This is served more commonly in the South of Taiwan, in Tainan. Curious? Hungry? I’ve got you covered– check back in tomorrow for a recipe!