Food from Overseas (Part 2)


Taiwan was a lot of fun. The food was cheap (not to mention the shopping) and it was a cleaner, more polite version of China. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Japan - and when I voiced this to the locals, they informed me that Taiwan had spent fifty years under Japanese rule so had a lot of Japanese influence.

Taipei has department store food halls and very good food courts.

Here is one meal from a food court that cost about four AUD:

Yummy! And this was quality food, not processed fast food.

Even the bowl of veggies was huge!

And of course, the crispy pork thing:

There are also street markets in Taipei which have a great variety of food.

This was a sort of oyster pancake that was very popular. As you can see, they drench it with sauce and then you just get a fork and break off bits to eat.

Noodles were always yummy in Taipei. This was a small bowl from a street store that cost me maybe 1 AUD? It tasted a lot like Mi Goreng!

Okay, the above photo is a bit blurry but can you see what it is? Tiny crabs cooked salt and pepper style! These were yummy. But that plate was deceptively big and after about eating half of it, my lips began to go numb from the intense salt overload.

Of course we checked out restaurants in Taipei as well. One night we went to a popular Japanese restaurant that was recommended by a local friend. We had to wait a while for a seat but I learned during that time that their 'burger meat' patty was the thing to try.

When we sat down at a table, my local friend began to instruct me about one of the more interesting things at this restaurant. You are provided with a small bowl of sesame seeds - you have to grind the seeds yourself and then add oil to make your own sesame oil.

Grinding those seeds was hard work! I complained about my hand getting tired to which my friend replied 'You have to work hard if you want it fresh!'

There were also a number of complimentary side dishes - on which you could get free refills!

For example, black beans and I can't remember what the thing next to the black beans are but I do recall us asking for a refill!

We poured dressing into this and tossed it

Obviously I ordered the burger meat for my main:

One of those crumbed ovals was the burger meat patty. It was very filling and tasty.

Part of our Taiwan trip was spent in Hualien, which is located on the east coast on Taiwan. It is a very small city and only a half hour flight from Taipei. That half hour domestic flight was one of the most turbulent flights that I've ever been on! The plane was 2 seats by 2 seats and the overhead compartments rattled fiercely every two minutes.

It was pretty cool flying into Hualien airport - the airport is right by the water so we came down very close to the breaking waves. We were also instructed that no photos were to be taken because Hualien airport is also a military airport.

The main reason that I wanted to visit Hualien was to see the amazing Taroko Gorge. It is a natural gorge that produces marble and turning that marble into different products is a livelihood for the Hualien people.

The Taroko Gorge national park is so beautiful, the natural beauty is breathtaking.

It is a bit hard to gauge from those photos how big the marble rocks at the bottom of the gorge are but most of them were as big as a car. The running water was crystal blue and the mountains soared high into the sky. I have never seen anything like Taroko Gorge before!

We went to the Gorge on a tour bus, which worked out really well because they took us around the national park (which is huge) to see lovely spots and we had free time to walk around. For morning tea, we stopped off at a cafe in the park. The weather was very cold so we ordered a pot of tea to share - and it was their speciality tea, rosehip and blueberry.

A candle flickered underneath to heat the pot of tea. Cute huh?

Lunch was included on the day and it was a traditional Aboriginal meal. They refer to the original inhabitants of Hualien as Aboriginal people.

And it was a big meal!

Marinated mushrooms on the left

Bittermelon soup

Bamboo rice!! If you look back at the first photo, this was served in a closed bamboo stick. You had to crack it open to get to the sticky rice within. This is a traditional Aboriginal dish.

Scoop of cold mashed potato

Pork katsu

It was so filling!!!!

Another day in Hualien was spent on the coast side, where fisherman make their livelihood. We had a seafood lunch and one of the dishes was this:

Snails! But not cooked in a method that I had seen before. Previously I had only eaten them french style, in their shell.

We were told that during the Japanese occupation, the Japanese soldiers would seize the livestock of the Hualien people so they had no meat to eat. Thus they began to eat snails to get protein.

They were actually very tasty - cooked in a slightly spicy sauce, the meat was a little chewy and rubbery but you couldn't really tell they were snails from taste!

Stay tuned for some food snapshots from Hong Kong - where I had snails again but they weren't nearly as nice!


We have been writing about food in Sydney since 2009. No place is too far or too wide for us to travel to visit. We always give an honest opinion and love to hear your comments too. Here's to an ever-growing society of foodies!


  1. Wow.. I always wondered where pork katsu and cold mashed potato was invented.. thanks to those indigenous taiwanese then!

  2. Interesting Aboriginal food. It's very "normal". I was half expecting it be wierd animals and plants. But they did eat snails..I've never had them. I don't know if I ever could haha

  3. Hi Jathon: I'm not sure if they invented those dishes, or if they just enjoy eating them.

    Hi Mobblees: Well, the marinated mushrooms were unlike anything I'd tasted before, and the sticky bamboo rice was different as well. I recommend trying snails someday! They don't really taste that different to other meats.

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  5. A very belated welcome back! Great to see all the yummy food you had whilst overseas =) Love the look of the bamboo rice - so many places can't be bothered making it anymore.