Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tainan Xiao Zhi

Continuing the gastronomic journey the following day, my friend took me back to the same place that we had dinner the night before because some of the stalls were not open  then and she wanted me to try some of the typical Tainan xiao zhi there.

She asked if I would like to try pig's tongue in a mantou (bun) and I thought that it was time I took a big leap forward to include parts of the pig that did not form a part of my normal diet. It turned out that the pig's tongue was quite palatable and with some pickled vegetables added, this unusual snack was tasty and non-oily. 

Across from the stall that sold the pig-tongue buns, my friend and I sat on the wooden stools on the edge of the road and she ordered the kind of street fare typical of street fare in Tainan.
The two ladies were serving a specialty called "Wan Kau" and "Yu Geng". My friend said that there are a few other stalls elswhere that served these dishes but the taste of each stall was distinctive.

She asked the stall-holders if we could buy food from the stall next to it and eat it at their stalls. Unlike the unfriendly "No outside food" policy in some of our local eating places, these ladies had no objection at all and so we had a bowl of yu geng each, hers with noodles and mine with fine vermicelli. Simply delicious!
Along the same row of stalls was this famous Spring roll stall. It was doing a brisk take-away business and was open the night before. My friend bought two of these spring rolls but we could not eat anymore for supper. We ate them for lunch and even though it  was not freshily made, it did not disappoint. The spring rolls were like our poh piah except  tthat they were bigger and tastier. I really enjoyed them.
We went to another place after breakfast to look for a special coffee brew. Unfortunately, the boss whom my friend knew was away. She said that you had to order the coffee in advance. I guess with the boss around some rules could be relaxed. Next time I guess. So we walked around the area and I got to see how the shops made their frontage look like a mini museum.
It was late morning by the time we we were ready to move on to another place to explore and thereafter it was lunch time! In a place well-known for the freshness of its oysters what else was there to try but oysters. We had oysters fried in two different ways and would have had more if we did not want to think about the harmful effects of over eating them.
On the drive back to Tainan city we came across this water-melon pick-up truck and the rest was predictable. We brought the watermelon back for dinner and it was so sweet and juicy I could have eaten the entire half-portion my friend bought if there was still space in my stomach after the meal she cooked for me.  She also gave me a gigantic guava that was crunchy and sweet to take back with me to Taipei.

For dinner, my dear friend made a "huo kuo" (steamboat) for me. 

In the afternoon she had taken me to a fishing port and bought a few good portions of fish that had come from the fishing boats and had not been frozen yet. Though it was not a true steamboat as she had prepared the dish over the stove and it was served with rice later on the dining table, it was super delicious. Let me see, I think she put water in the pot to boil and added a few slurps of miso soup base and loaded the fish head that was chopped up into smaller portions. She let it boil for about an hour and over time added the following ingredients (as much as I can recall): ginger, spring onion stems, pumpkin, bean curd, two types of mushrooms, meat balls, a few types of vegetables. I guess you could add anything you fancy since it is a steam boat meal. It was a really super sumptuous dinner and I am going to try to do this dish at home.

I only had a day and a night in Tainan and thanks to the hospitality of my Taiwanese friend, I was able to enjoy myself thoroughly. Thanks also to the Taiwan High Speed Train I could meet up with her even though I was in Taipei and she, in the south in Tainan. Eating could be such a good way to enjoy friendship and I look forward to her coming to visit me someday. I already have a whole lot eating places lined up for her!

No comments: