All around the night markets you’ll find (sometimes illegal) stalls selling a variety of cold stewed meats.
Not surprisingly, these are also a favourite of K’s. He went on an ordering spree at one of these stalls, and had a mixture of meats and vegetables, including chicken feet, wings, livers, hearts, and some green beans, all mixed with some garlic and chilli. He loved it, and this was one of the things we brought back to our hotel room for supper one night.
We went to Taiwan in summer, so it was swelteringly hot. One day we walked past this obviously popular ice cream stall called Ice Monster and we went in. The first thing which caught our eye was this huge mango dessert which almost everyone was having. We had to have it. It was a huge bed of shaved ice, with a very generous amount of fresh mango and mango puree over the bed of shaved ice, all topped with a huge scoop of mango ice cream. It was simply mango heaven. Having this glorious bowl of shaved ice and ice cream on such a hot day was a real treat.
Another thing that you can have to refresh yourself in Taiwan on a hot summer’s day is this Lime and jelly drink. It is usually mixed in a large caldron and scooped to order. The tanginess of the lime is invigorating and the jelly is just something that brings us back to our childhoods, so we really enjoy this.
However, the best choice of beverage in Taiwan is the bubble tea. There are countless stalls selling bubble tea, but K insisted on us trying the one at the centre of Xi Men Ding very near where we stayed. This was the best bubble tea in his opinion. Indeed, while we tried bubble tea in many locations all around Taiwan, the one at this particular stall in Xi Men Ding was the best of them all. It was milky without being too overpowering, and it wasn’t too sweet so that the taste of the tea was lost. The pearls in the drink were also one of the best we’ve had, and they were chewy and not too sticky. I love the classic milk bubble tea, and K loves the yam milk tea.
On the opposite end of the refreshing spectrum, we had ma la huo guo (Spicy hot pot). It may seem odd to have spicy hot pot on a hot summer’s day, but the restaurant was air conditioned, so it was alright. The pot contained 2 different kinds of soup bases, a spicy soup base and a non-spicy soup base.
The spicy one was not too numbing, unlike the one we had in London, and allowed us to taste the meats properly. There was a wide selection of food we could choose to add in our hot pot, and we went for the usual meat balls, beef, prawns etc. However, the best part of the whole experience was the array of dipping sauces we could use to add flavour to our food. We loved the garlic and spring onion dip we concocted, and we almost ended up eating it by itself!