The Food of Taiwan, Part II

Here comes more food from my adventures from Taiwan! Get yourself ready for street food from Taiwan!

First up, we have one from the street food, which is the all famous deep-fried chicken cutlet. Taiwan is known for their humongous deep-fried chicken cutlet. Chicken that is deep-fried to crispy golden perfection, with juiciness promised along with every bite and seasoned with just a hint of spice and savouriness. I might be exaggerating about the juiciness as it is only promised when you enjoy your piece of chicken while it is fresh and hot.

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There are stalls everywhere that sells chicken cutlet in Taiwan. I bought the chicken cutlet at Hot-star fried chicken! Just be on the lookout for a large blue sign if you want to try what I had!

Next, we have the ultimate street food of Taiwan! Stinky Tofu. I told myself to give stinky tofu a shot while in Taiwan as I want to review it to you. So I plucker up my courage and got my first plate of stinky tofu. At first, the smell would put you off and you would start wondering, why would people eat that; but when you take your first bite, you are instantly in heaven, in my opinion. I love tofu, and so this plate of stinky tofu was easy to finish. They use soft and silky tofu and that would ensure a crispy crust and a soft and delicate interior. The tofu were fried on the spot, making it piping hot and super delicious. They were accompanied with a sweet chili sauce with pickled vegetables. After getting to try my first stinky tofu, I would be more willing to go seconds. So if you are put off by the nasty smell, hold your breath/pinch your nose and just take a bite. You will not regret it!

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I featured stinky tofu on my Instagram, @BigOnFood. Check BOF Instagram for my food and travel adventures!

While I was in the East of Taiwan, HuaLien, the locals kept urging us to try their all famous 炸蛋蔥油餅 (Deep fried egg in a spring onion crepe). It is uniquely made as they would deep fry the crepe and pour in the egg in the oil. I am utterly curious with how this is made as it is crispy, fried to golden perfection while the egg yolk was still runny and it was seasoned with a sweet and spicy homemade sauce. It was a yummy treat. Thumbs up for creativity and flavour! IMG_4324

Next calls for a plate of oyster omelette. There are a lot of variations of oyster omelette throughout Asia, like Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan. The ones in Singapore and Malaysia are crispy and rather dry while the ones in Taiwan are chewy and soft and served with sweet sauce. Oyster Omelette are oyster cooked with a starchy batter which produces soft chewy starch and cooked with an egg. I personally like the ones in Taiwan but accompanied with the chili from Singapore and Malaysia! Going to Taiwan, this is a must-try dish as they make use of fresh oysters.

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Oyster omelette stores are available almost everywhere in Taiwan, however do look out for stores that fry theirs till there are crispy sides as that would give you an experience of textures, flavour and colour!

This one is for those who are not on their diet as it is rich and so sinful. It is deep fried potato, stuffed with fillings and coated with cheese. The potato are first deep-fried and then the interior would be mashed and eaten with a filling of your choice, I went with the signature. And before it is served, a ladle full of cheese is pour onto the potato. To me, it was a pretty disappointing dish as there was too much cheese. But I love the concept of it, the crispy skin and the mashed potatoes with vegetables and ham. I would not recommend this, but if you love cheese and potato, this would be the dish for you!

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I bought my at Shilin Night Market. It was not difficult to find as there was a line.

Lastly for street food, we have棺材板 ( Coffin bread). It does not have the best name but it has good flavours. Firstly, a loaf of small bread is cut in the middle to create a dent for the filling. You can chose a filling of your choice, I went with black pepper pork. It was something very interesting and seen only in Taiwan. Do give it a shot as the flavours goes very well together!

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You might need to search for this as it is not in every night market, therefore do a little research where it is sold at.

An advise for you while on your trip to Taiwan is drink plenty of water. Pretty much of the food in night markets are deep-fried, therefore keep yourself hydrated as you do not want a sore throat while on holiday!

That is it for today! I hope you have enjoyed the street food of Taiwan! I would be doing one on breakfast and dessert next week, so stay tune! Till next time, See you!

Spread Love & Be Kind! Xoxo Pei Gee!

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Quinoa Squid salad!

What started off as a simple meatless meal turned into a seafood lunch… My horrible attempt for a meatless meal for 2 days in a row. No excuses but it would be a perfect opportunity to share with you what I had! Let’s get started!

I wanted to steer away from poultry the other day when I was preparing for this meal. I rummaged the freezer and luckily for me, there were not much poultry to tempt me. Instead, it was the squid that caught my eye. So I decided to make something  with squid! And just like that, I settled for quinoa squid salad.

*Disclaimer! I created this recipe myself, without any much research, therefore if you try this at home, it might taste a little off your tastebuds as food is subjective to each and everyone. Please adjust the flavours to your preferences.

IMG_5374Quinoa Squid Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 full length squid with tentacles
  • 1/4 broccoli
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  •  1/2 red chili, sliced
  • 1 sprig of spring onion, sliced diagonally
  • Spices (I used garam masala and curry powder)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 cup of water (Use a stock cube for more flavour)
  • Olive oil

Directions :

  1. Wash your squid and remove the skin.
  2. Score the squid for a better appearance and leave aside.
  3. In a pan with a large surface area, fry onion, chili and spring onion in olive oil on medium-high heat.
  4. Add spices into the pan and stir them constantly as you do not want to burn the spices.
  5. Add quinoa and stir. Pour water into the pan and season with salt and pepper. Cover the pan and turn the heat down to low.
  6. Once the quinoa have soaked up most of the liquid, fluff them up and put broccoli and squid above the quinoa, then cover.
  7. About 7-10 minutes later, you dish is served!

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Some mistakes I made were adding the broccoli too early, therefore it lost its bright green colour. Instead I got a rather dull green broccoli. However in the recipe, it is revised, thus green colour broccoli should be observed. I did not season my quinoa much as well, and that is the reason why it was pretty odd in flavour. This was the reason why I did not add a measurement of how much spices you should add, as I left that decision up to you! The rest of the dish went relatively well, I would say that this dish was delicious and I would make it once again!

That’s it for today folks! I hope you have enjoyed this piece and look out for the next Taiwan post coming out soon! Till then, See you!

Spread Love & Be kind. Xoxo Pei Gee

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Or, drop me a mail at TPG22@hotmail.com

 

The Food of Taiwan, Part I!

Ever wondered what is exploring a foreign country without trying local delicacies? You cannot imagine that right. To me, traveling is all about exploring. Exploring new places, new cultures and most importantly, exploring new food.

My love for food has no boundaries, therefore all I did throughout the trip was eat! Everyday I tried something different, putting my tastebuds to work from breakfast to dessert! From dumplings to noodles, stinky tofu to fried milk.

Truth to be told, Taiwan are very creative with their food. They have the wackiest and funkiest food you will try. I have to say, it was quite a pleasure getting to try them. So without further ado, let’s talk about the food of Taiwan.

All right! Let us start with the dumplings, because that was what I ate the most! When I visited Taiwan, I told myself to stuff myself with dumplings (well as they are like little gold nuggets with their juices). And so I did, in the end, I think I turned into a dumpling myself.

The dumplings in the bamboo steamer on the left are soup dumplings. They are the type of dumplings that requires a spoon when you eat them as soup from inside the dumplings would leak out if you not-so-gently bite into them. The soup comes from the juices of the fillings which are usually minced pork. The other 2 plates are potstickers and dumplings which are cooked by boiling them in water.

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The dumplings on the left have a thicker skin. Those are more like ‘bao’, they are meant to fill you up faster so be careful if not to over order.

The 3 pictures of dumplings above were bought in little stores along the street of Taipei, so I am afraid I could not provide the exact address of the store. However fret not, as you could devour all types of dumplings throughout Taiwan as most of the street stores sell them.

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These dumplings you see here are called ‘wanton’. Their skins are paper thin and they would slide through into your tummy very smoothly. They are often wrapped with a prawn and pork filling. The red oil sauce you see is chili oil. It goes exceptionally well with the wantons. But be cautious if you do not take spices as this dish is rather spicy.

I ate the wanton dish in Din Tai Fung, in Taipei 101 building. I would provide the details at the end of this post.

Next are noodles! I did not eat a lot of rice on this trip, so therefore I ate loads of noodles instead!

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Here, we have sour and spicy noodle soup. The soup is cooked with a hint of spicy and sourness. There are plenty of vegetables in soup which makes this a hearty bowl of goodness as there loads of fiber and nutrients from the vegetables and carbohydrates from the noodles.
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On the right, you could see a glossy bowl of noodles. They called it mushroom noodle soup, however there was not much mushroom in the soup, with the exception of black fungus. It was an interesting bowl of noodles as it was my virgin experience trying that. The soup was starchy and flavoured with vinegar, which was to my liking. I ate it with a bowl of vegetables that were blanched and seasoned with a spoonful of minced braised meat.
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My one and only bowl of beef noodles in Taiwan. I am glad to say I managed to try a bowl of beef noodles, yet I am sad that I only managed to try one! The beef was unbelievably tender and soft. The broth was cooked with herbal ingredients as that was what drawn me to the store. Amazing bowl of noodles tried and tasted!
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Here, we have a simple bowl of noodles with sesame sauce accompanied with a bowl of meatball soup. I reckon this is a simple and fulfilling meal for the Taiwanese as it is often found in most of the street vendors.

All the noodles I tried were from street vendors, therefore unfortunately I am unable to provide addresses. However there are many variety of noodles in Taiwan, thus fret not as you would come across such dish in travels.

That is all for today. Do not be shocked with these little amount of food as these are not all that I have tried during my visit to Taiwan. Do look out for Part 2 and 3 of The Food in Taiwan. I hope that you have enjoyed this post, Thank you for reading and till next time, See you!

Spread love & Be Kind. Xoxo Pei Gee!

Wanton dish from Din Tai Fung : 110, Taiwan, Taipei City, Xinyi District, City Hall Rd, 45號台北101購物中心. Opened daily from 11am-11pm

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The Soul of Taiwan.

I was in Taiwan for a good ten days. I travelled to the east of Taiwan, Hualien, and explored the capital of Taiwan, Taipei. Now that I think about it, I could have done a lot more exploring but it was a good scene through this ten days.

I would define the soul of Taiwan with a word, tranquil. When I travelled out of the capital, it slowly got it’s peace and calm. The train was so smooth, I had the best experience of a train ride to the east of Taiwan. The only person who bothered me was the ticket master, beside that, everyone was doing their things and I was simply in a slumber or enjoying my view.

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This was the train I took to the East of Taiwan. It was comfortable and relaxing. However, you have to pay a little more for this train rather than the local ones. This train is on train line called Puyuma.
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I was mesmerized by the rusty, old train tracks as well. It made me remember when there were train tracks just a few meters outside of my house. I would eagerly wait for a train to pass and then shout to my family, “A train have passed”. 
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Their bus rides were good as well. They would take your luggages and lock them in the compartment below the bus. When you alight, collect your bags and you are off to your next destination.

Through the trip, what mesmerised me about Taiwan was the presence of water and mountain. As I do not get that in Singapore, I could only imagine staring out to a valley with a gentle stream of water, flowing in between rocks and boulders, and beside the valley was a rather steep mountain with luscious greens, grown at the curbs of the wall. That was my view for most of my train rides and I have to say, I could stare at the beauty of mother nature for hours. IMG_4034

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We took this at the entrance of Taroko National Park. 

 

We were on Shakadang trail when I took these photos.

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And I am honest when I say I could stare at it for hours.
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Look at how the mist and cloud settled on the mountains. It just did not want to leave, and I shared the same thought. 

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And this my friends, was the Pacific Ocean. People say the water would be clear blue, just like the sky during summer, which would make for an excellent picture. However, I was there during spring, so I was not really blessed with clear blue sky and crystal clear water. But I will take whatever I get. It is still beautiful.

Some buildings might be old and rundown but I think that is what makes Taiwan, Taiwan. It withholds its culture and history, yet at the same time, revolve with this ever changing world. There was a good mixture of young and old.

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This is Jiu Fen. It is an old town with steep walkways with shophouses on either side of the stairway. They sell a variety of teas, food and souvenirs.
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And I managed to catch a sunset.

And what I really took home with me was how in love the locals were with the beauty of their motherland. They took pride and savour every glorious detail they have in their country. That truly tells me Taiwan receives love from both human and mother nature.

It was such great fun writing this piece. I hope you have enjoyed part 1 of the Taiwan series. Thank you for reading and till next time, See You!

Spread Love & Be Kind. Xoxo Pei Gee

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Taiwan, April 2016.

It was my second trip to Taiwan. This time, it was different. Different place, different time, different people.

Do you know the saying, “Same Same but Different” ? That was exactly what I felt the entire trip. Places I been on my first trip was vaguely the same but it felt different. It could probably be the movement of objects, but who knows? I was not there for years.

Time have changed. So did the world. It definitely changed my world. Time changed my confidence, courage and concept to the world. With growing confidence, I managed to book my second air-ticket aboard, to Taiwan. With courage and strength, I waved goodbye to my family to embark on a trip that is once in a lifetime. With a different view to the world, I grew and learnt.

Amanda was my travel companion this time. She is a friend I made when I was 12. When I decided to travel with her, I never knew it was going to be an adventure. An adventure that is one in a million.

So come embark on this 3 part series on Big On Food. It would be uploaded on Saturday, for the period of 3 Saturdays. I hope you have enjoyed this piece as it was written with every piece of my heart. Thank you for reading and till next time, See you!

Spread Love & Be Kind! Xoxo Pei Gee

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Marching onto April…

March passed by in a jiffy as I spent the first week of it mugging and stuffing my face in books and notes, in hopes to pull up my GPA. Then I was left with 3 weeks of the month left. Holiday started and I immersed myself in an event which took my evenings away.

I worked part time in an event called iLights, which was a showcase of light exhibits, sculptures and light shows.

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I worked as a crew member at Marina Bay Sand.

I got the chance to experience an Indian wedding as well. It was a wedding of a friend of mine. The wedding was extraordinary. Everyone was buzzing with joy and the venue was decorated with lots of fresh flowers and colourful drapes of cloth. It was a special day.  Congratulations to the lovely couple! May you live a blissful marriage! IMG_3219

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I ate lamb biryani with assam chicken, vegetable curry and pickles. I ADORED THAT MEAL SO MUCH! (You could clearly see my love for Indian food here… 🙂

I managed to squeeze in some time for food…!

There goes March. It was not an exciting month for me as I tired myself throughout March, which was the reason March was not the best month of the year yet. However I am SO EXCITED for April as I would be traveling, therefore this would be my last post for these couple of weeks as I would be abroad. Do not fret as I have every intention of sharing it all on Big On Food, so stay tune for that! Till then, Thank you for reading and See you soon!

Spread Love & Be Kind. Xoxo Pei Gee

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Easter Special, Part 3. Passionfruit Meringue Tart!

Hey! I am back with the last recipe of the Easter Special! Today we are talking Passionfruit Meringue Tart. The idea came about when my mother bought a basket full of passionfruit home, so I thought what better way to use those fruits than making a tart!

There are 3 components for this tart, the meringue, the curd and the shell. I made the shell of the tart with digestive biscuits as I had lots of them on hand. However one major mistake with my shell was not adding enough butter to stabilize the shell. So when I plated the tart, the shell crumbled easily. FullSizeRender 8FullSizeRender 7

While the shell were setting in the fridge I made my curd!

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The curd consist of eggs, butter, sugar and passionfruit! Pretty simple ingredients for this curd.

It was a simple curd to make, not overly sweet, which was a bonus point. I guess the sweetness covers a little tartness from the passionfruit, therefore making the curd acceptably sweet. It was a quick and fast process as you have to keep stirring the curd as it comes along in case it burns at the bottom. Everything happened too quickly  for me to snap a shot. My apologizes all.

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I made a tart without seeds and the rest with seeds.

Last but not least was the meringue. The meringue was a standard procedure, you add the sugar into egg whites and wait for the mixer to produce fluffy and clear meringue! Then you either scoop the meringue onto the tart or pipe them. For me, i prefer the old-fashioned scooping. You then blow torch it into caramelised goodness! IMG_3258

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I tried piping 2 tarts, but I preferred scooping the meringue onto the tart.

This passionfruit tart was lovely and sweet and to be very honest with you, I ate this dessert I made more times than the rest of the other desserts I made before. The whole process took me about 4 to 5 hours as you need to let the curd to set. It was quick and speedy, great for a last minute dessert. IMG_3260

Passionfruit Meringue Tart (Makes 4)

Ingredients

Shell:

  • 7 – 9 digestive biscuits, crushed into bread crumbs-like
  • A stick and half butter (169.5g), melted

Passionfruit Curd:

  • 3 large eggs (free range or organic only) (Or use whatever chicken eggs you have on hand)
  • 60g butter
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 cup of passion fruit pulp (strained or whole)

Meringue:

  • 4 large egg whites, room temperature
  • ¾ cup (5.25 ounces) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch salt

Directions

Shell:

  1. Add melted butter into crushed biscuits and mix them evenly.
  2. Pour biscuits into tart mould and press them along the sides of the mould and the bottoms.

Passionfruit Curd:

  1. Heat the juice, butter and sugar in a heavy based pot until the sugar has dissolved and it reaches boiling point.
  2. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool slightly (about 3 minutes).
  3. Beat the eggs until fluffy in a bowl and then very quickly, whisking all the time add them to the hot juice. You do not want the eggs to curdle.
  4. *If you want seedless tart, this is the time to strain your mixture. Strain the mixture before you place it back onto the heat.*
  5. Place this all back on the heat and whisk constantly until the mixture becomes thick.
  6. Add the curd quickly onto the moulds with the shells, then let the curd set in the shell in the fridge for about 3 hours.

Meringue:

  1. Beat egg whites until frothy. Beat in sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time; until sugar is incorporated and mixture forms soft peaks. Add vanilla and salt; continue to beat meringue to stiff peaks.
  2. Pipe the meringue over the curd. Use a kitchen torch to brown the meringue.
  3. Serve immediately or chill for up 8 hours.

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I gathered the passionfruit curd recipe from Drizzle and Dip, Easy Passionfruit curd. For the meringues, I used Blog Lovin’ recipe.

I was rather contented with the results of this tart other than the crumbly shell. It was a good dessert, good for the young and old! I hope you have enjoyed all 3 recipes for the Easter Special. This recipe have came later than Easter, but better late than never ya? Haha!

Thank you for reading and till next time, See you!

Spread Love and Be Kind! Xoxo Pei Gee.

Stay connected with me on…

Instagram @BigOnFood 

Pinterest @PeigeeTan

Or, drop me a mail at TPG22@hotmail.com