What to eat in Taiwan… here’s to cycling and eating my way through Taiwan!

What to eat in Taiwan… here’s to cycling and eating my way through Taiwan!

What to eat in Taiwan… here’s to cycling and eating my way through Taiwan!

If you’re planning to visit Taiwan, here are a few key things you should look for during your visit.  I’ve been to Taiwan many times and every time, it feels like the first time!  The food options are many and continue to evolve and change with every visit!

For starters, it’s a great that we are cycling through Taiwan at the same time.  This means, we can travel to different cities and we can eat way more than I usually do because we’re doing massive rides (or elevation) here.

    Some of the food highlights in Taiwan!

    There is never a shortage of food or things to try, eat, or drink in Taiwan. I must admit, I didn’t cover everything, we actually missed quite a bit, but at the same time… I’m so happy with this trip!💗💗💗

    • As a cyclist, it’s got to be the 7-11’s.  A lot of our midday lunches and snacks are done in 7-11’s.  This is because they are fast, easy, they dot most of the major routes we ride, have both drinks and foods (especially stuff with electrolytes) and have washrooms. Versatile, cheap, variety packed, and one of the best stops for cyclists!  So in 7-11’s, we basically cleaned out their tea and soy soaked eggs. These deliciously soft and protein packed snacks are highly coveted by cyclists and amazing cheap at 70 cents CAD per egg.  I’ll take them!
    • Taiwanese breakfasts!  Traditional, simple, affordable.  There are all sorts of breakfast options that include fried turnip cake, egg pancakes, green onion pancakes, glutinous rice wrapped with Chinese donuts, fried pork dumplings, beef stuffed buns, sweet or savory soy milk, all sorts of egg pancakes with ham, cheese, pork floss, onions, green onions, etc… SO YUMMY!

     

    • These breakfasts are so commonplace in Taiwan you can find so many of these shops along most streets as corner shops. They open super early at 6:00 am and often the best of the tastiest shops have line ups out the door.

     

    • Taiwanese desserts!  Especially their iced desserts loaded with a billion toppings of choice.  We also soft served fresh tofu fa with shaved brown sugar and a sweet hot soup dessert filled with mochi, tapioca, and red beans.  Here, I am enjoying the works.  It’s basically a fully loaded bing sha with grass jelly, tapioca, mochi, red bean paste, taro paste, and topped with a black sugar syrup and condensed milk.  It ate like a meal.  I was so full afterwards!  But so yummy! 

     

     

    • Taiwan bed and breakfasts!  There are so many CUTE! CUTE! bed and breakfasts in a lot of rural and Eastern coast of Taiwan, near Hualien and into Kenting.  These places are like the Taipei get aways and tend to be coastal, easy-going, resort places!  
    • They serve the cutest, most complete and healthy breakfasts here!  Some have a buffet styled meal with soy sauce fried eggs, more buns, a selection of local fruits, pan fried radish cakes, and a healthy selection of fresh local vegetables fried in garlic, often served with rice or congee and all the toppings like pork floss, marinated cucumbers, fried gluten, spiced bamboo, seaweed and sesame flakes, fried baby shrimp, and so many others!  It’s yummy! 
    • Night markets.  A must visit in any Taiwan city.  You’ll find food, shopping, gifts, games, desserts, and drinks.  And then, lots of people!  Each night market has its own variety of specialty dishes. I found the ones along the coast had more seafood, while the ones in Taipei had more unique custom blends and fusion of foods.  A majority of the foods are grilled or pan fried, and the drinks tend to be cold.  Every time I visit Taiwan though, the night market variety changes.  You will always have your staples such as hawker styled noodles, rice, and meals.  I love these!  Try them all!  So be sure to share!  Like literally, buy one of each so that you can eat many!

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      How to soothe a cough with this Chinese orange monk fruit herbal tea!

      How to soothe a cough with this Chinese orange monk fruit herbal tea!

      How to soothe a cough with this Chinese orange monk fruit herbal tea!

      Tea Name: Chinese orange monk fruit herbal tea

      Traditional Chinese Name: 止咳茶 (zhǐké chá) – direct translation here is “anti-cough” tea.  There are many teas that have earned the right to this label, so it’s just easier to use it as such instead of labeling all the ingredients.

      Nature:  Slightly warming

      Taste: Sweet and sour

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      For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

      There was a lingering dry cough that stuck with me for a week so I decided to try a variation of my salted steamed orange with a little more cough supporting ingredients.  The key ones include both the dried monk fruit, which helps moisten and nourish the lungs, which is perfect for a dry cough, and the dried tangerine peels, which is warming and helps regulate Qi.

       

      What’s involved?

      Prep time: 2 mins

      Cook time: 5 mins

      Total time: 7 mins

      Serves: 2 cups

      Ingredients
        Cooking Instructions
        1. Slice your mandarin or orange thinly, keeping on the skin
        2. Using a chopstick or spoon, break up your citrus to allow the juices to be released so that it boils into the tea
        3. In your stovetop safe teapot, add in all the ingredients, except the honey
        4. Fully cover.
        5. Put this on medium high heat on your stove and bring to that a full boil for 5 minutes.
        6. Reduce heat and let it cool slightly before you add the honey (as anything over 60C will destroy most of the antibacterial and benefits of honey, so allow it cool as you drink).
        7. Stir, serve, and enjoy!
        Any benefits?
        • This tea is ideal for dry coughs and is slightly warming (with the tangerine peel and cinnamon)
        • The monk fruit helps moisten the lungs, combined with the apricot kernals, helps relieve the cough

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        How to make a warming and healing red roses, red dates, cinnamon and honey herbal tea

        How to make a warming and healing red roses, red dates, cinnamon and honey herbal tea

        How to make a warming and healing red roses, red dates, cinnamon and honey herbal tea

        Tea Name: Warming and healing red roses and dried red dates with cinnamon and honey Chinese herbal tea

        Traditional Chinese Name: 玫瑰红枣茶 (méi guī hóng zǎochá)

        Nature:  Warming

        Taste: Sweet 

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        For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

        It’s still pretty cool in Toronto in March, so this slightly warm and spiced tea is perfect!  All these are warming ingredients with some soothing elements in the honey and help improve circulation and replenish qi in the body!

        You can actually drink this everyday at well, although this tea doesn’t recycle as nicely as a Red Dates and Longan Tea (where I can add about 3-4 cycles of hot water to keep the flavours rolling all day long).  You’ll notice that the rose buds to lose a lot of their flavours on the first boil, but still a delicious and fragrant tea that is perfect!  Just perfect!

         

        What’s involved?

        Prep time: 2 mins

        Cook time: 5 mins

        Total time: 7 mins

        Serves: 2 cups

        Ingredients
        • 10-15 dried red roses buds (unopened)
        • 3 dried red dates, halved and pitted
        • 1 cinnamon stick
        • 1 tablespoon of honey
        • 2 cups of water
        • 1 stovetop safe teapot
          Cooking Instructions
          1. In your stovetop safe teapot, add in the dried red rose buds, the dried red dates, and the cinnamon stick and your water.
          2. Fully cover.
          3. Put this on medium high heat on your stove and bring to that a full boil for 5 minutes.
          4. Reduce heat and let it cool slightly before you add the honey (as anything over 60C will destroy most of the antibacterial and benefits of honey, so allow it cool as you drink).
          5. Stir, serve, and enjoy!
          Any benefits?
          • This tea is ideal for warming the body, allowing for pushing out cold from the body and improving blood circulation
          • Red roses help regulate Qi and helps remove blood stagnation
          • Both the red roses and cinnamon help warm the spleen, a key organ in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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          How to make a simple, delicious radish seaweed soup!

          How to make a simple, delicious radish seaweed soup!

          How to make a simple, delicious radish seaweed soup!

          Soup Name: Radish (Kombu) Seaweed Soup (vegetarian)

          Chinese Name: 白蘿蔔海藻湯 (bái luóbo hǎi zǎo tāng).  This isn’t really a Chinese soup.  It’s more a blend of using Japanese and Korean radish and kombu (seaweed) components.

          Nature: This is a cooling soup.  By design, the ingredients are quite cooling in the white radish and seaweed (you can follow this post on what ingredients are cooling or warming for soups)

          Taste: Slightly sweet and savory

          For more videos, you can follow us on YouTube.

           

          The best are the most simplest of soups!

          This is a Japanese-styled white radish and kombu (seaweed) soup which I used as part of dinner.  It’s simple, it’s clean, and it’s meat-free, but still has a delicious umami taste (created by the seaweed and mushrooms).  So it’s both vegan and vegetarian!

          I love that it’s very much like home.  It feels and tastes like home.  And it can be served with a variety of carbs and toppings or you can drink it clean.

           

          What’s involved?

          Prep time: 15 mins

          Cook time: 30 minutes 

          Total time: 45 mins

          Serves: 8 large bowls

          Ingredients

          • 1 whole white radish, thinly sliced
          • 1 whole piece of dried seaweed kelp
          • 1 whole white onion, quartered
          • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
          • fresh green onions
          • 13 cups or 2.5 L of water 
          • salt and sesame oil to taste

          For my dinner:

          • rice cakes
          • fresh enoki mushrooms
          • fish cakes 

          Cooking Instructions

          1. In your soup pot, add in your sliced white onions and dried seaweed kelp
          2. Add in your soup water and cover
          3. Set this on high heat and allow that to come to a boil
          4. During this time, I will also drop in my fresh green onions (cut larger so that I can fish them out later), white radish (sliced very thinly), and dried shiitake mushrooms
          5. Cover and bring this to a full boil and reduce to medium heat and allow that to simmer for another 30 minutes
          6. Taste and salt as needed
          7. You can add this to noodles, rice, or rice cakes!  Top with your favourite toppings.  Serve and enjoy!

          There are many soups that use dried seaweed kelp and white radish!

          This soup is very similar to my Korean Dashi soup base, which you can add other ingredients to, although this one has dried anchovies, which also creates a different flavor and taste.

          I am a big fan of this simple taste base… the seaweed and white radish! 

          Would love to see your other suggestions on what you create here! 

           

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          GIVE YOUR LOVE OF SOUP.

          FOLLOW US AND SHARE.

          How to make a Chicken and Coconut Chinese Herbal Soup (as frozen packs)

          How to make a Chicken and Coconut Chinese Herbal Soup (as frozen packs)

          How to make a Chicken and Coconut Chinese Herbal Soup (as frozen packs)

          Soup Name: Warming Chicken and Coconut Chinese Healing Soup (as frozen soup packs)

          Traditional Chinese Name: 椰子雞湯 (yē zi jī tāng)

          Nature:  Warming

          Taste: Sweet

          You can follow this video first on “How to make Frozen Chinese Soups in bulk“.

           

          The business case for making frozen soup packs in bulk!

          This use case continues to amaze me!  Literally, this morning, I was like “I feel like soup” and I took out another one of these soup packs (this one to be precise because I made extra for me and my pescatarian friend) and tossed it into the rice cooker, topped up with water, added a few red dates and an hour later, had soup ready for lunch and dinner.

          To start, I did a survey when I first initially created these for friends and the time saving is phenomenal.

          On average, it takes someone 2-3 hours of time to make a Chinese soup (beginning to end with checking). Compared to using frozen premade soup packs using a rice cooker, it takes 5 minutes of work (and then 60 mins of no supervision) with an upfront investment of 2-3 hours to make 6 soup packs.  So on average, you are saving 14 hours of time over 6 soups.  The math isn’t perfect, but this was my best estimate based on answers from friends.  That’s HUGE!

            This soup is similar to a Warming Chicken and Coconut Herbal (Healing) Chinese Soup that I also made into frozen soup packs (except used corn as well).

            This soup pack is smaller than my average ones because I don’t have as many vegetables, and yet it packs the same delicious punch of all my soups!  

            If you have a wet vacuum sealing kit, you can consider adding the coconut water as well, which makes it deliciously sweet!  I ended up adding my coconut water into the fresh soup I was also making parallel to the frozen kits.

            Chicken and coconuts are great pairs in taste and a traditional soup in Cantonese soup repertoire.  It is often found served in Chinese restaurants and commonly made in Chinese households (especially in Hong Kong).

             

            What’s involved?

            Prep time: 60 mins

            Cook time: no cook time when preparing soup packs, but if I do cook 1 frozen soup pack in a rice cooker, takes about 60 mins

            Serves: 6 frozen soup packs (each with 2 servings) 

            Ingredients

            Note that this portioning makes 1 frozen pack of soup (that serves 2 people)

             

            • 1/4 rounded brown coconut flesh
            • 1/2 full chicken thigh
            • 5 frozen (or fresh or prepackaged chestnuts)
            • 6 dried red dates
            • 6 dried longans
            • 6 dried baby scallops
            • 6 dried wolfberries (or goji berries)
            • 1 sealable vacuum soup bag

            Preparing the soup packs

            1. Prepare your chicken thighs by cutting them smaller pieces
            2. In a shallow pan, you can pan fry the chicken on medium heat allowing the outsides to fully brown (there is a warning here that the chicken may not be fully cooked)
            3. If you’re using dried scallops, you can also optionally pan fry them on low heat with a bit of oil until they are golden brown to create a more fragrant taste
            4. Poke a hole and drain your coconut (you can watch this video on “How to prepare coconuts for Chinese soups
            5. Using a hammer in a safe place, break open the coconut and extract the flesh (I use these crab or seafood eating tools)
            6. Also measure out all the Chinese herbs into separate bowls, that way it’s much easier to distribute as you make your soup packs.
            7. Using your soup bags, stack your ingredients starting with the meat first and then I will sprinkle the herbs around the gaps in between and then the coconut on top, sliding them in between spaces as well
            8. Using your vacuum sealer, seal each pack and then freeze immediately for usage later.

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