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Shi Lin Market Hong Kong

Triple Food Destination! Part 1: Hong Kong and Taiwan

Hong Kong, Taiwan, and then finish with a trip around Japan.  That is the hot locations-pack of 2017.  We discussed the trip half a year before it happened, and before we knew it we were on our direct flight from Toronto straight to Hong Kong.  Delicious food, here we come!

Hong Kong

No one enters Hong Kong without having curry fishballs first!

Curry fishballs is one of the most popular street foods of Hong Kong

Caption: Curry fishballs is one of the most popular street foods of Hong Kong. The ones seen here can be found in Mongkok, in front of the Langham Place Mall.

The next morning, we woke up at 6:00AM in the morning in search for morning dimsum.  The great thing about Hong Kong is, there are hundreds of delicious food choices within walking distance of most residential areas.  We decided to look for early morning dimsum.  We decided to go with one of Hong Kong’s most traditional, oldest dimsum spots in the city;  Lian Xiang Lou.

Lian Xiang Lou

Lian Xiang Lou

The outside had me fooled.  I was expecting a grand, beautiful restaurant given its age and status in the city.  Instead, the inside looked old, a little rundown, and not exactly beautiful.  I wasn’t impressed.

Additionally, the system required you to get up and walk up to a number of carts being pushed around the room in order to vocally ask about what was being served.  I wasn’t thrilled.

Was I ever wrong… very wrong.

The dimsum was some of the most authentic, delicious food I’ve ever had.  It absolutely topped every restaurant I’ve ever had dimsum at anywhere in the world!

dimsum

Don’t let appearances fool you!  If you’re ever in the area, Lian Xiang Lou is a must go!

Hong Kong is all about the food.  In summary, best meal I’ve had?  Beef Brisket with Rice Noodles.  The broth was excellent, the brisket perfect and everything about it made for a delicious filling meal!

Beef Brisket with Rice Noodles

And our next destination? Taipei!

Taipei

This capital city and street food personal favourite of mine, Taipei houses some very distinct delicacies you wouldn’t normally find elsewhere.  Everything here is delicious (all except the betelnut, which you’ll find only in stores lit by a fan shaped set of lights.  They’re very noticeable.  Do not partake in betelnut, it’s really not a tourist food.)  Most of it can be found in night markets, or simply along many smaller streets.

Our very first stop started at Ximending, a popular tourist destination (complete with our very familiar H&M store) packed with shopping and of course, my favourite, street food.

Ximending

We tried (in no particular order):  Quail eggs, Radish cake, Oyster omelette, grilled dumplings, onion pancakes, shaved ice, fruits and bubble tea, most of which could be bought for several dollars Canadian.  The food is endless!

For those who are brave enough to try it, Taiwanese stinky tofu is a must-try.  Many people have heard about this less-than-pleasant-smelling food item, but nowhere else would you find it as authentic as that in Taipei.   We sought after it at one of Taipei’s most popular night markets, Shi Lin.

Taiwanese stinky tofu

It looks quite pleasant doesn’t it?

For those without a strong stomach (like me), I’d like to suggest trying out all the different local fruits of Taiwan.  Look out for stands such as this one:

local-fruit-stands

You won’t regret it.  (Notice how there’s already two almost empty sections? We cleared it…. Okay, not really.)  Try everything.  The environment in Taiwan yields some of the sweetest, juiciest fruits you’ll ever try.  Fruits you normally think aren’t very sweet or delicious tastes completely different here!  My girlfriend and I aren’t normally fans of guava, but the guava here tastes amazing.  Pineapples are their specialty here too, where a lot of it gets turned into a delicious pineapple pastry that you’ll find all across Taiwan.

The green fruit to the left and centre is known as sugar apples, or buddha’s head.  It has a lychee taste, along with a very sweet, creamy taste.  Beside it are wax apples, one you can only find in Taiwan.  These two fruits are extremely popular along with a variety of other fruits.  We tried all of it!

After stuffing our faces, it’s time to leave Shi Lin and prepare for our last day in Taipei…

Shi Lin Market

The next day, we woke up extra early to take an hour long bus to Jiu fen, an old mining town converted to a tourist destination.  This space was narrow, but also home to one of Taipei’s most signature desserts;  taro balls!  Unfortunately it rained for a good portion of the morning, but in such small streets, it was quite easy to find shelter under the many side stalls in the area.

Jiu fen

The crowds were, surprisingly, a little less than usual.  It’s not too obvious from the picture above though.  Along these streets were food of all sorts, including tarts, sweet sausages, ice cream rolls, tea, and most importantly the taro balls I was looking for!

taro balls

After indulging in a ton of food, and satisfying our little bellies, we headed towards a little place known as the Houtong Cat Village.  That’s right.  It’s a cat village, where cats rule the streets!

Taiwan’s Houtong Cat Village

Here in the cat village, cats roam free.  Residents of the village all live among the cats, while cafes open with these little feline friends as the central theme.  Visitors are discouraged from feeding the cats, but most of the cats are very used to visitors.  Therefore, petting them is completely possible!

We went to a cafe and I quickly made friends with little Xiao Long Bao here!

Tony and Xiao Long Bao at Cat Village

Highly recommend coming here if you’re a cat lover like we are!

Taiwan’s Houtong Cat Village

Author Bio:

Tony Lai

Tony Lai

Tony is a web developer who works at Demac Media, one of Magento’s Gold Partners. Tony is always on top of technology, delivering latest modern responsive website that maximize the sales revenues while maintaining a high quality aesthetic appeal.

Tony also has a love of world travel, and a passion for food! If you share his love of travel and food don’t miss his adventures!

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