Bite-Size Happiness – Part I

Bite-Size Happiness – Part I

Taiwan and food. One would not even know where to begin to describe the joy and saliva that swell up just at the thought of those two words together. The imageries and flavors that come to mind are overwhelmingly delightful and endless.

Early risers in Taiwan are in for a treat. It brings me back to my elementary school days just by visiting a fantuan (飯糰) stand or a breakfast sandwich shop. Many like the traditional breakfast places that serve youtiao (油條), shaobing (燒餅), soy milk (豆漿), rice milk (米漿), potstickers (煎餃), steamed buns (饅頭) of various types, baozi (包子), and Chinese omelets (蛋餅). There are also now chain breakfast shops that serve more Western options like burgers, Panini, sandwiches, and waffles.

Taiwan Breakfast Shop

Taiwanese Style Breakfast

On your way to school or work, you are bound to walk by carts and stands of various street food, freely sending their aroma in the wind to remind you to pick up a snack or treat for the morning break. There are the portable and bite-size “chicken egg cake” (雞蛋糕), red bean cake (紅豆餅) now with many fillings to choose from, cooked whole water chestnut (菱角), sweet whole chestnut (糖炒栗子), bagged fresh fruit pieces, and many others.

The typical bakery is filled with cakes, rolls, buns, crackers, cookies, sandwiches, as well as traditional snacks such as pineapple cake (鳳梨酥), mung bean cake (綠豆糕), and red bean gelatin squares (紅豆羊羹). What I love about the bakery is how colorful it is. The cakes are always decorated with fresh fruits, colorful lines or drops of whipped toppings, and white or dark chocolate in artistic shapes. The sandwiches would be showing their many ingredients of cucumber, meat slices, leafy veggie, and tomatoes. The buns and cake rolls display their colors with fillings, flavored cakes, and a light dust of powder sugar. My favorite is a green tea flavored cake roll with red bean paste filling.

'Chicken Egg' Cake Red Bean Cake Stand

If you want to save money and be healthy, it’s better to bring a boxed lunch from home. It’s so tempting not to bring your own lunch, though, because there are so many options for lunch by just walking out of your office building or school grounds. So many restaurants cater to the idea of a lunch bento box, with entrée, a couple of sides, a drink, and a snack or fruit. These are usually very affordable, tasty, and aesthetically pleasing. There are also many places where you can get a paper lunch box to pay by weight and choose from a spread of twenty-plus dishes, with complimentary rice and soup.

Fried Pork Chop with Rice

Meat Ball Soup

 (to be continued…)

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