We’re back from vacation! We took the long journey across the world to visit where my family and I are from, Taiwan (via connection in Tokyo). I was born in Taipei and lived there until the day of the my 3rd birthday. Even though the majority of my upbringing was in America and I am very westernized, there will always be a large part of me that is Taiwanese or Chinese (beyond my appearance). I maintain my heritage mainly through food, the language, and holiday’s and customs. Thanks to my parents for demanding to only speak mandarin at home, driving us to Chinese school on Sundays for like 10 years, my mom’s home cooking almost every night, and visits back to the “homeland” every 5 years or so. As I become older and wiser, it seems like I am more removed from my heritage (moved away from my parents), but I crave it more and more. So this trip was perfect to rejuvenate my Taiwanese-ism, practice my mandarin, and learn more about Taiwan history.
It was also the first time my husband, Zach, has visited Taiwan and traveled to the “Orient”. He has only tasted a few items that we try to replicate here at home and in China Towns across the US, so we were excited to eat the real thing and fruits you can only find in the tropics.
We searched out our favorites during the trip, which includes: Asian sweet buns / other baked goods, dumplings and baos of all shapes, sizes and cooking methods, dim sum, fruit, and my all-time fave shaved ice. Here are some highlights:
Din Tai Fung dumpling house mascot.
Din Tai Fung’s famous soup dumplings (Xia Long Bao). This time we didn’t play around with other dishes, and got only soup dumplings, baos, and steamed pork / veggie dumplings. We did finish up the meal with a sweet red bean dessert bao though. One of the best meals we had.
Dim Sum at Brother Hotel in Taipei.
My favorite refreshing dessert, shaved ice or mixed frappe! You choose 3 items from a huge selection (pineapple, red bean, green bean, sweet potato, jellies, tapioca, passion fruit syrup, etc.), and then it’s topped with thinly shaved ice (like Hawaiian ice) and a sugar syrup or syrup of your choice. The best is still the stand at the Keelung Temple’s Mouth night market.
I hope you get a chance to visit Taiwan in your life if you haven’t already and indulge in the delicious cuisine. I know we’ll be back as soon as we can again to remind us of where my family is from and to stuff our faces!