What started off as a trip to the Xinshe Flower Sea turned into a culinary adventure, as May and I sampled some local snacks. We had: “chicken egg” cake, rice blood cake, pineapple tacos, shaved milk ice, sugar cane juice, Italian ice cream and Duo-Duo green tea.
Not 5 minutes after leaving home, en route to the Flower Sea, we ran into a road detour set up in order to facilitate the Future Forest Music Festival. In Taiwan, any such event is followed by caravans of snack stands, and this was no exception.
Our first snack was “chicken egg” cake. It is a simple cake that is made in a waffle maker-like machine that, rather than making the waffle shape us ‘Muricans know and love, forms a cluster of tiny chicken egg shapes. Chinese desserts are also less sweet than we make ’em in the US of A so don’t expect this to satisfy your sweet tooth. If you look closely, you can see a picture of one on the sign inside the truck.
Not long after finishing up the “chicken egg” cake, we walked past another type of cake that is known and feared by foreigners and the weak of stomach: pigs blood rice cake. May had her first try…
…and elected not to give her approval.
We reached the end of the snack procession and made a U-turn. That’s when we spotted the taco truck. The god damned Mexicans must’ve swam across the Pacific and illegally immigrated to Taiwan too! To my relief, it was a white guy and his Taiwanese wife, and mah’ jerb would be safe for the time being. Maybe we can make Mexico pay for a wall around Taiwan #makeamericagreatagain. In all seriousness, they make the best, damn hot sauce I’ve had in Taiwan. I advocate it and they aint even paying me for it ( yet). Check out Anita’s Hot Sauce on Facebook.
The last snack on our visit to the music festival was a personal favorite of mine: shaved milk ice. May was a fan too. She agreed that it’s even better than ice cream. We got the mango flavor, and it came with a cool bowl/dog toy (in my house, anything plastic doubles as a dog toy as soon as I forget to put it out of reach).
By the time we’d gotten to the Flower Sea, it was too dark to get any really good pictures so we settled for more of the same: the snack caravan. We walked down the rows, and I translated and explained what all the different food were as we walked by. May decided she had to try the sugar cane juice because she had never tried such a novelty.
I handed the cup to May and she took her first, tentative sip. She smacked her lips, frowned, looked up at me and said “it tastes like sugar cane!”. She has both beauty AND brains, gentlemen; what more could a man ask for?
Disappointed with the mundane taste of sugar cane juice, May took two sips, passed it off to me and skipped over to the Italian ice cream stall. If you have ever had Italian ice cream, then I have nothing to contribute to the description. We got a scoop of blood orange and a scoop of chocolate.
The next day, on our way to the Bat Cave and Fairy Waterfall, we rode by a Ching Xin tea shop and I insisted that May try one last Taiwanese snack that I have a long-standing infatuation with: Duo-Duo green tea.
May liked this one too; She liked it a lot better than rice blood cake anyways.
There are over 50 different types of drinks you can get at a stand like this including the famous pearl milk tea. I’m partial to: lemon green tea, grapefruit green tea, and, of course, Duo-Duo green tea.
The great selection of: interesting, delicious and sometimes unpleasantly surprising snacks in Taiwan is one of the many reasons I love living here. A trip to the night market, where you can get a huge variety of these unique morsels, should be one of the first visits on any travelers itinerary.