Review: The Layover – Taipei

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One of the first things that jumps out to me from this episode is the night markets.  This is one of the first places that Tony goes after hopping off of his plane.  The markets have been built around traditional temples that are still in use today.

The food that Tony eats in the night markets is… well… adventurous.  And that is saying something because I have been going on a “I’ll try any food” kind of binge for quite some time now.  But the food looks so foreign to our western eyes that it may be very difficult for me to try some of them… Particularly some of the mysterious items sold by vendors.  If I can’t tell what I’m eating, it is quite intimidating to take that first bite!

Tony calls Taipei an alternate China.  A brief history lesson is that Taiwan, still officially known as “The Republic of China“, was seen by the United States as the legitimate government of mainland China.  This lasted from the time that Communism took over mainland China, until the 70s!  This is why Tony sees Taiwan as a “what could have been” China.

Taiwan has also been well invaded, occupied, and colonized throughout its history.  The Spaniards, the Dutch, and the Japanese have all controlled Taiwan at one time or another.  This is a major influence on the foods you see around Taiwan.  Even the fleeing mainland Chinese brought with them the desire for more beef (now a major dish in Taiwan), when Taiwan was an island that didn’t normally eat beef like the mainland.

The mountains of Taiwan was my favorite part of the episode.  It looks like paradise; the pinnacle of relaxation.  This is especially true when comparing the snow covered ground outside my window with the jungle mountains of Taiwan.  But spending the rest of the episode would make a boring travel show, so Tony is quick to head back into the city.

The food that I was most intrigued by was the soup dumplings, apparently a main dish in Taiwanese tradition.  The dumplings literally contain soup and don’t get soggy and gross!  I have no idea how this voodoo works, but you bite into the dumpling and out pours soup.  Maybe one day i’ll be able to visit taiwan and sample the dumplings.

For a full list of where Tony visited in Taipei, Click Here!

9 Responses to “Review: The Layover – Taipei”
  1. The dumpling that contains soup/ broth inside is called xiao long bao. In north america I think it’s called shanghai dumpling. It’s really good! 🙂

    • Justin says:

      Well I have to go find one now. Soup inside of a dumpling seems like one of those things that shouldn’t be possible, but now I have to try one!

      • Awesome! It’s really yummy! Be careful when you eat it though as it’s a little hot so if you’re not careful, the soup will explode in your mouth when you bite down. My technique to eating that dumpling is I take a small bite first at the top part of the dumpling, then drink the soup inside and eat the rest. 😉

      • Justin says:

        Haha i’ll keep that tip in mind!

  2. coti says:

    I have such a soft spot for Anthony Bourdain. I think he’s help me become a more adventurous eater when I travel. I almost moved to Taiwan instead of Bangkok and know my food adventures would have been very different. 🙂

    • Justin says:

      Yes he is definitely a catalyst of adventure for me as well. Its hard to not appreciate all of these different foods and cultures when you watch someone like Bourdain travel. I imagine the food in Bangkok is pretty awesome though!

  3. The night markets are intriguing and not to be missed. On a brief visit several years ago, I had the chance to experience this wonderful food nightlife. It’s an opportunity to try some exotic choices not found frequently. I had a week of travel in Japan ahead of me, so I stayed with some safe choices to avoid any health issues – very un-Bourdainlike of me.

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