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Best in Hospitality

Taiwanese Food!

Global Immersions - Friday, June 22, 2012

In preparation for our upcoming group of Taiwanese visitors attending TALK Language School, we’ve been thinking a lot about Taiwanese foods. A world apart from the lo mein or sushi available on nearly every block, Taiwanese food is an often underrated slice of Asian cuisine. In Taiwan the idea is to eat small and often, and street side “boa’s” dedicated to snacking are always busy. From the easily found “bubble tea” to the more rare “stinky tofu,” Taiwanese food has a lot to offer. Here are some of the crowd favorites:

Braised pork rice (滷肉飯)

Taiwanese love their lurou fan, so much so that the capital city of Taipei launched a “braised pork rice is ours” campaign last year after Michelin’s Green Guide Taiwan claimed that the dish is from Shandong Province in mainland China. A good bowl of lurou fan has finely chopped, not quite minced, pork belly, slow-cooked in aromatic soy sauce with five spices. There should be an ample amount of fattiness, in which lies the magic.

The meat is spooned over hot rice.  

A little sweet, a little salty, the braised pork rice is comfort food perfected.

Oyster omelet (蚵仔煎)

 Taiwanese food

Here's a snack that really showcases the tastes of Taiwan. You've got something from the sea and something from the soil.

The eggs are the perfect foil for the little oysters easily found around the island, while sweet potato starch is added to give the whole thing a gooey chewiness -- a signature Taiwan food texture.

No wonder it was voted best snack to represent the island in a poll of 1,000 Taiwanese by Global Views Monthly in 2007.

Bubble tea (珍珠奶茶)

Bubble tea is representative of the "QQ" food texture that Taiwanese love and has found a solid following in America as well. The cute-sounding phrase refers to something that is very chewy, just like the tapioca balls that are the "bubbles" in bubble tea.

It is said that this unique drink was invented out of boredom. Liu Han-Chieh threw some sweetened tapioca pudding into her iced Assam tea on a fateful day in 1988 and one of the greatest Taiwanese exports was born.

Bubble tea is easy to find in Boston. Try it out at Infusions Tea Spa (110 Brighton Ave), Lolicup (219 Quincy Ave) or Leisure Station (625 W Kendall St).

Stinky tofu (臭豆腐)

Taiwanese food 

This is the world's best love-it-or-hate-it snack and Taiwan does it just right. 

The "fragrant" cube of bean curd is deep-fried and draped with sweet and spicy sauce. If you hold your nose, it looks and tastes just like a plain ol' piece of fried tofu, with a crisp casing and soft center like pudding. Breathe deeply and your nose will tell you another story.

Want to try these delicacies? Here are some top rated Taiwanese restaurants in Boston:

Taiwan Café, 34 Oxford St, Chinatown (617) 426-8181

Jo Jo TaiPei, 103 Brighton Ave, Allston (617) 254-8889

Gourmet Dumpling House, 52 Beach St, Chinatown (617) 338-6223

MuLan, 228 Broadway, Cambridge (Kendall/MIT) (617) 441-8812

For more information about Taiwanese food read “40 Taiwanese Foods We Can’t Live Without” by Hiufu Wong available at http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/eat/40-taiwanese-food-296093?hpt=hp_bn5

Sources:http://www.yelp.com/c/boston/taiwanese;  

http://www.cnngo.com/explorations/eat/40-taiwanese-food-296093?hpt=hp_bn5;



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