September 27, 2013

In Food Heaven there is unlimited supply of Soy Milk... And Luobogao - 蘿蔔糕

Food heaven is full of soy milk

Or: How I found my favourite breakfast

The wonderful staff making the food
And there, right around the corner, on the road that I was just strolling down, it is. Food heaven. It's a random day, and school hasn't really kicked off, so I am out exploring my new area, trying to get used to the sounds and the smells of the city, trying to get used to the humidity and more than anything, to explore and get to know my new home town.

I have no idea where I am going - I am just out and about, wandering aimlessly, like I often do in a new location, if I have time. And here in Taiwan that's something I have plenty of - time...  So I walk, up and down various street. Getting a little lost is always good, that's how I discover new places. A friend of mine always laughs at me for walking too fast, when I don't know where I am going – but he doesn't understand the charm of it, doesn't understand that I both like walking fast and getting lost (and for those who wonder, I DO have enough money on me to take a taxi home and I also have a little card with the address – in the local language. So no, I won't get completely lost. I am adventurous but not stupid...)

This time I am not too lost, I have wandered of on purpose and I am on Xitun road - but I just don't know what to expect. Xitun road is a good road to be on though, it's a street that goes all through central Taichung - a great place to get back to if I'd get completely confused among the Chinese roadsigns.

So I walk on... Turning the corner road I see it - food heaven. I realise that it may be as soon as I see it - I see big cups of soy milk being served.  Not really hungry, already having had breakfast, I still find myself looking curiously- the soy milk does this to me. When I spot the drink it gives me flashbacks of wonderful home-pressed soy milk  visiting Taiwan, visiting Malaysia - and I can't resist. It awakens something in me and I have to go and try it. When I then spot the turnip cake, lúngbogao - 蘿蔔糕 , well that's it. It doesn't matter that I just ate – I have to have another meal.

Turnip cake and danpin. And of course, the soy milk...
They say that if you find a place where the Taiwanese queue for food, the food will be worth the wait – and it has always been true so far. The Taiwanese I met are all very interested in good food and among the first questions you will get as a foreigner is "how do you like the food in Taiwan". If the Taiwanese queue, it's because something good awaits at the end of the line. Go and check it out!

And the rule about queues works here too, especially certain times of days - the queues are building up in the morning, but there is a whole little army of people preparing food, so you still don't have to wait long. The soy milk is waiting on the counter.  The rest of the food is being prepared; Someone is frying Taiwanese pancakes (danpin), someone else making omelets (danbao – although there are other words for it as well, but here the women that work teach me that it's danbao), a third person is frying the lúngbogao, yet another is making various dumplings, and so forth. 

The staff are also busy serving everybody, making sure no one starves.

And a few are taking care of confused customers from Europe who haven't learnt to master the Chinese language yet... Well, at least of this confused European (and if you want to keep me company chances are you'll find me here, on the corner Xitun Road - WenXin road in Taichung, especially on a weekend...)

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