Friday, May 29, 2009

Airline Meals

This will probably be one of my last posts about our vacation. If I find some more cute pictures, I might put them up here and there, but I wanted to close with a summary of all our airline meals! The picture quality is often quite poor, I'm sorry for that. It's tough to take pictures in that cramped seat. Any overall comments on the airlines? The food on the Asian airlines is much better than the food on American Airlines. US airlines in general just have horrible service.

1. American Airlines
JFK --> NRT (New York --> Tokyo)

Nasty beef dish with a gross salad and some pretend sushi

This was chicken, I believe. Slightly better than the beef. The oatmeal chewies were pretty tasty.

Later on, they served us another meal. This was chicken and rice, but with some fruit and Milanos!

2. Cathay Pacific
NRT --> HKG (Tokyo --> Hong Kong)

Not too shabby, I think this is fish with some string beans, carrots, and mushrooms. I like the added touch on the rice. ;) We also had some fruit and the roll was decent too. The mochi for dessert was an added bonus!

Dan's meal of egg and pork -- quite delicious!

3. China Airlines
HKG --> TPE (Hong Kong --> Taipei)

This flight was only 2 hrs long, so I consider this quite a good snack box! It's full of dim sum, dumplings, bao-zi's, and some bean curd thing. There's even a packet of good hot sauce on the side. :) The cake was very blah.

4. Japan Airlines
TPE --> NRT (Taipei --> Tokyo)

Hands down, my favorite meal of the bunch! Japan Airlines has really good service. This is their fish meal. Look at the attention to detail! For this super short flight, there are so many goodies. The meal meal was pretty good, comes with some vegetables and pickles as well. The pink noodles come with a soy dipping sauce and seaweed! There's also a delicious celery salad and some other interesting flowery vegetable. And free wine! OH -- there's even real metal cutlery!

5. American Airlines
NRT --> JFK (Tokyo --> New York)

Pork with some fake sushi again. The dessert looks gross, but I didn't try it.

I asked for a dairy-free meal, and they gave me this one. It's not bad, some Indian curry stuff with pretend naan.

We also had a snack box of bread plus turkey (very bland) and a "breakfast" meal later on, which consisted of a danish and a croissant. I think they gave us breakfast because it is much cheaper than a real meal. It certainly wasn't breakfast time, in NY or in Asia! Anyway, moral of the story is to fly non-American airlines!

All right, it's been really fun...thank you for reading! Maybe I'll post some more fun things when I get the time. :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Favorite Taiwanese breakfast

I adore the Taiwanese breakfast of shaobing youtiao. Shaobing is ... so hard to describe, but basically it's a rectangular Chinese bread (you can see it in my previous post on marketplaces) with sesame seeds and scallions, etc. The outside is slightly crispy, but the inside is warm and soft. You often eat it with youtiao, which are fried cruellers (but not sweet). You eat all this with some good homemade soybean milk. These breakfast places also often have danbing, or egg pancake (similar to a scallion pancake wrapped in egg), and other various pastries, both sweet and salty.

My aunt took us to a great place near her house. Pictured below are some pastries (a sweet shaobing, a fluffy scallion bread, and some delicious soymilk. :)

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Northern style Chinese food

One of my favorite types of Chinese cuisine is bei-fang cai, or Northern style. My grandparents are both from Northern China, so perhaps I am a tad biased, but I love it! Northern style food differs from Southern in that it is very wheat-heavy, instead of rice-heavy. (Their staple crop is wheat in the northern climate.) Thus, the dishes center on noodles, dumplings, pancakes, and steamed breads, etc. They also use more 'nourishing' types of meat, like lamb and beef and duck, because it's so cold.

We went to two different ones in Taiwan. Here's a sampling of some of the food.

Celery with lamb tripe: so light and delicious

Beancurd with pork and vegetables: a staple I order at every restaurant :)

This dish was very interesting. I wish I remembered what it's stir-fried shrimp with some sort of flower petal. (Those aren't onions you see there.) (update: According to my cousin, those are lotus petals!)

Roughly translated as "many vegetables wearing a hat", the hat being made of egg. You wrap the vegetables and egg in a thin pancake and it's delicious!

Chive pancakes: one of my all-time favorites! These amazing 'pancakes' have chives and eggs and sometimes cellophane noodles inside. They are pan-fried and crispy on top. :)

Beef noodles: Dan had been craving good beef noodles for days. These were quite good -- the noodles were perfectly chewy!

See our amazing spread?
Next time you have the chance to try some Northern Chinese cuisine, go for it! Make sure you get some of the scallion pancakes, chive pancakes, and other starches like that. :)

Posted by Picasa

Shaved ice

I'm closing in on my final few posts! Sorry posts have been so erratic; lots of errands and goodbyes and stuff lately. Anyway, I wanted to tell you about shaved ice, a very unique Taiwanese dessert. As you know, Taiwan's weather is pretty brutal. (It got so bad that I wouldn't leave the house after 10am or so! Nothing like an afternoon siesta. :)) Shaved ice is a great way to combat the problem. At most of the places, you can choose a whole bunch of toppings. They sometimes put condensed milk on as well, but I get it without. My favorite toppings are taro, red bean, green bean, grass jelly, and the small tang yuan.

Other toppings include fruit, various types of tapioca balls, peanuts, and more!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Mr. Persimmon Head

How fun! Mr. Persimmon Head! I love persimmons. :)

Posted by Picasa


I love the markets in Taipei. The amount of variety is staggering, and the amount of drool that comes out of my mouth is similarly staggering. Let me give you an idea of how awesome these places are.

This stand sold prepared foods. You can get a lunchbox (bian dang) for very cheap, and choose a whole variety of foods.

Steamed breads! Some with fillings and some plain. Also some fa-gao, or steamed rice cakes.

Eight Treasure Rice: yum, couldn't resist taking a picture of this. Eight Treasure Rice is sticky rice topped with various sweets, either dried fruits or red bean jam, etc. Very Chinese and very delicious.

Zhong zi: These are glutinous rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. You steam them and they become a delectable meal. Some are salty (fillings of pork, mushroom, etc.) and others are sweet (red bean filling). Love it!

Various pastries at the bottom, most with red bean filling. At the top are shao bing, these thin sesame breads that I adore.

Man making handmade noodles! Many different flavors. Everything is so fresh!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 22, 2009

Yang Ming Shan

My aunt and uncle took us for a short hike in Yang Ming Shan. It was gorgeous! Thought I'd leave you with a few pictures.

This is called "Milk Lake" because the water looks like milk.


After the hike, they brought us to a flower garden area near the mountain. The specialty is calla lilies, and everywhere there are fields of calla lilies. You can buy them for really cheap! There are also lots of restaurants there because it's so pretty.

Calla lilies

Steamed mantou's, many different flavors!

This was our restaurant. It was outdoors and very casual, but the food was great. We tried so many different types of vegetables -- stuff you can't normally get, like stir-fried betelnut leaves! We also had sweet potato fries and loofah tempura!
Posted by Picasa