Small Eats

Mmmm....this will be the first of many posts on food. Taiwan is all about street markets and 小吃 (small eats). Portions are small, which is perfect for snacking, or you can make a meal of it by ordering several different dishes. The dishes above are a cuttlefish soup and sliced vegetarian chicken - (It doesn't taste or look like chicken. That's just what it's called, though I have had some surprisingly convincing mock meats here before). Dried cuttlefish (or squid) is reconstituted in a water/soda solution which gives it a different taste and texture from fresh cuttlefish. Don't knock it until you try it. I love this stuff, and it costs less than that can of high sodium Cambell's Chunky in your pantry.

That's dad checking out the other dishes. That's not his man-purse, it's a shopping bag. Taiwan has a plastic bag ban, it's a loose ban, but it only really affects us when we go to the supermarket. If you don't bring your own bags, you have to buy one from the store. No big deal, I'm happy to use my own anyway. All the street markets, small shops and food shops still use plastic bags though, so there's certainly no shortage of extra plastic sacks at home when you need them. I'm also happy to report that garbage collection is pretty similar to what it was back in Seattle; recycling, food waste and rubbish. Yay! Our building has a refrigerated room where they keep the food scraps bin. One day I'll document this, but let's get back to the food.

A woman making steam buns. Boiled dumplings and the tray of dumpling condiments; soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, garlic, pepper sauce...

This was a noodle soup place we stopped at. No frills, no menu, just soup. Then you just stand right there on the sidewalk or street side and eat it with everyone else. And when you're done, put the bowls in a bucket and the spoons in another, easy.