Hello, hello, hello!
As a few of my readers will be aware, I went away not too long ago to Taipei. I was half going for a bit of rest, relaxation, a vacation! But also to visit my older brother, who has been over there for a couple of years now, teaching. I went with Mum, and we had an absolute blast.
We also walked around a lot, had an huge appreciation for the excellent train service, saw quite a few of the local places to visit, including the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall and surrounding buildings, Taipei 101, and thanks to the incredible generosity of one of my brother’s friends – Sun Moon Lake. I’m glad we went to the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall first, however. Because we soon discovered that quite a few other monuments, sights and attractions that we saw later were all either built by, for, or largely influenced by him.
I was also continuously amazed at the sheer beauty of the temples, often tucked in-between very modern buildings, and the variety. We were lucky enough to reach a large temple, Longshan Temple, right as a service was beginning. I was very privileged to listen to all the people chanting their scriptures, and incredibly humbled. Moments like that, I appreciate, are very private. So we made sure we didn’t linger too long, in-case it was being disrespectful. But it was still very moving, so I’m very glad we got to see it.
In terms of the food, however, eating gluten free was quite challenging at times and I don’t recommend it as a food destination for people with coeliac disease or gluten intolerance if you don’t also speak the local language well enough to explain your needs, which was our problem some of the time. Unfortunately there were periods were it couldn’t be avoided, and my body certainly made me regret it afterwards, but for the most part I noticed the more commonly used sauces didn’t make me feel sick at all. They also had a much milder flavour than some of the equivalent sauces I’ve eaten here, and weren’t quite so salty either!
Despite a few issues with that, the food is still ah-ma-zing. I can’t get over how delicious things like green beans cooked in pork fat and with crispy crumbled roasted pork is! Or cabbage cooked over high heat with plenty of garlic and oil. Or the mushrooms! I’ve never seen so many different varieties of mushroom before, and now I’m desperate to eat them again! Although it was quite unusual to see them so often in desserts, I really liked their sometimes smokey, often savoury flavour. I also wrote down the names of a few dishes I’ve fallen in love with so I could try finding recipes and adapting them at home!