Monday, May 3, 2010

Gotta Fix My Mandarin

Yesterday morning, I walked to my brother's local morning market and ate a few bowls of deliciousness. The first, noodles and fish meatballs in a white pepper flecked broth, really hit the spot. Screw breakfast cereal, this is the way to go.  It is pictured below. The second, kong rou fan, is very similar to lu rou fan in that it is soy braised pork over rice but the meat is cut much bigger and you get a large wank of delicious, melt-in-your-mouth fat.  Anyhow, at the second breakfast, it was evident just how much of a local curiosity I am.  4 elderly, VERY talkative Taiwanese dudes tried to engage me in conversation the entire time I was eating.  I'm not complaining and, in fact, really liked it and tried to keep up as best I could.  After I finished the kong rou fan, I  explored the market.  At every stall, I was greeted with an inquisitive smile and an offer to sell me something.  Too bad I can't understand what they are saying.  Taiwanese people are so nice, so friendly that they can't help but talk to you.  I need to fix my Mandarin so I can respond accordingly.  In addition, the morning market is amazing.  Easily the best fish I have ever seen and the squid positively glows.  I will dedicate a full post to the morning market in the near future.

For lunch, niu rou chao fan.  Yep, beef fried rice.  There wasn't much else open near here given that I went out at 3:30.  Nothing too special but it was fast and filling.  And about a $1.00.  I also met the most adorable little girl.  She walked up to me and asked, "Ni shi meiguo ren, ma?" which translates to "Are you American?"  I think she was the street vendor's daughter.  Sweet girl.  Too bad her mom's fried rice lacked flavor.   Speaking of prices, things here are kinda strange.  For instance, shaving cream cost 4 bucks but nearly everything I've eaten has been around a dollar.  It's kinda the opposite of what I am used to.

Back to the night market for dinner.  No, not the morning market.  It's kinda awesome that there is a market open only until noon, one which is open only in the afternoon and then one only open at night.  We wandered around and settled on vegetarian food.  I had noodle soup (tang mian) and my brother ordered some veggies and bean curd.  We also went back to the arcade and I watched him get his ass handed to him at Street Fighter IV.  For the curious, he was E.Honda (how appropriate) and his opponent was M. Bison.

After dinner, we headed to a store to buy my toiletries, clothes hamper etc.  The kinds of things you need when setting up in a new place.  It was a blast. I really like checking out the local brands and how they've taken Western brands and adapted them for local tastes.  Potato chips are a great example...anyone up for seaweed flavor?

And I need to join a gym.  Food is too delicious to not eat but it is too hot to run outdoors.  I think I will do more exploring tomorrow.  I am going to give myself a chance to gradually adjust to the humidity.

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