Saturday, January 10, 2015

Happy 2015! | Taipei

Dear home cooks,
Kicking off my cross-year trip to Taipei with the sights and sounds and scents of Raohe Night Market (饒河觀光夜市)

New Years Eve Countdown at Taipei 101
Alvin's Penthouse Kitchen wishes you a fruitful, delicious, Happy 2015!! As 2014 drew to a close, the Penthouse Kitchen took a little break and headed for Taipei for the New Years. As with all visits to Taiwan's bustling capital, the first and foremost stop on the itinerary is none but the city's many famed night markets. There, one navigates through narrow channels lined with food hawkers, each showcasing a specialty of some sort that ranges from ubiquitous local classics to the original and the creative.

As one grapples with the sights and sounds of a true steet food paradise, you are bound to fall first for the tantalizing aromas of sticky, grilled wild boar sausages(山豬肉香腸)infusing the atmosphere. And just as you find yourself overwhelmed by choice, the faintly puckering, pungent waft of deep-fried stinky tofu(臭豆腐)- served accompanied by pickled cabbage and a garlicky chili sauce - will surely assault your nostrils and have you drooling for more. Love it or hate it, there's just no ignoring it.

A stinky, tasty national obsession: stinky tofu served three ways. Love it or hate it, there's just no igrnoring it.
(From left) Stuffed pepper pork buns; soya sauce innards galore; aiyu jelly and lemon
"QQ"- as the Taiwanese affectionally describes all things chewy: freshly made and cut taro balls(芋圓)at Jiufen

Meaty, crusty, sesame-dusted stuffed pepper pork buns(胡椒餅)made fresh daily and baked in hot canisters; spicy, crunchy, tender pounded deep-fried chicken steaks(炸雞排)larger than your face; flaky, crispy, multi-layered scallion pancakes(蔥抓餅)made to order are all but only a few of my favorites that are not to be missed at Taipei's lively night markets. Whether you are there for a late night snack or a street feast, you are in for a real visual and taste treat. Not to mention the plethora of traditional desserts and beverages... that's if you still have room for that. But if you are like me, all things sweet belong to that other stomach, right?

As I write, I am back to work from welcoming the New Year in Taiwan (still detoxing and cleansing from excessive alcohol and grease) and currently busy preparing for a significant career milestone - so please stay tuned in the next couple of weeks as I shortly resume making a mess at the Penthouse Kitchen... bringing you more exciting, easy, tasty homecooking recipes this fresh, new year!

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