Sunday, September 7, 2008

Don't hate me 'cuz I'm feasting

I'll admit it; a disproportionate number of my blog entries are about food. This one is no exception.

This afternoon I was craving Duck Noodles (鴨肉麵 yā ròu miàn), so I walked the 4 blocks to my favorite shop, only to discover that they were closed and wouldn't reopen for another half hour. This place must put cocaine in their yā ròu miàn, because I'm addicted. Normally I would have waited to get my fix, but at the time I was very hungry and starting to get headachey. I decided to head back and try a food stand right next to my building. Despite its convenient location, I had never bought anything there.

Like many of the food stands here, the customer chooses from a variety of meats, veggies, and noodles that are on display. These are then fried or boiled, added to noodles, and/or made into a soup. When I first arrived a few months ago, eating at these kinds of places was a bit intimidating. I could recognize the vegetables and noodles, but couldn't identify most of the meat portions offered. I'd end up crossing my fingers and pointing. Fortunately, my Chinese has improved enough so that now I can at least ask what the mystery meat is, and (most times) understand the response.

Today I chose noodles, broccoli, and some type of greens (chard?), then added a variety of protein: tofu, sausage, and chicken hearts. Having missed out on my yā ròu miàn, I considered throwing in a duck head. In the end, though, I chickened out [poultry joke]. The shop added green onions (蔥 cōng, which I learned today), broth, and spices. I'm eating it as I write this, and it's quite delicious. There's enough for two meals, and it cost only $50NT ($1.50 US).

Is it any wonder that I'm always talking about food?!

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