Surrounded by Pacific Ocean in east, Formosa Sea in West, South China Sea in South and East China Sea in North, Taiwan inter-alia is a paradise for connoisseurs and lovers of sea food. One can have the best and brightest (literally) in that category in Taiwan. I too realised this once I landed in Taiwan. It was afternoon by the time I reached my hotel but the room was not ready by that time. I was feeling tired and hungry after an almost 9 hour journey from Delhi via Hong Kong. I therefore decided to have lunch in the restaurant of this plush hotel FX in Taipei.
However, I had not visualised the road blocks ahead. The first bottleneck was my complete lack of Chinese language and the limited language skills of the staff of restaurant in any other language. Looking at menu card, I was not clear about the contents of recipe. My conviction to avoid beef and pork was giving me jitters to chose froman otherwise rich menu. I kept on shuffling the pages of menu card without finalising the order for quite some time. The waitress, Janice was trying her best to understand my order and I was trying my best to break the language barrier. Janice suggested me some options but I was still not sure. I was also afraid of some raw, sticky, giddy sea food coming to me my table. I finally decided to try a recipe which had prawns as one of the ingredient, as I had eaten them before.
Just as I had a good portion of salads and fruits before the main dish of sub-buffet, I was served with a bowl of noodles with prawns. The prawns were accompanied by an oyster. I had not ever eaten oyster, but was feeling hungry enough to overcome my inhibitions. I started with noodles first and then had prawns. The taste was not bad for sure. They don’t use much spices and oils in Taiwan and you can garnish your food with pepper etc. I polished of everything soon except the oyster. I looked around and just scooped and sucked the flesh of the oyster. It was not the best of taste but it was not bad either. I finished everything was now feeling stomach full with this introductory seafood bowl of food in Taiwan. I did not forget to thank Janice for that.
After getting lucky with my maiden sea-food experiment, I became confident first and subsequently adventurous. My next trial was with nothing less than baby octopus!. They were sprinkled with rice as we do with nutri-nuggets. This was over a lunch and out of my new gained confidence, I did not think twice before popping few octopuses inside my mouth. I was feeling very brave in a sense that I had eaten octopuses really, the same animal which in many movies appears very dangerous with its sucking pods can squeeze life out of you in no time. The poor animal was down by throat now an I was alive and kicking. I was really happy to be able to do that.
Over next few days of my stay, I became even more bold and was ready to taste everything, practically. The pictures below will testify that.
As you can see. I had all sorts of fishes right fro Sardine to Salmon to Cuttlefish to Crabs. All of them were yummy and even more important, good on my stomach. In fact over a week of my stay in Taiwan, I was feeling best, tummy-wise. The lack of spices and oil, unlike in India, means you can relish the healthiest food and that too with natural flavor of the ingredients. My pick of the trip was the grilled lobster served sliced in half mid way at Westin Taipei. It was really tasty. I enjoyed it with many other sea food novelties and thanked my stars for getting me there and letting me relish this great sea food trail in Taiwan.