Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An Excursion to Wulai in Taipei, Taiwan


When the local team was brainstorming ideas for a teambuilding outing today, the idea of going to Wulai came up. It's a small town in the hills about an hour outside of Taipei, with waterfalls, hot springs, and aboriginal cuisine. Naturally, it was the latter that interested me the most, particularly some kind of bamboo rice thing, which we got at a shop called Taiya Popo Meishi Dian (14 Wulai Street, +886-2-2661 6371). I think I saw something similar on a Bourdain episode in Vietnam, but this was in Taiwan.

Bamboo Rice

It wasn't that unlike the sticky rice that you might find in a zongzi, but this one was done in a bamboo, complete with a papery inner lining from the bamboo that was supposed to have some kind of health benefits, if I heard it correctly. They incidentally also had some kind of zongzi-like thing wrapped up in a big green leaf, but a more pungent leaf instead. The team later ran out onto the street to get those sausages below. They were similar to ones that you might find in a typical night market in the city, but these were supposedly better because they were made with a juicier white pork.

White Pork Sausages

Actually, the most memorable thing for me wasn't any of these items, but rather the beverages that we sampled. One of them was just a mildly sweet rice wine made from millet, but there was another one that they called a "cocktail," and I could've sworn that they mixed Yakult or Calpis into it. There was also a dark drink (sans alcohol) made of some kind of peppercorn, ginger, and honey, but the slightly artificial-ish aftertaste reminded me exactly of Froot Loops. They were all fun either way.

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