This post made me really crave for Taiwanese food again…so I’m going to continue the ESR Around the world series with Taiwan’s love for all things deep fried.
In Vancouver, we only get to see a highly stylized version of old Taiwanese favorites such as deep fried tentacles, deep fried chicken nuggets, deep fried tofu, deep fried tempura, deep fried chicken thigh, deep fried pork chop, deep fried etc.; all served on trendy Ikea plates in equally fashionable bubble tea shops. The majority of people (who drink bubble tea) in Vancouver are used to these type of places, and come to expect from them quality in presentation and atmosphere.
What some might not have a chance to see is that these dishes have very humble roots on the streets of Taiwan, which still has presence today. If you don’t mind standing on your feet while eating, or getting take out, these frying stalls found in any night market in Taiwan can make your deep fried fantasies come true for about $3.
You know when you first walked into Daiso, and immediately you feel this shock like you’ve just walked into the heavenly Matrix of plastic household goods and think “No words…No words to describe….they should’ve sent a poet…“. That’s what this deep fryer on wheels cart will do to your taste buds.
How it works is you pick a bit of anything you want in a basket, and the musclebound owner weighs it for price and fries it for you in their oil vat, sprinkles a bit of magical flavor dust, and gives it to you in a little plastic lined baggie.
The flavor is top notch, all that pungent aroma of deep fried protein and spices hits your nose full force as you try to dig out the different fried miscellany from the little bag with your wooden skewer.
Vegetarians are not left out either. There are plenty of vegetables that taste good after being deep fried, as well as soy based meat alternatives. I don’t mind eating a broccoli or two if it was covered in batter and anointed with scalding oil.
“Fry me to the moon…and let me play among the stars…”
– Frank Sinatra