Things We’ve Learned in Taiwan: Part 2

We’ve been here 5 weeks now. We are rapidly approaching our first payday, and we cannot wait! Here is the 2nd edition of things we have learned in Taiwan.

1. Food here is incredibly cheap. I mean, we can both eat 3 meals a day for around $10 US. If we had to, we could go even cheaper and spend like $6 ($200 Taiwan). It’s crazy to see signs saying $100NT for 1 meal, and that seeming expensive; when it is really $3.30 US. Where can you eat for $3.30 in the US? McDonald’s and Taco Bell come to mind. This is freshly made food, and lots of vegetables. I’m pretty sure their secret ingredient of choice is MSG, so there’s that. But who says MSG is even bad for you? It can’t be worse than some of the food additives that are common in the States.

$2 lunch ($60NT - New Taiwan Dollars)
$2 lunch ($60NT – New Taiwan Dollars)

2. Stinky Tofu has the perfect name for itself. Seriously, I wish Smell-O-Vision was a real thing and I could capture that smell and put it online for you. It’s hard to describe too. I’ve smelled worse things, but they weren’t FOOD. Lucky for us, we have a guy that cooks it right across the street from us. The front door of our building is open all day, so sometimes we get REALLY lucky and the smell makes it up the stairwell to the 8th floor just for us! I’ve tried asking if something that stinks like that can actually make you feel hungry when you smell it, but I believe it was lost in translation. We’ve tried it twice now, once on purpose, and once on accident. We thought we were ordering regular tofu in our Hot Pot. It’s actually not terrible to eat, but it’s not very enjoyable either.

Stinky Tofu at Huwei Night Market, Taiwan

3. We don’t like oyster omelettes. This is still the only thing that we have actually disliked. I could eat stinky tofu every day before I would try this again. It sounded perfect. Oysters in an omelette. But then they added a mystery ingredient to it, which we recently discovered is corn starch. So as it all cooks, the eggs start to solidify, just like we are all used to. But the corn starch doesn’t. It turns translucent in color, and it gets about as firm as gelatin. So instead of having a nice firm omelette filled with delicious oysters, the whole thing jiggles and you don’t even have to chew when you eat it. SICK.

4. Pizza doesn’t have any tomato sauce. I don’t know if it was the kind that was ordered, or if that is common. Our first few days here, it was our Boss’s birthday so they ordered Domino’s Pizza. It had some sort of white sauce instead of red. It didn’t taste bad, but it really wasn’t that good either. We did have pizza at a friend’s house last week that was homemade, and amazing. She used tomato sauce, but I don’t think the restaurants do.

5. Noodles and Soup are actually good breakfast foods. At first it felt a little strange to us to eat this for breakfast, but it has grown on us. Some places close really early, so if you don’t get over there, you aren’t getting any of their noodles. I’ve heard this is more common in the smaller cities, but not the large ones. Their exact words were “this is what country people do.”

Well that’s all for now, this is another edition of Things We’ve Learned in Taiwan. I’ll leave you with one more food picture, it’s one of my favorites.


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