Hsinchu City
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A bite of Beef Noodle Soup
Beef noodle soup is a common Taiwanese dish (also popular in China). The first time I tried it was when I lived in Hsinchu, which supposedly has some of the best beef noodle dishes in the country. There are many versions of the soup but basically it consists of a noodle soup made with stewed or red braised beef, beef broth (also with varying ingredients), vegetables and thick or thin noodles. In Taiwan, the beef is usually in brisket, shank, or tendon form. Though I'm not a fan of eating a lot of red meat on a regular basis, I did enjoy sampling a dish of spicy beef noodle from time to time.
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Dan Chao Fan in Taiwan
Fried rice, or egg fried rice, is called Dan Chao Fan in Taiwan. There are many Dan Chao Fan stands in cities throughout Taiwan and one of my favorite was in Hsinchu, where I was given a lesson on how to cook the dish. Dan Chao Fan can be made vegetarian or with meat, including shrimp. Green onions, diced vegetables, vegetable oil, and salt are mixed together over medium to high heat in a wok, then set aside and cooked rice is added to the pan. Two eggs are poured over the rice and the mixture is stirred until everything is yellow. The vegetables are then added to the mix and briefly stirred. Simple and delicious!
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Bubble Tea Joy
Bubble tea, also known as pearl tea, was invented in tea shops in Taiwan during the the 1980s. Bubble tea is one of my favorite things in Taiwan and I always experience kid-like joy whenever I get my hands on it. It is, like the name suggests, a tea-based drink often combined with fruit, milk, or flavored syrup. It's most prominent feature however, is chewy tapioca balls (called pearls) that float through the drink. The varieties of bubble tea are endless. Some teas are more smoothie-like in consistency, while others are pretty much pure tea with bubbles plopped in. My favorite while living in Taiwan was the green tea bubble tea - I drank one giant cup practically every day. One of the most popular forms of bubble tea is bubble milk tea, created using powdered dairy or non-dairy creamers. Chunks of jelly and fruit also are often added to the teas. Bubble tea stands can be found on practically any street in Taiwan.
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