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Social Media Rewards Persistence

posted by Jason Swihart on October 09, 2007

Due to Byron’s delicate gastro-intestinal constitution, I’ve been designated the official TDI “adventure eater” for our upcoming trip IDF Taipei. I’ve been scouring sites for ideas on what to eat and where to eat it, but until this morning, those ideas have amounted to:

  • The night markets have food
  • Stinky tofu is one of those foods

Not exactly the kind of specific, in-depth information I was hoping for, but completely typical of most of the Taipei tourist guides I’ve read online. Why the output of traditional marketing and communications is so often half-assed is a discussion for another time, but suffice it to say, I was discouraged.

But then, on page six of about 23,000 in the flickr search results for “Taipei” there’s this:

Favorite Desserts in Taipei

Some guy’s favorite desserts? Sounds interesting. Which leads to the treasure trove of that same guy’s flick set “Favorite Taipei Eats.” How did he know what I was looking for 16 months before I even knew?

Favorite Desserts in Taipei, originally uploaded by Danburg Murmur.

Comments (3)
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Oct 11  |  Danburg Murmur said:

In answer to your rhetorical question: because I live in Taipei and like good food. Unfortunately, relying on those sets of Flickr photos may prove less helpful than you would imagine. Taipei has many, many amazing restaurants, but most of my favorites are a bit difficult to find unless someone brings you to the door. Even then, the majority have nobody on staff who can communicate with foreigners and no English menu. Even walking around a night market and your hands to indicate what you want doesn’t guarantee you will get something tasty (someone needs to point out the vendors serving the really good stuff).

With those restrictions in mind, I can suggest a few places with addresses that a concierge could clearly explain to a taxi driver:

“Shao Shao Kuh” (a rough transliteration of 勺勺客陜西餐館) serves Shia Shi cuisine, and you can use a menu with photos to order 炙子骨排 (salty pork ribs), 新疆香酥羊串 (skewers of lamb), 酸嗆土豆絲 (crunchy grated potato salad), and 奶香小饅 for dessert.

At 1010新湘菜 try the神仙孜然排骨 (fried pork rib with fennel and spices), 干鍋臭豆腐肥腸 (stinky tofu with pork intestine), 松子年糕牛肉 (beef with rice noodles and pine nuts), and 鄉巴佬炒雞 (Hunan style chicken hearts and gizzards). Wash it down with荔枝凍飲 (an iced lychee drink) and get the黑芝麻揶汁西米露 (black sesame milk with tapioca) for dessert.

You should also pay a visit to Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐), because although it has become a tourist trap, they do serve excellent soup dumplings to foreign visitors with great efficiency. Try the branch off Zhongxiao Road to avoid waiting in an even longer queue at their original location.

Of course, if you have friends who can read or speak Mandarin Chinese, then a much longer list would become available to you. However, those recommendations should get you started. Bon voyage!

Oct 13  |  DL Byron said:

Thanks! We’d also heard about stinky tofu and I won’t eat any of that, but so far, the “safe western” food has been good. I feel far less on alert than Beijing for water and stuff. It already seems cleaner.

Oct 15  |  Danburg Murmur said:

Glad to hear it, DL. I do hope you have the chance to try some of the local cuisine along with the familiar Western dishes (Taipei has much more to offer than just stinky tofu). However, you can also enjoy very tasty Italian food and French pastries here if you long for the comforts of home.

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