Thursday, August 07, 2008
Searching for lunch in downtown Taipei, Bordeaux and I scanned the offerings on a street lined with local fast-food restaurants. Ignoring the sushi shops and shwarma joints, we picked a spot that specialized in Hakkanese-style lunchboxes. Stepping into the cramped interior, we had the strange sense of almost being back in Beipu. The dimly-lit room was decorated to look like a rural teahouse, with wooden walls, roughly hewn tables, and glowing paper lanterns. Our lunchboxes were set in front of us, and we could examine what goes into Hakkanese fast-food: we each had a slightly caramelized chicken leg, a pile of slightly-oily egg noodles, and some fatty pork. If you think that sounds rather heavy- you’re completely right. As tasty as it was, and as hungry as we had been when we sat down, neither of us could finish our lunch. And we could barely touch our dessert- a glutinous rice dumpling, peaked in white sugar. Interestingly, we’d felt the same after out lunch in Beipu. So effectively, they managed to create not just the atmosphere of a rural Hakkanese lunch- but the feeling as well.