First encountered on the drive back from a three-day hike in the mountains of northern Taiwan–probably no meal has ever tasted so good. A street cart displays a wide range of edibles: (pre-battered and fried) giant chicken cutlets, drumsticks and thighs, mushrooms, green beans, rice blood sausage, tofu, squid, sweet potato, taro–you name it. You simply take a bowl, fill it up with your choice of goodies, and hand it to the lady behind the cart. She will dice it all up into bite-size chunks, toss in spices, and deep-fry. Our reward for 60+ kms of walking and very sore feet was paper bags filled with spicy, greasy, piping-hot fried stuff of all varieties (this falls under the broad heading of ‘food to be eaten with a skewer’ and you might not even get that messy!).
My hiking companions explained we were going for ‘junk food, Taiwanese style’ and I guess they were right–healthy this ain’t, but it beats a Big Mac any day of the week! Other food carts do something similar with a grill or cook your food items of choice in a dark broth (look out for packs of instant noodles as an option here). But it’s definitely the Taiwanese junk food that hits the spot, at those moments when only spicy-greasy-starchy-crunchy-meaty will do (it would make excellent post-drinking food also, but that is a theory I have yet to put into practice).
Junk food – Taiwanese style
Zhudong Taiwan 310