On our way back from Kenting to Kaohsiung, we stopped by a fruit stand on the side of the highway because I really wanted to pick up some fruit. I love all fruit but REALLY love fruit from Taiwan. This fruit stand was selling only two types of fruit: wax apples and custard apples. Custard apples aren’t easy to find in the US (I’ve seen a variation of them in Chinatown but they’re usually bruised):
And wax apples that were as big as my fist:
The wax apples were super sweet and had a lot of flavor (much bigger than anything you can find in the US) and the custard apples are very fragrant and sweet (almost like a concord grape). We ate so many while we were in Taiwan that I think I overdosed on them; by the end of the trip, whenever we passed a fruit stand, I couldn’t bring myself to eat anymore, even though I knew I couldn’t find anything as good in New York! Now that I’m seeing all these photos, I really wish I ate a few more
While I don’t have the translation for the restaurant we went to in Kenting, I do have the website, which you can view (in Chinese) here. My cousin drives to Kenting once in a while because he loves fresh seafood and brought us to one of his favorites. The restaurants are all closed during the day because the fisherman are actually fishing for the day’s catch.
The seafood is dropped off in the front of the restaurant and placed in tanks for people to select:
There were so many different types of fish I’d never seen before, like these cousins of the lobster:
And this colorful fish tail:
You can select all types of fish (and different cuts of the fish from the head to the tail) from their cooler:
My cousin selected the fish with my mom and then we sat down and started eating almost immediately. We started with the chewy fish skin, a cold dish that was mixed with carrots, cucumbers, and a peanut sauce:
Next, fried shrimp balls with white pepper and salt:
And then sauteed shishito peppers with anchovies:
Next, a favorite of the night: clams with basil, red peppers and garlic:
This wasn’t a favorite but it had a very interesting texture – fried fish eggs with Asian mayo (kewpie):
Cabbage sauteed with goji berries:
Chinese water spinach:
Really delicious and spicy fried chicken:
Bacon with white pepper:
Three lobsters in miso soup with tofu:
Our table (with this really good grass jelly tea in the background that I didn’t see in Taipei when we returned):
Four fish steamed with green onion and ginger:
And me and Ken with my mom, my cousin and his wife, my aunt and uncle, and my cousin’s friends:
The seafood was all so fresh and prepared really well. All of the women that worked there loved my cousin because he picked all of the lobsters and was very specific on the preparation, too. He definitely knows the seafood restaurants in the area. This restaurant was packed when we arrived and packed when we left, so it’s worth a visit if you’re in Kenting (or a drive if you’re in the Kaohsiung area).
After spending a few days in Taichung, we boarded the high speed train and headed down to the southern part of the island. My cousin lives in Kaohsiung and wanted to show us around since I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and Ken didn’t remember ever visiting. The drive from Kaohsiung to Kenting is about two hours but my cousin said there was a seafood restaurant there that he wanted to bring us to and we should see the southern most tip of the island.
We drove in the afternoon and arrived in time for the sunset:
Kenting National Park is also known for a rock that they’ve named Nixon’s head because people say it looks like Nixon’s profile:
(The real name of the rock is Sail Rock but most people know is as Nixon’s head). We walked around and drove around the night market before heading to dinner at a restaurant my cousin thought we’d really like!
On our final day in Taichung, we had a private tour around Lukang, one of Taiwan’s oldest towns. My dad scheduled the tour for us and the driver picked us up early in the morning to drive over to Lukang. The area has some touristy spots so tour groups can walk around the area while eating snacks. We went to a tea shop to eat some miancha:
Miancha is a Lukang specialty, which is made of pulverized peanuts, flour, sugar, and water. My mom grew up eating miancha as an after school snack; it’s very thick and can be served either hot or cold. Since it was slightly cold on the day we were walking around Lukang, we ordered two peanut versions (hot) and an almond milk.
After finishing our miancha, we walked to a restaurant for their oyster omelet (“e-ah’jian”):
These oyster omelets are found in night markets all over Taiwan but they’re supposed to be the best in Lukang. They’re made out of fresh oysters, eggs, onions, lettuce and it’s topped with hot sauce and some corn starch-based sauce. I like the oyster omelets more in Taipei, especially since the sauce was overwhelming and on everything we ordered at lunch, including the fried tofu and the fried turnip cakes:
After lunch, we walked around the bakeries in the town and purchased some Lukang treats to bring back to David and Laura. Then, we headed to Kaohsiung to visit my cousin!
Since my cousin lives in Taichung, my dad scheduled a dinner for us so we could meet up. My cousin, Eric, suggested Wein Restaurant and Lounge because it’s one of the more special restaurants in the area and they have a set menu that’s easy to order from. The restaurant is known for Peking duck so we ordered the peking duck for four. The duck accoutrements were presented in two large compartmentalized plates:
The duck is prepared at your table and also presented with two different types of wraps: the traditional version and the middle eastern version (pita):
You’re supposed to eat the duck in either wrap with any combination of the sides:
Next, the waiter brought the rest of the duck with a plate that resembled a painter’s palette (under the Parmesan):
Here’s the palette that’s filled with different types of sauces for dipping the duck:
They painted the sauces onto a plate:
Next, there were homemade rice cakes sauteed with cilantro:
There was also a mapo tofu that was made tableside (they poured soymilk into a clay pot, then covered it and after about 10 minutes, it solidified enough for them to pour the mapo sauce onto it and scoop it up to plate).
For dessert, they take you downstairs to the bar area for fresh fruit:
My mom, Ken, me, and my cousin, Eric, after dinner:
The meal was really good and it was really nice to catch up with Eric. My mom hasn’t seen him since he was a kid and said she was pleasantly surprised with how mature and funny he is now. Next time he comes to New York, I’ll have to take him to the Peking Duck House in New York and compare!
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