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Beyond Pork: Fill These Taiwanese Pan-Fried Miniature Buns With Leeks and Dried Baby Shrimp

These buns have a secret inside: they're laced with chopped bits of dried baby shrimp, whose concentrated umami works a bit like tiny cubes of ham, permeating anything they're cooked with. Those shrimp, plus the golden-brown surface of the pan-fried bun, made me realize that this dish really doesn't need hunks of fatty meat to stand up to the best buns I tried in Taiwan. They're also remarkably easy to make at home. More

Taiwan Eats: Danzai Noodle Soup

Invented by resourceful Taiwanese fisherman as a way of making money during the off season, this delicious noodle soup is packed with a flavorful pork-and-shrimp broth, long-simmered meat sauce, pleasantly chewy wheat noodles, and one lone ceremonious shrimp. The broth and meat sauce require a bit of advance planning, but once ready, it's an incredibly easy dish to throw together. More

Taiwan Eats: Pork Belly Buns (Gua Bao)

True Taiwanese pork belly buns have five defining components: the fluffy steamed bun, tender braised pork belly, pickled mustard greens, fresh cilantro, and powdered peanuts. All combined, it's a messy, colorful, glorious snack of salty, sweet, pungent, and fresh flavors, with multiple textures to boot. More

Taiwan Eats: An Expat's Thanksgiving Turkey Comes Served Over Rice

Call it turkey over rice, or just "turkey rice," as its name directly translates; either way, should you find yourself in Taiwan's southwestern county of Chiayi, this is the number one dish to try. The soulful, rustic meal has earned island-wide yearnings for its delicate balance of fragrant seasonings. Head over to the recipe to transport your classic Thanksgiving meal (or its leftovers) to an entirely different place. More

The Pros and Cons of Joining a CSA

The spring harvest is upon us, and in many communities, it's the last call to sign up for a CSA for the full growing season. But before making the leap and joining one, consider whether the program is right for you. There are many pros and cons to weigh, and the summer can be an unexpected time - for you and that farm. Here's a handy list of pros and cons about CSA as opposed to other modes of food-shopping. More

On the Pickling Trail

Pickles have come a long way from those old bread-and-butter chips in the back of your fridge. In New York City, there's a new breed of craftsmen thriving on the old tradition of pickling. Equipped with solid roots and reverence for the versatile snack, three picklers are creating bold twists on old recipes and find themselves crossing cultures and ingredients to whole new levels. More

Taiwanese Pan-Fried Rice Noodles

@Meritra: The flat cabbage is often called "Taiwanese cabbage" in Asian groceries. It's featured in this dish: http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/02/taiwan-eats-braised-cabbage-with-dried-shrimp.html

Taiwanese Pan-Fried Rice Noodles

@Prpltrmpt: Fully appreciate your passion for traditional Taiwanese foods. I interviewed and cooked with countless chefs in the north and south of Taiwan (where my mom is from) for this dish, and found personally that the black vinegar that many used to be a delicious addition. You can certainly make it with or without meat, or with other vegetables such as sliced Taiwanese (flat) cabbage, which is alluded to, or marinade the pork with wine instead of/in addition to sesame oil, or add dried shrimp or squid. Happy rice noodling and sharing of styles as well!

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

@Irene: Sorry I didn't reply before dinnertime! You're right, it should be light soy sauce, not dark.
@Al_Kellpone: Toasted sesame oil is it!

Taiwan Eats: Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

@Chanjying: Thank you! Pinyin fail.

Taiwanese Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji)

@BookWrangler: Yep, Shaoxing rice wine works well!
@CuriousAppetite: Boneless is fine, but it'll cook much faster.
@toasterlover: Skin side-down to start out would be best to prevent sticking. Then you can flip it around a few times while braising. Most "Asian" sesame oils are toasted, but you can get some kinds that have been toasted darker than others. This has a deeper, toastier flavor and works just fine, too -- a matter of preference!
@BigMacIII: No idea about the slow cooker, as I haven't tried (don't own one). Give it a try and let us know!
@rjd1247 Any medium-hot fresh chili (preferably red, for color) is good. Just cut smaller pieces if they're bigger peppers and use just a pinch.

Taiwanese Pork Belly Buns (Gua Bao)

@punchjc: There's a good recipe for homemade buns in the Momofuku cookbook, as well as many of the oldschool Pei Mei cookbooks (Google her). But most home cooks and restaurants (including Momofuku) don't make their own buns from scratch. They buy them premade and ready to reheat in a steamer, so this recipe calls for those kinds which you can find in an Asian grocery. The recipe from scratch is pretty simple if you've ever made white bread, however, a yeast-risen AP flour dough with sugar added and formed into oval shapes before steaming.

Taiwan Eats: Beef Noodle Soup

@Michael Thim: Thanks for your thoughtful comment. "Lacks recognition as" is better put, I appreciate it. (The definition for "country" could fit Taiwan's reality as well as "nation.") But in keeping with your point about its being ultimately up to the people to decide, only a small minority of Taiwan's population currently vie for independence, while a majority opt to maintain "status quo." Perhaps it's not necessarily an issue of pride or capacity, but fear/threat playing a large role. In any case, the column (and a cookbook I'm writing) is meant to explore how Taiwan's food IS distinct, and worthy of its own name.

Taiwan Eats: Beef Noodle Soup

@amyjo: I agree with you. It is such a hearty soup that it seems unfitting for a thin, delicate noodle.

Taiwan Eats: Beef Noodle Soup

@AndroidUser: I think you answered your own question. To be sure, I wrote "Taiwan," not "ROC," the former of which has not officially proclaimed to be an independent nation even though it is self-sufficiently governed democratically, without being ruled over by any other. The "ROC" indeed professed to be the legitimate government of China but international attitudes on this have changed, hence PRC now being viewed as such (e.g. included into into the UN, while ROC is not).
@DennisEats: True enough, in that a "nation" can be defined as a group of people sharing a common culture. I said "technically not" to underscore the dilemma of the above.
@Michael Turton: No position except to call attention to the wonderfully unique culture and cuisine of Taiwan.

Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes (Fung Li Su)

@Mike K. It's 3 sticks of butter to 1 1/4 cup flour, plus 1/4 cup cornstarch. When the dough is chilled for at least 20 minutes, it's easy to work with to form into shapes, but if it comes to room temperature or warms up too much, it'll definitely be oily and difficult. As for the pineapple, you're right that stirring is more crucial in the final minutes as it becomes drier. I would definitely give a slow-cooker a try! Occasional stirring does lead to a more red or brown, slightly caramelized color and deep flavor, however. Just carries a greater risk of burning if you don't stir it often enough!

Taiwanese Pineapple Cakes (Fung Li Su)

@allisi: just as long as cookies keep, so about 4-5 days should be no problem. Thanks!

Taiwan Eats: Pineapple Cakes (Fung Li Su)

@octopod: Oh dear! You're absolutely right, thanks so much for pointing it out and understanding -- fixed now!

Taiwan Eats: Braised Eggplant with Garlic and Basil

@SinoSoul: Cheers! I love basil clams, too. As for non-Asian eggplant, I just think they are oddly shaped for braising or stir-frying, and can taste more bitter. The two basils do taste slightly different, but I kind of like 'em both!

Taiwan Eats: Taiwanese Meat Sauce With Rice (Lu Rou Fan)

@Bobabeast: Thank you so much! I had indeed considered explaining that you should add hard-boiled eggs for tasty lu dan anytime, but thought I'd save that for a future post! Thanks for the video, I watched her as well :)

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