Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Big Dinner Out

OK y'all, this is another monster long post with lots of pictures. There are a few more loose ends I need to tie up, but this will be the last big bunch of stuff.

Before I get into the big bunch o' food pictures, I have to post the picture that I was trying to get almost the entire time I was there. There were two types of traffic timers that I saw while I was in Taiwan. One showed the number of seconds until the red light turned greed. The other showed the number of seconds until the walk signal turned to don't walk. The walk signal came complete with a little animated green walking guy (who starts moving faster as time counts down). I finally manged to get both timers in one picture -- woohoo!

On my next to last evening in Taiwan, the group organized a large dinner out. Lots of people were invited -- my entire work group, my manager and his manager, the key managers from other areas, and a lot of the people I'll be working closely with. There were fourteen people there in all, and we were given a large private room with two large round tables.

Then the food -- Shanghai style -- started arriving. By this time I'd been to enough meals to know that I should just sample a bite or two of each item -- otherwise I'd be stuffed long before the last items were brought out. I followed that rule, and still I was stuffed by the end!

They told me the items on the first platter were "drunk chicken" and "meat with jelly." Both were tasty, although I preferred the chicken.

Next up were some spicy vegetables (on the left) and jellyfish (on the right). The vegetables were quite spicy but the perfect crunchiness. The jellyfish was the texture you'd expect jellyfish to be -- not my usual fare, but not bad.

The next course delivered was soup. It had a fair amount of cilantro (my least favorite herb) in it, but as long as I ate around the cilantro, it was delicious. It was delivered in one of the biggest bowls I've ever seen, and we did a pretty good job of eating it.

Next was shrimp, tofu and veggies -- yum! (No, I didn't eat much of the tofu...)

The dish below is duck in sauce with vegetables. If I've ever eaten duck before, it's only been once or twice. Like almost everything I ate in Taiwan, it was delicious.

This platter is lamb. It was a challenge to eat with chopsticks (as were a few things I ate), but it was really yummy. But wow, I was getting really full by this time, even eating just one or two bites of each item!

These are dim sum dumplings. I didn't try one since I was so full. I know I love dumplings, so I'm sure they were amazing.

Next: more soup! This was chicken soup -- as in, whole pieces of chicken. Quite tasty!

The next item to be brought out was fried lotus, apparently. Again, I skipped it since I was so full. They were quite large, about the size of a fist, and it just seemed like a lot of food at that pont.

Dessert was delivered next, and I was told that this would be the last item. Dessert soups are quite common in Taiwan. This one, like most, was served cool and was slightly sweet. You can see the pasta-like stuff in it, as well as the olive-sized things which may be fruits of some kind. All good stuff.

My neighbor was mistaken, of course -- there were multiple desserts. The second dessert was purple rice pie. I told him that my family made poppyseed cake that looked just like this. He seemed surprised. I didn't try one, since I was quite full.

The VERY LAST platter was watermelon and guava. I did have one slice of guava. I love me some tropical fruit!

And that's the end of my big night out. I have a few pictures left to share of my last lunch out and of the rain (some people called it a typhoon, but I think that may be an exaggeration from where I was), and that will conclude my Taiwan monologue. Of course, if I left any questions unanswered, please leave me a comment and I'll be happy to address it.


Cindy said...

The guy was surprised that our family had poppyseed or that it looks like the purple rice pie? Incidentally, that was the first thing I thought of when I saw the pie too - great-grandma's poppyseed cake!

Looks like quite the dinner! I can see why you'd force yourself to stick to a bite or two - good plan.

I have to say again how awesome it is that you did so well trying everything - and then LIKING most of it! I'm so impressed.

Glad you're home and seemingly caught up on sleep.

Jenny said...

Oh, I am SOOOO jealous they have counters until the light turns green. Whoever thought of that gets 2 gold stars in my book. How come those aren't over here in my town???
My stars!! Looks like I would have gained 20 pounds over there, 'cause I would have tried EVERYTHING! It takes discipline to eat when you're full, and girl! I've got lots of discipline in that area :)