Review: The Layover – Taipei
One of the first things that jumps out to me from this episode is the night markets. This is one of the first places that Tony goes after hopping off of his plane. The markets have been built around traditional temples that are still in use today.
The food that Tony eats in the night markets is… well… adventurous. And that is saying something because I have been going on a “I’ll try any food” kind of binge for quite some time now. But the food looks so foreign to our western eyes that it may be very difficult for me to try some of them… Particularly some of the mysterious items sold by vendors. If I can’t tell what I’m eating, it is quite intimidating to take that first bite!
Tony calls Taipei an alternate China. A brief history lesson is that Taiwan, still officially known as “The Republic of China“, was seen by the United States as the legitimate government of mainland China. This lasted from the time that Communism took over mainland China, until the 70s! This is why Tony sees Taiwan as a “what could have been” China.
Taiwan has also been well invaded, occupied, and colonized throughout its history. The Spaniards, the Dutch, and the Japanese have all controlled Taiwan at one time or another. This is a major influence on the foods you see around Taiwan. Even the fleeing mainland Chinese brought with them the desire for more beef (now a major dish in Taiwan), when Taiwan was an island that didn’t normally eat beef like the mainland.
The mountains of Taiwan was my favorite part of the episode. It looks like paradise; the pinnacle of relaxation. This is especially true when comparing the snow covered ground outside my window with the jungle mountains of Taiwan. But spending the rest of the episode would make a boring travel show, so Tony is quick to head back into the city.
The food that I was most intrigued by was the soup dumplings, apparently a main dish in Taiwanese tradition. The dumplings literally contain soup and don’t get soggy and gross! I have no idea how this voodoo works, but you bite into the dumpling and out pours soup. Maybe one day i’ll be able to visit taiwan and sample the dumplings.