Focus in on the delights of the kitchen and the table with ...

Taipei's Taoyuan Airport knows how to welcome travelers like me with their minds on Taiwan's fantastic food.

After a long but diverting and worthwhile journey across one continent, one ocean and a good chunk of a second continent, we arrived in Taiwan at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Though I slept only a few hours on the plane, the excitement of completing the journey and Being Here!!! at last dissolved my exhaustion. I stayed awake unpacking, planning activities (yes, that’s heavily focused on meals and snacks, though not completely) for several hours, then slept well until 7 a.m. Our brimming-full Sunday is zooming by — I imagine the cartoon clock with the hands whizzing around the face. Here’s a kickstart on this first day, lunchtime visit to the food court at Shinkon Mitsukoshi Department Store, where we feasted on noodles, dumplings, rice, and fruit smoothies.

Vendors dish up an extraordinary array of Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese, Italian, Korean, and other cuisines. It's always busy, lively, and delicious.

Here’s my favorite lunch item for today.

Pork Chop Noodle includes a salt-and-pepper porkchop, thinly-sliced and perfectly fried, with a side of soup noodles with minced pork, and stir-fried lettuce.

Then it was quick reading-and-nap session in air-conditioned comfort, followed by beauty salon indulgence and then visit to our cousins’ home, where their warm welcome came with cool sliced fruit. More photos on my Facebook page. Gotta go — time for dinner!

Pear, apple, and banana, peeled and cut for us to enjoy with tea.

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. Belinda Smith-Sullivan Reply

    Nancie, you had me at “pork chop!” And the cooled sliced fruit…how civilized.

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      Wait till you see the fruit platter that completed today’s lunch at Greenleaf Restaurant. Taiwan’s summer fruit crop includes watermelon, pineapple, papaya, mango, and more. Just passed a truck on the street fill of pineapples and watermelons; vendor drove them in from countryside, set up on a corner, and is selling them to office workers, shoppers, families and cooks.

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