Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Raining Cats & Dogs

Dinner at Stanley’s

A few posts ago we introduced our new friends Stanley & Vicky and mentioned that Stanley owns a Malaysian Hot Pot restaurant.

It didn’t take long for Stanley to offer us an invite and on Monday this week we agreed that we would have Stanley & Vicky at our apartment for some snacks and drinks, but not before we went to Stanley’s Malaysian Hot Pot for dinner.

The restaurant is located just a few blocks from the Kaohsiung Sky Tower (“85 Floor” called by locals) and it is a mere 1 km from one of the local MRT stations. Seemed to us to be easy enough to navigate our way there on foot.

It was raining pretty hard when we left our apartment but it was manageable. Good thing we brought both our umbrellas! Unfortunately, it seemed that with every step we took further and further away from our apartment there was someone up in the sky pulling a lever further and further open until we found ourselves in the midst of a torrential downpour!!!

A brief respite traveling from one MRT station to another was much needed but any hopes we had that the rain might have let up by the time we emerged was quickly scuppered... it had only gotten worse!

The rain was so hard that after a few minutes our umbrellas had become completely saturated and the water started dripping through our umbrellas directly onto us. With the tops of our bodies becoming increasingly wet and our feet well and truly drenched, it was only our middle torsos that had any semblance of being dry. Of course, with water slowly trickling down from our heads and creeping up from our toes, this wasn’t going to remain the case for long.

After walking about 9 blocks we agreed it would be best if we asked for directions. Of course Amanda had suggested that we ask for directions after 6 or 7 blocks but I really felt like I needed those last 2-3 before I was certain that we were lost. Turns out I was right, those last few blocks really did prove that we were lost!

A very kind clerk at a Family Mart (7-eleven’s arch rival) kindly helped us and ordered a cab. I showed the cab driver the business card that Stanley had given me and we were then driven just up the street about 4 blocks. We were so close after all.

Stanley and his sister, Anna, greeted us as we arrived at the restaurant and we were certainly given the “royal treatment”. We were seated at a big family table near to the kitchen and Stanley recommended a number of dishes that he thought we might like (see pictures below). Stanley’s mother shortly after we sat down had asked Stanley to tell us to move to the other side of the table to that she could see our lovely faces... flattery gets you everywhere! The food was delicious!! Seriously the best pickled cabbage we have had since we have been in Taiwan. While eating we met and talked with Stanley’s mother, sister and nephew. What a kind, welcoming family!

Amanda and I will definitely be visiting this restaurant again soon. Personally, I don’t think I will be satisfied until I have tried everything on the menu at least once.

After dinner Stanley took us to pick up Vicky and then we headed to our apartment. On the way there we stopped by the side of a night market and Vicky went to pick up some very authentic Taiwanese snacks that we brought back to our place. We were able to try fried tofu, fried pork, fried yam, fried chicken skin and fried duck blood rice cake. The last of these snacks is where lots of rice is soaked in duck blood until it turns a little firm and then it is cut up into cubes and deep fried (see pictures below). All the snacks were very tasty... even the ducks blood rice cakes!

Gifts from friends

In Amanda’s last post she forgot to mention that at the Dream Mall on Sunday Milton and Jenny gave us some cookies and some mangoes that Milton’s grandmother grew in Tainan. We ate these over the past few days and were very happy to have had them. Those mangoes were a real treat having been picked so ripe and so recently. The fruit here is excellent and is definitely something we will miss when we come back to Canada. Thank you Milton & Jenny!

Singapore booked

Amanda & I will be flying to Singapore on July 15th and staying there until the 20th. We are both very excited about the trip and will be spending the next few days putting our exact itinerary together. I’m especially excited because a work colleague from Shell that I haven’t seen in a long time is now back working and living in Singapore (his home turf). It will be great to catch-up and see how he is doing.

This doesn't do justice to how hard it was raining.
Brett, Stanley, Stanley and Amanda!
Foreground: Dried bean curd with seaweed (?) and green onion. / Background: Pork with noodles in a soup. Very good!
Tendons with noodles, green onion and peppers. Pickled cabbage at the top left and iced black tea at the top right. The Chinese believe that black tea is actually more red in appearance and so it is called red tea (hong cha) in Taiwan. I am quickly becoming addicted to tea!
Satisfied customers!!!
Here there is fried pork, fried tofu and something that looked like french fries but was actually some kind of fried fish product.
Fried chicken skin and fried duck blood rice cake.
Amanda nervously samples the fried duck blood rice cake. We both enjoyed this and would have it again but definitely not for the faint of heart.

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