Sunday, January 15, 2012

Our New Friend, Anna

Today, B and I went down to Kaohsiung for a total of about 4 hours. Why such a whirlwind trip? We went to check out the wedding of our blogger friend, Anna. We first started following her blog, Chewy Tea, when I was fact-checking some info about stinky tofu for our own blog. She started following ours as well, and we’ve commented back and forth a few times since our arrival in Taiwan. She’s an American who’s been here for a few years already, and when she got engaged to her Taiwanese boyfriend this summer she asked if we’d be interested in attending their wedding banquet! We very happily accepted! 

We took the HSR down this morning in our “Sunday best”, then hopped into a cab straight to the wedding venue. Luckily for us, it was in the same district as the HSR station. It is very unassuming out front, and its entrance is in a shaded driveway. Inside, the restaurant was very beautiful with multiple banquet rooms. We were actually loitering outside for quite a while (while I changed out of my sneakers into some heels) when a man who I believe is the father of the groom approached us, asked if we were Anna’s friends, and happily escorted us to a table inside. A friend of Anna’s brought us to her pre-wedding hangout room where we met and chatted for a while. Less than an hour later, the party started! We were seated with another foreign teacher as well as the family of one of Anna’s students, and everyone we met was so welcoming and friendly. There was a speech from Anna’s G-ma-in-law, from her dad who’d flown in from the States just yesterday, and a little bit of chatter from the wedding singer/host, then it was time to eat!  

For those of you who have been telling us we need to post more food pictures, we’ve prepared a veritable feast for your eyes! The first course was a multi-tiered platter of cold meats. There were a few different types of chicken, pork, and fish that had been cured and sauced in different ways. The next course was king crab covered in a delicious sweet sauce with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. After the crab, we had what we were told was an animal from the ocean, and Brett believes it might have been jellyfish. It was in a lovely sauce with broccoli. Then there was a hilarious course of ham toast (which has a very sweet back story). The ham toast had a very classy (and very Asian) twist. A platter of sweet, crustless bread was brought out alongside platters of ham, pineapple, and cucumber drenched in a sweet sauce. They were a really tasty little surprise! 

After the ham toast, things took a more traditional turn once again. We had a course of sticky rice with more crab, a whole steamed fish (which BTW has quickly become one of my favourite Taiwanese dishes, no joke), and a platter of scallops and vegetables. Next there was a course of red meat - beautifully cooked, saucy beef with big, delicious pork ribs - and a big tureen of silkie (or black chicken) soup. It’s a really interesting bird - it’s flesh, skin, etc are all naturally black. The first time we saw one in a grocery store we were a little weirded out, but it turns out they’re kind of a big deal in Chinese cuisine. 

After that we had some sesame-crusted buns. Mine had pork and cabbage inside, but I think there was another type of filling in some of the buns as well. For dessert, we had a traditional sweet soup with little dumplings. It’s apparently a favourite for the winter months in Taiwan. After the sweet soup, there was a big fruit tray. Oh joy! During the wedding, the people from the head table (incl Anna, her parents, her husband and his parents) walked around doing toasts and taking photos with people from every table at the banquet. I like that idea. No one was missed! The music was great, everyone around us was so happy, and it was a really good day. 

It was clear to us within moments of the wedding starting that Anna and her husband are really kind and wonderful people. There was a huge room jam packed with guests delighted to celebrate their marriage, and that’s just his side. They’re going to do it all over again in America this summer. We feel really privileged to have been included in the celebrations today, and we want to wish them all the happiness and good fortune they deserve together!

A selection of cold meats: fish, duck, chicken and pork.
Crab, delicious!
I'm not sure what this was. It might have been jellyfish. It tasted quite interesting.
Sticky Rice and Crab
Steamed Fish
Beef & Pork
Black Chicken Soup
Sesame-Crusted Buns
A sweet dessert soup.
Dessert fruit platter... so much food!!


  1. The seafood item that you had with the broccoli is sea cucumber. When cooked properly, there should be a bit of a 'crunch' texture to it. If it's too gelatinous, then it's been overcooked.

    1. Thank you! Mystery solved!! I thought it was quite tasty and it definitely had a bit of a crunch to it.