Saturday, February 11, 2012

Lunch at Chef Teng’s (鄧師傅功夫菜) and the Lotus Pond (蓮池潭)

There has been a bit of a delay between this and our last post. Chinese New Year was a wonderful break and thereafter, we were able to enjoy a visit from Amanda’s mom, perfectly timed for us to catch the Lantern Festival in both Taichung and Kaohsiung. 

Let me get you up to speed on the last few days of our Chinese New Year week in Kaohsiung. The day that followed Amanda’s last post, we met our good friends, Jenny and Milton, for lunch at Chef Teng’s (鄧師傅功夫菜) - location here. It was really great to see Jenny and Milton again as the last time we had managed to see them was back in August 2011. Our meeting was also perfectly timed, because Jenny was due to fly to America the following week for a four month study program.

Chef Teng’s was a really great lunch and there was an incredible array of foods from which to choose. We had a bowl of beef noodle soup and shared some gong bao ji ding (kung pao chicken), spicy tofu, bitter melon served with salty duck egg, a dish of Chinese mushrooms covered in a sweet chili sauce, and some really tasty sweet and sour white fish. 

After lunch, Amanda and I took advantage of the blue skies and finally paid a visit to the Lotus Pond (蓮池潭), something we had been wanting to do for a long time.

The Lotus Pond is a man-made lake that was opened in 1951. There are many temples, pavilions and pagodas that are spotted around and on the lake. One could easily spend an entire day at the Lotus Pond and not see everything. It is well worth the visit. 

The Lotus Pond is in the north of the city, very close to Zuoying High Speed Rail Station and hence it was quite the scooter ride for us to get there. Including a few wrong turns along the way as well as some time looking for parking, we were both sitting on our 100cc rental scooter for close to an hour. Needless to say, it was a fairly ungraceful dismount, when we eventually did park. There were a number of festivities at the Lotus Pond when we arrived. No, the festivities were not related to our arrival - no welcoming committee of the sort - instead, there were many food, gift and carnival type games stalls that ran the temporarily-pedestrianised length of the street on the west side of the Lotus Pond. Amanda and I commented to each other that the atmosphere reminded us much of the Calgary Stampede (minus the cowboys/girls and the alcohol). 

After exploring the Lotus Pond, Amanda and I made our way back to meet up with Milton for dinner. Milton took us to a Korean restaurant where we tried some Korean kimchi fried rice and a bowl of spicy rice noodles with kimchi, mushrooms and seafood. Also, we shared a traditional Korean seafood pancake called haemul pajeon (해물파전). The seafood pancake was deep fried and served with a sweet chili sauce. It was soooooo good. Something we learned that night was that Korean chopsticks are flat - as opposed to square. It took a little while to get used to, but I think we got the hang of it. 

We had a great day and it was really nice to see Jenny and Milton again. We always enjoy their company.

Jenny and Milton at Chef Teng's
We had beef noodle soup, bitter melon with duck egg, a cold mushroom dish, kung pao chicken, sweet and sour fish, and spicy tofu. Everything was delicious!
Milton, Jenny and Amanda
At the Lotus Pond (蓮池潭)
 Amanda at the Lotus Pond
The variety of temples, statues, pagodas, pavilions, sculptures and carvings are incredible.
At the Lotus Pond
A Taoist God statue at the Spring and Autumn Pavilions
There are many pavilions and pagodas around the whole lake.
I was pretty trigger happy with the camera. I think Amanda was quite patient with me that day.
The Dragon and Tiger Pagodas at the Lotus Pond
Dinner at the Korean restaurant
Dinner with Milton
Delicious Korean haemul pajeon (해물파전)

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