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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dinner at Nelson's House

a couple weekends ago, my brother-in-law Nelson's family invited us over for dinner. His family being from Taiwan, we were in for some traditional Taiwan and Shanghai influenced dishes! Not being Taiwanese myself, I probably don't have the right names for most of these dishes, but delicious none the less!

It was a little known fact to me, that Taiwanese people instead of having soup at the beginning of the meal like Cantonese people, they have it at the end of their meal. So instead, we had these small appetizers to start off the meal. My favourite was the Taiwanese sausage (centre partition of the first platter). The meat is sweet and very flavourful. I also really enjoyed the homemade seaweed, tasted almost like the ones you get at the restaurant!

Pork Roast
I'm not sure if this is considered a roast, but the size of the meat and presentation reminded me of it. This dish consisted of a huge chunk of pork which is slow cooked with different types of fungus and spices. The meat was cooked very tender, and you could easily peel the meat off the roast. I could really taste the licorice spice, and it made the meat very flavourful.

"Taiwanese Three Cups Chicken"
The name of this dish may be weird to some people, but it is actually a traditional Taiwanese dish that is named that way because it's essentially made from 3 different "cups" of sauces (soya sauce, rice wine, and sesame oil). Usually its cooked with basil and some other spices, but the mixture is really different. There were some mushrooms in this dish, and I really enjoyed it!

Mixed Pot
Wasn't exactly sure what to name this dish, but it was a pot with all different ingredients in it, so decided to call it by a very literal name. It had everything from Chinese mushrooms to quail eggs, and fish balls to sea urchin. It's one big crazy combination, but it worked! Something for everyone.

Top Left: Pan Fried Shrimps, Top Right: Vegetables and Canopy, Bottom: Steamed Fish

Now on to some more familiar dishes. Most Chinese dinners regardless of region and influence will serve shrimp, vegetables and steamed fish, so it was nice to have these to end off the meal. The steamed fish was absolutely amazing and perfectly cooked.

However full we were at the end of the meal, I made sure to save room in my stomach for dessert. We had this creatively stacked fruit plate and glutinous rice ball dessert soup with yam. There were actually 3 types of glutinous rice balls in this soup: the big white one which was filled with sesame paste, and two smaller ones (orange and purple) which were made with taro and sweet potato. The small ones were super chewy and a nice compliment to the mushy yam. Delicious!

At the end of the night I was stuffed. Had to retreat to a food comma for a bit. Thank you to Nelson's family for cooking up a tasty Taiwanese meal for us!