When I’m in Taiwan – it’s all about the Taiwanese small eats (台灣小吃). Typically you find them as little mom-and-pop shops that line alleyways in night markets. While lacking ameneties, they have some of the most delicious food. And while in Taichung (台中), this is easy as it has the largest night market in Taiwan (Fengjia Night Market – 逢甲夜市).
Yet through all the food chaos, sometimes (albeit only very occasionally), a sit-down restaurant is in order. You still want good food, but with service, a place to actually sit down, etc. Time and time again, we ended up returning to Su Hung (蘇杭) restaurant. It is located in Mode Mall near Taichung Main Train Station. It provides a wide selection of Shanghai cuisine and has excellent service as well.
Typically, when discussing Shanghai cuisine, I’ll talk about something like Dongpo Pork (東坡肉) – also known as soy sauce stewed pork. An interesting side note is that the dish is named after the famous Chinese poet Su Shi (蘇軾) for reasons unknown (Wikipedia: Su Shi). But, for today’s post, what impressed me was something that I’m very rarely impressed by … the soup!
It’s all about the soup!
For all you gourmands out there, the revelation that soup is a beautiful dish is quite apparent. And while I do consider myself a foodie – I do not consider myself refined enough to be a gourmand. As a child, I used to drink canned soups, which, outside the benefit of giving you half the daily dose of sodium in one sitting <sarcasm>, it also had the additional benefit of just tasting like salt <bleh>!
But what awoke me from my soup palette slumber was the serving of the stewed seafood, pork, and tofu with napa cabbage soup in a clay pot (砂鍋白菜). The variety and colors in this soup are incredible; the picture above hardly does it justice. It’s apparent that the soup had been cooking for a very long time. This allows the pork, tripe, vegetables, and clams to mix together. The subtle fat, which contains all the flavors (and nutrients), melds together. Thus creating a sea of distinct yet subtle flavors not found by just eating them individually.
It’s very hard to get this soup right – but when one gets it right, it’s easy to recognize the delectable greatness!