Picking up a car in Puli
01.11.2008 - 01.11.2008
On Friday, we drove up into the mountains to Puli to pick up a car from a friend to use on our tour around the island. The friend of my parents' took us out to lunch at a favorite restaurant of theirs that specializes in local mountain cuisine and also ke ren cuisine. Ke ren literally translates to guest people and refers to people from the Fujian region of China that were mostly traveling laborers and therefore were frequently guests in other places. Most of the Taiwanese (including myself) are of that origin as many of them migrated three to four generations ago to Taiwan.
The food was great. Tender sugar cane tips cooked in salted vegetables and mushrooms. Fresh steamed bamboo that you peel away the outer layers to eat the soft core dipped in garlic oyster sauce. Small, 2-inch long fish deep fried to a crisp and served with shredded ginger sweet and sour sauce. Dee ka, pig legs stewed in a soy, five-spice soup. Clean bamboo shoot soup. Thinly sliced, sauteed bitter melon. All with some white rice and mee fun, tiny rice noodles fried with vegetables.
Yum. There are indescribable moments when your mouth knows when something has just come fresh from the land or from the sea onto your plate. To me it's like a clean, crisp flavor combined with a feeling of content. I felt that with a lot of this meal. As umami was recently proposed as a sixth taste, I now propose a seventh -- fresh.