Sunday, July 5, 2009

Orientation trip (same meal 5 days in a row)

So during orientation week, we were fed a lot of food. When I say a lot, I mean something along the lines of 11 dishes at every meal (most of which were repeated), but that's besides the point... the point being... we were constantly inundated with waves of food. At every meal, we'd be guaranteed a whole chicken, cooked Hainan style... that is salted, steamed, and cooled. In addition to that, we'd also have a whole fish, usually striped bass, staring back at you blankly with its head left on. Of course we'd also have a plate of greens, mushroom soup, a plate of giant shrimp (the beady eyes still creep me out), fried seafood of some sort, and almost always a tofu dish with shrimp or oysters. I'm not sure why they couldn't change up the food for variety, but whatever, it was decent.

Anyway, today's post isn't a review. I didn't pay for jack, and I don't know what half the things I ate are, and I obvi0usly have no clue how to get there again (nor was it good enough that I would want to. Think of this as... a collection of food porn just to gawk at. Oh, and the reason why there isn't actually like... 50 pictures of everything we ate... 1. it's completely trivial to take pictures of the same thing everytime, and 2. I didn't want my orientation group members to think I was a nutjob, or kill me for making them wait to take a picture before they could eat ha. I should note that these pictures were from the first dinner ceremony, and are way better than the things we ate later on, so it's not really indicative of the overall quality. Anyway... onto the pics!

First up was this mixed platter. I don't really understand the arrangement to be perfectly honest, there was a stack of small salted brine (I didn't try this, since seeing shrimp in their native form is a turn off for my palate), a small pile of olives, a small dish of pickled bean sprouts, some fruit (wtf was this doing here...), and a stack of really fatty cold pork slices. Uh, only the pork was redeeming, and it was still just mediocre at best. Wait... what am I complaining about? This was all free, courtesy of the Taiwanese government.

I'll be perfectly honest, this dish confused the crap out of me. We were given bread (I love Taiwanese bread, soooo buttery and airy), and then presented this. It looked like pork floss, but turned out to be warm shrimp paste (yeah... read that again, you know it sounds... uh... terrible). No, but seriously, if I could describe it as anything, it's 魚鬆 (fish floss), which is soaked in oil, then heated in a microwave. We were supposed to make sandwiches out of it, which I did, but still rather... meh.

I actually really liked this dish. It was shrimp, fried in breadcrumbs (not Italian, but also not panko, so I'm not really sure what it is), then doused in an awesome sweet mayo sauce (I want to say it was made with kewpie, but that's a complete guess). Presented on a bed of fruit and drizzled with lime or lemon juice, it was a nice blend of sweet with savory. The shrimp was nice and springy, the crust was adequately crunchy, and the taste was mild enough to let the texture shine through. I think this was one of the few dishes I sincerely wished there was more of. It's important to note, that those shrimp were so perfectly round, that picking them up with that stupid spoon was next to impossible.

What can I say about this dish. Steamed 油飯 (oil rice) was studded with mushrooms and small brine. Then covered with blood sausage and Chinese style sausages known as 香腸 (xiang chang). The oily rice was just okay, it was kind of dry, which I suspect was because it was prepared by massive batches (enough to serve close to 300 people), so I guess you can't expect perfectly oily and 'QQ' rice. The sausage and blood sausage were good though. Actually, they're probably just average, but since I haven't had them for the longest time, I was kind of craving the taste. If you haven't eaten it before, Chinese sausages are semi sweet, since they're usually covered with maltose or honey, and are probably close to 50/50 fat to lean. End result is... orgasm in your mouth haha. Anyway, needless to say, I liked this dish. This is where my photography ended, like I said... I didn't want my group members to hate me from day 1 (and if any of you are reading this... sorry for making you guys wait for food!).

I'm late for work... so uh, I ran 6.68 miles this morning. My hips still hurt. I did pass 400 miles since I started tallying though, oh happy day! Of course this also means I've done about 500 miles in the current pair of Asics, and have no shoes to switch to for another 250-300 miles... oh well. In summary, moderate distance done in pain lol.

distance for the day: 6.68 miles
distance biked for the day: 0.00 miles

distance on the year: 399.65 miles
distance biked on the year: 142.68 miles


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