Tuesday, June 30, 2009

蒜味肉羹 (Garlic flavored meat 'geng')

This place is in 宜蘭 (Yi Lan County), so I likely won't be going back. Actually, the only reason I got to go in the first place was because my Aunt K wanted to go, but even she said that they only get to go once every 3 years or so. So considering all that, I guess I got a real treat haha. It's called 蒜味肉羹 (suan wei rou geng), which is exactly what it sells. The store front is, uh... well it's pretty crappy. In a beat up back road like street, it's a shack that is roughly the size of a small studio in NYC. The 'kitchen' is outside, where there's a giant vat of soup broth, and a second vat of the pork and fish paste. Inside, there are only 3 tables, maybe a total of 15 cheap metal chairs, and pretty much nothing else. If hole in the wall could be quantified as a measurable statistic, then this place is off the charts. This clearly hasn't hurt business though, since it was absolutely packed (we waited 15 minutes just to share a table with another family), and there was a fairly long line waiting for takeout.

肉羹 (rou geng) translates to... honestly I don't know what it translates to. It's pork which has a layer of fish paste applied to the outside, the same paste that is used to make fish balls and tempura (the Taiwanese variety). When placed in a pork soup base thickened with cornstarch, and mixed with Jew's ear mushrooms, bamboo, cilantro, and garlic... what results is the quintessential Taiwanese street cart food known as rou geng. What sets this place apart is the garlic though. From about 100 meters away, you can smell the overwhelming smell of fresh garlic, which is their trademark. We ordered 2 orders of regular rou geng and 2 orders of 肉羹粿 (rou geng guo/gui), all of which were 45 NT ($1.50). Yet another triumphant win for Taiwan, I'm pretty sure 3buckbites would fail miserably here, not... enough... bandwidth. The rou geng was thick and gloopy (I'm not sure that's a real word) and tasted adequate enough, but the standout thing about this place was the fact that their meat was almost all pork, and just a thin layer of fish paste (really uncommon given how cheap Taiwanese vendors usually are), and also that the garlic is overwhelmingly spicy (no hot sauce needed). All in all, probably the best I've had in Taiwan, which is fairly high praise, since you can find this everywhere, and I've eaten this at a lot of place. The one with the noodles... uh, I didn't try it, but it's the same base, so I imagine it's probably pretty awesome too. Would I recommend this place...? Hmm... I really want to, I really do, but I hurt thinking about not being able to go back lol. That and I don't have the faintest clue what the address is. If you were to see that store frong though... stop your car, get out, eat a bowl, and get 10 to go. I swear you won't regret it.

I had a really good run this morning, did a lap around 大安... ran over to CKS memorial hall... ran over to the President's office (where I got to see their morning flag ceremony), then sprinted back to my house. I didn't bother timing it since I had to stand still for the flag thing, but it felt moderately well paced. Final distance ended up being much further than I wanted to run, which was 8k, since I came in around 6.76 miles. You know, since I started working, I've found that I'm much more fatigued in the morning, that I doze off at work during meetings (in front of the Taiwanese equivalent of Stephen Hawking no less), and that I don't want to run. I need to find a way to fix this.

distance for the day: 6.76 miles
distance biked for the day: 0.00 miles

distance on the year: 381.01 miles
distance biked on the year: 142.68 miles


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oh snap. I can control the text here?