Lola’s Food Travel: THINGS I ATE IN TAIWAN (PART 1 – STREET FOODS)

Taiwan Street Food

Taiwan was one of those places that I had never thought of visiting despite its proximity to the Philippines. Admittedly, I didn’t know much about it prior to my trip aside from its famous skyscraper, the Taipei 101. Needless to say, I had no regret spending almost two weeks on this island because of one thing—food. Delicious, gratifying Taiwanese food.

Before deciding to go to this beautiful country, my initial choices of destination to take my holiday break were India, Vietnam, or Indonesia. I ended up going to Taiwan because it had the cheapest flights that I could find at that time. I am a frugal traveler which translates to I want things cheap. It was a fortunate accident, so to speak, because I had an amazing time discovering this nation that is rich in ancient history, friendly people, and delicious foods.

And delicious food it was! I was floored by the variety of tastes and flavors that this small country has to offer. Taiwanese street food is simply one of the best in the world. A myriad of Taiwanese dishes—greatly influenced by Chinese, Japanese, and other neighboring Asian countries—envelops every street and corner of every city and county on this tiny island. Each one boasts of its unique version or speciality. And for a good reason. Every food scene showcases the best and freshest ingredients that the local communities can offer to its hungry visitors.

Shilin Night Market
Shilin Night Market
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Lola’s Test Kitchen: BREVILLE SMART OVEN BOV800

After weeks of testing different recipes, I fell in love with the beautiful Breville Smart Oven BOV800. Let me tell you why.

The Breville Smart Oven is the first and only smart oven in the country. It’s bigger than a standard toaster, smaller than a regular oven, but has all their functions plus more.

Just a little background, Breville is a premium brand from Australia known as a maker of small kitchen appliances for more than 80 years. The brand created the original sandwich toaster and its name has become synonymous to the appliance, just like how the Hoover brand is associated with the vacuum cleaner. Breville also makes premium kitchen appliances, such as coffeemakers, juicers, food processors, and mixers. But today, I will be talking about their smart oven.

Baking is not exactly a piece cake (sorry for the pun), but it’s something that I’ve always wanted to learn. I have baked cookies and cupcakes and pasta before, and I do have a few tricks up my sleeve. But unlike cooking, I don’t bake regularly because it is a tedious, precise food preparation, and it takes lots of patience, practice, and so many tools.

I’ll talk about the outcome of my test recipes later, but for now, check out the slides below and find out what features and accessories come with the Breville Smart Oven:

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Recipe #50: MACAPUNO LECHE FLAN

It’s my 50th recipe! Wouldn’t it be awesome to celebrate it with my favorite Filipino dessert—Leche Flan! 🙂

Christmas is also a time of indulgence, and there’s probably no dessert more indulgent than the leche flan. Although it’s made from simple, everyday ingredients, I think leche flan is the most decadent local desserts, bar none. It’s simple and delicate, yet rich and addicting!

Macapuno Leche Flan

In case you’re not familiar, macapuno is a sweetened coconut preserve while leche flan (literally milk flan) is akin to crème caramel or caramel pudding which has so many versions all over the world. Interestingly, both macapuno and leche flan are key ingredients in making another popular Pinoy dessert—halo-halo. I’m topping our leche flan with sweet strings of macapuno because it adds a sweet bite to the otherwise plain flan.

In the Philippines, leche flan is typically made from egg yolks (lots of it!) and condensed milk. Either whole milk, evaporated milk, or cream is added to tone down the sweetness and boost the creaminess. It can be cooked with only three ingredients, but a few drops of vanilla extract and dayap (lime) zest can be added to enhance the flavor.

Beware, weight watchers! This dessert is practically made from sugar and milk, so just imagine its calorie content. But hey, an occasional bite or two would be fine, I suppose. 🙂

Macapuno Leche Flan

In this recipe, I replaced evaporated milk with coconut cream or kakang gata as it complements our macapuno sweets. Surprisingly, the flan itself once cooked does not have any distinct coconut taste, but its texture is so much creamier compared to using evaporated milk or regular milk.

I also cut down the number of egg yolks to six. Normally, a single batch needs about 10 to 12 egg yolks, but I think it’s a tad too much, not to mention, costly. Well, guess what, I tried it with six—no negative effect on the taste or quality!

Leche flan is normally steamed, but baking is also a popular option. I personally prefer baking as it gradually reduces the moisture content of the flan which results in a denser, firmer texture.

Of course, to make my life easier, I’m using my new Breville Smart Oven. It has user-friendly features and preset functions which any kitchen novice can follow. Plus, I don’t have to worry about overcooking because it has an auto shut-off timer.

Seriously, you must try this recipe! Watch and grab the recipe below:

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