Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern

Season 1 Episode 10


Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jul 30, 2007 on Travel Channel

Episode Recap

Andrew is in Taiwan, a country whose cuisine is influenced by the Chinese. In Shenkpeng, tofu is the national dish and it can be prepared several ways. It's also good for the health; it's made ninety percent from soybeans. Judging the food is always best where the line is the longest, he gets a tofu sandwich and has a pleasant meal, but then he goes to the Wang Tofu Factory. Mrs. Wu who runs the place makes hers in fermented vegetable matter and each piece is stamped with her restaurant logo before it is frozen until it is ready to cook. Andrew tries a fried tofu sandwich, but he can't get past the first bite. He also tries stinky tofu with thousand-year eggs, which is a bit harder to stomach. He wishes his hostess with his best wishes and moves on.
Andrew is on to Tai Pei where nearly everyone goes by scooter or metro system. He meets photojournalist Nana Chen and head to the Shilin Market. The market has oyster omelets served with vegetables and sells chicken butt, grilled seafood, sushi and skewered shrimp. Andrew and Nana try coffin bread, a hollow sandwich served with mutton and pineapple or any other combination the customer would prefer. In the Shilin Market, the food is always inexpensive and it's always ready. Andrew experiences and discovers rooster balls, unlaid eggs with rooster crowns and chicken uterus all in one serving. He also experiences geese tongue and geese heads.
At the Xingtian Temple, Andrew meets food critic Stephen Jack and visits a medicinal shop which sells mushrooms, dried fruit, shark fins, roots and bark which can be made into tea and a special fungus that goes for eighteen hundred dollars US money. All of it is sold for their health merits. At the Black-G Restaurant, Andrew has their only dish: black chicken. Eating it is said to improve your health. He also has rooster testicle soup that also promotes good health.
Andrew is off then to the Taipei Building, the second tallest structure in the world. It has fifty elevators and the fastest one moves at thirty-seven miles per hour, enabling him to reach the top in thirty-nine seconds. The structure is stabilized against winds and earthquakes by pylons sunk two hundred and fifty feet into the ground and by a steel ball acting as a damper for the structure. In the building food court, he discovers sushi, sea urchin, katsudon, oyster omelet, noodle and fried rice dishes, but he tries a Japanese hot pot of barbecued meat witch a choice of pickled vegetables all for about four dollars US money. He experiences Taiwanese chitlins with sautéed cabbage, hot sauce and rice. He also tries cubes of blood and pig intestines with Szechwan chili and ginger. He goes on to the market in the building where he finds kimchi, cured cabbage, mentai (salted spicy fish roe), salted spicy shrimp and pigeon eggs.
Onward to Pinglin, Andrew explains the region is obsessed with tea, like beer to Germans or wine to the French. It's not only drunk but also used as an ingredient in dishes. Laurie Hsien, a tea connoisseur, introduces Andrew to poochung tea, which is grown on 2200 acres of land where only the new growth is collected and harvested. Andrew meets Cheng Yi Huang, a champion tea maker, and watches preparation of the tea. He goes on to try fish stew with pasta noodles in tea oil and ends his meal with another cup of tea.
In Wulai, Andrew experiences the geothermic hot springs with their therapeutic properties, said to cure a whole host of ailments. On ward to the Tai Ya Pao Pao Restaurant, Andrew samples deep fried bees, betel nut salad and dama mein, an aboriginal dish of salted rice and pork, which is aged two weeks and served with ice. The dish surprises Andrew because the salt offsets the gamy taste of the aged pork. His hostess isn't fond of the dish herself, but Andrew thanks her just the same for the experience.
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