[Ben sez] Dateline Taipei: Ben et Nate are invading a second island nation with plans to lay siege to any and all culinary establishments they can find.
We stepped off the plane, breezed through customs, and while waiting for our bus to downtown Taipei got a bottle of tea from a vending machine. It is no exaggeration to say that Taiwan is the tea capitol of the world, even the vending machine tea is phenomenal which is amazing considering the quality of products that drop with a resounding thud from the crap-dispensers in the states.
Thus far our view of Taipei has been shaded by the fact that Chines e New Year has turned this city into a veritable ghost town. Despite this fact we've been able to experience a small sampling of street vendor food and even find a couple of restaurants to eat at. One of the few open establishments was a Chinese place specializing in prawns but also featuring such culinary delights as Lamb Knees.
Lamb knees, sounds delicious, right? Right. You know something is going on when a meat dish shows up at your table with plastic straws laying on the service platter. While we gnawed at the flesh on the outside of the knees we pondered these plastic straws, soon realizing (to everyones delight) that they were provided to facilitate the removal of marrow from bone.
[Nate sez] If y'all aren't clued into this hip scene - marrow is the shit. Period. I don't really believe in aphrodisiacs - HOWEVER, I was severely turned on by the putting of really good lamb/soy/chili/garlic leek broth into the bone, mashing up the marrow with said sauce with plastic straw, and then sucking it up like a kid getting every last drop out of his soda.
To note: though the French have a special marrow fork and have historically been marrow freaks (as are all people who spend time making stock), but I really think the straw/lamb/sauce thing is one of the singly sexiest things available on the planet. I had to wash my hands thoroughly after this meal.
Oh, and the shrimp was really good too.