Getting It Together (下): Taiwanese Soul Food in Kaohsiung 「雄好呷」

(last updated on 2013/10/27)
Author's event at Eslite Bookstore
「雄好呷」, author’s talk and book signing event at Eslite Bookstore 誠品書店

初心  I originally started this blog to share some bits and pieces about Taiwanese food, and recommend places as I see fit.

失望 – Looking back at my eating habits this past year, I realize that I’ve shunned away from the kind of food I fell for the first time I visited the island, namely the 小吃 aka little snacks, and street food stalls that have stood the test of time 老店, or simply what I regard as Taiwanese soul food.

原因 – Since my discovery of the farmers’ markets, my fridge gets replenished weekly with seasonal and fresh produce. I get my cooking groove on in the kitchen, and so usually end up eating at home. Despite the convenience of buying food outside when going on an outing,  I even prefer to prepare my own lunch box 便當 or picnic basket, I curse at myself for the kitchen cleaning that ensues and swear to give cooking a break, but haven’t quite managed to snap out of it. When an occasion pops up to eat out, I like to treat myself to a “real restaurant”, and for some unconscious reasons, usually gravitate around Japanese fare or some type of Western food.

Simple (but time consuming >_<) homecooking.
Simple (but time consuming >_<) homecooking.
Mushrooms+garlic & carrots+onions, cooked with butter, and a soft-boiled egg.

對策 – So, I’ve made the resolution to get back on the streets when eating out, and get back in touch with that taste of Taiwan, 古早味, I was so fond of on my first visit.

我的天使 – Bless you Eslite Bookstore 誠品書店 for helping me in this endeavour, by putting「雄好呷」in my hands, or should I say lead me on into buying the book for a chance to tag along on a food tour with the author.

I usually rummage through foodie blogs for recommendations, but after listening to the author’s presentation of the book, convinced by the integrity of his work, I decided to save myself some time and headache and outsource it all to  「雄好呷」, a guide to street food stalls and little snacks in Kaohsiung. Winning a spot on the food tour would of course have been the icing on the cake, but no luck on that day :(.

Was I really hoping to win with this number?!
Did I really expect to win with this number?!

The author, Roger 郭銘哲, a Kaohsiung native, food&travel writer and also a seasoned backpacker, talked about the making of the book with great transparency, shared a few funny anecdotes of his encounters with street stalls owners 老闆/老闆娘, and also brought some mochi kindly offered by A-Mian 阿綿, one of the shop featured in the book. For a first time attending an event at Eslite Bookstore, I thought it was a lot of fun, and I’m glad I was convinced to buy the book (which I had told myself I wouldn’t buy a few weeks earlier while flipping through it :P), right on time to assist me in my resolution.

Complimentary mochi 麻糬 from A-Mian 阿綿.
Complimentary mochi 麻糬 , courtesy of A-Mian 阿綿.

The culled addresses may not be the most famous, for now at least, but it is the author’s intention to bring to light those lesser known places but no less popular among  locals. And if so far, everyone only has Tainan 臺南 in mind when it comes to little snacks 小吃, hopefully, this will soon change with Kaohsiung making a name for itself in that area.

The selection process took quite a bit of time, and actually originally started as part of the author’s special food column assignment for Eslite Bookstore. To decide, he not only ate multiple times at each address in the book, accompanied with different people to get others’ opinions, but also tested out competitors for comparison and confirm which made the cut. All in all, the whole process took six years!

The book is laid out simply but efficiently, with a good text to pictures ratio. The type of places featured covers the three main meals, late night snacks 宵夜, some bakeries, dessert or drinks stands, and edible gifts. Each eatery comes with a background story, address, business hours, closest subway stations, and a QR code to easily find directions. For pictures related to the book, check Roger’s fb album. For purchase, any major bookstore should carry it, Costco apparently does as well, and also online at books.com.tw.

(book updates from the author: 2013/10/27)

開始動作 – I may not have gotten lucky with the drawing, but the book comes with some coupons for discounts or freebies. They expire at the end of this year, so I better hurry up! Some people choose to cook their way through a book, I prefer eating my way through it :). Of course, I plan on sharing each of my visits on the blog!

If you have similar books recommendation for other cities in Taiwan, feel free to share!

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