Marriage meal

This afternoon, after nearly nine years of married life I got legally married.  Let me explain.  Mr Taiwanxifu and I have been legally married for nearly nine years, but in Australia  — not Taiwan.  Recently we realised his Taiwan I.D. card still has him listed as ‘single’.  All jokes about enjoying his continuing bachelorhood aside, the status on his I.D. card is important.  For one thing, as a ‘single’ man he could legally marry again in Taiwan.  And also, Taiwanxifu baby would have had ‘father unknown’ listed on his birth certificate when born in Taiwan.

So we trooped down to the local registry bureau.  Nearly two hours later we emerged with a freshly inked and stamped marriage certificate.  Oh, and I am now legally allowed to use my married (Chinese) surname in Taiwan.  Oddly, this was the issue that seemed to provoke so much confusion with the registry staff.  Most Taiwanese women have now abandoned the practice of adopting their husband’s surname, and many have commented on how quaint and loyal I am for using a four character Chinese name (my husband’s Chinese surname, my Chinese surname plus my two-character Chinese name).   After having gone through the marriage registration process, I think I understand why.  Thankfully, the registry staff were lovely and a whole team stayed an hour past their knock-off time to get the registration done.

After which, we were hungry.  So where to for our wedding banquet?  Since we were tired, hungry and keen to go home to our nanny we opted for something simple and local — Jinfeng Luroufan (金峰滷肉飯). 

Cooking up a storm inside Jinfeng

Jinfeng is one of those ‘lao dian’ (老店) — eateries that have been in business for years, selling the same tried and true dishes.  Don’t expect air conditioning, or a zen-style interior.  And you will have to queue up and possibly share a table with complete strangers.  But service is brisk, the food good quality and the whole experience is good value for money.  And you can also try a few dishes listed on the just released CNNgo list of 40 essential Taiwanese foods, including the relatively hard to find dingbiancuo.

Luoroufan (滷肉飯)

Mr Taiwanxifu ordered a large serve of Jinfeng’s signature Luroufan (滷肉飯, NT$45).  The Taipei City Council was horrified last year to see this peasant-style Taiwan dish listed by the Michelin Green Guide Taiwan as being a Shandong import, and staged a press release (including giving out free samples) to reclaim the dish’s Taiwan birthright.  The Luroufan at Jinfeng glistens with the fat in the tender pork belly, which has been stewed in a salty/sweet combination before being spooned over freshly cooked rice.  Just don’t think of the calories.

Stewed pork over 'dry' noodles (乾麵)

I opted for a similar version of the stewed pork belly served over ‘dry’ noodles (乾麵, gān miàn NT$25).  The smaller serving was the right size for me, and I loved the contrast of the slightly chewy yellow egg noodles with a hint of mung beans and shallots.

Having spotted a delicious-looking thick soup with semi-formed pork dumplings being eaten by another table, I decided I must order some (肉羹汤, ròu gēng tāng, NT$45).  Despite not being listed in the CNN report, geng — a type of gelatinous soup — is popular soup throughout Taiwan, especially in the Eastern city of Yilan.  Here the combination was just right:  it was not too thick, the pork dumplings were fresh and tender, the mushrooms added the right texture and there was a delicate but not overpowering taste of ginger.  In fact, it was so good I did something unthinkable and forgot to take a photo.  It must be pregnancy brain — or else I was hungry.

Soup with dingbiancuo (鼎邊銼)

Mr Taiwanxifu ordered a bowl of the unique Taiwanese noodle dish (鼎邊銼, dǐng biān cuò, NT$50).  “This is mine,” he jealously guarded as I noticed how good his curled noodle broth with oysters, pork and vegetables looked.  “Ah, but we’re married now so what’s yours is mine,” I answered stealing a bite.  It was very good.

Morning glory (空心菜)

Feeling the need to add some greenery to our meal, we ordered a large serving of kōngxīncài (空心菜, NT$50).  Kongxincai, which roughly translates as ‘hollow heart vegetable’ in reference to its tubular shape, is sometimes referred to in the West as ‘morning glory’, ‘Chinese water spinach’ or even ‘Kang Kong’.  They are all the same thing.  This vegetable is best eaten in summer and as it needs lots of water was a good choice to eat during our wet and wild week.  At Jinfeng, it was served with some of their delicious stewed pork topping for flavour.

So all up, our lavish wedding banquet cost us NT$215.  But I suspect it will be a meal that we will remember for some time to come.

Jinfeng Luroufan is located near Exit 2 of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall MRT station, at No 10 Roosevelt Road Section 1 (台北市羅斯福路一段10號 ).

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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4 Responses to Marriage meal

  1. Katrina says:

    Congratulations on your marriage :) Your name story reminds of how I went to our marriage registration to find Richard had changed my name from my cute “Lan Xiao Fan” to what he liked: “Xie Ke An”. He had gone and had a new chop carved, so when I stamped the wedding document, I became a new person! Now have the “before marriage” and “after marriage persona and names to back me up… We do share the same Chinese surname now, too.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      So you got a new name and a new marriage certificate. Do you like your new name? Hubby also gave me a new name when we were dating. He didn’t tell me until later, but the name my Beijing teacher had chosen me roughly translates as ‘f your mother’ in Taiwanese. He thought I should get a new name before I travelled to Taiwan. Lucky! Did you consider adopting a Chinese surname, or was it all too hard?

  2. Wendy says:

    I love reading your blog. I am from Taiwan. Moved to Canada when I was 6 but still love it there, especially the FOOD!!!! I drool every time I see you post something food related.

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Thanks for your comment. I am happy to know that I have a Canadian/Taiwanese reader! I think Taiwan is only now starting to develop more of a consciousness about what Taiwanese food is. It is such a fusion of different influences: it is more than just a South-east Chinese cuisine. What foods do you miss the most? I hope you get the opportunity to come back to Taiwan from time to time for some serious eating.

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