Tasting Toronto risked a possible downpour last weekend to sample some Formosan cuisine at Taiwanfest at the Harbourfront Centre.
With the gloomy skies above it was nice to be greeted with some chamber music before heading for the food.
I started off with some Taiwanese steamed rice. It was steamed sticky rice moulded in a cup, topped with ground pork and mushrooms, with cilantro and a hoisin tasting sauce. That hit the spot. It was sweet, fresh and flavourful. I love cilantro.
Next up was something I've never seen before: oyster pancakes. A 20 minute lineup was in store for those who really wanted to try some, as it was made fresh, 4 skillets at a time. The pancake was quite a treat for me. I didn't exactly know what to expect... maybe a pancake... maybe an omelet? It turned out to be a novel meal made with 3 oysters, 2 eggs, some fresh greens, and what looked like a rice flour solution as the main batter, topped with a ketchupy sauce. The eggs weren't incorporated into the batter, rather cracked onto the pancake half-way through. The yolks were then broken and slightly stirred, leaving different areas of texture: some eggy, some battery and gooey.
On to another booth I spied some Taiwanese sausages and "Smelly Tofu" Smelly Tofu? Something must be lost in translation, I thought. Perhaps they meant aromatic, or even fragrant? No such luck... it was damn smelly, like rotting sewage, and the smell stuck to your fingers like a skunk attack. Before you ask, no I didn't eat it with my fingers. A little sauce dripped down my fork. It tasted horrible. I normally like tofu... wait, who likes tofu? Well I grew up with the stuff, so I like it :p , but I digress. This tofu was bad and crumbly, but hey, maybe it's an acquired taste.
The sausage was OK. Greasy and salty, it would go well with some rice. It was rich and savoury and I wouldn't be able to have too much.
Back to the tofu. I had to throw it out after a few bites for analysis. Blahhhck!
I was running out of tummy room when I saw a Takoyaki stand. It's Japanese octopus balls, but since Japan is right by Taiwan, it could easily be Taiwanese food so I ordered some up. I love Takoyaki, but this was a little sub-par. It looked great, but the batter was a little too mushy, and there weren't as many octopus bits inside. I could've done without the mayo. I like the Takoyaki they served at the Taste of the Danforth much better.
Alright, done with food, I needed something to wash it all down... but with what? Ah bubble tea of course! I had a mango milk green tea bubble tea with grape jelly instead of the usual tapioca pearls. That was refreshing.