So the main reason to come to Taiwan this time around was for the Taiwan International Food Expo. The promoters of the expo invited me to say a few words and present the awards for the top three from my top ten Taiwan list.
The food expo was at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center Station. Basically, it’s one huge convention center in a newer area of Taipei. Lots of construction on new buildings – very modern. Here I am in front of the art piece out front (it’s really tall – there’s a hand with finger pointing down from above). I went in and got to the place where the awards would take place.
Before I went on to do my thing, they did the big opening ceremony. Important people from around the world were there – dignitaries from the Taiwanese government as well as Europeans and folks from South America. It’s not only the International Food Expo, but the tea, coffee, beer, wine and liquor expo as well. A few speeches and then a fancy opening thing where they put their hands on some spheres and confetti gets shot out of cannons. It’s was pretty awesome actually – what was more awesome and kind of a surprise was that the music they played was the theme from Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – you know, the one with the whales.
The opening ceremony finished and then there was an interview in the front that went long – during which most everyone left before I was able to come on and do my thing. I had written a speech – first one I’d written since high school – and figured I’d have a little lectern or podium like they’d used prior in the opening ceremony. Well, I didn’t and so I had a stack of pages in large print and a microphone which made it tough to deal with. Here’s the full text of what I had planned to say. I cut it short though – kind of have to go with the flow sometimes. It was cool – I’m honored to have been invited and stoked to tell everyone about these varieties – good noodles! If you didn’t know, Little Cook Green Curry was 3rd, Xiao Ban Mian Traditional Shallot & Onion Oil second, and first place went to Mom’s Dry Noodle Dan Dan Noodle.
Next, I got to see the booth for the top two – Xiao Ban Mian and Mom’s Dry Noodle. Pretty impressive – they were serving samples and had a huge line of people wanting to try them.
I thought it would be neat to hand some out and asked if I could – they were happy to let me! It was a little tricky – tongs and little paper cups. I did it on this day and they asked if I’d like to do it again the next day and I did. It was cool to see a new face each time I handed one out. My favorite was a scowling little boy – I added noodles to the cup and went to hand it to him and stopped, adding a lot more. That got a smile. I’m pretty impressed with the fact that these guys do this for 4 days in a row, all the time on their feet. I’ll be honest, after a little time my back started to hurt.
Next it was off to have lunch. We went to a Malaysian chain restaurant called PappaRich which was in the same building I think – I don’t remember. Anyways, I got to have some rojak – one of my favorite Malay dishes I was first introduced to in Penang a few years back.
It was time to do some wandering around the Food Expo. Super busy, although the next couple days would be busier. I actually had people come up to me and want selfies with me – they knew who I was! That was really neat. I did this livestream – kind of a new thing for me to try.
Headed back to the hotel and chilled for a bit before going out to the Shilin Night Market. Kyle informed me that it’s the biggest in Taipei and he wasn’t kidding. So many people and so much stuff to look at. Definitely a lot of walking around today and my broken pinky toe was doing pretty good for the wear.