My taste in the culinary world: Umami

It was day 4 in Taiwan. I remembered I woke up at 4am since jet lag had me messed up. So I went out, saw the sunrise and grabbed breakfast. I went to a local Taiwanese breakfast joint serving sausage and collard greens inside a rice roll with coffee for only $1 cad, (What a great deal!). I later walked around the streets near my friend’s place admiring the scenery. Walking around the streets in Taiwan is really nice because it’s very different compared to the busy life in Toronto. Yes, there are people that are leaving for work but I always saw people hanging out at coffee shops and the local restaurants. Many of these shops are a family owned business and they’re very similar with the locals. I feel like I was an outcast because they know I was new to the neighborhood (that and I don’t know how to speak Mandarin). Surprisingly, some of them know how to speak english. I told them I’m from Canada. They immediately became friendly to me because for them, it’s so rare to see a Chinese Canadian.

Later that evening, we went to a local night market with my friend to have dinner. Holy mother of all shit! I was totally blown away from all the amazing street food. I can smell it a block away. From stinky tofu, herbal tea, fresh sashimi that has been caught today, even with tea with frog eggs, everything I love (and of course the bubble tea). One of the guys from the stalls even let me cook with them for a bit! I fell in love with Taiwan. Food there is cheap, people there are really friendly and there’s so much stuff to learn. From their food, lifestyle and culture, I really wish I could stay there forever.

On the way back to Canada, I learned that I missed that drive; that fire inside me to learn, experience and try out new things that will help me in my culinary journey. That drive helped me push myself to learn and try out new things that are outside my comfort zone. Also, to always ask for advice. Right now I’m in a great position. A stable job that help builds my leadership skills, perfecting my culinary skills and trying to be as consistent as possible. I’m so fortunate to have people that are willing to take me under their wing and being my mentor for both culinary and real life advice.

Lastly, I’ve just come to terms that I don’t want to live a normal life anymore. I love the adrenaline rush in the food industry. I miss the highs and lows in the kitchen that teaches me to be a better person. I miss the fire inside me that keeps on motivating me to push harder. 

There’s also one thing I want to talk about. I’ll save it for part 2.



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