Editor's note: Rebecca Meeker is the Chef de Cuisine of Congress, the only restaurant in Austin to receive five-stars from the Austin American Statesman. She has studied and worked in the finest establishments around the world and brings those experiences to her new column, "Light and fresh lunches," in which she instructs the every-man how to prepare tasty, balanced midday meals.
It was 2009 and I had just moved to Taipei, Taiwan to open L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon. I was starving. I decided to venture out of my freshly unpacked apartment in the Xin-Yi district. My new neighborhood was overflowing with restaurants and carts serving street food.
The sights, smells and sounds were amazing, but with the language barrier between my neighbors and myself, I was slightly overwhelmed. Circling the street blocks in a bit of culture shock, I mustered up the courage to approach one of the street food carts.
I stopped in front of a tiny stand, behind which crouched a wizened woman. She wrapped rice paper around nori (thin, dried seaweed sheets) and various mixtures of Chinese sausage, shrimp, pork, peanuts, carrots, cabbage and dozens of other heavenly-smelling options with devastating speed and dexterity. I ordered one with a few points and gestures, took a bite and quickly fell in love with my new home.
After settling in to my surroundings and job, I began making my own wraps at home using fresh ingredients I found in the markets.