Sunday, September 14, 2008

Taiwan: 桃園街老王牛肉麵 [Wang‘s Beef Noodle]

桃園街老王牛肉麵 is absolutely my favorite place to get beef noodle soup in Taiwan. It's started off as a modest little stand but now it has expanded to a 2-story tall restaurant haha. It's amazing how it has evolved. It only has 6, 7 items on their menu but they are making bank on them.

泡菜 kimchi. It's better than a lot of places. Always get it to sort of get the appetite going.

粉蒸排骨 steamed sticky rice porkchop. This is a famous dish and many places that serves beef noodle soup will somewhat of a variation to it. Essentially, they take sticky rice, mash it up, then mix it with either porkchops, pork intestine and any cuts of meat to be steamed.

Their 酸菜, which is my favorite out of everywhere. I think they add garlic to it.

The beautiful noodle soup!

And of course you gotta add the 酸菜 to complete it :D

By the way, I finished it in like... 10 minutes haha.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Taiwan: Here and There

Here are some of the random food/snacks/drinks I had around Taipei. There's something good everywhere haha. The best is just walking around Taipei and eating whatever you see :]

Popcorn chicken from 遼寧街夜市, just around the corner from my aunt's place!

So... apparently this place got first place in the annual contest for 魯肉飯. I gotta admit, it's pretty damn good. You can tell they used a lot of the 油蔥 (fried onion).

Goose meat from 鵝肉城. Looks plain but it's actually flavored. Amazing.

Oolong Milktea from 清心褔. Oolong milktea is similar to Jasmin milktea except it has a more robust flavor. It's now my favorite place to get milkteas and boba drinks. I hope they didn't use the poisonous milk from China cause I pretty much had one every day hahaha.

雞蛋糕 is pretty much pancake batter poured into a mold the shape of eggs. Plain and simple but I used to eat this as a kid all the time.

潮州胡椒餅 Chaozhou Peppered pork buns. The outside is flaky and crunchy but I still like the ones near 永康街 better.

Main ingredients: pork, green onions, salt, and a lot of pepper.

Tea eggs. Enough said :]


Stinky tofu from the street vendor right around the corner from my grandma's place. This old lady there has been selling stinky tofu there since... as long as I can remember. She makes the best Chinese kimchi too. They way she mixes all the seasonings and the sauces together with the kimchi is just amazing haha.

Oolong milktea from 五十嵐, my 2nd favorite milktea spot.

蛋餅包油條 egg pancake wrapped chinese donut. Yea, not exactly the healthiest thing to eat for breakfast... but meeeeh. It's good, yay for traditional Chinese breakfast hahah :D

黑松沙士 and Assam Black Tea. Two of my favorite kids when I was a kid. 黑松沙士 is a sarsaparilla drink, kinda tastes like Dr. Pepper and root beer.

黑糖竽圓刨冰 Brown sugar taro balls shaved ice from 鮮竽仙. All 鮮竽仙 sells is traditional Taiwanese dessert items, like shaved ice, and grass jelly drinks etc.

Coffee bread from Baker's Boy. I saw people waiting in line for it so I had to do it too haha. It's only good when it's right out of the oven (which is always since they sell out so fast) and the smell is just amazing when it does. Not bad but too expensive for bread in Taiwan (30NT).

I miss Taiwan :[

Taiwan: 泰荷 [Patio Thai Cuisine]

So in Taiwan at most of the Thai restaurants, you order dishes and share it among people, a la family-style of Chinese food. The dishes are slightly different from their US counterparts. I love Thai food in Taiwan, cause it focuses really heavily on the sour aspect of Thai food. Awesome :D

Went to Patio Thai on top of SOGO Department Store with my mom and sister.

Started off with an appetizer, fried fishcake. They provide a sweet&sour dipping sauce for it.

蝦醬炒空心菜 sauteed on-choy. This is a dish that's actually invented by the Thai restaurants in Taiwan. At first Thailand didn't have this dish but then it got so popular they started making it this way too. Pretty much, they sautee on-choy with shrimp paste, and that's about it! Love it haha.

辣子雞 spicy fried chicken. This is the first time I had this dish like this since usually the chicken are in smaller pieces, but still very good.

Some sort of coconut-based soup. I can't remember the name of it since it but it has seafood in this sour broth and they add coconut milk to balance it out.

The main star, 檸檬魚 lemon fish. It's fish steamed with garlic, green onions, cabbage, and lemon slices. The lemon gives it a really refreshing flavor. My favorite dish in Thai cuisine :]

Friday, September 12, 2008

Taiwan: MOS Burger

MOS Burger!! A staple in the fast food for Taiwanese people. MOS actually means Mountain, Ocean, Sun haha. Oh those Japanese people and their English. I used to only get to eat at MOS Burger when I do well on my test in school as a reward :P

And of course, this is what they are known for, the 燒肉珍珠堡, which is bbq pork with lettuce between two rice patty buns! I think I ate 4 that day haha.

Then I saw someone next to us having a hotdog, then I realized I haven't had a hotdog in a long time. Where the hell am I gonna get a decent hotdog in China right? So I got a MOS hotdog to satisfy my craving haha. Pretty much a hotdog with a tomato meat sauce (almost like a marinara) with jalapenos. Gotta admit, I was pretty impressed haha.

Yay for MOS Burger!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taiwan: 鼎泰豐 [Din Tai Fung]

Of course, you can't complete a trip to Taiwan without going to the original 鼎泰豐 Din Tai Fung!

Vinegar + ginger = must have for all the buns they have.

Din Tai Fung's 泡菜 kimchi... not as good as I thought haha. But I think it's the only thing that's so-so here :P

The first item, 翡翠餃 vegetable dumpling! I loved the outside of the dumpling. It's thicker and much more "Q" than other places.

And of course you dip it into the vinegar.

The star of Din Tai Fung, 小龍包 xiao long bao!! Still the best ever.

Close up of the beauty :]

If you didn't know, Din Tai Fung is also known for the 酸辣湯 hot & sour soup.

炒空心菜 Stir-fry on-choy. Just on-choy, or water spinach as some people call it, with garlic.

They are also known for their 炸排骨 fried porkchop. It's seasoned fried porkchop and you add some vinegar to it. It's actually a very Shanghai way of eating porkchops.

Ok, fine they are known for a lot of things, like this 蝦仁炒飯 shrimp fried rice. I can eat 4 plates of these... EASILY. I love fried rice hahaha. Japanese people always order this.

A special item at Din Tai Fung, 蟹黃小龍包 crab roe xiao long bao. It's twice as much as normal xiao long bao but the flavor is totally worth it.

炸醬麵 zha jiang mian. It's interesting cause they add edamame and little pieces of tomato to make it sweeter and balance it with the saltiness. Very good. My mom is starting to make it this way now too haha.

發糕, which is a Cantonese-style dessert. It's essentially mashed sticky rice with sugar then steamed.

豆沙包 red bean bun. My favorite dessert here!

Close up of the delicious beauty. Notice how thin the outside layer is. Din Tai Fung's known for that.

I just love Din Tai Fung, and it's even better when my aunt's treating hahaha.

Taiwan: 老董牛肉麵 [Dong's Beef Noodle Soup]

If you didn't know, 牛肉麵 beef noodle soup is absolutely one of my favorite of all time, but it's really hard to find a place with good noodle soup here in the States. Whenever I go back to Taiwan, I eat it as much as I can and this time I decided to try the beef noodle soup from 老董, which won first place at the Beef Noodle Festival that Taipei holds every year.

Got their 半筋半肉牛肉麵 [tendon and meat beef noodle soup]. The soup was really light and you can really taste the flavor from the beef. They use a much more fatty part of the cow so the the beef was tender but a little bit too much fat for my liking. The beef tendon was amazing though. You can tell how long they've been braising and cooking it just from taking one bite since it's so soft. Usually tendons are really hard to cook through.

Their 酸菜 that you add to the noodle soup, which is actually pretty light compared to a lot of places. Nothing special really.

Traditional green onion cake. It's a little different in that they coil it into the shape seen above. My favorite item from 老董.

Their 牛肉捲餅 beef wraps, that's covered with sesame. The inside's marinated beef along with cucumber, green onion, and sauce. It's the first time I've seen a beef wrap that's coated with sesame. Gives it a different texture and flavor!

I went to this place with too much hype and expectations. I do love that it's not oily like some places but don't think it deserves the #1 title. It is an old school place since they've been there for so long. It's a good place to go for really old school beef noodle soup that's light on the palate.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Taiwan: 宜蘭 [Yi'Lan]

So, Yi'Lan is my mom's hometown. It's about an hour and a half away by train and 40 minutes by bus from Taipei. It's known for hot springs, and pretty much really good food. A lot of people from Taipei go to Yi'Lan for the weekend to relax and enjoy the nightmarkets there. The 羅東 nightmarket is really well known since it has a lot of specialities that other nightmarkets just doesn't have. I go to Yi'Lan almost everytime I go back to Taiwan, just to see my grandma and my aunts, and of course, eat :]

Taiwanese-style green onion cake with egg. It's from this one stand that has people waiting in line since 8am in the morning. Crazay. He fries the dough with green onions on a hot skillet then adds an egg on top so it fuses together. After, he adds a soy sauce based sauce to it and that's pretty much it. Absolutely gdamn delcious.

Yessir :]

打磕麵 "snoring noodles." It's called snoring noodles because the line is so long that it's said people start falling asleep waiting for it HAHA. Awesome. It's a little bit of pork fat mixed with celery, vinegar, hot chili sauce, and black pepper. You stir it and it's ready to eat. So simple, yet so good.

Their 餛飩湯 wonton soup, which is famous also.

It only looks slightly empty cause we went at 11. By the time we finished, the wait was about 40-50 minutes!

After the noodles, we saw a stand that sold 仆鴨, which is fried duck meat, but instead of it being salty, the mixture they dip into into before they fry it is sweet. Pretty interesting.

羅東nightmarket during the day, which is pretty... dead haha. Afterall, it is a nightmarket but still plenty of vendors selling food :D

龍鳳腿, which they wrap cabbage, ground pork, and mayo with pig skin membrane, then fried. I know it sounds nasty, but it's surprisingly good hahah. Mom said she used to eat this as a kid in Yi'Lan.

The famous 龍鳳腿.

Giganitc 碳烤炸雞排. They fried these big pieces of chicken steak, then they grill it with coals, coating it with the sauce or flavoring that you chose. I had it with teriyaki suace cause the lady recommended it haha. Can't really go wrong with fried chicken! :]

AND when night comes, my aunt went out and bought these delicious goodies :D

Of course, popcorn chicken, done the RIGHT way (fried with basil)

Fried tempura, pig blood, and yams from the same stand. Glorious.

Then she also got an assortment of braised and marinated items. Duck wings, pork intestines, pig blood, cabbage, and... some stuff I have no idea what it is, but it's delicious haha.

Next day, my aunt took us to a place where they've gone and ate Taiwanese food since they were a kid. It's owned by the neighbors so they always give discounts to my grandma and aunts whenever they go. Had to get 魯肉飯 (minced meat rice) of course hahaha.

Dish #1: marinated clams. Just soy sauce, rice wine, ginger, chili peppers. So simple. Best I've had in Taiwan too.

魷魚羹 squid soup? I don't know how to translate it, but it's damn good haha. This restaurant is known for it, as well as...

... this! It's 鯊魚煙 smoked shark, and you dip it in this sauce made from soy sauce paste and minced garlic. So damn good.

腮棒肉 pork cheek. It's just boiled pork cheek meat and you dip it in the same sauce as the shark meat, with a little bit of ginger.

燙A菜 boiled vegetables (potato leaves). They just boil the vegetable then they add minced meat over it with soy sauce paste.

溫泉蛋 hot spring eggs. Since 宜蘭 has a lot of hot springs, a lot of their dishes are named after it. They boil the eggs so it's half done, then they add soy sauce and other flavoring to season it. Heavenly.

After we ate, my aunt took us to the last place we'd visit before my sister and I went back to Taipei, to this place called 橘之鄉, which sells all sorts of preserved fruits and meat jerky, but mostly snacks made from 金柑 (kumquats).

This is preserved kumquat using salt. Interesting taste compared to what you usually think of citrus fruits.

Same kumquat, preserved with sugar. A lot more familiar tasting than the salted one.

Sour preserved kumquat. They just let these dry and let the natural flavors take over.

Made from a different fruit... totally forgot what it was but it's good hahaha.

I love Yi'Lan :]