Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Taipei: Stinky Tofu and Few Favorites Around 大安 Da-An [Day 5]

Since it was my last day I decided to head to Watson's to buy some stuff that I can't really find in the states and walk around 大安 Da-An Disctrict, which is where my grandma lives. It's always nice to walk around where I spent a good chunk of my childhood and seeing what has changed and of course, sampling on the familiar tastes :]

Had to stop by 永和 again to grab some good ol' Taiwanese breakfast.

Of course got my usual 蛋餅夾飯糰 egg crepe wrapped rice roll!

Also decided to get 蘿蔔糕 turnip cake that morning! So good.

So as I was walking towards Watson's, I saw the egg cake man! He's this guy that's been selling egg cake forever near the Da-An Vocational High School. He has the whole thing rigged onto his motorcycle. Pretty crazy. I didn't get any since he was just starting to set up but he's awesome.

Right across from him is a stand that sells all sorts of fried dumplings and scallion cakes. Well-known around the area as well!

After I got what I needed at Watson's I decided to go next door to 鬍鬚張魯肉飯 Mustache Chang for some awesome 魯肉飯. It's a chain that specializes in nightmarket food but the only difference is they actually gathered everything into a restaurant. They are one of the first to do so and it's definitely cleaner than eating at nightmarkets.

What they are famous for, 魯肉飯 stewed pork rice. Seriously they have one of the best anywhere. They use a really fatty cut of pork but the flavor from that is AMAZING.

Finished it in less than 5 minutes. Glorious :D

Had to go grab a drink so I decided to head over to 清心 (yes, again, I know) for another 700cc haha.

Passed by a MOS Burger on the way there but... had to save room...

My one and only drink that day, another oolong milk tea!

This is what I was saving room for, stinky tofu!! I've been coming to his stand for as long as I can remember. In fact one of my favorite memories as a kid was my grandpa bringing stinky tofu home from this man!

Frying up my order. Damn I wanted to steal that big bottle of pickled cabbage/kimchi... they have one of the best. People will go just to get an order of the cabbage.

As I was waiting for him to prepare my order to go, a crowd started to gather. Truly a gem in this neighborhood.

I also decided to stop by McDonald's to grab a spicy chicken sandwich :P

Once you open up the bag, you smell the wonderful pickled cabbage. Always done right.

Stinky tofu :]] Enough said!

Stinky tofu, pickled cabbage, and a little bit of the chili paste: what a perfect bite!

After I devoured the tofu, it was time for my favorite thing from Taiwan's McDonald's.

Spicy chicken sandwich! It looks like a regular chicken sandwich off the dollar menu but it's so much more. It's bigger and unlike the spicy chicken sandwiches from other chains in the states, it's actually got a kick. They use dark meet in Taiwan so it's incredibly juicy. Ahhhhhhh I want one right now...

After eating some of my old favorites, I had to go pack and prepare for the flight back to the states at midnight. Every time right before I leave there's also something that I wanted to eat but didn't get to and this time it was another one of my favorite, Wang's beef noodle soup. I guess that'll just have to wait till next time!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Taipei: NTU Part 2 [Day 4]

Today was another free day and I was to meet up with Karen L. for dinner so I decided to go to 光華 Guang Hua to search for a cheap, good quality tripod for my DSLR until dinner. Guang Hua is known for its numerous vendors with all things electronics. There's even a big building that houses over 100s of vendors, as well as vendors located throughout the main streets and alleys. It's pretty much an electronics freak/geek's heaven haha. Of course Guang Hua is known for the food around the area as well catered to students since the Technology University is located right next to Guang Hua.

An alley leading to all the food stands near Guang Hua.

光華鹽酥雞 Guang Hua Frying Shop. They used to have a single stand but now they've acquired a store front. Much cleaner this way.

Big 雞排 fried chicken breast from the shop. Bigger than my hand as you can see from the picture. A little bit too much breading though.

Forgot to focus but its a stand selling various scallion cakes.

My 抓餅加蛋 loosened scallion cake with egg.

Had to get a oolong milk tea to go with all that before I went searching for my tripod.

Unfortunately all the tripods are too expensive for me. They have a lot of really nice brands and I guess Taiwanese people are starting to use those too, since they probably last much longer, and who doesn't like named brands? Higher profit margin for the retailers too probably hahah.

Chilled a bit around there then met up with Karen at Gong Guan (AGAIN) to decide on where to eat. We didn't really want to go anywhere else so we just decided to search for something to eat around NTU. Pretty much went to the same alleys and streets as the day before.

Stopped by here cause Karen kept on raving about how good the 水煎包 water-cooked bun was, especially the one with chives.

Of course had to wait in line. A good sign.

The bun itself. I got the 白菜水煎包 cabbage & pork bun since the chive & pork sold out. Really subtle flavors. You can taste the pork and the sweetness of the cabbage. I hella wanted some soy sauce & vinegar to go with it.

梅江韓國烤肉 MeiJiang Korean BBQ
SiYuan Jie, #10
Zhong-Zheng District, Taipei

After grabbing the bun and buying some bread, we finally decided on an all-you-can-eat KBBQ spot... which wasn't really smart considering I already ate a bunch at Guang Hua. Nevertheless, I wanted to try something new and preferred a sitdown restaurant so we dove in.

The round copper grills are really popular in Taiwan. Water is added and flows to the edge so it cooks the veggies and noodles. Comes with a few banchan like kimchi, seaweed etc.,

Getting ready to EAT. Definitely a good deal. Only a little over $8 US.

Pork, kalbi, chicken, beef, and lamb. Marinated pretty well. It seems like they use a sweeter marinade.

I decided to bust out the bread I got from a bakery earlier near the Gong Guang MRT. This one looked really promising since it had crumbly crust.

Turned out to be custard inside..... which isn't my favorite but I still ate it cause for that small cube it costs like 15 NT haha.

My breakfast bread! Egg and bacon on a bread. What a complete breakfast! Decided to save that for the next day hahah.

After dinner we walked around for a bit and we're both getting thirsty so decided to stop at 陳三鼎, another spot famous for fresh milk with boba drinks, located in one of the alleys again.

Karen recommended the fresh milk + green bean boba drink. Sooooo good. Gonna be getting this combination from now on! Boba's a little softer than the one I tried yesterday but you can really really taste the brown sugar.

Afterwards, Karen pushed me to try the stinky tofu right across from NTU even though we just had AYCE KBBQ. Honestly... what an evil girl.

But I gave in and got the stinky tofu. The outside of the tofu was fried perfectly to a crisp so you can hear a crunch everytime you bite down. The sauce at this spot isn't as vinegar-y or garlic-y as what I'm used to but very good too. The only thing was the pickled cabbage. Kinda sweet.

After eating the tofu, walked past a KFC and saw them making deliveries for boxes of popcorn chicken hahah. Wanted to jack a box.

臺一牛奶 Tai-Yi
ShinSheng Nan Lu, Section 3, #82

臺一 is famous for their traditional shaved ice and sweet dessert items. Been here for over 40 years! Karen was adamant about me trying this place too. I was seriously stuffed already because of her but after seeing the place and realizing this was an old school spot, I had to have it.

芝麻湯圓紅豆湯 Sesame tang yuan in red bean soup. Wow this... was good. 臺一 only serves hot items and sesame tang yuan during the winter season so I definitely came at the right time. $60 NT.

The gigantic tang yuan. Tang yuan is essentially mochi filled with either sesame or peanut filling. Came with 3!

The sesame filling. At first I thought the red bean soup was sweet but after taking a bite of the sesame tang yuan I realized the soup was nothing compared to it! In fact, it's so sweet that when I drink the red bean soup again, all I could taste was red bean and not the sugar.

Sadly I couldn't finish the whole thing since I was so full and I was getting a sugar overload. After eatubg all the sesame tang yuan, we decided to head back to the MRT station.

Passed by Hubert's Yogurt Art haha. Would've gone in.. but really... too much sugar already and sweet stuff.

So I said my goodbye to Karen and forever shall remember her as the evil girl that kept on making me eat. As I began to take the MRT back to my aunt's place, I decided I needed another drink just cause it's my last night there and I might as well take advantage of the late opening hours so I went to 遼寧 nightmarket again.

Went to 清心 again but got a oolong qing tea this time. Decided I needed something lighter.

BUUUUUT on the way to the apartment, I saw 格登炸雞 Golden Fried Chicken. It's another frying stand that sells everything from chicken to fried veggies. They've been around forever too. What's different is that they use a batter which is more similar to the West but they use the same spices for flavoring. I walked a lot on the way back so my stomach had made room and decided to get 雞排 fried chicken for my late night snacking. Bad idea cause I felt like crap afterwards... but it was good!

So that was all... in one day. Holy as I'm writing this I realized just how much I ate that day. I really should be 300lbs or something, but I did have a glorious day of eating that I can be proud of thanks to Karen.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Taipei: Exploring around NTU [Day 3]

The expo was smaller than I thought so by that Sunday, I had already finished looking at everything and did what I was supposed to. So on the 3rd day(Monday 3/15), I didn't have any plans and I figured I should at least go out and do something, decided to come to 公館 Gong Guan to take a look at the shoes Asia has to offer. There are literally over 10 shops on one street so it really is a good place to shop for sneakers.

Gong Guan MRT stop is right outside of National Taiwan University so there's quite a thriving food culture around the area with lots of cheap eats and food stands made famous by NTU's students.

One of the alleys of 羅斯福路 LuoSiFu Street. Lots of food in all the little alleys around the area.

I knew I was gonna be eating so I stopped by Starbucks and jacked a bunch of their napkins haha. This guy was looking at me all weird when I was taking the picture.

First thing that caught my eye? 沙威瑪 saweima. It's a sandwich popular in Taiwan.

Usually the meat is cut from a big chunk of meat like gyros then they add onions, tomatoes, and condiments to it, but this place teppans the ingredients first!

Soft fresh roll, with freshly teppan-ed meat and veggies.

After eating my saweima and walking around, saw people waiting in line. I was thinking "What the hell is this...?" since there's no sign or anything. (Oh and they don't allow pictures so I had to take it across the street. Probably got pissed from people doing that before ahaha.)

Turned out to be 車輪餅 imagawayaki!! Apparently this place doesn't open all the time. No wonder I hadn't seen it before. Got two flavors: red bean and custard.

Looks good!

Tried the red bean first. I was surprised cause I thought it would be sweeter. You can really taste the red bean. I took a bite of the custard... not a big fan... so I didn't take a picture of it haha.

Right next to that is a stand selling one of my favorites.

豬血糕 pig's blood cake. It's not really a cake but made with pig's blood, glutinous rice, spices, and a few other ingredients, then steamd. Covered with cilantro, peanut powder, and a spicy sauce. Love it.

While I was sitting on a bench eating by my lonesome self, took a picture of the street and you can see all the different restaurants.

Really wanted to get a peppered pork bun but I was already getting full. It smelled good though since it was charcoaled baked, which must mean it probably has a flaky crust. I was pretty weak sauce that day :[ I think I ate too much the the day prior haha.

Had to get a drink after that so stopped by 墾丁蛋蛋ㄉㄨㄞ奶 KenTing DanDan "Duai" Milk. It's a shop that specializes in making boba balls with brown sugar. It's a popular drink in Taiwan to mix fresh milk and good boba and that's exactly this spot's specialty. Apparently this shop is an extremely popular chain in the southern part of Taiwan, having originated from KenTing.

The milk they use is actually pretty good. They use 林鳳營 milk, which can be touted as one of the "higher quality" milk brand in Taiwan. The boba was good too, really chewy and you can definitely taste the brown sugar.

Walked around and saw this lady making 潤餅 Taiwanese spring rolls. Never been a big fan of this but people kept on coming up to her so must be pretty good. Lots of options to fill the rolls with too.

Decided to head back to my grandma's for dinner but had to make a stop and get a milk tea haha. Stopped by 大井烤茶, which is a chain that specializes in baked tea drinks. By baking the tea gives it even more of a roasted flavor, especially for green tea.

Decided to with a baked oolong milk tea. Dark roasted flavors comes through the milk tea. Plus it's always a large at this shop for the price of a 500cc drink hahah. More bang for you buck!

Even though I went to Gong Guan to find sneakers, I Didn't see any sneakers that I wanted but I did have a good time walking around Gong Guan and exploring around. I haven't done that in awhile around that area. Little did I know I was coming back here the next day... :P