Friday, March 23, 2012

Taipei: Buffet Madness with Family - Day 1 (Pt. 1)

After arriving in TPE at 10pm, then out until 4am, I was surprised that I was able to wake up at 9am, and leave from Diana's place to 新光三越 Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A11 Store for a Sunday lunch with my mom's side of the family. Jet lag didn't hit me hit so I was ready to feast!

I haven't seen that side of the family for over 8 years so imagine how surprised I was when I found out one of my cousin is already a freshman attending college! The last time I saw her she was just starting middle school. Seeing her and the new baby cousin made me feel super old... But of course, what better way to rekindle and catch up than pigging out at a top notch Japanese buffet?

My aunt decided on 欣葉 Shin Yeh, which is one of my favorite buffets anywhere! High quality Japanese food with few items changed to suit a Taiwanese's palate, but for the most part, fairly authentic Japanese items. It's pricey, at $750 NT, even for US's standards but it's definitely worth it! There's several locations but they chose the A11 since it was closer to the bus transfer station.

欣葉日式自助料理 Shin Yeh Japanese Buffet
SongShou Road #11 5F, Taipei City
ShinYi Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A11

shin yeh japanese buffet
Shin Yeh Japanese Buffet!

The drinks station. They have espresso machine, juices, Calpico, cocktails, and even all the beer you want!

cold items
Sashimi and cold item section.

hot items
Hot food section. My favorite part of the buffet.

Selection of fruits.

more items
This station is a little bit more random, with a variety of salads, steamed items, noodles, and rice.

tempura shrimp
One of Shin Yeh's most popular item, huge tempura shrimp!

grilled wings chilling
Grilled chicken wings. Lighting seasoned.

kama chilling
Kama, aka fish collar! Nothing crazy like salmon or hamachi fish collar but for a buffet, this is awesome! I don't know what fish it is but I never turn away from a fatty piece of fish collar :D

grilled wings
The wings are prefect with a little bit of white pepper salt.

The fish collar. Grilled with only salt so again, perfect with a bit of white pepper! I think I must've ate 10 of these. They are pretty small :P

grilled fish
Some type of grilled fish. My aunt told me the fish is pretty expensive in Taiwan. No clue what it is but I'm guessing it is 竹魚, which is Japanese horsemackerel.

Unlimited sashimi! Tuna, salmon, swordfish, whitefish!

more sashimi
More sashimi! This time with smoked shark!

tempura shrimp close-up
The always popular shrimp tempura. It's the combination of huge fresh shrimp with prefect flaky tempura batter, and always fresh-fried.

chicken cartiladge
Chicken cartilage! Weird to some people cause they can't stand the soft and crunchy texture but I love it!

duck fried rice
Duck fried rice? Yes.

Started out with a coke cause I was craving it for some reason :P All sodas come in tiny bottles!

soba noodles
Cold soba noodles.

udon & fried rice
Fried rice and udon.

tea pots & steamed egg
This is the "healthy living" section with healthy tea pot & steamed egg.

pork sukiyaki
Pork sukiyaki! There's a huge controversy with beef right now due to politicians being stupid so there's essentially no beef on the menu right now.

Salmon roe handroll and shrimp hand roll. I like how the salmon roe handroll is not stuffed with rice. The shrimp handroll is my favorite out of the two cabbage, shrimp, bonito flakes, peanut powder, and a little of Japanese mayo!

salmon miso
Salmon belly miso soup. Miso + seafood is so simple but so good.

Some Calpico to wash it all down!

healthy tea pot
Now, this is the "healthy" tea pot.

healthy pot
What is it? Well it is essentially just water boiled with some ingredients that are good for you body.

inside tea pot
Clams, shrimp, chicken, ginger etc. It 's all about the essence and the flavor.

steamed egg
Steamed egg. So smooooth. Japanese's steamed egg is the best.

carved ham
Ham carving station. Again, this used to be roast beef or something but Taiwanese people are freaking out about beef because US beef is added with leanness enhancing additives. Meh... been eating beef all my life...

vinegar shots
Popular flavors of vinegar drinks! For awhile, flavored vinegar was extremely popular in Taiwan because, well, vinegar is good for you! Looks like people still love it. Personally, I can only take 1 or 2.

red bean soup
For desserts, I started out with red bean soup with hot 湯圓 tang yuan and boba. Japanese buffet offering boba as a topping? Taiwan's buffet is awesome.

choco fountain
Chocolate fountain! I'm sure this is better than the crap Golden Corral serves.

More Asian sweets & pastries.

Ended up with chocolate-covered marshmallow, chocolate-covered tomato, mochi, creme-filled bread, and sesame ball.

marshmallow & tomato
Chocolate-covered marshmallow & tomato. I admit, I'm not a good chocolatier :P

creme filled bread
Creme-filled bread. Soft spongy bread that's filled with vanilla creme.

mochi & sesame ball
Mochi dusted with peanut powder and sesame ball. More traditional items.

perfect combo
Went for more and got creme brulee with a cup of cappucino!

creme brulee
Now... for some reason the milk in Asia always have a much stronger milky flavor so any items that have dairy in it, you get a more flagrant, milky flavor out of it. This creme brulee was so rich, thanks to the milk!

I had to save some room for the fruits!

guava, passionfruit
Guava and passionfruit. The green guava is my favorite fruit! None of these in the US so I always eat as much as I can.

lian wu, starfruit
蓮霧 lian wu and starfruit! Again, two fruits that I can't find in the States! Lian wu is also called wax apple, and another one of my favorites.

ice cream
Decided to end the meal with something cold! It used to be Haagen Daaz but I don't think it is anymore.

manga & red bean
Went for the mango and red bean. For the mango, if you've had any Asian mango-flavored candy, you'll know that the flavor is very different from any Western flavored mango food items.

Even though I've been to Shin Yeh several times, I really tried to try everything at least once this time around, so by the end... I was stuffed beyond belief. Funny thing was I didn't even realize I ate that much because I was talking to my relatives for the majority of the meal and not paying attention to exactly how much I've ate.