Day 3 of my trip meant the start of the real reason why I came to Taipei, work. Since all the bigger conventions and shows always take place at the World Trade Center in ShinYi area of Taipei, I had a bevy of options in terms of what to eat around the area. Mostly restaurants, chains, and fine dining since it is a business hub.
For lunch, I got in contact with an old high school friend and we decided to grab lunch at the huge Shin Kong Mitsukoshi 新光三越 in the area, and headed to the A9 building for Saboten 勝博殿!
Saboten, a katsu specialty shop from Shinjuku in Japan, is actually where I got my first introduction to legit katsu, and by legit, I meant grinding the sesame with a mortar for the katsu sauce and realizing that it is important to fry it right so the breading is crispy but pork is juicy. It is also where I learned that there are many different types of pork katsu and the cut used can be a huge difference! I haven't been to Saboten in awhile since I was still in high school the last time I went so definitely excited.
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi A9
9, 6F, Songshou Rd., Taipei
Part of the menu. Prices have gone up :P
As with all good katsu place, they have unlimited cabbage for you to eat with katsu!
Pickled items. Don't know what type of bean it is but the daikon was tasty.
Grinding your own sesame to release the aroma! Very important! Katsu + grounded sesame takes the katsu sauce to a whole difference level.
I like to grind it fine.
Their katsu sauce. Not too vinegary.
Cabbage with a little bit of the katsu sauce as dressing. Awesome.
Combo A with tempura shrimp, pork loin katsu, pork belly katsu. $430NT, around $14 US. Not bad.
Pork belly katsu. Of course the fatty belly isn't used, but the leaner parts of pork belly. Extremely juicy since there's more fat and that breading is fried to a perfect golden brown.
Pork loin katsu, which is the typical cut for tonkatsu. A little thinner than what I remembered :P
Tempura shrimp in the same panko breading. Served with house-made tartar sauce.
Miso soup. It is weird... miso soup in Taiwan is always sweeter than the ones in the States. Must be the type of miso used.
Steamed egg! Silky.
The combo also comes with free ice cream so went with the matcha ice cream. Peanut powder is lightly dusted.
Saboten is still a good place to grab some good katsu after all these years. There's also a lot more other katsu specialty shops in Taipei now but Saboten will always have a special place in my heart. Did wish the katsu portions were bigger though :P
After lunch, I wanted a drink and saw a Ten Ren at the ATT Center, so decided to stop by for a drink. They were offering a combo special and I couldn't resist :P
Boba Chocolate Waffle. Boba. Chocolate. Waffle. How could I resist???
They warm it up for you once it is ordered so the chocolate inside stays gooey. Nice crunchy outside and a doughy inside with gooey chocolate.
Boba inside the waffle! The boba at Ten Ren is cooked in brown sugar so you taste that caramel-y flavor. The boba is still "Q" too. What a genius creation!
Fresh milk green tea. You can never go wrong with any drinks from Ten Ren. So much better than Tea Station in the States.
For dinner, I was meeting up with a family friend and since she was taking the high speed rail from Kaushiung, I figured we should meet near Taipei Main Station so she wouldn't have to travel far and we ended up at Q Square, which is this new department store.
After looking at our selections, I saw that there was a Thai restaurant and it's been awhile since I've had Thai food in Taiwan we decided on Thai and headed upstairs to 晶湯匙 Crystal Spoon!
晶湯匙 Crystal Spoon
Q Square 4th Floor
1, Lane 1, 4F, Chengde Rd, Taipei
Ong Choy with shrimp paste. Ong choy, aka water spinach, aka morning glory. Whatever you want to call it, ong choy is one of my favorite vegetables, especially the ones from Taiwan. The Thai-style for preparing these in Taiwan is using shrimp paste versus soy bean sauce. Yes, I am biased so I like Taiwan's version better :P
Grilled Pork Jowl. Pork jowl is the lower part of the pork's cheek so there's a little bit of tendon and muscle fiber but it makes it a very good cut in terms of texture! Comes with a sweet & spicy dipping sauce and oddly enough, kimchi.
One of my favorite Taiwanese Thai dishes, Lemon Pepper Fish. Steamed stripped bass prepped with a mouth-watering lemon dressing. We could've picked between grouper or stripped bass, but we went with the stripped bass since it was cheaper :P
Chicken Red Curry for $1NT! If you spent over a certain amount, you get to order the daily special for only $1NT more. Why the hell not :P A little bit of kick and nice red curry flavor.
Comes with white bread to dip it in. White toasts work with everything haha.
After I saw her off at the high speed rail, I headed back towards Zhongxiao Fushing to meet up with others at Fourplay, trying to get the to-go cup. Met and made some new friends and we tried a few more of the ones we had last night.
This was definitely the most unique one I tried that night: marijuana. Comes in a shotglass that's shaped like... a bong. They add dry ice in it to imitate the smoke, and you are suppose to lift the orange and drink the shot through the straw! Very creative I must say :P
Went to bed a little sad since it was gonna be my last night in Taipei for this trip, but excited since I'll heading off to NYC once I get back!