Tuesday, October 31, 2006

chinese: i strongly recommend JIU RU at Ren Ai

JIU RU
69 Jen Ai Rd., Sec. 4
(02) 2751-7666

hours: 8am to 10pm

kid friendliness: no high chairs, quite crowded for strollers especially during rush hours

$

date visited: 10/31/2006

wonton or "ravioli" soup

cold sesame noodles

zong zhi or rice dumpling

stir fried rice noodles

sesame and peanut balls


Mmmmmm at very affordable prices. Tiny location, but good food. Apparently, this branch is part of the Jiu Ru chain that has locations at 101 and Breeze.. but this location has homestyle wonton (or as they say on the menu "ravioli" soup and sesame balls at prices you will never find at the fancy mall locations. You can even buy freshly made wontons to-go to prepare at home yourself. The menu has English and Chinese though no pictures, and the set menu deal is only in Chinese.

You can pick up your own side dishes at the front and I passed by the lady making wontons with handiwork that was faster than my eye could catch. The wontons are made with either meat/vegetable or shrimp, and you can order them with or without noodles. Also available are cold noodles with sesame sauce or dan dan noodles which are very plain.

The dessert has boiled mochi balls filled with your choice of black sesame, peanut or red bean. It's plenty to share with five balls, or you can enjoy it all by yourself.

OTHER LOCATIONS

Taipei 101 Mall, 4th FL
No. 45, Shih Fu Road
(02) 8101-8598

Breeze Center
(02) 6606-6859

No. 68, Tien Mu East Road, 7th FL
Tien Mu, Taipei
(02) 2874-3675

Friday, October 27, 2006

thai/take-out: THAI TOWN

THAI TOWN
49 Jen Ai Road, Sec 2
(02) 2351-0960

thaitown.com.tw

$$-$$$

date reviewed: 10/27/2006

www.thaitown.com.tw

Thai fried rice noodle NT$250 (#8 of top 10) or pad thai

fried greens with shrimp paste NT$180 (#3 of top 10)

Thai fried rice noodle NT$250 and pineapple rice NT$350

moon shrimp pancake NT$300 (#1 of top 10)


Even though we did take-out, I was tempted to stay at the restaurant with its clean modern interior and friendly service. I was pleasantly surprised at the detail of the packing of the to-go order- little bags to separate the nuts/dried pork/sauces so they wouldn't soggy- a cardboard box like the kind for pizzas for the shrimp cakes. Overall, the food was decent, though the Thai fried rice noodle was my least favorite dish of the bunch and my favorite was the Curry Chicken NT$280 (#4 of top 10). Maybe because I forgot to add the peanuts and chilis that were packaged so carefully away.


The menus had both English and Chinese and lots of pictures, as well as a to-go menu with their top 10 dishes and set menus (in Chinese) for 3-6 people at NT$399/person, as well as a free soda with every NT$399 spent. For a chain, the prices seem slightly higher than I would pay for take-out in the states, but about average for Thai I've had in Taipei. Do all Thai ice teas cost NT$90 (or US$3) these days?? Their drinks do, and they have quite a few desserts with coconut milk with fruit, black sticky rice, tapioca or taro served with cold with crushed ice or hot, to choose from to for NT$85 each.

Other locations:

133 Anhe Road, Sec 2
(02) 2735-9638

9 Sueng Shou Road
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, A9, 7th FL
Xin Yi District
(02) 2723-9987

116 Tien Mu West Road
Tien Mu District
(02) 2826-4852

68 Tien Mu East Road
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, Building A, 7th FL
(02) 2873-6680

22 Jingye 3rd Road, 2nd FL
(02) 2175-3355

165 Chen Gong Road, Sec 3
(02) 2791-9608

Other locations outside of Taipei

65 Wen Hua Road, Sec 1
Panchiao
(02) 8965-1155

659 Chung Cheng Road
Yungho
(02) 8231-1257

122 Zhong Shan Road, Sec 1
Zhonghe
(02) 7731-7778

95 Jengyi North Road
Sanchung
(02) 2989-8088

111 Taichung Port Road, Sec 2
Taichung
(04) 2252-1733

(now other businesses- is it THAT hard to print English addresses on your business cards, and for your other locations? If Thai Town can do it, so can you!)

CLOSED! dessert/american: K2 GELATO & i do not recommend STATES FRIES

as of October 2007: CLOSED! States Fries has been replaced by two different fries places, with serving options like Poutine?

K2 GELATO
STATES FRIES
Warner Village outdoor food court
16 Song Shou Road
Xin Yi district, Taipei 110

$$

EDIT 6/22/2007 walked by States Fries the other day, and now there is a Irish Potatoes in its place. Didn't get too close for a look, but seems like the same thing- maybe new management? or just a new name?

EDIT 10/27/2006: about a month ago, K2 gelato has been replaced by a donut place, which is a bit strange considering Mr. Donut is just down the block. Has anyone seen it relocated somewhere else, or is it the end of K2?

date visited: 7/25/2006

When I first heard about States Fries, I thought that the owners were a bit insane. Charging $80-$120 NT for just french fries? That's the equivalent of US$2.75-$4. Every time, I passed by- the oily aroma of freshly fried french fries would waft towards me. The menu included chili fries. I was tempted. Then they renovated the food court indoors, and somehow States Fries ended up outside, next door to K2 Gelato. Sometimes I would see a short line. I ended up nicknaming them "devil fries" because they were so bad for you, but so tempting!


So I caved recently, while walking around on a hot afternoon near Warner Village. I blame the gelato. You know how sometimes when you have something sweet, then you crave something salty, or vice versa. It was hot, so I had some gelato. Then I had the fries.

So which do you want to hear about first?

K2 is a tiny gelato nook with about 10-14 flavors. The guy who scooped my flavors said that they make it there every few days. I sampled few flavors, which are labeled in Chinese and what I assume is Italian. I ended up getting 2 flavor cup (NT$80) the caramel which is a sweet, sugary flavor, which tastes like caramel (well, duh) and banana (which I did not sample because I felt bad because I already had three samples).



Now, I always make this mistake. I feel bad asking for samples, although I should not because ultimately I spend money there at Fill-in-the-blank ice cream/frozen yogurt/gelato place. Often times, after I've had three or so samples, I will decide on a flavor I like, and then sometimes pair it with another flavor that I think I will like, but not actually sampled, but think will be okay because all the other flavors I sampled were okay, and how bad could it be.

Caramel and banana. Sounds good right? Well, for whatever reason, I didn't like the banana gelato. And I like banana! Something was off about it... I don't know if there was additional flavor that was added, or it was from a syrup rather than fresh? But I ended up eating all of the caramel and none of the banana. If I had known this advance, I would have just gotten the 1 flavor cup (NT$60). I like the gelato at K2... It's not as dense and heavy as the ice cream at Haagen Daaz, and it's not watery like some of those mall places where they make ice cream from ice and chocolate syrup. I will have to try their fruit flavors one day.

So back to States Fries... it's hard to find chili cheese fries here. And yes, it's not good for you. But sometimes, you just want to eat them! States Fries offers fries plain (NT$80) or with various toppings such as honey mustard, cheese, chili, chili cheese or even sweet toppings that you can see on their menu wall. They also have combos where you can pair the cup of fries with a sandwich and drink.



But sadly, the chili fries (NT$95) are another thing that are just not as good here. The chili is watery, bland and made the fries soggy and watery and not very tasty. I go back to the counter and request that they add the cheese, hoping it will save it. After telling them that the chili is too watery, the fries guy says something along the lines of that the chili didn't sell well earlier, so it was in the freezer or fridge, and when it was reheated became more watery. Basically admitting that they gave me bad chili. And they also take my extra NT$20 for the cheese, instead of apologizing or offering up the cheese for free.


Unfortunately, the cheese, which is melted from an oven and then put onto the fries (not a cheese sauce, for those of you that are curious), does not save this chili fry mess. The cheese becomes cold fairly quickly and of course, can't change how watery or bland the chili is. I end up being unable to finish it.

Long story short, if you are desparately craving, you can make better chili cheese fries yourself at Chili's. Their chili soup is actually not bad, at least relative to this, thick with meat, beans and tomatoes the way it should be; their fries are also crispy and hot. A better choice would also be to enjoy the fries with your combo at McDonalds or Doner Kebab nearby- and get a whole meal for the price you would pay at States Fries.

PS.. It's too bad they don't have garlic fries. Now if made properly, that would be pretty delicious. I wonder if you could find garlic fries in Taipei

Thursday, October 26, 2006

chinese: JIU RU

JIU RU
at 101 Mall, 4 FL
No.45, Shih Fu Rd.,
(02) 8101-8598

date visited: 9/25/2006

$$-$$$






If you're sightseeing in the Xin Yi district or shopping in the 101 mall and need an easy place to eat Chinese food with your family, but don't want to eat food court food, a good bet is Jiu Ru. Featuring a varied menu of Shanghainese food, my favorites from my dinner with my friend's family were the braised pork, steamed dumplings (xiao long bao), vegetable dumplings and zhong zi (rice dumpling). It's definitely pricier than you would pay at a local restaurant for the same dishes, maybe double the price for a basket of xiao long bao, but you are paying for the comfort of dining in the real estate of 101 and the prices are about the same as the other restaurants on the same floor (and the food a lot better, at least better than neighbor Diamond Tony's). We had quite a large group and was easily accomodated in their large space and didn't feel crowded or rushed. I think their dumplings were not as juicy as the xiao long bao at Din Tai Fung, but to the average diner, it will do just fine. Very clean and modern setting, with tourist friendly menu and location.

OTHER LOCATIONS

Taipei 101 Mall, 4th FL
No. 45, Shih Fu Road
(02) 8101-8598

Breeze Center
(02) 6606-6859

No. 69, Ren Ai Road, Sec 4
(02) 2751-7666

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

bakery/breakfast: MISTER DONUT

MISTER DONUT
-Breeze Center
-NYNY Mall in Xin Yi district
-across from the Takashimaya Mall: 39, Fusing S Rd., Sec. 1, (02) 8772-5990
-Taipei Main Station underground
-and other locations

www.mrdonut.com.tw (in Chinese only)

$

visit reviewed: 10/12/2006

For those of you who have yet to hear of Mister Donut, it's a chain donut store from Japan (though I heard somewhere it actually originated in the US), which had a crazy debut in Taiwan, where the lines to get a box of donuts would take up to four hours. Yup, you heard that right- people waited up to FOUR HOURS for ONE BOX of donuts.


Crazy right? It even sprouted up a business where students would sell their "waiting services"- you ordered your donuts online through them and they added a fee of NT$10 or US30cents or so per donut and they studied or text messaged or whatever while they waited in line for you. Each donut is about NT$30 or so, so it was a hefty 30 cents or 30 percent fee per donut.


But now, since they've expanded, you can usually get your donuts within 5 minutes, though sometimes I see mini-lines sprout up.

Is it worth the wait?

Well, first off, the donuts aren't like your typical American donuts, at least to my tastebuds.



The most popular "pon de ring" donut is made from a gluten-based flour which gives the donut a slightly chewy texture, kind of like if you combined mochi and a donut together. It's not very sweet and quite dense. Sort of the opposite of Krispy Kremes I suppose- which are very sweet and light- which I end up craving whenever I see a Mr. Donut.

While Mister Donut has other less chewy donuts, overall, I think their donuts are so-so. They also have old fashioned, cruellers, cake, sugar, jelly and eclair donuts, but I find them either too dense or bland or too sweet, depending on the type of donut and frosting. While it's good for a quick snack, it's pricey for a donut- US$1, with no discount if you buy a full dozen.


I wasn't sure how to classify Mr. Donut- is it a dessert? Is it breakfast? Is it a bakery? Most people don't really eat donuts for breakfast here, like you would Dunkin Donuts, so I just put it under bakery. The pristine counters and rows of donuts behind the glass makes it fun as you point and pick out your donuts and you watch them carefully pack them into the box. But if you click around the website, you can watch videos or download desktop images of the pon de ring lion. I guess the disappointing thing, is that they don't taste as good as they look.


This month, they gave away little stickers with purchase, so if you matched two of the same prize, you could win either a free donut, cup of coffee or Mister Donut lion pen. While the mascot is super cute, it seems to be used pretty sparingly in the decor of the store.


More recently, they started having donut holes, which I was very excited about. But I found them to be dry and dense. I miss those melt-in-your-mouth donut holes from Dunkin Donuts (which strangely enough, is all over Korea)!

The Mister Donuts are pretty much the only donut chain in Taipei, until someone decides to make lots of money by bringing Krispy Kremes here. That would be so awesome! So if you are craving donuts, try the pon de ring donut, but be prepared for the chewiness! If you are craving Krispy Kremes, well, ask someone to bring some back for you.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

revisited/japanese: i strongly recommend SUMIE

SUMIE NOUEVELLE CUISINE JAPANESE
4th Floor, 172 Chung Hsiao East Road, Sec 4
(In San Want Hotel)
(02) 2781-6909

$$$

date revisited: 10/11/2006

I felt bad that my pictures from my initial review of Sumie doesn't do their food justice, so I tried taking some better ones from my last visit there. But unfortunately, I deleted a lot of them because I thought I had downloaded them to my computer already and I didn't. Boo hoo. So here are the few and I promise to bring you more. I usually always get the set menu (unless I'm not hungry and then you should try and split the set menu with someone else)- which is constantly changing, but usually includes (and not in this order) the steak or lamb chops, sashimi, an appetizer, a salad, a seafood dish (for which I like to request the strange sounding but delicious tasting fish jaw), a soup, sushi and dessert.


This crab and edamame over fig was almost like a mini-sculpture plated on top of a giant leaf. I've never had fig before, but I'm glad I tried it- it was sweet and soft, and almost sexy.




I cannot tell you how much I LOVE the lamb chops at Sumie. They are tender, juicy, perfectly flavored and is a must for anyone who has yet to eat lamb or likes lamb chops, although once you've had their lamb chops I don't know how you could eat it anywhere else. It's so satisfying to gnaw on, in the most ladylike way I can, thoughtfully wrapped with aluminum foil to keep the messy to a minimum.

Next time, pics of the sashimi and other artfully arranged dishes.. I promise I won't delete them from my camera until I post them! I still look forward to going to Sumie everytime we feel like nice, sit-down Japanese food, especially in comparison to the food from other nice, sit-down (translation: pricier) Japanese restaurants I've tried since.

Read my previous review from August 14th, 2005.

Friday, October 13, 2006

korean/bbq grill: FIRE TREE SILVER FLOWER KOREAN BBQ

FIRE TREE SILVER FLOWER- KOREAN ALL YOU CAN EAT BBQ (as translated by my friend)
(in chinese: HUO SU ING HWA 火樹銀花-韓式燒烤)
No.3-10, Jinan Rd., Sec. 2,
Jhongjheng District
(02) 2321-2729

Lunch: 11:30AM-2PM
Dinner: 5PM-9PM

$

date visited: 9/28/2006



I was going to wait until I found out/translated the address until I posted this, but I will go ahead and do a preliminary post in honor of my first trip to Korea today! I am headed to Pusan/Busan for a week and will hopefully be eating a lot of GOOD Korean food. I haven't decided if I will feature any of the food there, since it is sort of off topic (not in Taipei!)- but we'll see!

I was invited by some friends to go eat Korean BBQ- I was quite excited since I really like the sweet and spicy marinade of bulgogi, kalbi and the like. This place is a little different than I expected, since it is more like a traditional Taiwan bbq with a Korean twist. It's all you can eat for a set price (NT$285/person at lunch, NT$329/person at dinner), with an area where you can grab your own meats and vegetables to grill/put in a soup at your table, and a panchan cold dishes bar to also plate up. The dishes are a refreshing partner to the taste of the grill.

my selection of panchan: edamame, spicy fishcake, seaweed,
soybean sprouts, tofu



What's different here is that every so often, the kitchen will bring out a few dishes of something- in our case, it was sweet fried chicken, seafood pancake or ha mul pajeon , and candied fried sweet potato dessert. The sesame fried chicken was slightly sweet and breaded, kind of like orange chicken. I like orange chicken, so I liked it.


While the waitress brought the pancake from table to table to ensure everyone got a piece, they placed the sweet potato down- which made for a mad frenzy of each table sending a representative to go grab enough for their table. The seafood pancake was light and slightly crispy, and so good that we asked the waitress if they were having another round later. At first she said no, but towards the end of the night, we got a pleasant surprise by getting a plate all to ourselves.

the seafood pancake or ha mul pajeon


The candied sweet potato had a hard crunchy shell, I think from dipping the sugar coated fried sweet potato into cold water, and was sticky and sweet and goooood.

the candied sweet potato



I kind of wished that you could order a Dol sot bibim bap or a stone rice dish with vegetables and meat, like they had at Bullfight Yakiniku, but it's available during lunch for a very affordable NT$100. I am not sure if that's something you can order ala carte, or an extra fee you have to pay with your all you can eat fee. They also didn't offer any jap chae, a stir fried vermicelli dish.

Some of the meats were REALLY spicy, and when grilled and stirfried together with the less spicy meats and the vegetables, I found the overall taste of the meats to be more spicy than anything else. I guess you could prevent this by not having any of the spicy chicken on the grill in the first place and sit with people who don't want spicy foods either. It's not that I don't like spicy foods, I do, it's just that the heat overcame any of the other flavor that I could enjoy.

the meats and vegetables on the grill

time for the next round!


Lots of people finish off their meal with the soup in which you can put vegetables, seafood and meat.


While I found their meat selection to be less varied and not marinated like I expected with only 1 selection each of chicken (very spicy), beef, lamb and pork, the Korean appetizers that came out made up for it. It's a good option if you like your flavors spicy or you are bored of the regular bbq/hotpot experience, but if you really want higher quality meat and seafood, you should probably go to Momo Paradise or Bullfight Yakiniku, . You also have to kind of guess/eyeball what you are getting since nothing is really labeled in the areas where you grab the meats, vegetables, cold dishes. Their dessert selection is slim- limited to a few fruits, but they send out the candied sweet potatoes as their grand finale.

It's not a huge space with about 15 tables crowded together, so you might check for reservation earlier in the evening if you want to go. I wouldn't say it's very baby friendly as the tables are quite close together and the restroom is a squat toliet- although they do open early at 5pm so you could go for an early dinner. But the servers are very friendly and helpful as its seems like a Korean family/friend run business, compared to some of the nonchalant attitudes you might get from the young local waiters who work at the various hot pot/bbq places. I wouldn't rule out going again, but it's probably more fun with a group of friends rather than a couple or a business lunch. In the back of my mind, I compare this place to a place my friend took me in Orange County, near UC Irvine that had some of the best Kalbi I have had in awhile- and this place didn't quite compare. I have heard about other good Korean restaurants here so I will probably try them out first. And we'll see what the food is like in Korea!

Saturday, October 07, 2006

bakeries: YAMAZAKI

YAMAZAKI
at Geant
at 101
and many other locations!

$

visit reviewed: 10/7/2006



A chain with LOTS of locations. This day I tried some a "cup cheesecake," chocolate muffin and walnut bread. While I liked the walnut bread with its nutty texture and taste, I was pretty disappointed with the muffin and cheesecake cupcake- both were pretty dense and bland, similar to the lighter flavors of cakes that I think accomodates to local tastes, but not light and fluffy in texture.

If you want a chocolate fix, go for their cookies instead- I had one once and it was surprisingly rich and soft- definitely freshly baked. It's not easy to find, if they sell out, you won't find it. The cheesecake tasted more like a dense plain muffin, not creamy or light like a cheesecake cupcake would. I've also had their waffles which they sell premade like a snack, and while it looked appetizing, it tasted like a cold waffle, which in general is not so great.

Wide selection, usually with signs both in English and Chinese and with lots of locations, it's worth trying out to see which breads or sweets fit your own tastebuds. Breads with ham and cheese baked into them, sandwiches with tuna or hotdogs, garlic bread, doughnuts, you can pick up a plain loaf of bread to something more local.


The cupcake and muffins area

the bread area

grab and go pre-wrapped bread loaves

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

bakeries: i recommend DONQ

DONQ
at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Mall, A4
19, SongGao Road

www.donq.co.jp

$

visit reviewed: 10/4/2006




I first discovered Donq when they used to be in A11 wayyy back when. I even took them for granted that they were always going to be there, in the basement next to the supermarket. In addition to the typical baked breads and pastries, Donq had freshly baked mini croissants, in both original flavor and chocolate. CHOCOLATE MINI CROISSANTS! Doesn't that sounds delicious? They even had a taste of the tiniest melted chocolate in the center. Often, you'd even find people milling around and waiting in line for the freshly baked ones, right out of the oven. In the times I waited in line, I found myself cursing the people in front of me, for buying bags and bags of mini-croissants, and hoping that they wouldn't sell out of the chocolate before it was my turn. They were the best.

Why am I saying "were?"

Because one day, I was desparately craving those chocolate croissants, made the trip, prepared to wait in line.. and then I found that Donq was replaced by a new bakery Johan! WHAT???? ANd this discovery wasn't affirmed until I bought a bag of the Johan mini-croissants and found how hopelessly un-Donq they were!

Then recently, I rediscovered them in another building of the sprawling Mitsukoshi malls- apparently they have relocated to the new A4. BUT apparently they mislocated their croissant ovens! They don't make the mini-croissants at this location.. only at some other location that I have no idea where it is.

BIG SIGH.

I suppose I have to work harder at interrogating their employees to find out where this new location is. Their website is only in Japanese and makes no mention of the Taipei stores. Although, they do mention and have a picture of the mini-croissants calling them "mini-one" on the website!


And their breads are good... they just don't have freshly baked chocolate centers and flaky chocolate layers of buttery croissants.

Anyways! I wanted to offer a little advice to anyone who has yet to peruse a bakery in Taiwan- you want to first look for the tongs/trays area and get your own set.. then you can pick and choose to your carb-ilicious delight. Take your filled tray to the counter where they will bag each one individually. Pay. Enjoy!


Donq unfortunately has signs only in Chinese, so you will have to either pick based on if it looks good to you, or ask the employees if you want to know what fillings are in certain breads. They have this one fried bread with a curry filling that is quite tasty.. kind of like deep fried doughnut. You might be able to catch them when they have freshly baked breads, such as ones with red bean filling or big sourdough loaves. Just not the mini-croissants, at this location anyways.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

CLOSED! vietnamese: i strongly recommend DELICACIES OF VIETNAM

DELICACIES OF VIETNAM
(as translated by me- look for a red and white sign in Chinese!)
12, Lane 141, Hu Lin Street
(02) 8789-4456

date visited: 9/27/2006 & 10/3/2006

$

I didn't know what to expect when I walked in. It looked like many local alley restaurants- with a noodle cooking area outside, and inside a small space with sparse white walls and clean wooden stools and tables. The menu was one of those check-off what you want to order in Chinese pieces of paper- with nothing over NT$100 and nothing in English. Luckily, I was there with a group of friends who could translate for me and place our order with the owner.

Besides our party of 8, there were 1-2 other customers who dropped by while we were eating. Since it seemed that the family owned operation had only 3 people cooking and serving, they were busy getting the food ready, but it didn't seem noticeably slow. I will mention though, that they actually had their baby girl in a crib behind the counter. Since everyone was busy getting our order ready, the baby would cry. We went over to play and cheer up the baby and she was fine again.

Someone started off with a shrimp and green papaya appetizer with shrimp chips. I only tried the shrimp chip since I don't care for papayas, but it looked very fresh and appetizing.


The rice paper spring rolls (NT$60) I had been trying to find for awhile in Taipei, and these hit the spot. While they weren't the most amazing spring rolls I've ever had, they were decent. They didn't skimp on the shrimp and they served each person a little pink plastic plate of hoisin sauce. I must admit, I could have probably eaten a whole dish by myself, since each plate came with 2 rolls, each cut in half. (If you order this, ask for the "raw veggie spring roll" rather than the "cold shrimp roll" like I did- otherwise you'll end up with 2 orders of imperial rolls (NT$50 each) (which I didn't really care for), since cold sounds like 2 in chinese!)


Someone recommended that I get the bbq pork vermicelli salad (NT$80), which came with peanuts, sprouts, cucumber and grated carrots, and predrenched with the sweet and spicy fish sauce. The combination of the slippery pho with the crunchy veggies feels so weird in my mouth, but in a really good way. But what is totally worth mentioning is the bbq pork. It was AMAZING. Perfectly grilled, the marinade had a sweet flavor with a kick of spice that complimented the tenderness of the pork. Better than bbq pork vermicelli I'd had in LA! I even ordered another side order of just the pork to share.



YAY! Pho!! The pho with beef (NT$80) was good- it was a big bowl filled with noodles, soup and beef. A hundred times better than the faux pho I had at Eslite's food court's Pho . And here it's actually pho and not fat rice noodles. The broth was had enough salt, fresh basil, cilantro and onions, beef, lime and other mysterious flavors that make pho broth what it is. The pho was chewy and not soggy, and I was so happy that I had finally found a place to decent pho in Taipei.


Interestingly enough, most of the locals we ate with ordered noodles instead of pho. Coming with the same beef broth, but instead of rice noodles it comes with egg noodles. I didn't have a taste, but I thought it was kind of strange to eat pho without the pho. Maybe next time I will ask if that's a local accomodation or if that's truly a Vietnamese dish.



Pho usually doesn't photograph well with its murky beef broth based soup, but definitely don't let that discourage you from trying it if you've never had it before. With both the pho and the noodle, you can get beef, rare beef, beef ball, chicken, pork or combo. You can also get just meat and soup, without noodles.

If you have been searching for Vietnamese food in Taipei like I have, you should find a friend who speaks Chinese to come find this place with you. You can even treat them for helping you order- as it's such a bargain. Lunch for the 8 of us totalled NT$1050 or about US $31 which included 8 bowls of noodles, 4 orders of spring rolls, 1 side of bbq pork, 1 green papaya and shrimp appetizer, which was about NT$131 or about US$4 a person. Being used to pho being almost US$6-7 a person now, I was pleasantly surprised that we could find such a bargain that tasted good here and I think the owners are actually Vietnamese! Until I hear about or find another Vietnamese place that is better, I will definitely be going back.

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