Monday, November 19, 2018

hungryinTAINAN: 5 DESSERTS TO TRY IN TAINAN

 
THERE'S ALWAYS TOO MUCH TO EAT AND NEVER ENOUGH TIME, especially when you travel to a new place.  The past two years, I’ve slowly been exploring the cities outside of Taipei after years of just staying in town- Taichung, Kaohsiung and Tainan- but there is still so much of Taiwan I've yet to visit. I've never been to Kending, Chiayi or Changhua despite the bookmarks from my instagram feed. 

If Tainan is on your to visit list (as it should be) and you need some ideas of where to find dessert worthy of wearing your stretchy pants, I've got you covered. A few weeks ago, I returned to Tainan for an epic day of eats, with desserts on my checklist. After one full day,  a high speed rail roundtrip ticket, five official stops (and a few unofficial ones) and 8 hours of eating my way through the city, here is my dessert crawl of sorts (though be warned they are all over the map and not walking distance at all). I kind of fell in love and would totally revisit these places if I ever made my way back to Tainan. 

This is my second time accepting the gig from the Tainan City Government- they've worked with over 50 shops in 2018 to help business owners with the translation of their menus and to be featured  by English bloggers like me. Check out where I went last year to write up 5 spots for the Tainan English Friendly program.  


 It was definitely a LOT of dessert for one day, but it can be done. 😂 Three short day trips definitely can’t capture the entirety of what to eat in Tainan and my first visit to the night market showed that there’s so much more to explore.


Monday, October 15, 2018

taiwanese/revisited: i still strongly recommend DU HSIAO YUEH


DU HSIAO YUEH 度小月
9-1 Yongkang St., Taipei 
台北市永康街9-1號
(02) 3393-1325

MRT: Zhongxiao/Dunhua or SYS Memorial Hall


hours: 11:30AM - 10PM

$-$$ (NT$50-500/person)

Kid friendliness: lots of kid friendly options

visit reviewed: 5/13/2018
previous visit: 5/14/2012 (formerly romanized as Tu Hsiao Yueh, although with this change it should be Du Xiao Yue)


[TAIPEI] IT'S EASY TO MISS DU HSIAO YUEH when walking along Yong Kang Street. Afterall, most tourists' destinations are Din Tai Fung, mango shaved ice and nowadays, spring onion pancake. But the last few times I was looking for a casual but clean and authentic Taiwanese restaurant for visiting friends and families, I ended up at here. Even though you could go there and just eat their signature dan zai mian, or slack season noodles, for NT$50, it's worthwhile to come with a larger group to be able to try some of their other appetizers and dishes. 

Each branch has an homage to their founding ancestor, who carried baskets of noodles and soup on his back during the low fishing season, by having an old school set up where server spoon broth, minced pork into bowls of noodles to order. Next time you go, you can look for the pot that simmers the minced pork sauce is a master stock of sorts, where they keep adding new ingredients and sauce into the pot and it retains a flavor that comes from being simmered and built upon for years. 


The menu is easy to read, with photos, English, Chinese and corresponding numbers for the order sheet. I like to get different types of noodles to share- instead of the original noodles, I also like the thinner rice vermicelli noodles and the wider thick rice noodles. (NT$50) 




Loved all the appetizer dishes and the new mala duck blood mini hotpot that I tried for the first time. I also always get the fried baby oysters. Try fresh bamboo when it's in season, especially if you've never had it.











OTHER LOCATIONS
-No. 12, Alley 8, Lane 216, ZhongXiao E. Rd, Sec. 4 台北市忠孝東路四段216巷8弄12號  
(02) 2773-1244
-No. 16 Zhongzheng Rd, Tainan (Original shop) 台南市中正路16號
-No. 101, Zhongzheng Rd, Tainan 台南市中正路101號 
-Taoyuan Airport, International Terminal 2, B2

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

repost: 10 NEW PLACES TO EAT NEXT IN TAIPEI - SUMMER 2017

A lot of you might have noticed that I've posted less and less on the blog over the years. I've started to freelance as a (paid) contributing writer for various sites and publications. In case you missed it, this was an article for Taiwan News of some of my favorites and places I wanted to try last summer. This obviously skews more internationally- as they were new openings of a modern Vietnamese restaurant from Vegas and two Korean BBQ joints with roots from Korea, a world famous Japanese ramen with insane lines, and a cheese shop serving up Italian cheeses. Almost a year later, all of them are still putting out good food and Longtail was even awarded a Michelin star! The only ones I still haven't tried yet are Longtail and EPL- where does the time go? Time for another round up. 


Do you want to see more round ups like this on the blog? I know my readers are split- many of you are finding my blog when you are researching where to go for a first time visit and others have been living here a long time like me. 




10 new places to eat next in Taipei

HungryinTaipei's (HiT) list of what's been trending and new in Taipei, Summer 2017

1. DISTRICT ONE TAIPEI 

(Photo by @hungryintaipei) 
District One Taipei just soft opened last week, but photos of their signature lobster pho have already drawn in crowds to their shop in the Da'an district. Opened by Chef Khai Vu and the team from Revel Eatery, District One brings Vegas modern Vietnamese to Taipei, with delicious dishes like beef carpaccio, crispy egg rolls, oxtail fried rice and pork vermicelli. The lobster pho might get all the (well deserved) attention, but the brisket oxtail pho (NT$300) with the tender meat and beefy broth is definitely not to be missed. 
No. 21, Alley 7, Lane 181, ZhongXiao East Road, Section 4, DaAn District 

Friday, May 18, 2018

indian/revisited: i still strongly recommend MAYUR INDIAN KITCHEN





MAYUR INDIAN KITCHEN 
馬友友印度廚房
350-5 Keelung Rd, Sec. 1 台北市基隆路一段350號之5

MRT: Taipei City Hall or Taipei 101


hours: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm 

$-$$ (This meal was by invitation and hosted, but all opinions are my own.)

Visit reviewed: 4/3/2018
Previous reviewed: 5/17/2012

RECENTLY, I REVISITED THE ORIGINAL Mayur Indian Kitchen in Xinyi and was happy to find it even better than when I first wrote about it in 2012! (That rarely happens.) Since 2012, Mayur Indian Kitchen has expanded from one street side shop to six Indian restaurants across Taipei, all with different specialties including all vegetarian, buffet or late night with live music.  I'm not sure why I didn't return since I wrote about it six years ago, but Chef Mayur had kindly invited me over the years, as he sent messages here and there about the new restaurants he had opened. 

After I had posted some butter chicken that I had ordered after an ubereats fail from another Indian restaurant during Chinese New Year, he told me that my original blog post had brought so many customers to his restaurant, but that the Mayur Indian Kitchen I visited back then was completely different from my last visit and hoped I could see for myself. 

So I invited a few fellow Indian food loving friends to meet me at the Guangfu location, which was missing its sign above, but had doubled in restaurant space. Mayur Indian Kitchen (MIK 1) now had indoor table seating in a festive bright red dining area, as well as the al fresco tables outside. It's still quiet on this street, so sitting outside in good weather isn't a problem. 





 


The current glossy menu had page after page of appetizers, tandoori, vindaloo, tikka masala, butter chicken, masalas, vegetarian curries, naan, parathas, and drinks, which affordable prices from NT$190-395. I could understand why a revisit was overdue because the restaurant had grown into a completely different experience than the one that was just starting out in 2012 which chicken on the bone in the curry and less than a dozen curries available. Thank you to Chef Mayur for the invitation and for your hospitality.  (It's such a funny coincidence that my post in 2012 was exactly 6 years ago yesterday).








I'm a creature of habit, especially at Indian restaurants. I will tend to reorder the same things that I like, but I'm open to trying new things. So while we put in our order for butter chicken, palak paneer, naan, paratha, aloo gobi and raita, some finger foods came to the table.  



It was my first time trying these Dahi puchka from Kolkata (NT$150 for 6), which were small puffs filled with yogurt, tamarind and mint sauces. They were flavor bombs and slightly messy if you didn't eat it in one bite. A lighter way to start the meal than the more well known Punjabi vegetarian samosas (NT$135) dense with potatoes and peas. 



Soon our table filled with curries, naan, rice and vegetables. After a few photos, we dug in. Our favorites were the butter chicken (NT$245) which had that classic sweet and slightly spicy addictive sauce, and surprisingly the recommended aloo gobhi (NT$225), which is curried cauliflower and potatoes. It is a MUST ORDER. I used to order aloo gobhi all the time in the states, but sometimes you get more potatoes than anything else. Mayur Indian Kitchen's version had strong cauliflower game where the cauliflowers were just the right texture and was spiced without being heavy. 

Such a happy meal as my friends and I used the naan to scoop up every last bit of the butter chicken curry and filled our plates and bellies with food. I loved everything. 

The only thing I probably wouldn't reorder is the Malai Tikka (NT$225) which was not as juicy or flavorful as I've had elsewhere. Next time I'd try the tandoori chicken. MIK 1 also still only serves yellow rice, which I noted on my first visit. In my conversation with Chef Mayur, most people in India typically eat regular rice and not basmati rice because it's more affordable and it's more filling. 

Otherwise there are 18 types of naan, roti and paratha to order from, including garlic chili naan and sweeter coconut naan or cheese naan. We ordered three- plain, garlic and aloo paratha, for the three of us and it was more than plenty. 




butter chicken
palak paneer (spinach with paneer) & spiced rice

aloo gobhi and chicken malai 
aloo paratha (NT$85)
plain naan (NT$55)
garlic naan (NT$55)

A large sign outside the restaurant displays the new exclusively vegetarian MIK as well as the addresses of the other locations. Rather than make each restaurant the same, Chef Mayur chose to give each one a specialty. MIK 1 is homestyle Indian food. MIK 2 is more upscale.  MIK 3 is purely vegetarian. MIK 4 is a buffet (but only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). MIK5 is stated to the be the largest Indian restaurant in Taipei. And last but not least, the newest MIK 6 is an Indian restaurant by day, hookah and live music restaurant by night, offering Indian food until 3AM. 



What was Chef Mayur's entrepreneurial secret to opening 6 restaurants in 6 years? Chef Mayur wooed his family from India to Taipei in his expansion to helm and cook at the different branches, and his father is the chef at MIK 1, which serves classic, homestyle Indian dishes. “My father cooks food for our guests just like the way he used to cook for our family. In fact, he treats all MIK customers as our family guests.” And to find that in Taipei is such a treat. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

news: 2018 OVERDUE TAIPEI RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

A TAIPEI RESTAURANT ROUND UP is long overdue. I have a lot of drafts of blog posts in my folder and this one had the following sentence- "Every summer when I come back from LA, I notice a few changes, but this summer was the first one where a lot of people had one restaurant on their lips- "have you been to Longtail yet?""

Now it's April 2018 and I've already done a 10 places you should try next that I should republish here and Taipei has moved onto another new set of restaurants. Michelin finally came to Taipei and everyone is abuzz about the bib gourmand list.

The list is going to be long because I have a draft of 2016 that was never published to add in- so forgive me if some of these places look not-so-new to you, it's new since my last round up. Please let me know if you have a restaurant that has opened or closed and I'll add it! Let's get to business.

2018 CLOSINGS
  • Commune A7 (closed to make way for construction for hotels)
  • Emack and Bolios (ice cream)
  • Origines (closed at end of March 2018)
  • Le Mout (will close at end of 2018)
  • La Cocotte (closed after 9 years, the same month it was awarded 1 Michelin star)
  • Juanitas (closed again)
2017 OPENINGS (aka how behind I am in posts)
  • Longtail 
  • Liquid Bread Co (sandwiches)
  • Tamed Fox (brunch and desserts)
  • Ichiran Ramen
  • NKU (modern)
  • Coffee DPT (chocolate chip cookies and coffee)
  • Commune A7
  • Honolulu Cafe (from Hong Kong)
  • Gusto Market (italian deli and shop)
  • Steam Pot
  • Buttermilk at Amba 
  • Grace
  • GDS Play cafe (DaAn)
  • Tastelab by Regent Hotel 
  • Banco (pizza and pasta)
  • Maple Tree House Korean BBQ
  • District One Taipei (modern vietnamese, oxtail and lobster pho)
  • Amaronis (NY Italian American)
  • Pokeholic (Poke bowls)
  • Jumbo Seafood (Singaporean)
  • Red Dot (Singaporean/Indonesian)
  • Gastrojoy (private kitchen)
  • Ura muteki (deep fried wagyu)
  • Kamekona Hawaii (teppanyaki)
  • Mecato (empanadas at Maji Square)
  • Quantum Tacos (Maji Square)
  • Ice Mountain (shaved ice)
  • Gusto Pizza
  • Pie Guy 
  • Meat Love (korean bbq)
  • Wok
  • Juanitas (mexican)
  • Lady M (crepe cake)


2017 CLOSINGS
  • Achoi 
  • STAY (closed 9/30/2017) 
  • Sweet Tea (also closed 9/2017)
  • Le Kief
  • Savor Private Kitchen
  • Grandma Nitti's
  • Flavors Meatball 
  • Bite2Eat 
  • Juanitas
  • Lobster Bar
  • Dairy Queen 
2016 NOTABLE OPENINGS (even longer lists of places that I am due to post) 
  • Sugar Pea 
  • Jamie's Italian
  • Mitsukoshi A11 foodcourt reopening 
  • Nur
  • Chou Chou 
  • Terroir 
  • Street Churros
  • Plus Pizza 
  • Rou
  • Cafe by Juicy Diary 
  • Machin
  • Le kief 
  • Line Cafe
  • Domani (Italian)
  • Rakujin (wagyu yakiniku)
  • Antipodean
  • Revel Eatery
  • Baba Kevins (american bbq)
  • Twinkeyz Tacos
  • Sarabeths
  • Ramen Nagi
  • Plants Eatery (vegan)
  • Green Room (vegan thai)
  • Mortons Steakhouse
  • Cheogajip (korean fried chicken)

2016 CLOSINGS 
  • Cozi Burger 
  • Lobster Bar 
  • Amigos (in March?) 
  • Dan Ryans 
  • Burger Fix 
  • Voodoo doughnuts 

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

News: TAIPEI’s FIRST MICHELIN BIB GOURMAND & CLOSING OF LE MOUT AND ORIGINES

(4/3/2018- I wrote this last month but never posted it.. I think I was trying to find an appropriate photo, but I will just have to post it without as too many things are happening in the meanwhile!)

WITH THE RELEASE OF TAIPEI'S first Michelin guide and this week's Bib gourmand list, my newsfeed has been flooded with announcements. The Bib gourmand selection includes places that Michelin wants to honor, usually under a certain price point, but have not been awarded an actual star. The first list spotlights a lot of local eats including 10 nine market stalls and 8 beef noodle soups. I thought it was also interesting that they recognized Joseph's Bistro, an Indian restaurant.

The past few days, I've also learned that Origines helmed by Chef Cyril Hou will close at the end of this month and the award winning Le Mout in Taichung will close at the end of 2018. Both have announced the closings on their Facebook pages, and Chef Lanshu has written a heartfelt letter about her decision to close her 10-year-old restaurant. I have yet to try either restaurant, but would like to try them before they close.

So with the upcoming release of Taipei is Michelin guide, will it make some of our favorites more even crowded, or will it shine a global spotlight on Taipei's fine dining restaurants that need more than local customers to thrive? Perhaps both. The past five years or so we've seen a boom of fine dining restaurants, modern bistros, steakhouses, sushi bars, Japanese and Korean bbq. Now we as customers have a wider range of culinary options, but are there enough people in Taipei who eat out that often, at that price point with that palate? As much as I enjoy a fancy meal out now and then, there are so many places even I have yet to try, or favorites that I haven't revisited in months.

Are you looking forward to what restaurants the Michelin guide will pick? I'm definitely curious! Do you think they will be able to find both the well known and not as well known local favorites? Or do you be more interested in a Taipei street food guide?


TAIPEI 2018 BIB GOURMAND

  • DIAN SHUI LOU (Songshan) 點水樓 (松山)
  • DIN TAI FUNG 鼎泰豐 (信義路)
  • FU HUANG SOY MILK  阜杭豆漿 
  • HAMAMATSUYA濱松屋 
  • HANG ZHOU XIAO LONG BAO (DaAn) 杭州小籠湯包 (大安 )
  • HAO GONG DAO JIN JI YUAN 好公道金雞園
  • JOSEPH BISTRO
  • MAO YUAN 茂園 
  • MEILI 美麗餐廳 
  • MY ZHAO My 灶 
  • MY SWEET HOME SMALL KITCHEN 我家小廚房 
  • NO. 1 FOOD THEATER CUSINE 一号糧倉 
  • PENG FAMILY 彭家園 
  • SERENITY 祥和蔬食 
  • SHUANG YUE FOOD 雙月食品 
  • SONG KITCHEN 宋廚菜館 
  • TAO LUAN TING ROAST PEKING DUCK PALACE 北平陶然亭 
  • ZUI FENG YUAN 醉楓園小館 

TAIPEI 2018 BIB GOURMAND BEEF NOODLES
  • HALAL CHINESE BEEF NOODLES 清真中國牛肉麵食 館
  • JIAN HONG BEEF NOODLES建宏牛肉麵
  • LAO SHANDONG HOMEMADE NOODLES老山東牛肉家常麵 店
  • LIAO BEEF NOODLES 廖家牛肉麵
  • LIN DONG FANG BEEF NOODLES 林東芳牛肉麵
  • LIU SHANDONG BEEF NOODLES 劉山東牛肉麵
  • NIU DIAN BEEF NOODLES 牛店精燉牛肉麵
  • YONG KANG BEEF NOODLE 永康牛肉麵

TAIPEI 2018 BIB GOURMAND NIGHT MARKET
  • A NAN SESAME CHICKEN
  • STINKY TOFU BOSS
  • LIU YU ZI 
  • RONG'S PORK LIVER
  • CHEN DONG PORK RIBS MEDICINAL HERBAL SOUP
  • FUZHOU BLACK PEPPER BUN at RaoHe Night Market
  • SHI BOSS SPICY TOFU



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