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 
2. ICHIRAN

(Photo by @hungryintaipei) 
Now that the lines have died down a little bit, it's time to try the ramen that broke the world record for longest consecutive line in the world (over 250 hours!). Because Ichiran is open 24 hours a day, they had people waiting around the clock for over ten days. Known for its single person booth seating, Ichiran serves mainly one thing, tonkotsu ramen (NT$288), but customized hundreds of ways depending on how rich you want your broth and dashi, how strong your spiciness and how firm you want your ramen. I recommend adding the egg, extra pork and seaweed "Ichiran special" (NT$134) because one slice of pork won't be enough. 
No. 97 Songren Road, XinYi District, (02) 2758-3868 
3. GUSTO MARKET OF TASTE

(Photo by @hungryintaipei) 
Buying cheese in Taipei can sometimes feel like highway robbery, paying a fortune for a sliver of truffier or comte that is gone in a few bites. That's why I found myself very excited when I finally went to Gusto Market, a small shop located on the same alley as Addiction Aquatic Development. Owner William Di Nardo, formerly a chef at Osteria by Angie, brings his experience and tastebuds to not only bring in an array of Italian cheeses (burrata!), wines, olive oils and products, but also is helpful in suggesting what you would like, at prices that can't be beat. 
No. 6, Alley 23, Lane 410, Minzu East Road, ZhongShan District,  (02) 2518-0458 @gusto.taiwan
4. LONGTAIL 
Longtail is the newest venture for Chef Kin Ming Lam and his team (Chou Chou, AChoi) which continues his Taipei streak of modern fusion menus, cocktails, desserts and space that feels grown up. Dishes like charred foie gras dumplings (NT$680), shrimp sliders with pickled onions and sriracha (NT$420) and fried chicken, raita, curry leaf gives you a taste of the layered flavors and ingredients that Chef Lam brings to the table. I've heard their cocktail game is also strong and they are open only for dinner, but they stay open until 3 a.m.
No. 174 DunHua South Road, Section 2, DaAn District, (02) 2732-6616 @longtail.taipei
5. HONOLULU CAFE

(Photo by @hungryintaipei) 
Despite the name, Honolulu Cafe serves up Hong Kong Cafe eats (Cha Chaan Teng) rather than Hawaiian food, as fans of the original shop, opened since the 1940s in Hong Kong, know. The first Taipei branch opened earlier this summer in the basement of Xinyi Mitsukoshi, with a full menu of roast meats, dim sum, stir fried, claypot, rice and noodle dishes as well as the classics, pineapple buns stuffed with butter, Hong Kong style French toast drenched in honey and Hong Kong milk tea. The MUST ORDER here are the signature pastry egg tarts (NT$35 each or NT$100 for three) and I always order extra to take home. 
Xinyi Mitsukoshi A11, B1, No. 11 SongShou Road, XinYi District, (02) 6613-1013
6. & 7. MAPLE TREE HOUSE and MEATLOVE

(Photo from Maple Tree House Facebook) 

(Photo from Meatlove Facebook) 
The two latest additions to the Taipei Korean bbq scene have roots from Korea, as Maple Tree House is a popular chain in Seoul and Meat Love has a Korean founder that has popular restaurants in Korea. Both offer an assortment of beef, pork and wagyu cuts to grill and unique panchan like marinated perilla leaves (Maple Tree House) and cold vegetable broth (Meat Love). My must orders are Maple Tree House's jumbo galbi tang (Korean beef rib soup) (NT$520) and Meat Love's housemade kimchi and soupy cold noodles. 
No. 585 Guangfu South Road, XinYi District, (02) 8780-9222 @mapletreehouse_taipei
No. 468 Xinyi RoadSection 4, XinYi District, (02) 2729-9488 @meatlove_taipei
8. LIQUID BREAD COMPANY 

(Photo from Liquid Bread Company Facebook) 
When I heard that Purebread Bakery and Gen Creative were the partners behind the newly opened Liquid Bread Company, I suddenly understood why pastrami and carnitas sandwiches had been popping up on my Instagram feed the last few weeks. With sandwiches like Taipei Bomber (ham and cheese with egg salad on sourdough) Pot Belly and Carnitas (NT$290-420), this is next on my list to try. Add on beers on tap from Taihu Brewing, craft beers, bags of chips and and housemade chocolate chip cookies make the hipster Subway sandwich shop that Taipei didn't know it needed. 
No. 270 Yanji Street, DaAn District (02) 2704-6318 @liquidbreadco
9. EPL STEAKHOUSE AND LOUNGE

(Photo from EPL Facebook) 
If seafood towers decked out with oysters, king crab and lobsters upon ice are your thing, then EPL Steakhouse is where you should take your friends. The most drool worthy dishes I spied on Instagram were the lobster mac and cheese, crab au gratin, t-bone steak and chicken and waffles. Currently open dinner only, signature cocktails include Flaming Pink Panther and Sunset Over Rio. 
No. 147 DaAn Road, Section 1, DaAn District, (02) 2752-7191, @epl_tpe
10. ICE MOUNTAIN

(Photo by @hungryintaipei) 
There's no shortage of shaved ice places in Taipei, so it was to my surprise that I found myself waiting for over 30 minutes in blistering Taipei humidity, in line with over a dozen young women dressed for selfies. Ice Mountain's menu includes mango shaved ice, boba milk tea shaved ice, fruit shaved ice. The good news is that the shaved ice was actually very tasty- the fruit ice with lychee shaved ice (NT$160) was my favorite and half sizes in cups are available. The bad news is that the space is incredibly narrow and cramped and every corner of the pink and sky blue shop is primed for photo ops, so you might find yourself trying to avoid being in the background of someone's IG story or waiting in line for photos in the neon lit, pool toy corner. 
No. 16, Lane 41, Nanjing East Road, Section 2, ZhongShan District, @icemountain2017

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



LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin