Tuesday, February 25, 2020

mexican: i strongly recommend EL SABROSO


No. 107-1, Tingzhou Road, Section 3, Zhongzheng District
(02) 2368-9599

MRT: Taipower Building

Hours: 11AM - 2PM ; 5PM -9PM, Closed Mondays 

$-$$ (under NT$250 per person) cash only 

Kid friendliness: very small shop with counter seating or sidewalk seating only. non-spicy items if your kids don't eat spicy. 

Visit reviewed: 6/12/2018 & 2/5/2020


Sometimes I get asked about "where to find tacos in Taipei" or "where to find the best Mexican food in Taipei" which is understandable since that is one of the first things you end up craving when you have been in Asia a long time. So the last few years, my answer has been El Sabroso, a tiny shop that serves up burritos, quesadillas and nachos. And just in time for taco tuesday, El Sabroso serves tacos ONLY on Tuesdays.  



I actually passed by El Sabroso several times while they were building it because it's not far from Lan Jia Gua Bao and Chen San Ding brown sugar boba (RIP). So when I saw a few posts about it, I had to give it try. 

The colorful signage and murals outside the shop make it hard to miss, and a nice extension of the shop, since most of the seating is outside on the sidewalk. When you step inside the shop, the cashier is right at the front with menus and signage that is pretty well done for a mom and pop shop. The menu introduces the chef/owner Oscar, who is from Toluca Mexico and passionate about cooking Mexican food and bringing authentic flavors to Taipei. 


Every time I have gone, I've spied him there behind the counter in the kitchen. The reason why they only offer tacos on Tuesdays is because he makes all the corn and flour tortillas and meats/salsas in house, and it was mostly just him. It's also why you should expect to wait 10-15 minutes (at least) after ordering since the tortillas are pressed and griddled to order.  The first time I went, I waited about 30 minutes for 3 tacos, a burrito and nachos. Now I usually call ahead and pick up my order to go.


My usual order is the chicken tinga burrito with guacamole on the side. The chicken tinga is definitely spicy, but the pineapple salsa gives it a touch of sweetness to balance it. The burrito is a good size has mexican rice and lettuce and sour cream (which sometimes I ask for no sour cream).

I also enjoyed the tacos, but I was not a fan of the nachos. There's also carnitas (pork), asada (steak), pastor, ground beef, grilled chicken and a few salsas to choose from.

I would advise if you have your heart set on tacos, or a certain meat, then go early at lunch or dinner as things do run out sometimes, or call ahead to order/check, and know that they close in the afternoon and promptly at the end of lunch and dinner hours.


If you're looking for other places for Mexican food in Taipei, I like the fish tacos and chimichanga from Macho Tacos, the tacos from Town by Bryan Nagao. There's also Eddy's Cantina in Tianmu and Twinkeyz Tacos, both which I should revisit as I haven't been in years. Oh and maybe Teotihuacan which I should post about. I know there's also a few newer ones that I've been hearing about, any of you guys still reading have any recommendations? 


Saturday, December 28, 2019

news: TWO NEW DIN TAI FUNG COMING TO TAIPEI


If you build it, they will come, seems to be the new motto for xiao long bao king, Din Tai Fung. Several people mentioned to me the past few months that they were building another huge Din Tai Fung *directly* across from their 3 story flagship original shop on Xinyi and Yong Kang Street. I finally spotted it yesterday! The new shop is not right across the street, but further down Xinyi Road.  Posting the above photo in my Instagram stories elicited a dozen excited replies asking where.

If you can’t wait for that one to open, you can wait in line for the newly opened one at A13 in Xinyi Taipei. Not sure the official name of the mall, but it’s the one next to the Apple Store, A11 and Le Meridien. I had a chance to walk around the mall, it just opened this week, there was an average of 60-90 minute wait. And that’s with two other DTFs in walking distance. The A13 DTF was smartly located on the first floor near the entrance visible to passerby’s and as soon as you enter the mall and has two floors. 



Someone asked me recently about why Taiwanese food seems to be making a wave now in the US, or at least being recognized by mainstream media with articles in NY Times, Eater and npr about restaurants like Pine and Crane, Joy on the west coast and 886, Ho Foods, Braised Shop, Zai Lai and Win Son. Not to mention recent number 1 on LA Times 101 Best Restaurants list, Kato, helmed by Taiwanese American chef Jon Yao. And boba shops and Boba Guys. 

But the increasing interest and love for Taiwanese food?  I think the proliferation of Din Tai Fung’s in LA and the US (and Portland and London!) definitely plays a part in people willing to line up for hours and  pay up for consistency and deliciousness. I mean, we can’t even get enough of them in Taipei! 

New Taipei Din Tai Fung 2019/2020

DIN TAI FUNG A13
No. 58, Songren Road, Xinyi District, Taipei City, 110

DIN TAI FUNG Xinsheng
No. 271 Xinyi Road, Sec. 2
(Couldn’t find the address yet on google maps, but it’s next to this hotel address)


Tuesday, December 03, 2019

#musings: one month until "the future"

Who else can't believe there's only one month until 2020? Growing up, the year 2020 honestly seemed like science fiction. It felt like such a far away time, where time travel, flying cars and "the future" existed. And now, we are less than 30 days away from "the future." What does that mean for us in the world that seems more unsure now than it did even 5 years ago.

Sometimes it feels frivolous to be talking just about food. And then sometimes it feels very important. Even 15 years later, there's still so much I discover about Taipei, about Taiwan, about Asia, about the world. There's still so many stories behind the dishes, flavors to figure out, chefs to champion to the world stage, cities to visit and restaurants to write about. Fifteen years later, Taipei is a very different city than the one I was finding my way into, but I am the same person but with a bigger map, a deeper well, a fuller belly.

I've drifted from this blog as more information has become available and more reliable - google maps and a flurry of bloggers, youtubers and instagrammers- but we seem to be rounding back to blogs and email lists as algorithms change and social media gets overwhelming and difficult to search. As we feel pressure to have perfect photos, captions, stories or laid out feeds! I miss the days when I could post what I was eating without worrying too much about it. Now all the eyes are there, and not here, it feels oddly satisfying to be imperfect on this old school platform.

But as I scroll through the last few years, SO many places are missing that should be on here. So many not-so-new cafes, restaurants, meals, trips, pop ups. If this blog is a collection of restaurants that have filled my days and years here, then it's missing a lot of pieces of the puzzle.

So making resolutions out loud early, going to post at least once a week, whether it's from my instagram (follow me there and comment! @hungryintaipei), my mailbox, thoughts about the Taipei food scene, or interesting news related somehow to Taipei, or food, or just something I want to share.

To the few of you guys still reading out there, thanks for following me all these years! We have so much to catch up on. xo

1:12AM 12/3/2019

Sunday, November 17, 2019

taiwanese: i recommend 397 MINGSHUI



397 MINGSHUI
明水397 飯堂
51, Alley 47, Lane 458, BeiAn Road, Dazhi
(02) 2532-5687

[TAIPEI] A little bit of everything, juicy braised pork belly + egg, with a bowl of mifun tang. Taiwanese comfort foods. This Dazhi shop used to be at the address MingShui 397 but when it moved it kept the old address as the name. If you're looking for where locals eat Taiwanese food, this is it. 


mifun tang

bamboo

braised pork and egg

Thursday, October 03, 2019

freelance writing: TAIPEI summer 2019 Cover story



SO PROUD to have my recent article about Taipei Michelin restaurants for @taipeitravel to be the COVER STORY of the Summer 2019 issue. 

It’s been amazing to see the changes in Taipei’s culinary landscape the last 10-15 years, as well as be a part of highlighting it and helping people discover it! Still something magical about seeing your words in print

Everyone always asks me what other restaurants to go to beyond RAW and Mume (both which are amazing and definitely worth trying), so it was a chance to share a few other places. 

Many of you have asked me how to get a copy or read the article since I shared it on instagram. You can find the article here- 

From Street Eats to Tasting Menus, Michelin Guide Showcases Taipei's Thriving Culinary Scene

It also was reprinted in China Post.

As for where to find a copy in real life, locations listed include Taipei City Hall, Tourist Center in the arrival lobby at Taoyuan airport, AIT, TAS, MOCA, Taipei artist Village. Let me know if you guys have seen it!







Michelin Starred places to try in Taipei: 
Shoun Ryugin, Impromptu by Paul Lee, L'Atelier Robuchon Taipei 







Monday, July 01, 2019

My kitchen: EASY BANANA BREAD WITH YOGURT


I had the best mini loaf of banana bread from Tamed Fox a few weeks ago and since then I’ve been craving it. I actually went back a few times but they didn’t have it or ran out and sometimes you just can’t wait. I had some ripe bananas but only had two, so I adjusted this Recipe that used 2 bananas and I had some walnuts on hand, but pecans would work too. I also need to find some whole wheat flour since I really loved it in Tamed Fox’s version and it makes it slightly healthier. Putting this down for the next time I need it. 

Easy Banana bread with yogurt
(This recipe made 12 muffins) 

  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup white sugar 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I used salted butter so I omitted)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips 
  • 2 medium bananas, mashed 

1- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). 
2- In a large bowl, stir together 1/2 cup melted butter and 1/2 cup sugar. 
3- Add 2 eggs and 1 tsp vanilla, mix well. 
4- Add 1.5 cup flour and 1 tsp baking soda, stir into the liquid mixture until smooth. Then, fold in the 1/2 cup yogurt, and 2 mashed bananas. 
5- Finally add walnuts and chocolate chips with some to sprinkle on top. 
6- Spoon into muffin tin so it’s 80 percent full.
7- Bake at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and top is browned. 

This is the previous recipe I used- http://hungryintaipei.blogspot.com/2015/01/my-kitchen-easy-banana-bread-muffins.html?m=1



Wednesday, April 10, 2019

news: 2019 TAIPEI MICHELIN GUIDE STARS REVEALED



If you didn't make your reservations at one of the 24 newly minted Michelin starred restaurants before they were awarded stars today for the 2019 Michelin Guide Taipei, then good luck getting a seat the next few weeks! I remember last year going to L'Atelier Robuchon a week or so after the inaugural awards and it was a packed and busy house. 

After screenshotting and cropping the Michelin Guide announcements like a madwoman, I've compiled a list of every Taipei Michelin starred chef and their restaurants on Instagram (and updated my previous post of Taipei chefs to watch with instagram handles as well!)





New to the Taipei Michelin Guide list are Sushi Amamoto with 2 stars, while RAW and Tarroir both moved up to two stars (!!), joining neighbor Shoun Ryugin, taking the number of 2 starred restaurants in Taipei from two to five. RAW and Shoun Ryugin are in the same building in Neihu, while Tarroir is right next door, so there are six Michelin stars just in that one block. 

I'm surprised by the some of the 1 starred restaurants that have remained on the list (there are a few I think that I personally wouldn't recommend), but happy that Impromptu by Paul Lee and Logy earned a star. Both were very buzzed about since they opened, and well deserved honors. 




Out of nine Chinese restaurants awarded stars, four are Taiwanese restaurants - Golden Formosa, Ming Fu, Mountain Sea House and Tainan Tantsumien Seafood Restaurant. Personally I think Din Tai Fung and Shin Yeh also deserve to be honored, but I think their multiple branches works against them.

Five sushi bars make the list, but Michelin still might not have been able to get seats to Adachi, one of the hardest sushi bars to book in Taipei (and one of the best imho). Le Palais remains the lone three star restaurant. 




If you prefer street food to fine dining, check out the 2019 Michelin Guide Taipei Bib Gourmand Street Food list here  and the new entrants to Taipei Bib Gourmand selections here. Also, last fall I wrote an article about Gastromonth for Taiwan Scene that featured Sushi Ryu and Guest House. I've linked it here!

Congrats to all the chefs and teams! 


TAIPEI MICHELIN THREE STARS


  • Le Palais / @palaisdechinhotel

TAIPEI MICHELIN TWO STARS

  • RAW / Chef Alain Huang & Andre Chiang @raw_taipei @alainh001 @andrechiang_sg
  • TaÏrroir / Chef Kai Ho and pastry chef Angela Sy  @tarroir @kaiho1011 @angela_sy
  • Sushi Amamoto / Chef Shogo Amamoto 
  • Shoun RyuGin / Chef Ryohei Hieda @hiedaryohei
  • The Guest House / @sheratongrandtaipei 
TAIPEI MICHELIN ONE STAR 

  • Da San Yuan
  • Da-Wan
  • Danny’s Steakhouse
  • Golden Formosa 
  • Impromptu by Paul Lee / Chef Paul Lee @impromptu_tw @paulhwlee
  • Ken An Ho 
  • Kitcho  (I don't recommend Kitcho, it's one of my least fave sushi bars in Taipei)
  • L’ATELIER de Joël Robuchon / Chef Olivier Jean @olivierjean_23
  • Logy  / Chef Ryogo Tahara @logy.tw @ryogotahara
  • Longtail / Chef Lam Ming Kin @longtail.taipei @kin.cooks
  • Ming Fu
  • Mountain and Sea House
  • MUME / Chefs Richie Lin and Long Xiong @mume_taiwan @richie_lin 
  • Sushi Nomura / @sushinomura
  • Sushi Ryu 
  • Tainan Tantsumien Seafood Restaurant
  • Tien Hsiang Lo
  • Ya Ge / Chef Tse Man @mo_tpe
























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