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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

chinese/dim sum: i recommend YA GE at MO TAIPEI


YA GE 
at MANDARIN ORIENTAL TAIPEI 
No. 158, DunHua N Rd, Songshan District, Taipei
(02) 2715 6788

hours: 12PM- 2:30PM; 6:30PM - 10PM

$$$

Kid friendliness: environment on quieter side; no high chairs or children spotted

Visit reviewed: 11/2021




[TAIPEI] 🥟Michelin starred dim sum at @mo_tpe . Faves include the honey bbq pork, crispy taro puffs with foie gras, and rice roll with crispy shrimp. I’ve missed eating with a table full of dim sum and Cantonese food. 


Ya Ge is now headed by chef Tommy Cheung Kwok Pong who was previously at Peninsula Hotel in HK for over 10 years with signatures such as birds nest dumpling,  garoupa with chicken and duck au jus, pork ribs with aged vinegar and pear and wok fried rice noodles with crab. 


Thank you Mandarin Oriental for the lovely lunch and hospitality. 



















Friday, November 19, 2021

donuts/dessert: i strongly recommend CRISPY FRESH MILK DONUTS


CRISPY FRESH MILK DONUTS 

脆皮鮮奶甜甜圈 (台北店)

No. 183, Huayin St, Datong District, Taipei
(02) 2550-9914


MRT: Taipei Main Station 

$ (NT$25/donut)

Kid friendliness: takeaway only but kids are likely to want their own donut

Visit reviewed: 11/2021


You would think after a big lunch you would have no room to eat anything else, but when these donuts are in walking distance, your stomach finds room for it! I had these donuts once, maybe 10 years ago, and I had still thought about them over the years. So I was SO happy to have the chance to get some again (and that they were still open after all this time). There was a short line but we decided to wait and soon we were at the front of the line. 

One person is frying the donuts (NT$25) and then another is taking them and swiping them through the sugary milk powder, coating both sides before putting them into individual plastic bags. Sometimes they have other flavors, but that day they only had the signature milk donuts, which taste a bit milky, a bit vanilla, a bit powdered sugar. The best part is the crispy parts on the outside and soft inside. If churros are Mexican donuts, then this donut is its Taiwanese donut cousin. 

Even though you think you are only going to take one bite, you know the donut tastes best right now, hot and crispy and won't be the same after it cools down, so you finish it before you know it. Even though there are a bunch of donut shops, good donuts are hard to find Taipei. Even Krispy Kreme Taipei no longer serves hot donuts anymore, and there's nothing like a freshly fried one so when you see a line, you know you'll be getting one that's just made. 





Thursday, November 04, 2021

Singaporean: I strongly recommend REGENT CHILI CRAB


[TAIPEI]🌶🦀 Chili crab > hairy crab  especially with mini fried mantous to dip in the sauce.


More sweet than spicy, it was SO good and satisfying to eat. I know it’s hairy crab season, but this has more meat and is easier and faster with less work especially with the claw shells cracked already. 


Would totally eat this again and recommend trying especially at the current takeaway price NT$1980. Thank you @regenttaipei for the treat.


The only other place I’ve had chili crab in Taipei was at Jumbo a few years ago when they first opened and the service was so awkward and lackluster I never went back, especially at the premium prices they were charging. This way you can get messy and gluttonous in the privacy of your own home (I devoured both claws and half the crab in no time) and use the leftover sauce to stir fry noodles or something (my sauce is in the fridge waiting for inspo). 








Wednesday, November 03, 2021

vietnamese: I strongly recommend VIETNAMESE BISTRO

VIETNAMESE BISTRO

No. 7-1號, No. 103, Lane 46, Chongqing N Rd, Section 2, Datong District
(02) 2556-1155  

MRT: Zhongshan or Beimen

hours: 10:30AM - 2:30PM ; 4PM - 9PM; Closed Wednesdays

$

Visit reviewed: 9/28/2021 (I was invited, but all opinions are my own)



Oh man. While writing this post, I took a look at the last time I posted about Vietnamese restaurants in Taipei and it's been years (blame insta!) and quite a few of them have closed since I posted about them. So this is the perfect time to post about this new Vietnamese restaurant I can't stop thinking about. 


Opened over a month ago by two cousins from Hanoi, Vietnamese Bistro came from when Anya and Ryan couldn’t find any authentic Northern style Vietnamese food while studying here in Taipei.  They reached out to me to give it a try and I went looking for it in the alleys not far from Taipei Main Station. 


With a table full of delicious noodle soups, spring rolls and salads, we’ve barely even scratched the surface of their extensive menu which includes pho ga, classic salt and pepper chicken and sliced goose marinated with lemongrass and ginger. The rice noodles in their pho and French rolls for their banh mi is all made in house, by Ryan, the cousin who was a chef back in Vietnam. 


My favorites I kept going back to were 


the Bun tron (dry rice noodles) with pork (NT$120), 


(I've always been partial to noodle salads which are the best of both worlds with slippery chewy noodles and crispy lettuce, carrots and veggies all in one bite. Light for a summer day or when you're not feeling like something soupy.)



the chicken papaya salad (must order) (NT$70)


(Crunchy, sweet and refreshing)




fried spring rolls (NT$80/120) nem rang 


(Cut into bite sized pieces, these were so crispy and addictive with plenty of flavor)



and washing it down with sweet Tamarind juice (NT$50)



The  bun ca (rice noodle fish soup) (NT$120) and pate banh mi (NT$80) are among their specialties to try if you have room, as well as their version of Northern traditional beef pho (NT$130). When we tried both at the same time, as the tangy and spicy broth of the bun ca was overpowered tasting the flavor in the lighter broth of the pho. Vietnamese Bistro’s pho comes from simmered beef bones and star anise, and their rice noodles are wider and soft. Because they make their pho rice noodles from scratch, they’ve broken into shorter strands to spoon up rather than do noodle lifting. The broth of the bun ca had a sweetness from the tomato and large pieces of fried fish were filling. If I had to pick one of the two, I would try the bun ca just because it’s so different. 




The pate banh mi comes as a whole sandwich, but they kindly cut it into quarters after we asked them to. I am almost too full after all the food to take a bite, but I couldn’t resist. The French bread is made in house too, with a smear of pate, crunchy fresh veggies. Next time I would probably try the pork banh mi. 





The restaurant is small but clean, with charming murals hand painted on the walls by Anya, one wall has their most popular dishes making it easy to order. The pricing is student friendly, or as they say CP is high, so it’s definitely worth a try the next time you’re craving Vietnamese food. 





Friday, October 01, 2021

my kitchen: EASY HOMEMADE SOFT BAKED PRETZELS




Hi guys! I've been on a baking roll lately, looking for easy recipes and posting my favorite ones here for the next time. If you're impatient like me, we don't have the time to wait around for pretzels to rise for overnight or even a few hours. You want to be able to bake it, make it and eat it. I wanted to pick the least intimidating recipe for my first time making pretzels and I can attest that this pretzel recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction was spot on! Check out her video to see how she twists and turns the pretzel if it's your first time making pretzels. 

And the best part, the pretzel recipe only needs 10 minutes to rest!

I used to be really afraid of the step where you have to boil the pretzel in boiling water, but actually it wasn't that bad at all. The pretzels are at a size where they are manageable to take in and out and you can drop the heat so the water is hot but not boiling like crazy. Try this recipe!! There's nothing like fresh baked pretzels!!!! 

PS if you don't want to make pretzels, Auntie Anne's is finally in Taipei. and there's a place called TuuGuud in Tianmu that I've been meaning to try. Those are the main two places I can think of right now that have soft baked pretzels in Taipei, especially since the time I had one was at Beer and Cheese which closed years ago. They had good pretzels. 


EASY HOMEMADE SOFT BAKED PRETZELS
(thanks Sally's Baking Addiction) 

INGREDIENTS

PRETZELS 
- 1.5 cups (360ml) warm water (lukewarm– no need to take temperature but around 100°F (38°C) is great)
- 2 and 1/4 teaspoons (7ginstant or active dry yeast (NOTE: My instant yeast packets that I bought in Taipei were 3g each, I just used 2 packets for 6g and the pretzels turned out ok)
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar or granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and slightly cool
- 3 and 3/4-4 cups (469-500g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), plus more for hands and work surface
coarse salt or coarse sea salt for sprinkling

BAKING SODA BATH
1/2 cup (120g) baking soda
9 cups (2,160ml) water

1. Whisk the yeast into warm water. Allow to sit for 1 minute. Whisk in 1 teaspoon salt,  1 Tablespoon brown sugar, and 1 Tablespoon melted butter. 

2. Slowly add 3 cups of flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon (or dough hook attached to stand mixer) until dough is thick. Add 3/4 cup more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. If it is still sticky, add 1/4 – 1/2 cup more, as needed. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.

3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Cover lightly with a towel and allow to rest for 10 minutes. (Meanwhile, prep the water + baking soda boiling as instructed in step 6.)


4. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. Silicone baking mats are highly recommended over parchment paper. If using parchment paper, lightly spray with nonstick spray or grease with butter. Set aside. (NOTE: So I didn't line my cookie tray with parchment paper and the baking soda water discolored it. So I recommend still lining your baking tray with something)

5. With a sharp knife, cut dough into 12-16 slices. I recommend cutting in 4 pieces, then cutting each quarter into thirds or four. If you want bigger mall sized pretzels, then cut into thirds and roll the dough into 20-22 inch long ropes.



6. Take one slice and roll the dough into a long rope on a floured surface. The longer it is, the thinner it will be. I went for shorter, thicker pretzels. 

7. Take one end of the rope and cross it with the other end and twist the ends once, then lift the twisted side to cross the rounded side and press down for the pretzel shape. Don't worry if it's not perfect, it will look fine after it's baked. 



7. Bring baking soda and 9 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Drop 1-2 pretzels into the boiling water for 20-30 seconds. Any more than that and your pretzels will have a metallic taste. Using a slotted spatula, lift the pretzel out of the water and allow as much of the excess water to drip off. Place pretzel onto prepared baking sheet.



8. Sprinkle each with coarse sea salt. (NOTE: I didn't have coarse sea salt. so I used some flaky salt I had on hand. Where to find coarse salt in Taipei????) Repeat with remaining pretzels. 



9. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Congrats! You just made pretzels!! Enjoy one (or three) warm, even better with with cheese sauce or cinnamon sugar butter. 




Cinnamon Sugar Pretzels: Skip the coarse salt topping. Bake as directed in step 7. Meanwhile, melt 4 Tablespoons (60g) of butter. Brush the baked and warm pretzels with melted butter then dip the tops into a mix of cinnamon and sugar. Start with 3/4 cup (150g) of granulated sugar and 1 and 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Cinnamon sugar pretzels are best served that day because due to the melted butter topping, they become soggy after a few hours.

Monday, September 13, 2021

my kitchen: EASY HONEY BUTTER BEER BREAD



hi. it's already September and we survived 3 months of Level 3 self quarantine and restaurants doing takeout/delivery only. 

After finishing 2 weeks of mandatory quarantine after returning from my first trip in a year and half, I saw this on Half Baked Harvest's instagram, and NEEDED to BAKE SOMETHING, and an hour later I was devouring freshly baked carbs. This recipe really is RIDICULOUSLY easy to make, with no complicated ingredients. I used a Apple Cider Pipsqueak from Little Creatures Taipei (thanks Ashley!), and I thought it went so well with the butter and honey. 

The texture is dense and spongy, and the crust is so crunchy, buttery and amazing. 

As always, there's so many more things I want to say and share, but I have to get over my own obstacles of feeling like things need to be perfect before I post them, to get that done and uploaded. So for now, enjoy the recipe and the warm carbs. 


EASY HONEY BUTTER BEER BREAD

(Thanks  Half Baked Harvest !) 


INGREDIENTS

- 3 cups all purpose flour

- 1 Tablespoon baking powder

- Pinch of salt

- 1 pint beer (12 ounces)

- 1/4 cup honey 

- 6 Tablespoons of cold salted butter, sliced into 8 slices


1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degrees F. 

2.Add flour, baking powder, pinch of salt to mixing bowl. 


3. Pour in beer and add honey. Mix until just combined. 



4. Spoon batter into baking pan. Add slices of butter on top in two rows. 



5. Place loaf pan onto a rimmed baking pan (to catch splatter from butter). Bake for 45-55 minutes or until top of bread is lightly browned. Slice when cooled and enjoy! 


Friday, July 16, 2021

burger: I strongly recommend EVERYWHERE BURGER CLUB





EVERYWHERE BURGER CLUB 
No. 21號, Lane 420, Guangfu South Road, Da’an District, Taipei 
(02) 2704- 6825

MRT: SYS Memorial Hall

hours: 11:30AM - 3PM; 5PM - 10:30PM 

$$ 

 Visit reviewed: July 2021

Scanning their Instagram, it looks like Everywhere Burger Club has been around for awhile since 2016. Starting out as a food truck, they took their burgers, well, everywhere, around Taipei and so the name is fitting. I had heard about them for awhile, but hadn’t had a chance to try them until our months long lockdown and ordered a few for takeout when I couldn't get my usual spot on the phone. 

Their Classic Pickles comes with a layer of relish which gives the burger a refreshing bite. (I got mine without cheese and a double patty. I was also a little confused when I was ordering on the phone without a menu and when I ordered the hamburger, they said pickles in Chinese "huang gua"). I also had my eye on the Double Smash Burger with melted cheese. I did kind of miss the crunch of lettuce on the burgers, but the burgers look more consistent in photos and photograph really well. Luckily, they did taste as good as they looked. 

They were out of French fries that day (!?) so I just tried the burgers. But they also have mashed potatoes and sweet potato fries on the menu, as well as milkshakes. Can Everywhere Burger Club become a serious contender for best burger in Taipei? Based on the response on Instagram from just one photo, looks like everyone is still looking for burgers. 

Everywhere Burger Club also has a few unusual burger flavors- along with a vegetarian bean and edamame burger, there is also an almond bacon peanut butter (Peanut butter burgers were all the rage in Taipei maybe 10 years ago and now are a consistent option here, but I wonder if the almond is almond slivers or almond butter or where does the almond come in?), grilled garlic sour cream and mushroom, spicy jalapeño salsa, guacamole club (which sounds kind of good as long as they are using Haas avocados) and fried pineapple/grilled pineapple butter. I might have to try a few of those. 

And just to note, looks like their prices are slightly more on Ubereats than if you pick up yourself. 






:)