Monday, April 12, 2021

taiwanese: I strongly recommend ZHENG PORK KNUCKLE

No. 22, Yanping S. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist, Zhongzheng District
(02) 2371-1366

MRT: Taipei Main Station   

hours: 11AM - 8PM


Kid friendliness: sidewalk seat and limited indoor seats. bentos available to go

Visit reviewed: 4/2021

Opened for over 60 years, Zheng Pork Knuckle is a tiny neighborhood shop a few minutes walking distance from North Gate near Taipei Main Station. The must order dish is the braised pork knuckle bowl (NT$110), that comes over rice with a shiny stewed hard boiled egg, pickled mustard greens and veggies. The menu signage lists three main dishes to choose from- braised pork knuckle, dong po pork or milkfish, but I spied a lot of other side dishes you could add on like bamboo or intestines and a serve yourself bone broth. 

The pork knuckle is a sizeable piece and easy to eat since they deboned it. Slowly braised until tender, the thick pork skin is Q and velvety, more collagen than fat. I was surprised the sauce wasn’t sweet at all, but the flavor was still rich and perfect for scarfing down with rice. 

There was a short line since we got there after 1pm, but it moved quickly. There's a few shaded tables on the sidewalk and a few tables inside. Bento boxes are also available for takeaway. This post was so popular on Instagram, I had to throw up a post with the address for the next time I'm in the area. 

Thanks to my friend Lucie for taking me here. It's a stop on her historical walking tour, with tons of information about the Taipei Main Station area, what it was like almost 100 years ago and how it's changed. There seems to be a lot of recent renovations for the historical buildings in the area and I got to check out the recently reopened National Center of Photography and Images . There's a small coffee shop on the first floor if you're in the area. Loved these vintage typewriters spotted there. 

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

tasting menu/bbq: I strongly recommend FIREPLAY TAIPEI

No. 6號, Lane 128, Fuhua Road, Shilin District, Taipei 

MRT: Zhishan 

website: Fireplay FB page

hours: 6PM - 12AM; closed Monday and Tuesday  

$$  (dinner tasting menu NT$2400 + 10%)

Visit reviewed: 3/2021 (I was invited, but opinions are my own.)

Monday, April 05, 2021

street eats: I strongly recommend SPRING ONION PANCAKE VENDOR

corner of Anhe Road, Sec. 1 and Lane 102

Kid friendliness: you will see a line of kids waiting their turn afterschool 

Visit reviewed: 3/2021

When ordering spring onion pancake from a street vendor in Taipei, you will have to make a series of decisions. First decide if you want a half sheet (NT$30) or whole sheet (NT$60), then decide with egg or without, then lastly with sauce or without and if you want it spicy or not. Don't take too long to put in your order, otherwise you might have to wait an extra 5-10 minutes if others put in their order first. 

This street vendor often has a gaggle of kids and parents patiently waiting while he griddles, flips and rolls out new batches of dough with his magic rolling pin. After he's done rolling the pancake flat, he pulls out thin wooden center to fold half of it over again, so when he has to lift it, he can just lift the whole thing rather than try to scrape it off, and stand the outside of the pin on its side so it doesn't roll away. Kind of genius. 

I love the spring onion pancake here because it's just the right amount of doughy, chewy, crispy and hey all those hungry kids spending their pocket change on their afternoon snack can't be wrong. 

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

western: i still strongly recommend LAWRYS TAIPEI


at Bellavita, 6F
28 Songren Road, Xinyi District 
(02) 2729-8555

MRT: Taipei City Hall

hours: 11:30AM - 3PM; 5:30PM- 10PM

Kid friendliness: high chairs and kids meals available 

Visit reviewed: 3/2021 (this meal was comped but opinions are all my own)
previous visit: 11/2011 

Lawry's Taipei moved to Bellavita last fall, its third and newest home in Taipei since opening in 2002. The new space is brighter with floor to ceiling windows and makes for much better photos than its previous basement location, and you might even get a seat with a view of Taipei 101. 

When I posted on Instagram earlier this week, many followers exclaimed they didn't even know Lawry's existed in Taipei. It's true I hadn't posted about Lawry's for ten years even though I had been a loyal customer since 2007. It was hard to take an appetizing photo there, and the plate always looked consistently the same. 

In recent years, the competition for steak in Taipei has gotten fiercer. Just in the Xinyi District alone, there is Texas Roadhouse, Morton's and Smith and Wollensky (which all show up as related searches on google when you search for "Lawrys Taipei"), and that's not even mentioning places like Top Cap, Wildwood or Muchoyaki. 

But for prime rib... Lawry's is still the best. 

The spinning salad with extra cold fork. The creamed corn. The Yorkshire pudding. The creamy and original horseradish sauce. The Lawrys' seasoned pepper and salt. The huge silver cart with prime rib cut to order with au jus and scoops of mashed potato. All the ritual of the classic Lawry's experience is still the same even after all this time. 

I like to get the prime rib "a la carte" which still comes with bread and butter and salad. If you upgrade to the set, you get an appetizer, soup, salad and dessert, but usually that makes the meal longer and I just want to get to the prime rib. The 10 ounce Lawry's Cut (NT$2590) should be plenty for most people, but if you're really hungry you can go for the 16 ounce Diamond Cut (NT$3690) or pack leftovers for prime rib sandwiches the next day. There's also the California and English cuts (6-7.5 ounces) or the 5 ounce Taipei Cut available only during lunch, 

Don't forget to mention if it's your birthday or anniversary and get a souvenir photo to take home. They used to have polaroids but now it's printed from an iPhone. I wish it was still Polaroid, but you can't 'complain about a complimentary service. 

PS. Yay for birthdays- this post was typed up and photos uploaded from my new MacBook Air. 💝 Let's see if we can keep posts going in 2021. 

I love this salad. the dressing, the beets, the bits of egg and crispness of the romaine.

creamed corn and creamed spinach


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