EVERY YEAR, MY NEW YEARS' RESOLUTIONS are more or less the same: eat healthier, exercise more, sleep earlier, declutter and be more organized. Blog more regularly. Print out photos. Not be late to everything. But then a year has swept by and it's time to look at the progress I've made. I had chips and chocolates this morning while watching the Golden Globes instead of working out, but hey, I did declutter my desk and now I'm typing out this post.
Last year, I had a lot of "firsts"... my first time to Osaka, my first time to Paris, my first time to Guangzhou and I traveled more than I had in awhile. I also went to Tainan for the first time while working with the Culinary Institute of America's team on their series World of Flavors, who put together some amazing footage and coverage in Taipei, Tainan and Kaohsiung. I also worked with Bizarre Foods for the second time behind the scenes, this time with for Delicious Destinations.
Every year I think to myself, how cool would it be to have a 10 Best Dishes of the Year list, but I always find it so hard to narrow it down. I always have a lot of ideas and I want this year to be a year of more action, less words. I want to post things sooner than later, which I'm sure you want too. I want to worry less about what other people think and just go back to this blog being for me, and for when I want to point my friends in the right direction for food so I don't have to scroll through the 30,000+ photos on my phone. Not to worry about what is the most instagrammable or is going to get the most likes, but to talk about places and food that gets ME excited. Because I know that's what you will want to try too.
Places change. People change. Times change. But we keep moving forward and life is short. I'm still learning, trying new things, opportunities that scare me. I'm still discovering new restaurants in Taipei ALL THE TIME. It never ends! But that is a good thing... just need to put it all here (and hope whole paragraphs don't get plagiarized and reformatted as their own content by other travel apps
or bloggers) (Yes, it happens and I have proof).
SO.. to kick off this January-first post of 2017, these are five of my favorite dishes from last week that you can try this week! Let's see if I can keep this up on a weekly basis, like a radio song countdown! Until I can throw up full reviews, this will give a sneak peek.
HUNGRYINTAIPEI'S WEEKLY FAVE 5 IN TAIPEI
1. SUGAR PEA's BANANA PANCAKES
Though I was one of the first to post Sugar Pea's
banana pancakes, I know I'm not alone in my addiction to them, seeing the flurry of posts in the month afterwards of the food and sunroom selfies. With peanut butter honey sauce to drown the short stack of pancakes and bruleed bananas, I have to resist making this a weekly habit. Everything I've tried here is delicious and I usually find myself also ordering the chipotle chicken bowl, the pancake sliders, the steak salad and sometimes a slice of cake. Get the red velvet if they have it. Currently still in soft opening.
SUGAR PEA, No. 16, Alley 20, Lane 300, RenAi Road, Sec. 4, 仁愛路四段300巷20弄16號 (02) 2325-6188, Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
2. NKU's FRIED PORK SKIN
A few summers ago I got a small paper bag of the bbq pork rinds from Ink Sack in LA. It was one of the best things I had ever put in my mouth. Best because it was crunchy, airy, salty and like eating pork skin cheetos but better. Then this summer, I got a bag from Ink Sack at LAX at the airport and it was one of the worst things I had ever put in my mouth. It was stale, greasy and I had to through the rest of the bag away. So to my surprise, this dish at NKU
recaptured that deliciousness, even though they coat it with a white chocolate sauce (can't taste it) and spice powder, so that you will find yourself going back for more even though your new year's resolution was to eat more healthy. The lunch sets here are a great deal for NT$390, but I recommend still ordering some of their dishes to share if you come with a group of people. From what I tried, my other favorites included the bamboo, beef tongue, and duck breast. Snow ball liquid nitro'd coconut dessert fun too. Skip the fried oxtail balls and pork pie. NKU has been opened for about six months or so, with very instagrammable decor, semi open kitchen, but neighbors have hung a sign over their entrance, protesting their wood fire ovens and cooking.
NKU, No. 13, Alley 26, Lane 300, RenAi Rd, Sec. 4, (02) 2701-8025,
3. LA MESA's SHAVED TO ORDER IBERICO HAM
Surprised to have not heard about La Mesa Taipei
before, it's a Spanish restaurant open for about four years in Daan district (in the narrow alleys behind Ice Monster). Delicious tapas, paella, full wine list and cozy atmosphere. The iberico ham is paper thin and I savored each bite. La Mesa's must order dishes include the iberico ham, jamon croquettes, pan fried calamari, paella and chorizo in cider and garlic. Prices are also very reasonable and service friendly. Only open for dinner, and open until 2am on weekends.
LA MESA TAIPEI 西班牙風味小酒館, No. 33, Lane 137, Yanji St, Da’an District, (02) 2778-7676
4. WOOLLOOMOOLOO's CHIA PUDDING
It's been awhile since I've been to Woolloomooloo
, but they've revved up their breakfast/brunch menu and added over a dozen new things including waffles w ice cream (!) and this chia seed pudding. Might not be as sexy as an Acai bowl, but I enjoyed the coconut flavor along with the crunchy granola and fruit. (NT$280) WXY is one of the rare spots open early (and that has a flat white) and a cafe I used to go to every week until more places opened around town. Also love their meat pie, avocado toast with poached eggs and dessert array. Order the carrot cake if you see it, or the nut tart. WOOLLOOMOOLOO, No. 379, Section 4, Xinyi Rd, Xinyi District, (02) 8789-0128
5. HANYEOGIYO's COLD NOODLES
is a newish KBBQ place at Neo 19 and Daan District that boasts a pretty full menu including one of my favorites- soupy cold noodles. The server cut it up for us and also gave us a big bottle of vinegar and mustard to customize it. The noodles were chewy and not too soft, and they didn't skimp on the stuff inside, including korean pear, radish, cucumbers, beef and egg. The KBBQ here is mostly pork and beef and the BBQ grill includes steamed egg on the rims that cooks as the server grills your meat. Lettuces and sauces included, but not that much choice in banchan. This spot is only open at night but takes reservations.
HANYEOYIGO (韓老二韓國烤肉),No. 32, Lane 107, Section 1, FuXing S. Rd, Da’an District, (02) 2771-6474