Showing posts from October, 2016

Chen Sanding Brown Sugar Pearl Milk 陳三鼎黑糖青蛙撞奶

You know pearl tea. It's a big thing in Taiwan. It is also called bubble tea, boba, tapioca. Sometimes the chewy, or as we say in Taipei "QQ," dark orbs are spooned into other drinks, like milk. Sometimes the pearls are made of brown sugar. Chen Sanding Brown Sugar Pearl Milk 陳三鼎黑糖青蛙撞奶 in Taipei's Gongguan night market serves just that. They have some other drinks, more QQ jelly drink. The name of the stand is 黑糖 (hei1tang2) which means black sugar, so just order that. Ok? Ok. Its been around for a while, at least 15 years claims my boyfriend who says it was a regular treat in high school. I'm not finding much information to confirm or deny it. Eater's Taipei 38 calls it a, "hard must."

There is always a line at the Chen Sanding Brown Sugar Pearl Milk stand, but do not be afraid. The line moves quickly. We waited for about 3 minutes behind 10-12 people. The words hanging vertically from the sign are the menu. If it is your first time, just point at…

Eat Together Buffet 餐食天堂

Living in Taipei has changed me in ways I never could have predicted. I love buffets. Buffets in Taiwan range from affordable to glamorously decadent. In America, a buffet was mostly a cattle call with troughs of macaroni salad, jello, and some meat-like foods. In Taiwan, it means lobsters, champagne, European cheese, sushi, and duck. Buffeting has become a hobby for my boyfriend and I. We've scoured the internet for photos and reviews and tried 8-10 so far. Yes, I have suffered from a few, but most all are a wonderful way to spend an evening.

Eat Together Buffet 餐食天堂 in Dazhi, next to the 美麗華 Miramar cinema and mall is my favorite. For $1100 NTD (less than $35 USD) an adult can eat as much as they like for 3 hours (that's an hour longer than most buffets) on a weekend evening, there are discounts for children, and prices are cheaper on less popular days. The food is very good quality and a huge amount, that changes seasonally. You can eat everything from sushi, sashimi, rib r…

National Vegetarian Buffet 全國健康素食餐飲連鎖

I remember now why I don't eat a "new food" every day now. There is a lot of greasy, deliciousness on the streets of Taipei that I simply can't stomach too often. I took a day off my 2 week-long adventure in testing my stomach's limits and visited an old staple, the National Vegetarian Buffet. It is a large Buddhist vegetarian buffet chain found all around Northern Taiwan. Taiwan Buddhist vegetarian is different from the concept I knew of vegetarianism in America. Buddhist vegetarians do not consume meat, fish, garlic or onions, but do eat eggs and dairy. They also open delicious buffets in every neighborhood which are excellent places to go and enjoy a huge variety foods.

This buffet chain in particular is my favorite. They offer at least 12 individual dishes, several preparations of tofu, eggs, mock-meat, vegetarian sushi and even a couple of desserts. Sometimes they have pizza or cheese coated potatoes. They change a few items daily, and seasonally. Its clean…

Japanese Shao Bao 稍飽

Taipei has been having a "sandwich moment" for the last year or so, and I have been very supportive. Of all the great food joys to be had, a humbled balanced sandwich can be the most satisfying. The sandwiches at Japanese Shao Bao are promising. Offering a menu of two, high quality, BBQ pork or beef  on "handmade bread" sandwiches is a great plan. From the order window, customers can watch the action in the entire kitchen. It looks and smells like they are putting the time in to put out good food. 

What I received was an ok piece of pork belly/loin, lettuce, and apple on nice bread.  I'm jaded. My standards are higher in Taiwan than in America. A few $NTD go a long way and have a lot of competition. 稍飽, you are doing a good job, but for $90 I need more than half pork belly sandwich on nice bread. Thinking about the ingredients I can only imagine that the price of that sandwich is going to labor, rent, and possibly bread and something (important) has been left o…

Twinkeyz Taco

A large population of American immigrants in Taiwan are from the West coast, specifically California. They are bringing their Cali-Mex and Mexican food traditions with them to Taipei. I like tacos, but as someone from the midwest and NYC, I don't have a solid education. What I can tell is that Twinkeyz Tacos, opened in 2016, is working hard to present quality food. Their tacos use tons of fresh vegetables, sauces, and salsas. I believe they are making their own corn tortillas and would love to hear why they are pressing them to be so thick. There are plenty of meat and vegan options on the menu. So far I've tried al pastor, kimchi beef, fish and carnitas. Carnitas and fish stand out for flavor and texture.

However, fresh foods and Western foods always come with a high price tag in Taiwan for plenty of reasons. On my first visit to Twinkeyz my boyfriend and I spent $800 NTD on tacos 6 and we both left feeling hungry. I was satisfied to have wolfed down a fish taco and many oth…

Felice Cafe 享樂咖啡

Starbucks is a joke in Taiwan. Sure, you maybe need syrupy, chocolate sprinkle, whip cream thing every now and again, but since 2012 Taiwan has an enormous, and evolving coffee culture. Felice Cafe 享樂咖啡 in Taiwan has a tiny seating area of about 3 tables and one outside, but its convenient location makes it a great stop in the morning. I've noticed a lot of great coffee shops, in Taipei, aren't open in the mornings. Felice has you covered all day. On a humid hot cloudy day I opted for an iced latte. They asked if I wanted to "heavy or normal" and I'm not coffee nerd enough to understand.  It was rich and milky. A deal for $60 NTD, or about $2 USD. They do breakfast sandwiches too. 

Coffee roaster takes up 20% of the room. This is clearly a serious operation.

Felice Cafe is a simple tiny shop making complex delicious coffee.

The menu in Chinese. There is an English menu on the counter too.
Felice Cafe 享樂咖啡 台北大安區復興南路二段13號 No. 13-1, Sec. 2 Fuxing S Rd, Da’an District…

North China Breakfast Shop 北方大陸餅

Today's "new food" came from the North China Breakfast Shop 北方大陸餅, are you seeing a pattern? Many food shops in Taipei are named after the area their cuisine comes from. It seems that many places skip coming up with a name and just differ to using a description of what they serve.

This particular breakfast shop is very near my home, but I've been ignoring it for 2 years. A friend who studies at TaiDa recommended it. They offer lots of traditional Taiwanese and Chinese breakfast items. I grabbed an egg pancake (dan1bing3) for $25 NTD, roughly 90¢ USD. A thin crispy scallion pancake surrounding a simple omelet.  It was salty, crunchy, sweet (why?), a touch greasy and just the right amount of food for a weekday breakfast. 

The North China Breakfast Shop does not have an English menu, but there are photos of items above the counter of featured menu. Foreigner friendliness is just ok. 
North China Breakfast Shop 北方大陸餅 台北市大安區辛亥路二段171巷12號 #12, Lane 171, Sec. 2, Xinhai Rd, Da…