Category Archives: Overseas adventure

Hong Kong Food Travelogue

I just got back from my trip to Hong Kong and Macau and boy did I put on weight from all that eating. I’m just exaggerating. There’s no way I will allow myself to gain kilos from a mere 6-day holiday. But this trip has been satisfying and productive, as I managed to check out all of the food places on my wish list. So here’s a list that I will be sharing with you. Instead of the usual alphabetical order, I will be arranging the food places geographically. From Top to Bottom (Kowloon) and Left to Right (Hong Kong Island). This is to facilitate your itinerary planning.

Kowloon

Tim Ho Wan 添好運

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset A Michelin-starred restaurant where you can get a dish for just 2 US dollars. This place requires no extra introduction. With at least 5 outlets to boast in Singapore, why should you still check out the real Mccoy in Hong Kong? Firstly, only when you’re immersed in an room full of cantonese-speaking diners then you can truly say you’re having some real Hong Kong dim sum. But the real reason is because THW here costs half of what we have to pay in Singapore. Food quality may not differ much but I’m willing to make my money worth while.

G/F, 9-11 Fuk Wing Street, Sham Shui Po, Kowloon 九龍深水埗福榮街9-11號地下 Nearest MTR station: Sham Shui Po Station, Exit B2
Queue: Usually starts after 9.45am
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 8am-9.30pm
Tel: 2788 1226


One Dim Sum 一點心

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Another Michelin-starred dim sum restaurant, One Dim Sum lurks behind the shadow of its more successful counterparts. However, it is not lacking in popularity amongst locals or tourists. The standard of the dim sum here can be comparable to those at THW but personally, I still prefer the latter.
Shop 1 & 2, G/F, Kenwood Mansion, 15 Playing Field Road, Prince Edward 旺角運動場道15號京華大廈地舖1-2號
Nearest MTR Station: Prince Edward Station, Exit A
Queue: On a Sunday, expect a queue way before opening hours. Do not queue later than 9.30am and if you’re lucky, you get the first seating, otherwise, you will have to wait for another 45 minutes for the next round.
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri: 11am-12.30am Sat-Sun: 10am-12.30am


 Kam Wah Cafe 金華冰廳

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset When I say Kam Wah, you say 菠蘿包 Bo Lo Bao. Arguably the best pineapple buns in Hong Kong, this cha chan teng is not to be missed. Ironically, the bun has no trace of pineapple inside. Yet its resemblance of the fruit got the dish its famed name. A crisp and sweet crust on the top bun, the melted butter sandwiched between provides an extra oomph. For a better experience, order the one with butter.
G/F, 47 Bute Street, Prince Edward 太子弼街47號地下
Nearest MTR Station: Mongkok Station, Exit B3 or Prince Edward Station, Exit B2
Queue: There is always a steady stream of people waiting outside but the service is fast and you can get a seat within 5 minutes.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 6.30am-12am
Tel: 2392 6830


Australia Dairy Company 澳洲牛奶公司

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset IMG_7698 Processed with VSCOcam with g3 preset Nothing Australian about this place but it was rumoured that the boss worked in an Australia farm prior and hence the name. Voted by their locals as the top eatery in Hong Kong, the place is flocked by both locals and tourists alike. But don’t be surprised when you find its simple menu that it has to offer. Just order the set meal comprising of its legendary scrambled eggs, buttered toasts and macaroni. The food gets served up at lightning speed, even before your seat is warm. Do be warned that the eatery is run by a strong crew of men who seem to be experiencing andropause, so be quick with your orders and pardon their somewhat rude service.
G/F, 47-49 Parkes Street, Jordan 佐敦白加士街47-49號地下
Nearest MTR Station: Jordan Station, Exit C2
Queue: Thanks to its fast service, customers can get a seat within 10 minutes. Be sure not to stand on the take away line. The guy in front is very particular about his lines.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 7.30am-11pm Closed on Thursdays
Tel: (852) 2730 1356


Hong Kong Island

Kau Kee Restaurant 九记牛腩

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Another best of the trip. No Michelin star but this legend definitely deserves a mention. A broth robust in flavour, bee hoon that is well-done and steeped in flavour, and its tender beef brisket, the dish is a gastronomic delight.
G/F, 21 Gough Street, Central 中環歌賦街21號地舖
Nearest MTR Station: Sheung Wan Station, Exit A2
Queue: Went around 10pm and there wasn’t a queue.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat: 12.30pm-10.30pm (Closed on Sun and Public Hols)
Tel: 2850 5967


Yung Kee Restaurant 鏞記酒家

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset Unlike the rest of the eateries in this list, this place is the most “atas” so be prepared to burn your pockets. Despite its pricier menu, Yung Kee is never lacking in diners. The restaurant has won high accolades and awards in the culinary world, especially its famed roasted goose. If you’re low in budget, just order the roasted goose and you will not regret it. Crispy skin and succulent, tender goose meat, personally, this has got to be the best roasted goose I’ve ever had.
32-40 Wellington Street, Central 中環威靈頓街32-40號
Nearest MTR Station: 
Central Station, Exit D2
Queue: I’ve heard that queuing at the restaurant can take at least an hour, with a designated waiting area on the second level. The goose gets sold out past 8.30pm as well. So what I did was to email the restaurant (in English), to make a reservation for seats and the roasted goose. After receiving a reply from them, I got my hotel receptionist to call back the restaurant to confirm my reservation. Then, you can just walk right in. Like a boss.
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 11am-11pm
Tel: +852 2522 1624


Chi Ji Wanton Noodles 池記雲吞麵家

IMG_7413 Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset IMG_7408 Awarded a Michelin guide recommendation, this eatery is famous for its wanton noodles. Springy noodles, sweet savoury broth and fresh prawn wantons, this place is to be reckoned with. The crab congee is worth trying as well.
G/F, 52 Russell St,, Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣羅素街52號地下
N
earest MTR Station: Causeway Bay Station, Exit A
Queue: Clears pretty fast. 


Ho Hung Kee Congee and Noodle Shop 何洪記

Processed with VSCOcam with b1 preset Thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I got to know of this place. Famous for their wanton noodles, the restaurant is another Michelin-star gem in Hong Kong.
Shop 1204-1205, 12/F, Hysan Place, 500 Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay 銅鑼灣軒尼詩道500號希慎廣場12樓1204-1205號舖
Nearest MTR Station: Causeway Bay Station, Exit F2
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun: 11.30am-11pm
Tel: 2577 6028

West America Travelogue: Bacchanal, Old Fisherman’s Grotto

To finally travel to the states was like a dream come true. After being westernized for my whole life, I was eager to check out the sights and sounds for myself. More importantly, have a taste of American food. From burgers to fried chicken to their famous buffets, all the episodes of Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef have intrigued my taste buds. So the only thing left now is to try them for myself in West America. With only 10 days and on a guided tour, I know my choices maybe limited in variety and number, but I did the best I could. I’m happy to tell you that my palates, and my tummy, flew back home extremely contented. IMG_8023IN-N-OUT: So much talk about this burger chain when they brought a pop-up event to Singapore and the burgers were sold out within minutes. The tour guide gave us the option to choose between Chinese fast food, Panda Express, or IN-N-OUT. My family of 8 were unanimous and the only group in the tour to brave the long queues for some real American burgers. Like the saying, fortune favours the brave. The buns were slightly greased but soft to sink your teeth in. Beef patties are juicier and fatter than our local burgers. The combination of onion, lettuce, tomato slice and American Cheese is just instant fireworks in your mouth. The flavours are different yet complement each other in a harmonious fashion. I don’t think I’m going to eat burgers from Ronald anymore.
IMG_7571Fried Chicken (Disney Land): Through the education of Gordon Ramsay’s television series, I’ve learned that fried chicken is THE dish of Southern United States. Crisp well-seasoned skin, rendered of excess fat, is a mark of a well made fried chicken. A true Southern fried chicken is absolutely a notch above the ones they serve in our local KFC stores. The chicken parts are larger in size but yet tender and moist. The batter carries a special herb flavouring that is hard to find in our sunny island.
IMG_8544Once upon a time, my family sat down in front of the telly and chanced upon a food documentary. It was doing a countdown on the top buffets restaurants in Las Vegas. At the end of the episode, we were all salivating. And from then on, we had a mission. That is to try at least one buffet restaurant in Las Vegas. After a quick research on the internet, my family of 8 marched towards Caesars Palace’s Bacchanal, with open minds and empty stomachs. A name that suggests ‘a wild and drunken celebration’, the restaurant aims to live up to its name with a exciting array of 500 different dishes by 9 different show kitchens: Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, American, seafood, pizza, deli (including soups, cheeses and charcuterie selections) and desserts. We literally stood jaw-drop for ten seconds in amazement at the sheer size of the restaurant and another ten seconds to decide where to begin. It does not help that the newly refurbished restaurant has a modernized and edgy interior design that spells posh yet cosy at the same time. Technically, the only motto I have when dining in a buffet restaurant is to lay off the starch. Which means less rice or noodles. However, I also recommend Singaporeans to lay off the Chinese and the Japanese kitchen. We know we can find such dishes with better quality back at home. Personally I favoured the seafood and carving station.
IMG_8534Buffet (Bacchanal, Las Vegas): This was my plate only from the seafood section. Tasty, succulent and fresh, no wonder the seafood section has the longest queue. 
IMG_8846Weeks before I was due for this trip, I had a slight inkling of what to do or eat in my trip. From what to buy at the three different factory outlet stores to the places to dine. That includes Old Fisherman’s Grotto at Old Fisherman Wharf, Monterey. A seafood, steak and pasta restaurant that is highly decorated with accolades and awards, their award winning Clam Chowder is a must try. In addition, this restaurant boasts a stunning harbor view, offering diners an unique dining experience. Do not be surprised if you were to walk into the restaurant filled with Singaporean tourists. With a 50-year legacy, this restaurant seems to be the best choice for tour agencies.
IMG_8821Original ‘Monterey Style’ Clam Chowder (Clam Bowl): Old Fisherman’s Grotto is the originators of the world renowned chowder. If that does not convince you enough, the restaurant’s dish is also named the Best Clam Chowder in Monterey County this year. Available in three serving options, the clam bowl serves a generous portion that is enough for 2-3 of us. And indeed, this is the best clam chowder that I’ve tasted. Creamy, rich in flavour and exceptional in taste, a hearty bowl of clam chowder definitely warms my soul, and tummy!
IMG_8824Original ‘Monterey Style’ Clam Chowder (Sourdough Bread Bowl): The only difference is in the serving bowl, yet this might appeal more to the males. The relationship between bread and soup cannot be explained and it is poison to diners who do not know the limits to their appetite. The soft sourdough bread goes remarkably well with the chowder and tempts patrons to overeat. IMG_8828Baked Abalone: Succulent, cheesy, nothing can go wrong with this dish. However, if you really want to get a taste of Monterey Bay’s fresh seafood, order crustaceans instead.
IMG_8841Half Dungeness Crab with Calamari: Where do i start for this dish? The golden brown calamari or the bright orange dungeness crab. Crab lovers will be pleased to prise open the shell and dig out the meat using their bare fingers. Abundant crab meat that makes flower crabs and mud crabs pale in comparison, it is cooked perfectly and tastes delectably fresh and sweet. Not to forget, the accompanying drawn butter gives the crab a lifting fragrance. Calamari is not over done, crunchy and well-seasoned.
IMG_8843Baked Half Lobster: Do not be fooled by the small piece of meat that this half lobster has to offer on its tail. Look carefully, and you will notice the gargantuan pincer. Cracked open, it reveals a generous piece of fresh juicy pincer meat that does not stick to the shell. With a squeeze of lemon and a dab of drawn butter, my tastebuds are good to go.

Taipei Travelogue Part 6: Fu Hang Dou Jiang

IMG_0512I’m not sure if this eatery is on most tourists’ die-die-must-try-list, but it was on my friend’s list. So after we drop off our baggages at our hotel early in the morning, we took the train to get some local breakfast. We were warned of queues at this eatery, but we were not prepared for the queue that greeted us there. The queue snakes from the second level down the staircase along the sides of the building. That is crazy. Queuing for almost an hour at 8am, Taiwanese sure take their breakfast seriously.

The queuing system works like clockwork. All your orders have to be told at the beginning of the line and payment will be made at the end. The crew is quite particular with their way of serving their customers efficiently, so try not to change your orders at the end of the line.
IMG_0493Soya Milk: The locals there call it Dou Jiang and its pretty different from our very own Dou Nai. The Singapore rendition is sweeter, thicker and richer in flavour. Dou Jiang would definitely appeal to those with milder taste buds and serve well in the cold weather.
IMG_0499Egg Pancakes: You’re not seeing double. This bears uncanny resemblance to our egg prata. The egg pancakes serve as a filling breakfast. Egg, dough and bits of spring onion fried together. The soft and greasy texture dough is complemented with the savoury taste of egg batter. Not a healthy choice but definitely delicious. 
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Fu Hang Dou Jiang
HuaShan Market Building
Second Floor
Zhongxiao E. Rd. Sec. 1, No. 108
Taipei

Taipei Travelogue Part 5: Street Walks and Hawker Woks

IMG_0881Jiu Fen: One of the few commercialised streets just an hour away from Taipei City, this place will never be lacking in every tour itinerary in Taipei. Promising famous eateries, that offers local dishes, and small souvenir shops with handicrafts, Jiu Fen is truly a tourist attraction.

Address: Ruijin Hwy, Ruifang District, New Taipei City
How to get there: THSR Taipei Station (or TRA Taipei Station) → Taipei MRT  Zhongxiao Fuxing Station → Keelung Bus (bound for Jinguashi) to Jiufen (Jioufen)

IMG_0859Taro Balls (Original): One windy and chilly morning, five tourists pulled their coats tighter around their bodies and wandered into a dessert shop. Outside stood a man kneading and moulding dough, preparing hot bowls of taro balls. Each spoonful of hot sweet soup warmed the insides of the body and banished all forms of chills. Ok, enough of the creative writing. You get the drift. Chewy, soft and tasty taro balls, this is a dessert that delights. In addition, this is something that would bring you much comfort against the blistering winds of Taipei. Despite of the other renditions that you might encounter on the other streets of Taipei, this is the original one. Miss it at Jiu Fen and you will never be able to find anything similar, in terms of soup or balls. 
IMG_1164So what comes after nine? In Keelung Taiwan, Jui Fen and Shi Fen go hand in hand together as a package. But each of them have their own beauty and attraction. This is where most tourist would gather to release sky lanterns into the heavens along with their wishes. A railway track located right in the middle of the street, tourists have to look out for trains and stay clear from the tracks at certain intervals. Besides sky lanterns, you can be sure to find delectable local street food as well. Indulge yourself and set off some fireworks, available from the shops, at the bridge. Relieve the childhood that we never had.

Address: Ping River (Pingsi) Township, New Taipei City
How to get there: THSR Taipei Station (or TRA Taipei Station) → Take a train to Ruifang or Houdong Railway Station → transfer to the TRA Ping River (Pingsi) Branch Line and get off at Shifen.

IMG_1306In Shifen, you can find an entire row of shops that provide sky lantern service and sell mini sky lanterns as souvenirs. However, this is where you should follow the crowd. The first shop nearest to the carpark has evidently the best business. Fast and efficient service, the shop can very well cater to at least 4-5 lanterns at one time. Prices of the sky lanterns and souvenirs are also slightly cheaper than the other shops. When you’re done with writing the wishes on the sky lantern, hand your camera over to one of the crew. They have been so seasoned and experienced in this field that they order you in different poses and angles as they snap away. They are definitely not shy with any DSLR as well.
IMG_1232Fried Cuttlefish: Another delicacy that carried a distinct taste and texture and could not be found anywhere else in Taipei. I was initially skeptical of trying the snack. But once you start, you literally cannot stop. Springy and tasty, the cute little bite-sized cuttlefish leaves you wanting for more. And in my case, craving for it despite being 84726495 miles away.
IMG_1712Raohe Night Market might not be Shi Lin but it is also a gem in the night street industry. Long queues and crowded seats can be seen in most stalls, even on weekdays. I was kept busy tantalizing my taste buds and filling my tummy the entire night. And here is why.

Address: Raohe St. and Sec. 4, Bade Rd and Fuyuan St 
How to get there: MRT Houshanpi Station (~10 min on foot)  

IMG_1715Sausage: Never leave Taiwan without trying a single Taiwan Sausage. These will keep you contented and comforted in cold and chilly nights. IMG_1723Japanese Okonomiyaki: One might not notice the yellow tent or bright signs, but will definitely not miss the long winding queue at this stall. Professionals work the grill, with their steel ware clanging away in harmony. The dish is definitely worth the wait. Crunchy cabbage slices cooked in perfection with a tasty batter. Not forgetting the special sauce that ties all the ingredients in the pancake together.
IMG_1744Minced Meat Rice and Herbal Rib Soup: This is one stall that you will never miss. Situated right smack in the middle of Raohe Night Market, this stall has awesome business from dusk to the wee hours in the morning. Famous for their Minced Meat Rice, Herbal Rib Soup and Mutton Soup, the stall was started by three brothers. Once again, the weather is in favour for such dishes. All you need is a bowl of hot and flavourful Herbal Rib Soup that is also full of oomph to dispel the chills from your very bones.
IMG_1755Grilled Mushroom: In most night markets, grilled mushroom is a common sight. Grilled to perfection, the mushroom is kept perky, tender and yet not overcooked, giving you a great biting texture. Certain stalls like this will provide you several spices and seasoning powders that you can choose from to give your mushroom cubes the extra zest. I definitely recommend the original flavour and the lime flavour. Delicious. 
IMG_1760Chicken Roll: Be warned. This is no normal street snack nor does it mean it is simply made of chicken meat rolled into the stick. What’s so special about this chicken roll is the layer of chicken skin on the outside. At first bite, the crispy chicken skin breaks and squirts deliciously hot juices. Be warned once more to eat carefully. Several of us got scalded on our first try. Once you have recovered from the awesome-ness on the outside, you would be starstruck by the tender and well-seasoned chicken on the inside. What more can I say? This is one hell of a chicken roll.

IMG_2179So one day when we were out at Ximen Ding, just steps away from our hotel, looking for brunch. We came upon a small eatery crowded and bustling with business. No one is going to wax lyrical about the interior, the design or even the smell of the place, but this eatery, that sells local cuisine such as Minced Meat Rice, Cuttlefish Soup, Oyster Omelette and their very own Carrot Cake, definitely does not lack in patrons. IMG_2165
IMG_2139Minced Meat Soup: Also known as Cuttlefish Soup, this is a commonly seen dish in most night markets. My favourite of this soup can be found along the streets of Keelung Night Market. This soup is starchy, thick and flavourful. Yet, the tinge of vinegar keeps your palette captivated and has you licking the bottom of the bowl.  IMG_2150Minced Meat Rice: Last but not least, the legendary minced meat rice of Taiwan. Despite not having equal popularity as dishes such as Mee Sua or Oyster Omelette, this dish is definitely gaining ranks among the tourists. Well marinated minced meat served in tasty braise sauce, pair it along with a fried egg on your bowl and you’re good to go.

Taipei Travelogue Part 4: Deja Vu Restaurant

 

What To Eat Ah, in Taipei (Restaurants):

 

Deja Vu RESTAURANT

IMG_2436Some people would have heard of this restaurant before, not because they had a sense of deja vu. But because the founder is a famous and popular Taiwanese singer. He is none other than Jay Chou. This was the last night at Taipei and my travelling companions and I had a rough idea of the quality that theme restaurants have to offer. Hence, I entered this restaurant with my expectations lowered than before. High and lofty dining ceilings, lush furnitures, loud brass ornaments and heavily framed paintings hanging on the wall. It may look like Jay Chou got really generous with interior design, especially with a Batmobile replica sitting in the middle of the dining area. So what about the food?
IMG_2451Appetizers: Funny that the menu described this dish as Tapas, the Spanish term for appetizers, when the rest of the menu was rich with Italian cuisine names. Going through this dish was a pretty interesting and scary experience for us. Since the restaurant was so dim, we had to squint and attempt to make a guess the different components that make up the entire dish. Some were a delight to our palettes while some like the raw garlic cloves were plainly shunned.

IMG_2462Romano Potato Pizza: If you’re wondering at the name of the dish, you would be intrigued to know that the pasta and pizza section of the menu are covered in names infused with the Italian language. Thankfully, the brief description provides enough information for patrons like us to decide on our orders. Although the restaurant is pretty famous for their pizzas, I would only recommend this dish to carbo-lovers out there. The mixture of dough and potato is just too intense. You would most probably tap out after the third slice. In addition, this dish could do with more seasoning.

IMG_2467Pizza Ai Frutti Di Mare: A seafood tomato-based pizza. Surprisingly, not only was the topping relatively tasty, the pizza had better seasoning.

IMG_2475Braised Mushrooms with Tenderloin in Marsal Wine: That very night, I was in the mood for red meat. Nothing else on the menu attracted me except for this dish. I just wanted some meat lovin’. When the dish arrived, all of us took some time to adjust our eyes and looked at the plate more closely. It didn’t help that under the dim candlelight, my dish looked like it was plated and garnished in a hurry. Taste wise, I definitely have tried and savoured much better steak in my entire life, but comparing to the other dishes that the restaurant has to offer, I think this is worth a try.

IMG_2479Normandy Seafood: This is is another dish that is worth the recommendation. Under sheets of lasagne lies the deep treasures of tomato braised seafood such as clams, mussels and prawns. Tasty, fresh and delectable, my friend wiped out the entire plate before you can even pronounce Normandy.

IMG_2486Squid Ink Pasta: This was a weird dish to begin with, not that its made of squid ink. Squid ink has been creeping into the menus of our local food industry for the past few years mind you. The pasta took an awfully time to arrive, after I’ve finished my beef tenderloin, and if you could look closely, the chef piled an incredible amount of pasta on the plate. That is just plain overkill and unprofessional.

So one would start to wonder at this point, what is the theme of this restaurant? This is actually a joint venture between Jay Chou and the famous Taiwanese magician, Liu Qian. Magic shows and singing performances are scheduled during dinner time. They might not be David Copperfield, but the tricks are good enough to wow you. Overall, just like the previous theme restaurants, this one failed to impress my tastebuds. Especially when the dishes are pretty pricey. Maybe Mr Chou could cut down on the lavish European interior deco and carry out some taste test for his menu.

Deja Vu Restaurant
台北市八德路一段一號  ( 華山1914文創園區  中四A館 )
No.1, Sec. 1, Bade Rd
Zhongzheng Dist
Taipei city 100
Taiwan.

Taipei Travelogue Part 3: Modern Toilet Restaurant

What To Eat Ah, in Taipei (Restaurants):

MODERN TOILET RESTAURANT

IMG_0618Hokkaido Milk Hotpot: According to my friend, this is literally a milk hotpot. If you’re expecting a creamy and savoury soup in this dish, you’re going to get something far from that. Without proper seasoning, the hotpot tastes like they just boiled milk.
IMG_0646Fried Chicken Set: Slightly bland to the taste, guess the only foil to this dish is the plating. IMG_0667Cheese Chicken Steak: Marinated fairly well, this dish is one of the relatively better ones of the bunch from the menu. IMG_0660Baked Rice in Seafood: The restaurant serves baked pasta and rice in different types of sauces. The tomato sauce, slightly well-flavoured, distinctively faired better than white cream sauce which is milky and bland. 
IMG_0627Drinks: Drinks that comes along with the set meals arrive in this cute little urinal look-alike cups. 
IMG_0632Drinks: For an additional of $300-$400NT, you get to have your accompanying drink in a bedpan. Makes a perfect souvenir. 
IMG_0672Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Cream: After the disappointing set of main courses, eagerly we looked forward to dessert, a special combination of chocolate and vanilla ice cream that looks like the widely-used cartoon rendition of faeces. Yet, this dessert is just a pretty face, that’s all. Unlike the normal ice cream that we usually consume on a frequent basis, the restaurant serves ice cream that possesses an distinct machinery and artificial taste. Guess all that anticipation was for nothing. 
IMG_0695One of the three widely-acclaimed theme restaurants in Taipei, this restaurant sure has its reasons to be famous. But not for the right reasons I guess. The restaurant is holistic and well-developed in the entire concept. From the interior design to the cutlery, the theme is displayed wholesome. However, the food quality is just a pity. And we wondered why the restaurant didn’t had a long queue on a weekend. So, if you’re on a holiday to Taipei, you may check out this restaurant to take photos, but definitely not for the food.

Modern Toilet Restaurant
2樓, No. 50巷7,
Xiníng South Rd, Wanhua District
Taipei City, Taiwan
+886 2 2311 8822
Operating Hours: 11.30am-10.00pm
Nearest MRT Station: Ximen Station

Special Post: Taipei Travelogue Part 1



What To Eat Ah, in Taipei (Restaurants):

Diamond Tony’s PANORAMA Fusion Cuisine Dining Pub

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One of the few iconic places in Taipei is arguably the Taipei 101 building. Having being the tallest building in the world in recent history once, the Taipei 101 is a sight to behold. Look forward to the New Year and the Lunar New Year countdowns where fireworks can be seen exploding at the sides of the building in perfect synchronization and harmony. It was my second time to the national landmark and thanks to a friend’s recommendation, I’m dining at the peak of the building.

IMG_1481After you’re escorted to the 87 storey through numerous elevator trips, hopefully you will be greeted by the seats near the window panes that offers a panoramic view of the city skyline. That is if the fog does not set in for the day. The restaurant has a posh, sleek and mainly black interior. Shiny silverware and smooth velvet high booth seats made our wallets shrink by a tiny bit. The lunch set menu allows you to choose one soup, one appetizer and one main course. Price ranges from 580NT -32800NT depending on the choice of main course. Certain appetizers such as foie gras would require a top-up of 300NT.

IMG_1527Complimentary Home-made bread with special Crab sauce: This was divine and comforting for our rumbling tummies. The bread was soft, delectable and well-baked. For once, I couldn’t stop at one piece. In addition, the bread went perfectly well with the crab sauce which was smooth, creamy and savoury. Perfect complement to the mild sweet taste of the bread.

IMG_1538Wild Mushroom and Truffle soup: What more can I say? Though I’m not an expert with truffle, this mushroom soup is definitely one of the best I’ve tried. Deep, woody taste coupled with a smooth and velvety texture. You will find yourself lapping up the bowl.

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Sashimi Salad in Matsuhisa Dressing: Not exactly what I envision when you say salad. Instead of having pieces of salmon tossed in a bowl of veggies, three thick salmon slices are placed immaculately on a round plate, garnished with cucumber, tomato and onion. As you slice through the salmon, you will be delighted to find out that only the edges are cooked and the inside is perfectly raw and fresh. The sweet pinkish meat goes perfectly well with the Matsuhisa dressing, invented and made famous by a Japanese Celebrity Chef, Nobu Matsuhisa. Arguably, the best sashimi or salad I’ve ever tried.

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Smoked Calf ’s Tongue decorated with Capers and Tuna Mayonnaise: Yes, you did not get me wrong. This is smoked calf’s tongue indeed. Concentrated taste liken to your normal ham, the tuna mayonnaise is a great occasional indulgence to pair along. The more adventurous will most probably by piqued by this dish.

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Lightly pan-fried Seasonal Fish with Spices & Lemon-herb Couscous: Slightly crispy on the outside, the fish is yet still tender and flaky inside. The sauce and couscous are the perfect finishing touches. This dish is well-suited for those with a milder palette.

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Pan-seared Duck Foie Gras with Mixed Berry Sauce: This is my first encounter with the highly coveted dish. Foie Gras is French for fat liver, a result after the duck has been force-fed with corn. Ignoring the process of how this dish is created, you will be able to enjoy this dish many times better. According to my friend in company, the foie gras in this restaurant is not top-notch. But to an amateur, the liver is distinctively smooth and melts right in your mouth. A splendid experience for me.

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Seared Beef Fillet scented with Cepes Mushroom and Demi-glace: Despite not being a steakhouse, Diamond Tony serves a mean piece of seared beef that is a notch above most versions I have had. The steak is well-seasoned and not overwhelmed by the taste of the sauce. The slab is tender and yields under the cut of the knife easily, I’m glad that I went along with my craving for some heavy meat.

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Half A Lobster baked in Garlic and Parsley Butter, served with Lobster Bisque and Linguine sautéed with Olive Oil, Chili, Garlic, and Assorted Seafood:Pretty much nothing can go wrong with lobster, unless the chef decides to butcher the dish by making it too dry. But fortunately, the chefs here know what they’re doing. The meat is obviously fresh as its peeled from its shell with much ease and grace, for the benefit of patrons. The pasta is well-seasoned with a citrus tang, giving a refreshing and delicious taste that never bores you.

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Roasted Steak & Seafood (Char-grilled Prime Fillet with Black True, and Baked King Prawn): Just like my steak, this dish does not fail in the beef department. Well-seasoned and well-seared, the steak only desires for more. And for those surf and turf friends out there, this would be a good choice to satisfy both cravings for red meat and seafood. Fresh tantalizing grilled king prawn that excites your taste buds, what more can you ask for?

IMG_1578Tiramisu: This is definitely not my first time having Tiramisu for dessert. But everyone on my table, including myself were blown away by this dish. Perfect moisture of the sponge, on-point density of the mascarpone cheese and the mild hint of coffee. The Tiramisu here has definitely hit the spot for me, or us. This is definitely a must-try, especially since it’s complimentary!

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Excellent food quality, reasonable price range, panoramic view (check out the toilet) and impeccable service. (The service crew is well-versed in both English and Mandarin. Saving us the embarrassment of stuttering our orders.) Fine dining has never been so exquisite. And I highly recommend you to indulge at this restaurant when you’re at Taipei.

Some things to take note before dining at this restaurant. Be sure to make reservations either by their website online or phone. We had our hotel’s reception to do the booking on our behalf. Secondly, the restaurant is located at the office building, not the main shopping building. Take the escalator to the second level and inform that you’re heading to the restaurant. A crew will appear magically, check your reservation and escort you through the gantry and instruct you further. You will need to take at least 2 separate elevators before reaching the 85 storey.

Diamond Tony’s PANORAMA Fusion Cuisine Dining Pub
Taipei 101 Office Building
No.7, Sec5,
Sinyi Rd., Sinyi District,
Taipei City 110,
Taiwan

Special Post: Bangkok Travelogue

What To Eat Ah, in Bangkok

1. Wanton MeeIMG_9465So many Singaporeans have patronised this wanton mee stall that there are signs in English and Mandarin on display. Even the service crew can speak fluent Mandarin to recommend dishes and take orders. Do take note that the portion of each bowl is extremely small. You will most probably be able to pick up all the noodles in the bowl with your chopsticks at one try. So do order an extra large bowl or multiple ones if you have a big appetite.

The noodles is springy and well-drizzled with onion oil. But what I desired most were the juicy wantons that you could never have enough of.

IMG_9895Soi 19 Petchburi Road,
Pratunam, Bangkok.

2. Ta Ko
IMG_9502One of my all-time favourite desserts, I could not resist trying out the authentic Thai version. The ones that I grew up with in Singapore is the Western version. So I was caught by surprise to discover the former to be sweet and salty while the latter is plainly sweet. The top layer is made of coconut milk that gives off a salty flavour and a white colour in appearance. The bottom half, consists of corn, sugar and rice flour, is sweet and opaque in appearance. There’s a dessert shop at the fruit market section of ChatuChak that you can buy this dessert from.

3. MacDonalds Samurai Pork Burger
IMG_9587Once again, I stress that I’m not an advocate of Fast Food, but one does not simply not try a pork burger when out of town. Succulent pork patty with a great sauce. This burger may be likened to the grilled chicken burger that’s available in our sunny island, but it is a whole new experience for your palates.

4. Thai SteamboatIMG_9631Our initial intention was to find the original Mookata for the authentic experience at an extremely low price. However, our tuktuk driver claimed that the restaurant was closed that day so he brought us to this eating place instead.

IMG_9626The proper way of eating Mookata is to place pieces of lard on the top of the steamboat so that the fat will drip all over the sides. At the end of the meal, the “moat” will contain a broth that is extremely strong in flavour. A suggestion to stay away from shellfish as it might be “unclean”.

5. Bird’s NestIMG_9697If you were to travel all the way to Chinatown of Bangkok, you would come across several shops that offer Bird’s Nest dessert. For a bowl of third grade Bird’s Nest, you only have to pay S$12. Affordable tonic for the body and complexion.
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Nam Sing Bird’s Nest Shark Fin Restaurant 南星魚翅燕窩樓
39-47 Soi Texas, Phadung Dao Road, Yaowaraj,
Bangkok, Thailand.

6. Pomegranate Juice.IMG_9708If you happen to be walking around Chinatown (nothing much there), do stop by one of these mobile fruit juice carts and get a bottle of this exotic fruit, freshly squeezed. It will be refreshing, cooling and perfect for the hot weather.
7. International Buffet at Baiyoke Sky HotelIMG_9739At a height of 78 storeys,  you can enjoy an international buffet with a city view at the top of the tallest hotel in Thailand. For a low charge of 720 baht or S$28.80, do not expect fine dining quality of the food and service. But it will suffice as your average buffet as they offer a wide array of cuisines. From their local fare to Japanese, Indian and Western dishes, you’ll be spoiled for choices.
IMG_9832The buffet charges includes free admission to the hotel’s outdoor revolving deck at the very top that offers a panorama view of the Bangkok skyline.

Baiyoke Sky Hotel (Bangkok)
222 Soi Ratchaprarop 3, Rathaprarop Road, Ratchathewi,
Bangkok Thailand 10400

Travelling around Bangkok

1. SkytrainIMG_9576The skytrain is pretty connected around the city of Bangkok. With less than a few bucks, you can reach places like MBK, Chatuchak and even the Four-faced Buddha. Be sure to prepare coins of 10 baht and 5 baht to purchase the train ticket.

2. TuktukIMG_9609One of the fastest way to get around the congested roads of Bangkok, you will be amazed by the way these drivers weave in and out of traffic. But beware though, these Tuktuks do not come cheap. The drivers usually fix the price between 100-200 baht. And if the drivers offer 50 baht, the catch is that they will bring you to a tourist souvenir shop in order to get a “stamp”. Sometimes taxis are cheaper, so do try the tuktuks a thrilling experience.

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