Tag Archives: taipei

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. 
IMG_0491

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