Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Tales from the Plate: Taiwan

Beyond the big city metropolis and natural wonders of nature that Taiwan is proud of, this state city is a food trip paradise as well.From its claim to fame - Bubble Milk Tea to hole in the wall restaurants, Taiwan will delight all your culinary senses.

A steaming bowl of Beef Noodle and some innards wouldn't hurt

You can find what the locals claim as "the best" beef noodle in Formosa in a small quiet side street in Da'an district. Identified by its huge signboard with huge Chinese letters and translation
at the bottom that reads Yong Kang Beef Noodle and a considerable queue in front of the store. It is a typical Chinese restaurant housed in old shophouse with its tightly packed table and chairs and
the din of conversations alternating with soft slurps.You can order a steaming bowl of beef noodle with a tasty broth often claimed is made of "well kept" secret ingredient, soft and tender beef and gelatinous clumps of tendons. A side order of some intestine innards cooked with spices and chilli is the perfect partner. Ordering might be a bit of a trouble for non-mandarin speaker but they have a menu with photos and as the old adage goes "A picture speaks a thousand words".

Address: No.17, Lane 31, Jinshan South Road, Section 2, Da'an District, Taipei

Am I Hot or Cold? Dessert comes in twos
Even with dessert, Taiwan still got this right. In a country that is barely two hours away from wet or dry Philippine seasons, Taiwan experience four seasons. It is normal to find to seek refuge with a bowlful of hot glutinous rice ball with sesame filling on a cold winter night or perhaps cool off from the heat with a mountain of ice shavings with milk and your favorite fresh fruit perhaps some sweet slices of mangoes. This is just scratching the surface because dessert is a serious business in this little island evident with the late night crowds overflowing from the dessert restaurants and the seemingly endless stretch of menu boards.

Beyond Shopping in the Nightmarkets
The numerous nightmarkets that littered Taipei is not only a haven for the shophaholics but is also a gastronomy wonderland for the foodies. Weave your way across the numerous stalls that sell Taiwan staples - Salty fried chicken, the infamous 'stinky tofu', bbq seafood and meats, milk tea or bubble tea and the list just goes on and on. Head off the beaten path and steer away from the tourist heavy Shi Lin market. Perhaps on your way to the charming Love Bridge, stop by Danshui nightmarket and grab some tasty chicken bites at 1973 J&G Fried Chicken and other treats.

A bite of the xiao long bao
Just beneath the famed landmark Taipei 101 is the Michelin star awarded Din Tai Fung ranked as one of the Top 10 Best Restaurant. Here dimsums are crafted like a scientific procedure behind the glass counters where 'masked' men and women in lab coats meticulously folds the dimsum and nestles it in the bamboo steamer. This famed restaurant is beyond dimsum, they also have tender and flavorful porkchops and fried rice and melt in your mouth beef brisket just to name a few.

Gondolas and Green Tea Cafe
Take a break from the huslte and bustle of Taipei City and head to the mountains of Maokong in a Hellokitty gondola if you prefer. This mountain still has some tea plantations which will also explain the numerous quaint tea shops and cafe. Tea shops/cafe with a view comes with a premium since you get treated to a skyline of Taipei city with your tea. For the more budget conscious, head down to 4hhouse. The lack of view is made up by the yummy pastries and dessert.

4hhouse website: http://www.4hhouse.com.tw/


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