Insatiable Girl

TAICHUNG: 539 鹽酥菇 (Fried Mushrooms)

Posted in food, restaurants, taichung, taiwan by sue on December 12, 2010

Drool. This place is probably one of the places I miss most in Taichung. It has the best fried mushrooms I have ever had. It’s less than US$1 for a small bag and about US$1.50 for a big bag. They offer three different kinds of mushroom that you can get individually or mixed up. Personally, my favorite is their fried enoki mushrooms at medium spice level.

There’s no address because it’s located at YiZhong Street/Night Market in Taichung, so I think it changes locations quite often. Just look for the green stall with the flashing lights. Sorry there are no pictures of the mushrooms, I devoured them all before I even remembered to take a picture. =X

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TAICHUNG: Aqua 水相餐廳

Posted in food, restaurants, taichung, taiwan by sue on December 11, 2010

www.aquatea.com.tw
407 台中市西屯區惠中路一段117號
No. 117, Sec. 1, HuiZhong Street, XiTun District, Taichung City, Taichung 407
04 2258 1616

Price: Reasonable/Expensive
Rating: Good
Directions: Take a cab or drive
Reservations: Unnecessary

Yet another tea spot, I know… but this place is different. Aqua is trendier than most restaurants in Taichung with its modern decor. It’s great for a change of pace from the “normal spots,” unless you hit up restaurants on GongYi Street quite often.

The food here is pretty decent, but I would suggest you get their pasta dishes, especially their baked pumpkin and chicken risotto. Surprisingly, most Taiwanese places do baked cheese dishes pretty well. (Read the word most, not all.) If you are starving, for an additional NT$150 (~US$5) on top of the cost of your entree, you can get a set meal that comes with soup, salad, a bread basket, baked escargot or salami plate, a palate cleanser (which just means a shot of apple vinegar here), dessert, tea, AND your entree. The other things aren’t mind blowingly delicious, but they are pretty decent. My only complaint about the side dishes would be the sauce that comes with the potato salad. It totally ruined it for me.

The tea section is only half of the restaurant, the other half is a newly added yakiniku restaurant (by newly added, I mean it wasn’t there when I moved out of Taichung in 2009), so this is a review for only half of Aqua. If anyone has tried the yakiniku side, let me know if it’s any good!

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TAIPEI: Tainan Dan Zai Mein 台南担仔麵

Posted in food, restaurants, taichung, taipei, taiwan by sue on December 10, 2010

www.tainan-seafood.com.tw
台北市華西街31號
No. 31, Huaxi Street, Taipei City
02 2308 1123

Price: Expensive, but worth it
Rating: Delicious
Directions: You can walk from the Longshan Temple MRT Station or just hail a cab, I recommend the latter at night unless you want weirdos to approach you.
Reservations: Unnecessary
Must Get: Any kind of seafood you like that they have and, of course, their namesake– the dan zai mein (read below)

So, this place is a completely unexpected find. It’s in the middle of this creepy night market filled with snakes, dirty old men, and, apparently, prostitutes. It’s also one of the nicest restaurants in Taiwan with their Wedgewood tableware, Christofle silverware, and unique dining rooms. The seafood is amazing here which is how my parents know about it. They import/export seafood, but they have been coming here since back in the days of when they used to live in Taipei and owned an electronics company.

You order out in front. There’s a man who stands by the seafood and you just tell him what you want. There’s no menu, but if you tell him that you want crab, shrimp, etc., he’ll tell you the best way to prepare it. You can, of course, disagree and tell him you want it fried, steamed, etc. instead. Make sure you get your favorite things and, of course, an order of their dan zai noodles for each person at your table. Their dan zai noodles are simple, but so delicious. It’s just noodles in broth with tiny bits of pork, some vegetables, and one shrimp.

And since there’s no menu and the seafood changes all the time, there’s nothing I can really tell you that you have to get, although I’m sure there will always be steamed fish available, so I’m just going to leave you with pictures of the restaurant and some of the dishes we got here:

Most of the dishes here are served per person, unlike most Chinese restaurants where they put it all on one big plate and make everyone share. One bad thing about this place is the fact that there’s no menu means there are no prices. The first time I went we easily spent over $100/person– US$100/person! This past trip we ran into one of my dad’s clients here at the end of our meal who turned out to sell seafood to this place, so we got a free meal! I was happy about that, but my parents weren’t, of course. Oh Chinese people…

Anyway, bottom line… this is a great restaurant, but not a place you can go to everyday unless you are rolling in dough. It’s a great place to go if you are trying to impress someone/people. There are branches in Taichung and Kaoshiung too, but my dad claims the one in Taipei is the best. It’s also good for weddings as my cousin just got married in the one in Taichung this past week. Congratulations again to him!

TAIPEI: Chun Sui Tang 春水堂

Posted in food, restaurants, taichung, taipei, taiwan by sue on December 10, 2010

chunshuitang.com.tw
105台北市松山區慶城街1號2樓
2F, Urban One, Qingcheng St., Songshan Dist., Taipei City 105
02 25469493

Price: Reasonable/Expensive
Rating: Good
Directions: It’s right behind the Nanjing East Road MRT Station
Reservations: Unnecessary
Must Get: 蘿蔔糕 Radish Cake (luo bu gao), 工夫麵 Kung Fu Noodles (gong fu mian), 牛肉麵 Beef Noodle Soup (niu ruo mian), 排骨酥麵 Pork Chop Noodle Soup (pi gu mian)

While this post is basically about the restaurant in Taipei’s Urban One, I can vouch that this chain is good overall. There’s a reason why there are so many locations throughout Taiwan– the food is consistently good despite the branch you go to and I’ve been to more than a handful of them.

I used to sit at the one in Chung Yo (above Starbucks) in Taichung quite often, grading homework or practicing writing Chinese characters, so I’ve tried a number of their dishes. The ones that stick out the most are: 蘿蔔糕 Radish Cake (luo bu gao), 工夫麵 Kung Fu Noodles (gong fu mian), 牛肉麵 Beef Noodle Soup (niu ruo mian), and 排骨酥麵 Pork Chop Noodle Soup (pai gu su mian). The radish cakes, pictured above, are tiny rectangular pieces here which are fried and not just grilled liked most places in Taiwan, so they have a crispy outer skin. The Kung Fu Noodles (I still snicker at the name) are dry noodles (meaning no soup) with pieces of pork, green onions, and bean sprouts. It’s probably my favorite noodle dish here– it’s tasty and just the right size for before class. (I used to eat breakfast, lunch, a snack before class, and dinner after class when I lived in Taiwan. And somehow I managed to lose weight!) The beef noodle soup is comparable to the taste of my mom’s, but not nearly as good of course. It’s a decent replacement for when I was starving and already heading towards work. The pork chop noodle soup consists of spareribs that were fried and then added to soup, so they lose the crispiness but retain the flavor.

This place offers a number of small dishes like shui mai, fried chicken, chicken wings, fried octopus balls, etc. They are decent overall, but I usually stuck to the noodles. There is one mushroom dish that I would stay clear of though.

And, of course, tea… it is a tea place afterall. The tea here is great, but costs you an arm and a leg if you are comparing it to places you’ll find off the street like 50 Tea (50嵐), Dodo, Asir, etc. I guess the added cost goes to supplying you with some seats and a table to sit and chat with your friends. They make up for it by giving you an enormous cup though which if you don’t finish, you can ask for it to go.

——

This place is comparable to 水舞饌 (shui wu zhuan), another tea shop found commonly in Taichung. The name literally translates into Water Dancing Gala, or so Google Translate says… The food is similar (水舞饌 offers hotpot as well) and the prices are about the same. Remind me to write up a post about this place another day…

And please no one kill me for the bad pin yin. =X

TAICHUNG: Fatty’s

Posted in food, restaurants, taichung, taiwan by sue on January 30, 2010

台中市精誠路50巷1號
No. 1, Lane 50, JinCheng Road
Hours: 11:30AM-10:00PM
(04) 2319-4898

PRICE: about NT$500/person ~US$15/person)
RATING: It’s good.
DIRECTIONS: Drive or hail a cab
RESERVATIONS: Not needed
MENU: English & Chinese
MUST GET:

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TAICHUNG: Tian Wai Tian 天外天

Posted in restaurants, taichung, taiwan by sue on April 7, 2008

www.tianwaitian.com.tw
台中南區公益路二段18號
No. 18, Sec. 2, Gong-Yi Road

PRICE: NT$439/person ~US$14/person
RATING: I strongly recommend this place!
DIRECTIONS: Drive. =)
RESERVATIONS: If you go in a big group during their peak hours (i.e. lunch/dinner), then yes. But if you are like me and you go after work at approx. 10PM, you’re fine without them.
MUST GET: Ma-la hot pot and of course Haagen-Daaz ice cream on a cone!

There’s a lot of hot pot places in Taiwan, all of which offer a huge variety ranging from individual pots to family style, sour cabbage base to curry base, soup to “dry pots”, individual orders to buffets, etc. etc. If they don’t have it now, I’m sure someone will make it eventually– just give them a month or two. And of course with such a huge variety comes a variety of prices, however this place is a great deal for your buck– not just for the price, but also the food quality. I think their meats and vegetables are a lot fresher than other buffet places.

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