Insatiable Girl

TAIPEI: ChiaTe

Posted in food, taipei, taiwan by sue on December 16, 2010

www.chiate88.com
105台北市南京東路5段88號
No.88, Sec. 5, Nanjing E. Rd., Songshan District, Taipei City
02-8787-8186

ChiaTe has the best pineapple cakes. I was skeptical at first because my parents’ client took us there, but I should have known with the line coming out the door. They have just the right amount of sweetness and the pastry itself is not that flaky. ChiaTe has a wide variety of flavored pineapple cake as well, but I’ve only had their cranberry one which is worth a try. It’s not just cranberry sauce; it actually has chunks of cranberry inside. However, I have to admit, I’d rather just have the original flavor. Another thing worth getting is their milk cakes, which is actually another pastry, not a cake.

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TAIPEI: Old Wang Ji’s Beef Noodles Shop 老王記牛肉麵大王

Posted in food, restaurants, taipei, taiwan by sue on December 13, 2010

台北市桃源街15號
No. 15, TaoYuan Street, Jhongjheng District, Taipei City
0937-860050、0910-074193

Price: Reasonable/Expensive
Rating: Good
Directions: Take the MRT to Ximen
Reservations: Unnecessary

Every time my dad goes to Taiwan, he has to eat here. EVERY TIME. WITHOUT FAIL. This past trip, he rushed us there 1.5 hours before we were supposed to have dinner with my mom’s friends because it was our last day in Taipei and we would not be returning. We cabbed it over there and cabbed it back just so he could get his beef noodles, steamed spareribs, and pig’s knuckle. The food is pretty good here, but I think it’s more for nostalgia for him.

The beef noodles aren’t the best beef noodles I’ve ever had, but it would probably be in one of my top five places (most likely number 4 or 5). The meat and broth though is quite good. Well, there braised broth anyway. They also offer their beef noodles in a light broth (清燉牛肉麵), but I would never get that. The steamed spareribs and pig’s knuckle are good, but out of the two, I definitely prefer the spareribs.

This place is worth trying if you are in Taipei. It’s always packed, so you know they’re doing something right. There’s only a handful of items on their menu, but early warning there is no English menu. Don’t expect courteous waiters; expect to sit with random folks. The tables are large and they have a lot of clients to feed.

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

Beef Noodle Soup

Posted in cooking, food by sue on July 13, 2010

Taiwanese folks are so proud of their beef noodle soup (牛肉麵) there’s a competition in Taipei over who makes the best one.   I think my mom’s beef noodle soup is off the charts.  It’s been over six months since I last had it, so I decided to make it tonight for dinner and share the recipe with you folks.

First off, you need beef (I use ribeye steak), green onion, anise, black pepper balls, salt, ginger, garlic, chili bean sauce, olive oil, water, and rice wine… which I was out of, so I used rum in this recipe.  Slice 4 or 5 pieces of ginger, peel 4 or 5 cloves of garlic, tie one whole green onion, and dice the beef into cubes.

Heat some olive oil in a big pot and then add the chili bean sauce.  This is not the chili bean sauce that my mom uses back in LA, but it was the best one we could find here in New York.  The chili bean sauce makes a HUGE difference in this recipe.  If it’s not a good sauce, this is not going to be a good recipe.  I’d say this one is alright, whatever my mom gets back at home though is the best.  (I’ll try to find out what it is for you the next time I go home… if I remember.)  I used 2 to 3 tablespoons of this sauce and it still wasn’t spicy at the end, but it does the trick.

Stir the chili bean sauce until it becomes really fragrant and looks grainy.

Then add in the garlic and ginger pieces.  Stir some more.

After you really begin to smell that, add in your beef and stir until all the beef edges are cooked.

Add a bit of rice wine to the edges of the pot.  (Or in this case, rum!)  Why the edges?  Don’t ask me, that’s what my mom does!  You only need a bit, but if you are like me and dump in too much liquor, all you have to do is cook it for longer.

Then add in as much water as you want, 1 or 2 anises, 8 to 10 black pepper balls, and your green onion stick.

Let it all come to a boil and then put it on medium hot for 30 minutes.  If you use tougher pieces of beef or bigger chunks of beef, you have to add more time for this recipe.  The longer you cook it, the softer/more tender the beef will get.

Salt to taste and remove the wilted green onion.  Then add noodles, cilantro, veggies, whatever you want… Ta da!  It’s done.

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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TAIPEI: L’idiot 里帝歐餐廳

Posted in food, restaurants, taipei, taiwan by sue on March 8, 2009

台北市民生東路3段156號1樓
No. 156, Sec. 3, Minsheng East Road (next to Starbucks)
Hours: 11:30- 2:30PM / 5:30-10:30PM (midnight on Fridays & Saturdays)
(02) 25456966

PRICE: $$$ (approx. NT$1,500/person ~US$50/person)
RATING: Pretty good, you should go!
DIRECTIONS: Hail a cab
RESERVATIONS: Recommended
MENU: English & Chinese!
MUST GET: Cheese stuffed meatballs, strawberry tart

I first heard about this restaurant on TV while I was home in LA with my mom. The name, of course, made me curious. Who names their restaurant the idiot? For those of you interested, according to the Taipei Times it’s named after a scene in Steve Martin’s LA Story and according to the waitress I asked it’s because the owner (Fudy) really enjoys French tv and it was a phrase that he heard often. Whatever it is, who cares? The food is good and that’s really all that matters.

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