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Showing posts with label Taiwan Holiday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taiwan Holiday. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Taiwan: Din Tai Fung!

After almost a week in Taipei, we were finally settling in for the world’s most popular dumpling chain, Din Tai Fung.  With its stores ever so popular around the globe, we headed back to its humble roots which now spans 4 storeys towards the sky.  Queues are long even in the night.  Grab a number and you can go shopping because you know your turn isn’t until an hour’s wait is over.  But when its your turn, I guess there is a lot to drool about.  Its menu is impressive which definitely changes the initial thoughts that they only serve dumplings!

To start our meal, we ordered the drunken chicken!DSC_1728With a subtle taste of rice wine, it had a very pleasant fragrant.  Its chicken was cooked to near perfection and was really easy to eat.  I would not normally eat dishes which have lots of alcohol but this was really quite nice!


Pork Xiao Long Bao!DSC_1732Juicy pork dumplings were all the hype in Din Tai Fung.  Was it deserving or did the hype kill it?  Unfortunately, the later has prevailed as perfect skin and pork mince were marred by mediocre soup.  Could have done with a little more salt definitely!  For me what is the point of biting into a soup dumpling if the soup tastes bland @@!? 


Next was the prawn dumpling!DSC_1741While presentation counts, its not edible. With me having near perfect prawn dumplings from HK, Din Tai Fung definitely needed to up its game if it were to make me sway.  Unfortunately, back to my previous complains, prefect ingredients but too little seasoning.  What a waste of juicy prawns to be honest.  With that being said, Din Tai Fung is NOT HORRIBLE or BAD.  It just did not deserve the hype/craze that has been surrounding it.  Seriously, talk about hype :(!



In addition to the dumplings we also called a fried rice to share.  This was probably one of the best dishes that night! Perfect fried rice with no ingredients being spared. Generous bits of egg and prawns nestling among perfect grains of rice were definitely something worth mentioning!DSC_1745Additionally, we called the chicken version of the Xiao Long Bao which was almost impossible to differentiate between it and the pork one.  The only thing that gave it away was probably how one mince was darker than the other! Also, we ordered a bowl of beef stew and herbal chicken soup which to me was another blend failure. 


There was a stark contrast between the Taipei food culture which I have been experiencing up until now compared to Din Tai Fung.  In the night markets, we get stinky tofu, massive chunks of seasoned fried chicken, juicy pork buns and so many other strong flavoured foods.  Where as, in this crowned jewel of Taiwan, I felt cheated or fazed by the lack of taste.  Like I mentioned before, it was not horrible to the extent of disgust but rather a feeling of disappointment. 



Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Taipei: Just a little bread dessert!

Being the talk of the town for over a year now, Dazzling Cafe is a one of a kind cafe where simple things are made magical.  Bread desserts are its main specialties with ingredients freshly flown from France every day.  For that day, we ordered 5 loaf of honey toast!

DSC_1663Dazzling Cafe’s Mont Blanc Honey Toast!  With an outer crust filled with carefully sliced toast with a butter and honey glazing this was yummy! Mont Blanc or chestnut flavoured cream tasted sweet and refreshing.  With some ice cream and fruits.  It was lovely! A really good dessert if you do not mind the calories!


Classic Honey Toast!DSC_1667Similar to the Mont Blanc toast, it was similar  with the exception of the chestnut cream.  Nevertheless, it has all the essentials that makes it special.  I guess this is all that counts? :)!


Overall, the hype is not for nothing.  It was good, different and over the 5 bread desserts we ordered, they were consistent.  Unfortunately, being consistent also means tasting the same.  And I guess 5 loaves of honey toast  for 7 people are just way too much!  Anyways, this is definitely worth a try if you are in Taipei!  A little warning before hand, make your reservations early as the little darling made the booking a month before we flew off to our holidays!



Sunday, February 12, 2012

Taiwan Trip: The story of 2 cows!

A meal of beef noodles has always been a great dining option.  Despite being such a common food in many Asian countries, many things can possibly go wrong.  Sucky noodles, tasteless broth, and chewy beef just to name a few.  Nevertheless, coming to Taiwan could possibly be a beef noodles lover paradise!  With so many different stalls to choose from, one would be held back only by price and stomach space.  From the little darling who watched a lot of Taiwanese host shows, the price of beef noodles can range from the low hundreds up until 1000 TWD.  Of the two which I had, the noodles which tasted best came from a shop in Ximending!


While I cannot read/speak Mandarin, the pair of red horns have easily made a strong impression!  This restaurant was rated as the top 10 best beef noodles in Taiwan and it was a lucky day for us that we stumbled upon it on that day when we were clueless about our food!


As good as it gets, popular eateries means having to queue up for a meal.DSC_1528

Hungry folks! But fortunately for us, the wait took little more than just 10 minutes as we were there past lunch time at about 2 in the afternoon!

DSC_1530Condiments for the day was cold stewed bean curd, bamboo shoots, beans and braised taufu pok! Most were pretty good with the exception of the bamboo shoots! I could have easily had another one of the braised taufu pok with rice. It was really delicious! Tasted something like the ones accompanying traditional Chinese Herbal Pork but even tastier! Slurps!


DSC_1533The main meal that day was the braised beef noodles.  With a choice of thin/thick handmade lai mien (pulled noodles), we all went for thin considering the thick one had already finished selling.  Unfortunately, I am never a fan of lai mien as I often found that it was rather thick (despite having the thinner one) and failed to absorb any of the delicious broth.  As for the soup, I had the spicy one which was a big FAIL compared to my peers who had the classic broth.  I’d have to say, the classic broth was rich and flavourful! Everything a soup base should be!  And now, for the beef, it was decadent.  Despite looking dry and cut too thick, it is everything I did not expect! It was moist with melt in your mouth bits. Really surprising!  If I had to guess, it was the translucent swirly parts of the meat that made it taste so good!


Overall, this had to be the best beef noodles I have had in Taiwan only to be spoilt by a poor choice of soup and noodles.  If I had the original soup base, this meal would have been close to perfection!  Nevertheless, a good eat!




Thursday, February 9, 2012

Taiwan Trip: Having Breakfast the Taiwanese Way!

Finishing a good trip to HK, the little darling and I flew to Taipei using EVA Airlines.  That is a seriously good airline company to travel by.  Our seats were business class size and treatment on-board were first class! Our holiday to Taipei was a new experience to me.  With no knowledge of speaking mandarin whatsoever, this means I am pretty much handicapped in a country renown for its night markets and glorious food.  But hey?  We have fingers for a reason is it not? xD!  In the next few post I will put up pictures of some of the many places that I have eaten which I believe deserve recognition :)! It’s purely subjective but yeah! Just feast your eyes :)!DSC_1495Taipei unlike HK felt rather old.  Everything thing here runs in alleys which gives it quite a nice feel.  And even though I am from Malaysia, the number of scooters in Taiwan is by far the most I have ever seen. 


Our breakfast just minutes from our service apartment located in Q Square!DSC_1505Juicy Pork Dumplings! Xiao Long Bao!


DSC_1507Super Crispy Youtiao! 


DSC_1508One shall not forget the delicious soya milk which is almost customary in the Taiwanese society! Its a really good drink which I enjoy almost everyday!


While this might not be your average Malaysian or Aussie breakfast, this sort of meal despite feeling bland at times is really quite satisfying  The taste of juicy pork dumplings is simply delicious; add it to the awesome feeling of tasty hot soup gushing out in the first bite? Smashing!  Crispy Yuetiao despite being and oily start to the morning is always easily washed away with the warm soy milk!  It was really good!