Taipei: Fresh And Aged – December 2014

I know what I want. I dream about it. I daydream about it. The images are vivid and the images are not just images. They are 8K resolution real. They are smell-o-matically aromatic. They are taste-buds-plugged-into-Oculus-Rift-Ten.Point.OH MY HALLUCINATING brain cells aromatically real. Damn those foodstuffs in Taipei. They infect your mind like twenty days before you actually get there. And then when your plane lands at around 5 A.M. all you can think about is getting to where you’re staying so that you can dump your luggage and drive or walk or take a taxi or take the MRT to … Continue reading Taipei: Fresh And Aged – December 2014

Taipei: Fresh Station

It seemed entirely possible to bypass the brunt of the thing with a quick five minute drive to the restaurant. The basement was its usual damp-smelling self when I went down to pick up the car. There were a few little puddles here and there, but those came more from the carwash lady washing the cars than from any sort of flooding. And the rain wasn’t really that bad when I left the garage. There was maybe a medium drizzle accompanied by an almost imperceptible breeze. Typhoon schmyphoon. Exaggerate. That’s the bread-and-butter of all-news channels in Taiwan. Where’s the knee-deep … Continue reading Taipei: Fresh Station

Taipei: Marlin rice noodles

Dihua street. Oldest street in Taipei. Old money. Lots of it. Crouching tiger hidden dragon – meaning you would not know it if you weren’t told about it. Multi-millionaires, billionaires, and multi-billionaires walking amongst their employee hundred-thousand-aires, and the common, pedestrian ten-thousand-aires milling about grocery shopping or Chinese medicine seeking. Old money I am not and old I was not when I was growing up in Taipei. I knew nothing and only now know but a little of the secrets of the street. What I know I learned and I absorbed from my father-in-law and mother-in-law, both of whom grew … Continue reading Taipei: Marlin rice noodles

Taipei: Addictive Aquatic Development

I love the name of this place; so contrived. In fact, everything about Addictive Aquatic Development seems deliberate and ¬†purpose-driven. Its location, for example, is brilliantly chosen. It’s located behind a commercial fruit marketplace and a commercial vegetable market. It is surrounded by butchers and fishmongers and loads of other traditional open-air meat and produce vendors. It is boxed between a highway and the the runway of the second-busiest airport in the city. It is physically located in a building that housed a wholesale seafood marketplace. Addictive Aquatic Development itself serves as a stylized seafood market with tanks and pools … Continue reading Taipei: Addictive Aquatic Development

Taipei: Shin Yeh Taiwanese Cuisine

I’ll make it real simple: If you visit only one Taiwanese restaurant in your lifetime, it absolutely has to be Shin Yeh Taiwanese Cuisine. No, it is not regarded as the best restaurant in Taiwan. And no, it does not have a celebrity chef manning its kitchen. Shin Yeh is actually not one single restaurant. It is a chain of (mid-to-up-market) Taiwanese restaurants in Taipei that is as popular with the locals as it is with tourists. On weekdays, you’re likely to see more Japanese tourists than locals at any of its locations. On weekends, you’re likely to see more … Continue reading Taipei: Shin Yeh Taiwanese Cuisine

Taipei: Ding Wang Hotpot

Ding Wang has been one of the hottest (in terms of popularity) hot pot restaurants in Taiwan for the past few years. The restaurant originated in Taichung, became extremely popular, and subsequently expanded to the culinary big leagues of Taipei. Because of Ding Wang’s stellar reputation, it took relatively short time for the restaurant to ascend to the upper echelons of Taipei’s hot pot scene. As great as everyone thinks the hot pot at Ding Wang was, my wife and I were not fans of their food when we made our only visit there around two years ago. We thought … Continue reading Taipei: Ding Wang Hotpot

Taiwanese Pastries: Sun Cakes from New Tai Yang Bakery

Sun cakes are rather simple pastries that also happen to be uniquely Taiwanese. To be more precise, sun cakes are indigenous to Taichung, whose name literally means the ‘center/middle of Taiwan’. Whenever anyone returns from a visit to Taichung, or from passing through Taichung, they always bring back a case of sun cakes. More often than not, the sun cakes come from the Tai Yang Bakery. The news that Tai Yang Bakery was closing its doors for good last year made headlines across television news channels, print media, and local news sites in Taiwan. It signified the end of an … Continue reading Taiwanese Pastries: Sun Cakes from New Tai Yang Bakery