Sunday, March 3, 2013

Eating our Way Through Taipei

Most of the meals we had in Taipei were Street Food from around the XiMenDing area, because it was just so good. Here are the things that made it to my MUST EAT LIST:

1. Taiwanese Sausage
When I saw this cart, I was on my way to look for the misua place,
but I had to stop and buy.
I got one order of the small sausages for NT$35 (Php50 or SG$1.50).
My note to self: I would try the Bratwurst on another day.
My dad also loved the sausage so much, when we saw big ones at the Shilin Night Market, he had to buy some.
They look smaller in the picture.
But they are actually huge.
It's probably as long as my elbow to my wrist.
Choice of Big for NT$100 (Php150) or Small for NT$60 (Php90)
Because they give it to you sliced, you have no way of knowing
what size the Big order is vs the Small one.
It felt like we got ripped off because the lady who spoke no English
charged us NT$100 for a serving smaller than what I got for NT$35.
The only difference is she serves with sliced garlic in the same bag.
I was craving so much for sausage on our last day (the vendor wasn't there at 11am) that I was showing the other vendors the picture of the sausages so they could tell me where to find the sausage vendor. There was a creepy moment when I decided against my better judgement to follow a kind but suspicious looking by-stander who offered to take me to the sausage stand.
I took his picture nalang as insurance.
Turns out, there's a sausage stand in the alley
behind Uniqlo, but it was also closed.
I went back to the area to buy sausages for lunch because I am obsessive that way.
There was a different vendor selling bigger ones
for NT$35 (Php50) each or 3 for NT$100 (Php150).
I ordered 2 normal ones and 1 bratwurst this time so we could try it.
Wheeeee! Success!
But... Wait!
It's not Bratwurst pala. It's sticky rice in sausage casing.
Hahaha, so that's why I was only charged NT$95!
I just tried it because it's carbs, but it goes very well with the sausage.
This definitely goes on my MUST EAT list :)

2. Isaw (Pork Intestine) Misua (Flour-Rice Noodles)
As I mentioned in my previous post, I tried the misua because it was recommended by friends and by posts I've read without realizing I was eating Isaw. Hahaha. 
Ay-Chung opens at 11:00am everyday.
People stand infront with their bowls and just start slurping.
This is what it looks like when it gets busy.
I enjoyed it better when I realized it was isaw.
Small bowl NT$45 (Php70) Big bowl NT$60 (Php90)
Ay-Chung is in a small alley in the XiMenDing area.
When you see KFC and The Face Shop, turn around and walk away from it
 on the same street till you see Ay-Chung on your right.

3. Din Tai Fung (we ate at the Taipei 101 branch)
Din Tai Fung is originally from Taiwan, so you can't go to Taiwan and not eat here. They've also been awarded one Michelin star for the Xiao Long Baos.

We had a late lunch, but there was still a line.
They are very efficient. It took only 10 minutes to get a table.
While waiting, you can already plan what to order,
or look through the DTF merchandise.
Yes, they have DTF souvenirs!
The look and feel of the place is the same as in Singapore.
But they have a bigger viewing area so you can watch the
Xiao Long Bao being made.
They work in a assembly line.
The 2 guys in front roll, then they throw it like a Frisbee
to the fill and weigh guys.
We had to take turns watching Sofia.
In the kitchen signage, they boast of their 1 Michelin Star.
They have instructions on how to eat the XiaoLongBao.
Xiao Long Bao (NT$190  or Php285 for 10 or NT$95 or Php145 for 5)
My verdict: They are tastier than the XLB's in Singapore,
because I was happy enough to eat them without the sauce.
Sofia has developed her own way of eating XiaoLongBao so she could eat by herself without wasting the soup.
She asks for her XLB in a bowl.
Then she bursts it.
Then she drinks the soup before she eats
the parts that she likes.
I thought we weren't hungry so we ordered only a little.
The Classic Pork Chop with Egg Fried Rice (NT$180 or Php270).
In Taiwan, you have a choice of white or brown rice.
We ordered extra Pork Chop (NT$100 or Php150).
I honestly think the serving in Taiwan is smaller.
I remember the Pork Chops in Singapore are thicker.
We also ordered Stir-Fry Water Spinach (NT$170 or Php250)
You know Sofia likes the food when she feed herself.
Sofia has numerous servings of Pork Chop Rice.
Eating by herself.
Our initial order was medyo bitin, so we ordered more. Orders get served real fast.
Round 2
We couldn't leave without taking a picture
with dumpling boy.
Here's a full one.
They also have some sculptures Sofia's posed with.
I couldn't leave without buying dumpling magnets. Hahaha.

4. Mister Donut (there are several branches but we went to the one at Shin Kong Mitsukoshi near Taipei 101)
If you like the donuts in Korea, then this is for you. If you haven't tried it, you must because it's the yummy chewy kind of donut that we don't have yet in the Philippines though there may be some places attempting to copy it! :)
Mister Donut was quite popular because there was a line,
and the locals were buying donutsin multiple boxes.
Me and Ady taking our picture through the mirror,
with my dad also taking our picture.
My favorite ones are the "chewisties" as they are refered to in
Dunkin' Donuts Korea.
They also have French Cruelers and Old Fashioned Donuts.
The seasonal flavor was Strawberry.
They had a lot of combinations with dried strawberries.
They had a set of 5 mini donuts for NT$50 (Php75).
We bought a set of Mini-Donuts for Sofia.
And a Strawberry Chewister to share with Ady.
It was really yummy.
I caught Sofia biting fron every donut to try it.
It had the same chewy consistency.
Chocolate was her hands down favorite.
It was gone in no time.

Now, back to our Street Food Tales from the XiMenDing area. They can all be located in the main walking street after you get out of Ximen MRT exit 6, with a lot of the vendors concentrated along the area in front of Uniqlo.

5. Roti (Pancake) Vendor
The roti vendor normally makes a lot of pancakes
at once, then when you choose your flavor,
he puts it together.
He says he doesn't speak English,
so we just pointed to the eggs and bacon in his cart.
I think prices start from NT$25 (Php 40),
the Bacon and Egg Roti was NT$45 (Php 65).
They also put some sauce on it. You can choose,
but we had no clue what the options were.
Yummy Bacon and Egg Roti :)
Ady had this again on the third day,
when all of us went for the Isaw Misua option.

5. Roasted or Boiled Kamote (Sweet Potato)
My dad has been dying to try the various boiled Kamote sold on the street.
1 Basket is NT$100 (Php150)
He eyes it every time we pass, but because of the language barrier,
we couldn't figure out how to buy only a few pieces.
Only he wanted to eat, so he thought the rest would get wasted.
I bought him roasted Kamote from Family Mart instead.
They weigh it, there was only 1 left so I didn't get to choose.
It was only NT$15 (Php22).
My dad enjoyed the kamote a lot. It was a sticky variety. I had a bite just to try, and it tasted very creamy and buttery already. So imagine mashed potatos - but using kamote. Wow. Maybe next time, if we buy a basket, more than my dad will eat. Hahaha.

 *Also in the XiMenDing area - but NOT RECOMMENDED, in case you get tempted to try, is the 1973 Crispy Chicken Nuggets place, very vear Ximen MRT exit 6. I was craving for Chicken Chops so I settled for this when I couldn't find any Chicken Chop places in the area.
I am easily influenced by a long line.
The Chicken Fryer guy.
We ordered a large bag of Crispy Chicken Nuggets.
The taste and seasoning was good. BUT IT HAD SMALL BONES!
Totally irritating. So eat if you don't mind bones. I do.

6. There are a lot of Bubble Tea Places in the area.
We tried the one with the Orange Logo.
The milk tea was good.
They don't speak English, but it's easy to point.
Ady and I were happy.
The Orange Milk Tea place is located at the ground floor of the Building with Daiso (near Watsons) beside Idaho Potatoes.

Ady also tried this one along the Main Walking Street.
They have an English menu but she wasn't too happy with her order.
She said her Milk Tea tasted too much like real tea.
Hahaha. It looks like real tea :)

7. Fried Dumplings
Fried Dumplings was on my list of things to try, so for our last meal, we ate at a restaurant where it seemed like everyone was eating a big plate of dumplings each. It wasn't such a good idea because while the fried dumplings were good, the rest of the meal was sad. Therefore, fried dumplings only make this list - AS A SNACK!!!
The place we chose was right across Sophisca (blog post to follow).
It seemed like they were also famous for beef noodles.
This is the dumpling guy.
The fried dumplings looked so good, we decided to eat here.
You can order dumplings by the piece (NT$5 or Php7.50) so we ordered
some to try.
The steamed ones were too doughy for my taste.
At NT$5 a pop, these dumplings are damn cheap.
Just remember to order the fried ones because they're really good.
They also have veggie and shrimp dumpling options but the shrimp was out of stock when we went so we only ordered the pork ones.
I saw someone eating Braised Pork Rice so I copied him
and ordered a small bowl (NT$25 or Php40)
The 3 spoons I had of Braised Pork Fat was to-die-for. Literally.
I guess if you eat too much Braised Fat, you die!
But it was good and flavorful.
I left most of the rice so I had little guilt.
But it's not filling at all if you eat it the way I did.
My mom ordered the Beef Noodles and she said
it was good. The bowl was huge.
My dad had fishball soup which isn't really my cup of tea.
Ady ordered PorkChop with Noodle Soup and she said it was SAD.
The Pork Chop does look sad. Hahaha.
Sofia declared she didn't want to eat there,
so it was Colonel Saunders to the rescue.
Since we were in KFC anyway, I bought Egg Tarts for dessert.
They were good! Light and flaky crust, warm custard filling.
They had different flavors, but I only ordered the original one.
It's funny because after dinner we saw the food carts
on their way home or to another location.
I wish I got to try the quail egg kebabs. Hahaha.
Or should I say, Cholesterol on a Stick.

8. Yu's Almond Shaved Ice
To round up my list, you can go have dessert at Yu's Almond Tofu on Chengdu Road (Near XiMen MRT exit 4 - I think). If coming from the busy part of XiMenDing, walk towards PartyWorld and just keep walking straight till you see it.
Yu's Almond Tofu has hot and cold almond desserts.
They have a small dining area, but you can also order take away.
I ordered the Almond Tofu Shaved Ice because I heard it was good.
NT$70 (Php105)
They ask you what topping you want,
but they place it at the bottom of your bowl.
I chose glutinous rice balls, because they said it's like Mochi.
They also offer to put crushed almonds for texture for free.
I ate it at the hotel.
I was surprised to find a layer of Almond Pudding under the Ice.
The good thing is, if you don't finish it and put it in the fridge,
the Almond melted ice Milk is nice to drink the next day.

GaKuDen, the Boulangerie where we bought the bread for breakfast is right next door to Yu's Almond Tofu.  
French-style Bake Shop.
Their giant round croissant like pastry is good.
A quarter is enough if you're just snacking :).

If you get tired of eating on the street, you can also opt to eat at the Foodcourt in the basement of FE 21'.
FE21' is the colorful building with the posh shops.
The food court ambiance is nicer than average.
It's similar in feel to the Food Republic food courts in Singapore.
They have McDonald's
so we could get our McWings fix.
Except language is a barrier, so I ended up with 2 orders of McChicken,
but after much charades, they agreed to change it.
Yummy. Just like the wings in Singapore and Hong Kong! 
Papa ordered local food of course!
He was so happy with his set meal (NT$130 or Php 195)
from the food stall across McDonald's.
It had Pork Rib Soup (which might be Bah Kut Teh).
Xiao Long Bao (not as good as DTF) but pretty good. I think it's like the
SG$5 XLB in Chinatown in Singapore that's on CNN's best hawker list.
These are the SG$5 for 10 dumplings from the Smith Street Food Court in
Singapore's Chinatown.
I just realized I never blogged about it, so I will, soon. Hahaha.
Back to my dad's lunch:
the set meal came with Veggies and a Drink (tea I think).
This is our picture from the mirror on the ceiling of
the FE21 Food Court.
Shot Directed by: Sofia

I can't wait to go back to Taipei. We love love love the food.

Guess what our snack was on our first day back? :)
Taipei Hangover Much! just saying.

1 comment:

  1. You just made me suuuupper hungry! Will definitely try these when we go back!