Friday, March 18, 2016

Another Year Wiser and More Food Finds in Taipei

I turned a year wiser a month ago, and I've been so busy since then, I haven't really had time to blog until today. Because today is the start of my first real vacation this year. Hooray.

This is quite a delayed post, but I still want to say Thanks to all my family and friends who remembered me on my birthday and made it really special.
The sweetest birthday salubong from Fi with the worst-tasting Strawberry
Shortcake Ever. Classic case of it's the thought that counts. No pride in
finishing everything, just be warned not to try this from Costa Brava.
Was "surprised" by my family at work with a birthday lunch.
Now, the Cherry Torte from Purple Oven is the bomb!
Dinner with Jem and Ivan who opted to join us over basketball. Hahaha.
Wrapping up with dinner with Tim and Fredy when I stopped by Singapore
to meet up with them.

Back to my birthday weekend, I took a day off work to go Taipei with the family. We tried a new hotel because our favorite hotel City Inn Plus in XiMenDing was fully booked. We stayed at Go Sleep Hotel in Xining and it was okay, rooms were bigger but smelled older, the location was in the heart of XiMenDing too, but I found it too chaotic so it's not something I would recommend.

We come for the street food, and we were very satisfied.
Sofia comes for the Toilet Restaurant. Hahaha.
You can read about that here.
We have some favorites like Eat All You Can Yakiniku, Hot Pot and
Haagen Daz at Bear 1. It's cheapest for weekday lunch.
You can read about it here.

Surprisingly, we also discovered new favorites.

1. Deep Fried Taro Balls with Salted Egg Filling 
Find them at one of the side streets of Shilin Night Market.
A pack of 4 just costs a little bit more than if you buy just 1 piece.

2. Hot Star Chicken's other offerings from their Xi Men Ding Store
Hot Star Chicken is a destination in Shilin Market, as it is their first branch. However, at Shilin, there is always a long line, and the customers only have a choice between Regular or Spicy XXL Chicken. In their Xi Men Ding branch, they also have Fried Mushrooms and Fried Squid (among others) that are also yummy.

3. Dimsum and Salted Egg Pineapple Cake from Olympia Foods in Xi Men Ding
Help yourself to DimSum and pay for it per piece.
Unfortunately, this place is purely takeout only, but Dimsum was quite good.
Salted Egg Yolk Stuffed Pineapple Cake for the win.
While a pack of Pineapple Cakes range from NT$50-100.
These are NT$35 a piece! But totally worth it!

4. Pork Chop Rice from the same alley that leads to Modern Toilet Restaurant
Lane 82, Section 2, Wuchang St, Wan Hua District, Xi Men Ding
No English name, but place is crowded and you will see Newspaper Clippings of the Pork Chop Rice.

5. My aunt and Dad loved the stall selling duck and chicken parts. 
They bought loads of Duck Toungue, Neck, Feel, Heart, Etc. and they loved it. Message me if you are interested, I can ask them where it is. Somewhere in Xi Men Ding.

6. Torched Steak Cubes and Fried Squid
Must visit the food stalls at the alley just beside Uniqlo. You can't miss them, there is normally a line.

7. Old School Coffee Shops - Fong Da and Nan May
These places are very near the Red House Market at the Xi Men Ding intersection.
They serve coffee the old way, and you can buy beans and coffee accessories here too.

8. XiMen Mango Shaved Ice
If you're looking for dessert, this combination of Fresh Mango, Mango Shaved Ice and Mango Ice Cream is the bomb. Servings are big enough to share.

9. Pork Floss and Dried Pork Jerky
My mom's favorite Pork Floss store and I think she tried all the stores in XiMenDing.

Of course I had to buy Taiwanese Sausage to bring home since they travel quite well.
Thank you Taiwan, that was a great foodie weekend!
Glad the sun came out, so I could wear my Wanderlust Sandals in Taipei!

Taiwan is one of our favorite weekend destinations. With food options like that, there's no reason to ask why. That was a great #37inTaipei Trip! just saying.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

ABC Brickworks Hawker Center near Alexandra Road

One of my favorite things about staying at Park Hotel on Alexandra Road, aside from it's proximity to the office, Anchorpoint Outlet Mall and Ikea, is that it has a very popular hawker center just a block away. 10 minutes on foot to good food max, and if it's crowded or hot, you can order it to take away and eat it in the comfort of your hotel room.

It's unfortunate I never heard of ABC Brickworks when I lived in Singapore.
In fact, it was a taxi driver who told me about it on one of my recent work trips.

We checked it out when I was with Sof and Yaya because I wanted them to have a lot of options without having to go far.
They have a very popular Roast Duck stall.
The lines are always long, and the duck is always good.
Sof and I can finish half a duck by ourselves.
We love their duck so much, we are there so often, the Aunty vendor knows me already! She even asks why I have not been back in a while. (uhmmm... maybe because I live in Manila. Hahaha)

They also have a Boneless Hainanese Chicken which I've never tried,
which is only my to eat list. It just always gets trumped by the duck.
And the carrot cake (which is also called raddish cake in the Philippines)
is also so yummy!
Cooked in egg, with the sweet black soy sauce, and some chili to taste.

Interestingly, across the street from ABC Brickworks Hawker Center - more directly across Park Hotel (Alexandra Road), is another ABC Hawker Center, also known as Alexandra Village Food Centre.

This one has a good spread of the traditional Zi Char food.
The Salted Egg Prawns and Sambal Kangkong came from the busiest place
in the corner (on the last row).
The Satay also looked good so we got some and it
was. SG$6 for 10 sticks.
The Char Kway Teow from this stall is also good.
They can give the old Chinatown Food Street Stall a run
for their money... but since they deteriorated a lot,
there is no longer any contest.

Definitely my new favorite Hawker Centers... with something like this so near, I no longer need to go to Maxwell Food Center for my hawker fix. just saying.

ABC Brickworks Food Centre
6 Jalan Bukit Merah, 
Singapore 150006

Alexandra Village Food Centre
120 Bukit Merah Lane 1, 
Singapore 150120

Friday, March 11, 2016

Ebeneezers at BGC, not the same as HK, but also yummy!

I've been quite busy since the start of the year, and because of that, blogging has taken a bit of a back seat. But when my friend Seanta (@mytummycraves) invited me to Ebeneezers I was immediately in.

Of course, I thought at first this was the same Ebeneezers we actually travel to Hong Kong to eat, but my friend was quick to clarify that it's not, but it's equally good.

Ebeneezers is in BGC, so I can already imagine that this will be our
go to place for lunch and to unwind after work once we move later this year.

Ebeneezers fuses two concepts. They have a Salad and Shawarma Bar in the ground floor that screams all things fresh.

The have a Naughty Room which has a cozy bar ambiance above with a separate bar menu.
You can still order from the Salad and Shawarma Menu of course.
Bar Bites and Bar Chow

These are the dishes I will be coming back for:
The Ebeneezers Groove (Shawarma Rice) is To Die For
It would go really really well with the Chicken Skin that you can order
from the Naughty Room for a comforting meal that definitely hits the spot.
Just add a Coke Light or Cocktail or choice to complete your meal.
The Shawarma is light, and tastes very fresh given all the veggies.
I tried the Angus Steak and Moroccan Lamb and both were good.
This would be best for a quick lunch. 
They serve the Shawarma with dressing or sauce of your choice. It's really good with Spicy Sauce dressing and the Super Spicy and Garlic Yogurt Sauce eaten with it on the side.

The other dishes worth mentioning are: 
The Falafal Balls, which are much better than the same from Halal Guys,
but you should remember to ask for the Super Spicy Sauce
and Garlic Yogurt Sauce to go with it.
If you're in the mood for something different,
the 45-day Dry Aged Burger is also good.
It was pretty cold when I tried it as we were eating with
food bloggers who were busy taking photos, but it
was still yummy and juicy when we finally ate it.

Ebeneezers is one the restaurants of Chef Tom Hines, and the group behind Catch, Hootch, Smith Butcher and Grill Room among others. It is definitely one of the bright spots of our office moving to BGC. There is now somewhere we can look forward to hang out while waiting for the traffic to subside. just saying. 

30th St, Taguig, 
Metro Manila

Friday, March 4, 2016

1000 Count Dot to Dot and Color by Number for Adults

After the Adult Coloring Book Craze... which I think has saturated the market like the  Rainbow Loom fad, you may be asking, What's next?

Well, if you ask me... the level-up to this to help adults relax and take a break from their stressful lives are the adult versions of 1000-count Dot to Dot and Color by Number, through overlapping circles, or Querkles, by Thomas Pavitte.

My sister and I really enjoy visiting Kinokuniya in Taipei. Last trip, we bought loads of coloring books (of food and shoes and bags) which were not commonly available in Manila, since you can just color enough shades of green in an Enchanted Forest before it drives you nuts right? What kind of stress relief is that? Hahaha. Now, you can never have enough shoes, bags or food to color.

Ady discovered this just as I was paying, so of course... I bought every
kind of book they had!

When I was a kid, my favorite activity book was Dot to Dot, so I was just thrilled to buy the grown-up version, a book with scenes of Paris no less (but only goes upto 300-400 count), and the 1000 count Cityscapes and Pop Icons by Thomas Pavitte. I had such a one track mind, that after our Kinokuniya stop, I had to buy a mechanical pencil, eraser and ruler from Tailung Hands, so I could do my Dot to Dot book over coffee at the Agnes B. Cafe.
So thrilled to revisit my childhood mixed with my love for
In fact, I took my book everywhere in Taipei with me, whenever we had a
window for Tea or Coffee.
My excuse for buying all the Dot to Dot Books in the store, was so I could share with Sofia of course!
It was too complicated for her. She'd normally do a few
numbers and quit, but she likes it when we do Dot to Dot
together, and she wants to race too! Hahaha.
Can the real Andy Warhol raise his hand? :)
The 1000 count Dot to Dot is more complicated. Numbers are smaller,
and there are only numbers on the page.

The Quercles Color by Number Books are a joy to do. The picture is made up of overlapping circles numbered 1-5. You just need to use five colors, and start filling in the spaces from dark to light.
I had a sample trial page and I was instantly addicted! I started surfing the
web to find out where I could buy the other book (Masterpieces).
Ady and I both did our Pop Icons book and we started with Jim Morrison.
We don't really know him, so this book might be targeted to Gen X!
Ady did hers purely using brush pens while I did mixed pencil, brush pens,
and colored pens.
Does that look like Jim Morrison to you? Hahaha.
Mainly so Sofia could help, and brush pens are too difficult for her to control
in small areas, so pencil it is... not realizing she'd quit after 6 spots.
The Querkles (color by number) come in perforated pages too, so you can tear them out and carry them with you to kill time when you travel. Sadly, the Dot to Dot Books don't come perforated. It would be perfect if they make it in travel size too. just saying. 

You can visit Thomas Pavitte's website here:

You can also buy the books on Amazon:

Or Kinokuniya Singapore:

Kinokuniya Taipei
5th Floor Breeze Mall
105, Taiwan, Taipei City, 
Songshan District, Section 1, 
Fuxing S Rd, 39號5樓