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taiwan

nyc/ San Francisco/ travels

Best Bites of 2015

As I reflect upon this year with big changes like moving to a new city (chime in “California love”), entering a new decade (“30s is the new 20s” according to Jay-Z), and starting a new job, I couldn’t help but come up with a list of my best bites for this year. It spans several cities and cuisines so take a nice scroll through, and enjoy!

San Francisco

  1. Stones Throw’s Puff Potato and Egg (Russian Hill)
  2. Nopa’s Cheeseburger (Hayes Valley)
  3. Hog Island Oyster’s Cioppino (Embarcadero)
  4. State Bird Provisions’s Burrata (Pac Heights)
  5. Liho Liho’s Tuna Poke (Tenderloin)
  6. Lazy Bear’s Whipped Scrambled Eggs (Mission)

New York

  1. Shuko’s Grilled Toro (East Village)
  2. O Ya’s Truffle and Potato Nigiri (Nomad)
  3. Upland’s Hen of Woods (Nomad)
  4. Tanoshi’s Uni and Ebi Sushi (Upper East Side)

Hawaii/Japan/Taiwan

  1. Izakaya Torae Torae’s Negi Otoro Ikura Don
  2. Yakiniku Champion’s Wagyu Beef with Egg 
  3. とんかつ まい泉’s Tonkatsu Set
  4. 8% ice Cream’s Strawberry Balsamic Cheese Soft Serve

Looking forward to more bites in the new year! (^_^)v

Breakfast/ dinner/ lunch/ Taiwanese/ travels

Taiwan: Foodie Heaven Pt. 3 – Delicious Meals

If you haven’t noticed already, Taiwan is full of food and frankly I have too many pictures to show for it.  Because Taiwan is full of street stands, it’s hard to tell you where half of where these dishes are found.  Just know that this tiny island right next to China is truly a heaven for those who love food and want to be surrounded by it constantly.

And now…onto the food porn!

Typical breakfast – soy milk with fried culler.

Scallion pancake with egg. I really would like to eat this everyday for breakfast!

Tofu with cilantro and sauce. Light and tender.

Tomato beef noodle soup. Delicious…perfect for any occasion!

Minced pork with sauce noodles, right by Taiwan National University.  Very solid and hearty.

Hand-pulled pancake. It’s crispy and light, not oily, and perfect with some soup!

Oyster vermicelli noodles.

Rice ball stuffed with fried culler, pork, and pickled vegetables. SO good to eat in the mornings.

One of my most favorite noodles – yi mian. Every single time I go back, I MUST EAT THIS.

Taiwan has some nice pastries too!

Peanut milk shaved ice. It tastes like peanut butter!

Alright so I think I’ve made all of us hungry, but hopefully this just shows you how tasty Taiwan is so make sure you visit! If you do, let me know when you’re there so I can make some food recommendations!

 

dessert/ lunch/ Taiwanese/ travels

Taiwan: Foodie Heaven Pt. 2 – Honey Toast

One of the latest dessert crazes in Taipei right now would be for an item called honey toast.  It comes in different flavors and from my understanding, is made popular by Dazzling Cafe.  Located in one of the younger trendy areas in Taipei, it is fair to say that getting a table is hard, (try fighting through all those girls and claim a place on line for a table before opening time).  However, it’s worth trying it out and at least staying at this place for lunch if you’ve waited for a while on a line.

This is the pan-fried duck breast spaghetti served with a cream sauce.  As a pasta fiend, it was actually acceptable as a pasta; the spaghetti was al dente and the duck breast helped with providing a savory flavor to the dish.

I got the scallop and crab meat spaghetti with olive oil, which is light and refreshing.  I didn’t really taste too much seafood, sadly enough, but it was lightly tossed with olive oil, tomatoes, and broccoli.  Always good to get those greens in!

 And now…onto DESSERT!

Pictured is the inside of the banana chocolate honey toast.  You can see that they hollow out this large piece of toast and fill it with deliciousness: vanilla ice cream, chocolate, cashews, sugar coated fried pieces of toast, and topped with whipped cream.  Of course you can’t forget the banana pieces on the side as well.  It’s a box of sweet toast intensity.

Yup, a close-up of that vanilla bean ice cream with cashews.  Delicious.

It is worth a trip to this place if: (1) you’re a huge dessert fiend, (2) willing to wait (even before opening time), and (3) willing to spend above average amount for a meal / dessert.

Dazzling Cafe Pink
台北市忠孝東路四段205巷7弄11號1樓
02-8773-9238
Facebook 

Chinese/ lunch/ Taiwanese/ travels

Taiwan: Foodie Heaven Pt. 1 – Minced Pork Rice

It’s been a while, but I am back and ready to blog about all these food journeys that I’ve gone through in the past 3 months!  I’ve been working on lots of food pictures so there will be more posts to come (woo hoo!).  Anyway, in December I went to Taiwan, one of the best places to eat-your-heart-out, and I felt like I was home; all I did was eat, shop, and eat some more.  You’ll see what I mean with my pictures.

One of the places I must talk about is 天然紅豆腐, where I ate one of the best minced pork rice (滷肉飯) in my life.  The rice glistened as it was topped with marinated minced pork belly.  Not only did it have the perfect ratio of meat to fat, but it was perfectly salty and the red bits on the side gave it a slightly sweet flavor.  I quickly gobbled up my bowl and wished I had some more. Delicious.

They are also known for their pork blood soup (豬血湯).  Texture-wise it is not like anything you can get in New York; the pig’s blood pieces were soft and tender, paired with a clear soup that was seasoned with scallion made the soup easy to finish.

For those who are thinking about taking a trip to Taiwan, this is definitely a place I would recommend you go to for minced pork rice and pork blood soup.  You will not be disappointed.  In fact, you will want to bring friends and spread the joy of minced pork!

Restaurant Name: 天然紅豆腐
Address: 台北市吉林路319號
Telephone: (02) 2586-2201
Hours: 10AM~10PM
dessert/ Japanese/ nyc/ snack/ Taiwanese/ travels

Mountains of Ice!

I know spring has only begun, but that doesn’t mean we can’t think and crave summer foods right? One particular ingredient pops into my mind: Shaved Ice. Ice is such a versatile ingredient when it comes to creating a delicious dessert, especially when consuming it under the hot, humid sun, nothing is quite like how ice just melts in your mouth to cool you off.

So what exactly do you add to shaved ice to make it so good? It’s all about the ingredients baby.

This is Ippudo’s shaved ice dessert. It has red bean, mochi, strawberries, condensed milk and topped with a cherry. I believe Larry and I devoured this dessert in minutes. Can you blame us?

However this dessert is most common in Asia, namely Taiwan. The tropical weather, humid and hot, is best suited for some delicious ice. Hot Weather + Shaved Ice = Immense Satisfaction. There are many different combinations for ice:

This is Azabu Sabo’s Black Sesame Ice with Soft Serve. Yes, that black stuff is the black sesame and not random goo. The black sesame is mildly sweet but in conjunction with the soft serve and condensed milk creates a perfect combination of nutty and sweet flavors.

This is a traditional Taiwanese shaved ice dessert. What’s awesome is that you can choose what ingredients you want. How much is this bowl? I believe it’s close to $2.00. Insane isn’t it?! I happily picked out my favorite things: red bean, QQ jelly, tong yuan, condensed milk, and tapioca. It’s a whole bowl of delicious chewiness…:drool drool:

Calling ALL mango lovers…my most favorite: MANGO ICE. This place called Ice Monster offers this in the summer, which mangoes are abundant and naturally sweet. Imagine this…mango + mango ice cream + ice + condensed milk. This cannot be denied. Devoured? Yes. Instantaneous.

In conclusion, shaved ice is the best kind of dessert you can have on a sunny, hot day. For now we can just think about it until summer comes…then scarf away on ice. That is if you can handle the brain freeze.

dessert/ dinner/ drinks/ Mexican/ snack/ Taiwanese/ travels

Worldly Travels: Acapulco, Mexico and Taipei, Taiwan

Okay, I know it’s been a while since I’ve last updated, but it’s because I’ve been traveling the world! That’s right, Taiwan during a random week in February and Mexico for Spring Break. Both trips were a lot of fun, especially since I can get out of the cold New York weather. As usual I took plenty of pictures during my international journeys but I’ve decided to highlight the beautiful dishes that I ate:

Feb. 13~23 – Taipei, Taiwan

This is a picture of the first bowl of noodles I had when I got to Taipei. It may mean nothing to you, but it was really good. It helped me forget about the 18-hour layover in Anchorage, Alaska…taking away from my already-short trip back.

I found this at a department store in the basement levels. If you don’t know about Asian department stores, their basement levels are always filled with food courts and supermarkets. Deliciousness~


This is how Pork Chop Rice works. They give you a yummy bowl of minced pork rice with your pork chops on the side. Damn, this was a good piece of pork chop. You can see the pepper flakes on the chop, which made it real yummy.

These are scallion pancakes done in a Shanghainese style. Yeah, they’re huge and luckily they were cut into 4 smaller pieces. Otherwise I probably would have eaten the whole thing by myself. hahaha. Not to mention, because my aunt is baller, we ate this at a high-class department store. (Yes, there are also restaurants in baller high-end department stores in Taiwan.)

This is also eaten at the New Sogo Department store in Taipei, which was baller as well. This is their eel roll with cucumber inside. It was as good as it looks.

If you couldn’t tell already, the Japanese have a huge influence over Taiwan. All that red bean, matcha goodness is attributed to them. hahaha. Trust me, sometimes pictures can’t even do it justice as to how delicious these desserts were…you’ll just have to go to Taiwan yourself and try them out!

I was definitely sad to leave Taiwan so soon because there were SO many foods that I didn’t get to eat, but I suppose this summer will be the time to go back…heh heh.

Mar. 08~14 – Acapulco, Mexico

Mexico was a combination of sweet fruit, nachos and salsa, and scrumptious seafood. I gotta say, I did start get irked by the excessive shouting of taxi drivers and men in general, but there were definitely good eats down there. Mexicans sure know how to make a mean salsa. Here are my pics:

This smooth is called “Oasis“. How fitting. Before I saw this huge drink, my mouth was like a desert. hahaha. This drink saved me, and the best part of it was that it was all natural! Might I add that the restaurant that served this drink was named 100% Natural, just in case you thought you were getting something unnatural. Ha.

They also gave us these muffins, and we almost thought they were complimentary. No, they’re not…and thank God we asked. Otherwise, we probably would have scrambled for those muffinsbecause they looked so tempting.

Quesabrosas anyone? Yes, also from 100% Natural (can you tell that we loved this place?), it was delicious. The best part of it was I didn’t feel like I was eating anything unhealthy…but I think it’s because of the restaurant name. Damn, but it was a hella good quesabrosa.

Tacos? This is a picture of a real Mexican taco, not the ones you see at Taco Bell, but from a place called Tacos Orientalex. That’s right, you read it correctly. Orientalex. Despite the deceiving name, these tacos were EXTREMELY good. Highly recommended to anyone who goes down there to try some.

Shrimp Tacos. They look more like spring rolls to me, but they were good too. Eaten at a place called Julio’s. They have some great seafood there as well.

Want to go for some swanky seafood? Linda Vista is the place to be. Has a great view of Acapulco and its marvelous lights in addition to its high-quality seafood. This is a picture of an appetizer which was shrimp covered in bacon and tartar sauce on the side. Yummm…

Can’t forget the bread there. This is just one of my numerous pictures of baked goods. I actually didn’t get to eat this, but it looks like it would taste like creamy heaven.

Chicken with Mole Sauce. Don’t even ask me what mole sauce is. I can’t even describe it well…I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not sweet, sour, salty, perhaps slightly bitter? However, I enjoyed it enough to finish a decent portion…

Ice cream anyone? Yup, lots of ice cream stores down there, since it’s so hot.

This is a picture of the ultimate Mexican burger – not only does this include hamburger meat, but hot dog, avocado, lettuce, tomato, cheese, and probably a few more items. It may not look like it’s huge to you, but trust me, this burger from the cart was one of my best meals there.

I love traveling. and eating. =]

dessert/ Taiwanese/ travels

Introductions are Necessary

FINALLY!

The start of my food blog. Many of you have been wondering when I would actually start something like this, in which I said,”I don’t know…I need to think of a name!” After much debate and thought with www.dictionary.com or just surfing the net, nothing really came about.

I wanted my name to come about organically. As I was IMing on a normal Thursday night, it suddenly hit me. Who I am, what I love about food, why I am obsessed with documenting my food experiences…

me = inquisitive food junkie
Crazy how these things come about. So here’s to the beginning of my many journies and entries.


As my first picture, this is called Mango Ice (man guo bing) which is very popular in Taiwan. They are pieces of mango that cover shaved ice, topped with a mango sorbet scoop and condensed milk. mmm. This is a blast from the past to Summer ’05 in Taipei, Taiwan where desserts such as what is pictured above costs $1.50. That’s right folks. Okay…perhaps that might be an underestimation but nonetheless, cheap! How I pine for those ices…

Anyways, since my bed is calling me to it, I shall go! Come back for some more food adventures. yum yum.