All Hallows’ Eve

Happy Halloween! It feels strange to be celebrating Halloween here in Taiwan because only elementary school kids and young adults celebrate it here. It’s either those young kids who are in bilingual elementary schools/cram schools, or those who go clubbing that celebrate Halloween. Other than the occasional cafes and restaurants that decorate their walls and windows with pumpkins and cobwebs, it just can’t compare to Canada where some people go all out and decorate their entire house and turn it into a spooky mansion to scare trick-or-treaters.

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How did I celebrate? I brought in a pumpkin box (Thanks for the delicious Halloween treata, CF!) to decorate my office space, painted my nails orange and black (Thanks for the lovely orange, Li~), and handed out candy to my coworkers.

Taiwan’s Halloween special? A magnitude 3 earthquake at 8pm tonight! I don’t recall any earthquakes when I lived in Canada, but I have already been through ~4 here in Taiwan since I’ve been back this June. Hopefully there won’t be any crazy big ones!

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Happy Halloween, everyone~

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Dazzling Cafe – Mint

Yesterday I had afternoon tea with Hazelnut. It’s been awhile since I last saw her because she’s been busy with school in Taoyuan and hardly ever have time to visit Taipei. We decided to try Dazzling Cafe Mint and had a nice chat over some coffee and honey toast. Dazzling Cafe has quite a few stores, and their first store (pink) and the mint are both conveniently located near MRT Zhongxiao Dunhua station. Dazzling cafe is famous for their honey toast boxes, and each store has unique menu items.

The minimum order here is one drink per person, so in the end we each ordered a drink and ordered one honey toast box to share.

Caramel honey toast (3/5) $240NTD:

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The toast box was very pretty to look at. This wasn’t a special menu item, because all the special toasts at this location are Danish (and I don’t  particularly enjoy Danish toasts). The pretty swirls on the plate was honey, the little dish contained more  honey, and the yellow custard was also flavoured with honey. This toast came with a scoop of ice-cream (I think it might have been maple walnut), drizzled with caramel sauce on top. I want to try making honey toast myself next time. I saw them make it once at what8ver cafe in Richmond, Canada, and it didn’t look too difficult. I think 2 people sharing one toast box is perfect. I really wanted to try their Halloween special toast (they even cut the bread so it looks like a Jack-o-Lantern!!), but that one had to be ordered with a meal, which was only available during meal times. So boohoo. :(

I had a rose latte, and this was a store special (4/5) $150NTD:

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There’s a little bit of alcohol in this drink, which warms you up on a chilly afternoon, and it’s a good choice for those who enjoy floral drinks (like me~). The coffee didn’t taste sour or bitter, and it was sprinkled with rose buds.

It was nice to hear Hazelnut’s stories and share my stories with her as well. It’s so easy to talk to her. :) I think that’s what friends should be like. No pressure, carefree, and no need to worry about saying something that might offend someone because it was interpreted in a different way. I understand that everybody’s different and are entitled to their own feelings and emotions, but I personally dislike misunderstandings and unnecessary drama. Also, for whoever’s reading this, please don’t take it personally because I am not writing about anybody in particular, it’s just a general statement. Kthxbye!

三本味 Japanese Restaurant

Last night I had dinner at 三本味, a Japanese restaurant that is located between MRT Sun Yet-Sen Memorial Hall station and Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT station (I’m very thankful to be living so close to Dunhua station.. there are so many good eats in the area!). 三本味 is in a small alleyway, off of the main streets, and if it wasn’t for Meimei, I would never even think about venturing in here. She loves to read up on food blogs and searching for new places to go on food adventures, so going out to eat with her is always fun!

On our way to 三本味 we also came across quite a few hidden gems. The area nearby is full of Japanese restaurants. I haven’t had sushi or been to an izakaya in a while, but I know where to look now!

Now for some brief introduction of 三本味 before I talk about the food: this place is found through word of mouth or through online searches because of its location. However, also because of its location, rent is probably cheaper and therefore it’s not as pricey as most places in 東區 (this area of Taipei, known for its expensive things because rent is so high). This is also a family-run business and what really brings customers back time and time again is the exceptionally friendly service. They really love what they do, and that makes a big difference between good and GREAT. Oh right, I should also mention that if you’re thinking of paying this place a visit to make a reservation! It can get quite packed. I wasn’t able to make a reservation because I called in 3 days ahead, but they put me down on a special list because I called ahead, so we didn’t wait too long for a seat (~10 minutes). The place isn’t big and can fit about 30 people at one time. The spacing between tables is perfect in that it does not feel overly crowded, and there is a lot of room to move around comfortably. When we were seated, the owner introduced himself to the customers and listed off the secret menu items for the day. He is a really warm and welcoming person, and very approachable. He came by our table a couple of times to ask how we were doing, and personally seared the sushi for us.

This one was on the secret menu – seared sea bream nigiri sushi (4/5):

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I love seared sushi, and I’ve never had seared sea bream before so it was interesting. The texture was a bit on the chewy side, but it was very flavourful and doesn’t need soy sauce for extra flavouring.

Next is another secret menu item – beef fried rice (4/5):

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This dish was big, and I don’t recommend it if you don’t have four people or if you’re planning to try out more dishes (because it’s filling!) The rice was delicious though, and the rice that they use here is a high quality rice.

Next up, the best dish at this restaurant – Seared salmon and cheese nigiri (5/5):

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The owner personally seared this in front of us. First, he seared the salmon, then he placed a slice of cheese on top and seared the cheese until it bubbled. It was absolute umami. To top it off, it was sprinkled with rose salt. Yum! I must have this again! This was Meimei’s favourite dish of the night. The fish that they use in this restaurant are all very fresh as well.

Next up, the assorted sashimi (4/5):

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This sashimi platter originally came with hamachi, but as none of us liked hamachi, we asked them to switch it. I’m not exactly sure what fish it was switched for, but it was good. Fresh fish (including  on a huge bowl of ice to make sure it stays fresh. Delicious and also very pleasing to look it. I like this restaurant’s attention to details.

The steak dish (3.5/5):

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The steak was stir-fried with onions, mushrooms, and yellow and red bell peppers. The meat was not too tough, and had just the right amount of chewiness to it.

Chicken wings topped with a fish roe dressing (3/5):

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I usually don’t enjoy eating wings because I don’t like to get my hands dirty, but I’ve never had fish roe dressing with wings before so we decided to give them a try. Yep, they made my hands dirty, but they were pretty tasty! The fish roe/mayo dressing wasn’t my favourite though (I think the wing itself was marinated well) as I found it to be a bit too heavy.

And our last dish of the day was grilled mackerel (5/5):

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This fish was absolutely amazing!! It was one of the best fish I have ever had. The meat was soft, and the fat under the skin melted into the oil and flavoured the meat deliciously.

I plan to take grandma to this restaurant next time. She loves Japanese food as well, and I think she’ll enjoy this place just as much as I did. I have a feeling that the fish will be her favourite dish. :)

Taiwanese people are a superstitious bunch!

Something that I’ve noticed after having lived in Taiwan for almost 5 months now is that Taiwanese people are a superstitious bunch!

Earlier I had a post about lucky bamboo (and how a red ribbon should always accompany bamboo or any other sort of plants/trees in the office because it will balance out the Yin and Yang in Fengshui).

Well… They also believe in a variety of other things such as blood type, horoscope, and the zodiac. And for blood type, it matters which combination you are too (for example, if you have blood type A, your personality might be slightly different depending on whether you’re AA or AO).

Psychological tests are also quite popular here. CF asked me a couple recently, and I’ll find the time to post them up so you guys can try them out as well! I don’t know how accurate they are, so take them with a grain of salt. :) It’s just for fun.

The Great Gatsby: Quote

F. Scott Fitzgerald is a really good writer. I really need to find the time to read the book. One of my favourite passages (out of many!) in the story (it was also in the movie) is the ending:

Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter — to-morrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And one fine morning ——

So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Shall We Dance?

I attended dance class yesterday. It was the second class that I attended in Taiwan; the first class was last week but it was an advanced class, so yesterday I switched a class with a different teacher.

It feels nice to be dancing again after 5 months of inactivity. I really enjoy ballroom dancing, and it’s a hobby that I hope to pursue for a very long time. I’m actually pretty bad at it right now, but it’s so much fun: both watching AND dancing.

I don’t really have a favourite dance at this point, but in terms of watching, I enjoy watching Viennese waltz (for modern) and Rumba (for Latin).

I’m glad I signed up for dance class rather than yoga class. Even yoga is really good for you, but I would regret not continuing dance after dancing for half a year back in UBC dance club!

In the future if I ever get married, I hope my husband can learn ballroom dancing so we can dance at the wedding!