Cafe Marche

Yesterday I had pasta dinner at Cafe Marche. The reservation was at 630 but I didn’t get out of the office until 630… So I made MM wait until 710. X-x I made up for it by buying dessert! (I couldn’t buy dinner because MM bought a Groupon) V tagged along as well because I worked overtime and ruined his plans to play tennis. The food was amazing though and everyone was full and happy by the end of the evening!

Truffle mushroom pasta in cream sauce:

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Chicken Risotto:

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Shrimp pasta:

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Souffle:

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Raspberry mousse:

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Everything was so tasty! It was our first time having souffle, and the raspberry dessert was really unique! The sponge-looking thing was pistachio sponge cake! The raspberry globe was icy and sour, with soft chocolate mousse inside. :) It wasn’t cheap though; it was the most expensive dessert on the menu at NTD350.

MM and I are planning to take mom and grandma there for mother’s day!

Skating in Taiwan

It’s finally Friday today, and I spent my favourite evening of the week skating for the first time in Taiwan and having beef noodles with MM, her coworkers, a coworker’s husband, and his friend from work. I was so disappointed by the size of Taiwan’s rink! However, since it was an indoor rink located on the 8th floor of Eslite 116 in Ximending, I shouldn’t have expected so much in the first place. I’m sure the rink in the Taipei Sports Arena is probably much better. We didn’t skate for long as the rink was tiny (maybe half the size I’m used to seeing in Canada), and the skates really hurt my feet (they kept squishing my ankles).

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Afterwards, we had delicious beef noodles from a hole in the wall called 建宏 at the outskirts of Ximending. It’s open 24 hours and have unlimited refills for noodles and soup. MM and I shared a medium bowl (only NTD90) and it was plenty. We didn’t even have to get refills! Next time we’ll just go for a small.

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Last night QB was such a sleepyhead. He fell asleep on my bed and I just couldn’t bear to wake him up. Zzz…

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Panos

Today I went to Panos near Dongmen station for lunch with CF and MM. Panos is a coffee chain store in Belgium (according to MM, there are over 400 stores in Belgium!), and they have brunch items, sandwiches, pasta, salad, and smoothies. It’s interesting to point out that the smoothie flavours at this particular restaurant were created by the lady who opened up the famous mango ice on Yong Kang St. She’s also a major shareholder of Panos Taipei! Another fact pointed out by MM during our visit. She sure knows a lot of random but interesting facts. :)

Overall I found the food and place to be alright, but the service was horrible. It took them 40 minutes to make MM and my Paninis. Even the group that came after us got their order first! I won’t be back.

CF’s tuna brunch:

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My cheese panini:

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MM’s smoked chicken panini:

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It was nice to see CF after not seeing him for over a month! Even though the meal was disappointing, the conversations we had were certainly far from that.

The end of another relaxing and fun weekend; I’m now ready to face another week of work!

I love brunch!

Brunch = Breakfast + Lunch. It’s probably my favourite meal because you can get both sweet and savory combined into one meal! Otherwise, I usually do sweet for breakfast and savory for lunch; therefore brunch offers the best of both worlds.

V recently introduced me to “What Cafe”, this cheap brunch place near MRT Ximen station. I had brunch with Grandma and mom today so Grandma didn’t have to cook. She deserves a break.

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:) There’s grandma with her new iPhone and the case that I got her from online!

I really should get some sleep now.. It’s 2:22am, and I just watched the ending for the movie “Children of Men” on HBO. The movie makes me appreciate living in a peaceful and war-free place so much more! Sometimes, it’s nice to be satisfied and grateful with the simple things in life. Like being able to enjoy brunch time with the family. :)

G’night.

聚 – A Gathering

I went out for lunch with my uncle and aunt-in-law today because they’ll be flying back to Beijing on Tuesday. We had hot pot at 聚, another company owned by 王品集團. So far I have been to 4 of 王品集團’s restaurants (王品, 原燒, 陶板屋, 聚), and they have all been great! My favourite part is that it’s one price for the meal and you get the whole set: appetizer, main, drink, side dish, dessert, another drink at the end…

聚is a hot pot restaurant that uses Japanese kelp soup base. I chose the milky kelp broth and it was so good!

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It was really nice to hang out so much with uncle this time, because in previous years, I hardly ever got to see him seeing that he was always working in Beijing and I was studying in Vancouver. Having family feels awesome. :)

On a side note, I have to attend an awkward lunch tomorrow. Dad thought that it’d be hilarious to play matchmaker, and arranged for our family to go have lunch with a family that he met through a lady that sells sweet potatoes downstairs. Anyway, they have a son who’s not married. Dad likes him because he has a PhD. It’s going to be an interesting lunch… I can’t wait.

Danshui + Shilin Night Market with Guigui

Today my cousin-in-law Guigui came up to Taipei from Taoyuan to hang out with me for the day. First we browsed the shops in the Taipei Main Station underground mall, had lunch (I had a beef kimchi don that had a lot of rice and very little beef and kimchi, but I can’t complain because it was only 100NTD = 3.33CAD), then headed to Danshui for more shopping and street food.

It was a beautiful day today, so Danshui was packed with people. Guigui got a non-permanent tattoo drawn on her hand, and we had ice-cream and bubble tea, and walked around the old street. A Japanese man in his 50s came up to us at one point and took pictures with us, because apparently he was collecting the photos of 100,000 girls, and so far he already has over 10,000 (taken over the period of 13 years!)… He even showed us a couple of photo albums! It was an interesting experience. I guess hobbies really can be anything; to each their own!

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Our last stop of the day was to Shilin night market for dinner and more shopping. I got one of favourite dishes: oyster pancake. It’s too bad that the best things in Taiwan cannot be mailed! You guys will just have to visit in person!

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My feet are so sore now, so I think it’s time that I got some much needed rest. A holiday from work is simply awesome! It’s going to be another fun day tomorrow. :)

Yuanshan (圓山) hike + chocolates

This past weekend, I met up with a few friends (including Jun Jun, who came back from the States for a visit). We decided to go for a hike up Yuanshan, because it was convenient to get to by MRT (less than a 10 minute walk from Jiantan stn), and it was a relatively easy hike. It was a nice day for a hike, not too hot and not too cold. We got lost a few times along the way, but there were nice people who stopped to help us out! Too bad it was foggy that day, so the view wasn’t as nice as it could’ve been. That’s okay though, because I plan to go back during the Chinese New Year holiday (which starts tomorrow!), and take mom and dad this time.

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After the 2 hour hike, we had lunch, then visited a chocolate store near Yuanshan Stn, called “Is Taiwan Is Chocolates”. The chocolates were so cute, but so expensive! They had exquisite chocolate pieces that were molded to look like cups, and there were apple chocolates and strawberry chocolates, with the price ranging from NTD30 to NTD88 (1CAD to 3CAD). Their coffee uses coffee beans from Taiwan. Hazelnut, who knows a lot about coffee and loves coffee like there’s no tomorrow, said that Taiwan coffee beans don’t produce good quality coffee, and described it as being bland. I ordered a dark chocolate mocha, and it tasted alright, but less flavourful than other mochas that I’ve had. Their chocolates were good (we tried the passion fruit and lavender), but with their price comparable to Godiva, I’d still go for Godiva.

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All in all, it was a fun day, and it was really nice to catch up with all my friends and hear their stories. Now I’m off to work for one last day before my 6-day break for the Chinese New Year holidays. It’ll be the first time that I’ll be spending CNY in Taiwan in 10 years!

Happy Chinese New Year, everyone~

Ding Tai Feng

Yesterday I had lunch at Ding Tai Feng with grandma. She recently recovered from a nasty cold (took her 2 weeks), and finally had appetite for some food. We went to the Ding Tai Feng at Sogo Fuxing, because grandma doesn’t like the original Ding Tai Feng (the one at Dongmen Station, ong Yongkang St.)… There are always too many tourists there, and the service isn’t great. It was nice to take grandma out for lunch, because she always cooks such delicious meals for us whenever we visit her, so it was nice to give her a break from cooking and treat her to something that she likes to eat!

We ordered the meat buns (not the soup kind, because that one is only available before 1130am on weekends), steamed fish dumplings, sour and spicy soup, Taiwanese pickled cabbage, and for dessert, black sesame dumplings with sweet fermented rice. The meat buns were the best out of everything we ordered, and the fish dumplings were just alright. The soup and dessert were good too! I heard one of the waiters speak Japanese to the table next to us. I think one of the requirements to working at Ding Tai Feng is the ability to speak 3 languages: Chinese, English, and Japanese. Impressive!

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Bo Duo (博多) Ramen

It’s chilly in Taiwan these days, and what better food to have on a cold day than a bowl of delicious Japanese ramen? So for dinner yesterday, I tried Bo Duo Ramen, and it was delicious! I still like Santouka ramen the best, but this place serves ramen at half the price, and the server was even considerate enough to offer me a hair band to tie up my hair so it won’t get singed by the flames (they keep the ramen heated on top of a small flame at this restaurant… also quite different from other places!).

Get ready for lots of food photos… *Warning: Not recommended for viewing at 2 in the morning.

Egg (with half-cooked yolk! Yum):

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Agedashi tofu (small order):

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Curry croquette:

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Deep-fried chicken pieces:

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Original Bo Duo ramen with cha siu:

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Their broth is really rich and creamy, and the serving size was perfect (with lots of delicious cha siu), but because we ordered all those side dishes, I barely finished my noodles!

Now that it’s winter, it’s cold outside so I don’t get to move around as much, and feeling cold leads to more eating… I have to take care to watch my weight!

Yongkang (永康) Street – great eats

A famous mango ice store that tourists always visit when they’re in Taipei is “Ice Monster”. The original store used to be located on Yongkang street, just off of MRT Dongmen station, until the owners (then husband and wife, now divorced) got into a dispute and the husband ended up leaving Yongkang street and starting Ice Monster.

After hearing from quite a few people that Yongkang street has good food and good shopping, I visited the street on Monday evening because I wanted a change from the usual places I shop at. We ended up eating street food, with 0 clothes shopping because there was so much to see and eat in terms of good food! Yongkong street is located at Exit 5, and on a weekend is crowded with people. We still had to wait a bit on Monday evening, but it’s definitely not as bad, so if possible: come on a weekday!!

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My favourite food of the evening was green onion pancake stuffed with ham, basil, cheese, and egg:

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A stand selling Taiwanese chicken nuggets, as well as other fried goods (The eggplant was good!):

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Tainan (a city in Southern Taiwan) eats:

Rice cake:

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Steamed shrimp rice dumpling:

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Soft-serve at IOU (I thought their soft serve was alright; they were having a BOGO promotion, but at the original price of 95NTD per cone, it’s not really worth it IMO):

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Milk:

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Milk/matcha (the matcha tasted a bit icy):

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There is a small community park nearby as well (Yongkang park), so it gives people the option of having somewhere to sit down and eat.

Taiwan, you never cease to amaze me with your street foods.