Thursday, September 22, 2011
Anyways, the closest thing to "pudding" is flan. I prefer my flans to be creamy and not so much like jello.
Flan (makes 6 three inch ramekins)
Ingredients for flan
3 whole large eggs
2 Egg yolks
220 g Whole milk (1 cup)
290 g Heavy cream (1.5 to 1.75 cups)
75 g Sugar
1 Vanilla bean, split lengthwise (2 tsp Vanilla extract)
2 tsp Dark rum
5:3 ratio of sugar to water by weight
Directions for flan!
1. Heat milk, cream, vanilla bean until 150F or well you see steam.
2. Separate egg yolks and egg whites (save egg whites for macarons or similar) while you wait for milk and cream mix to heat.
3. Dissolve sugar into dairy mixture by stirring continuously.
4. Add in rum and heat until 160F or until it starts to steam quite a bit (do not boil!!!)
5. In a mixing bowl, mix the egg yolks and whole eggs on low speed.
6. Slowly drizzle in dairy mixture while the egg yolks are mixing (do not make bubbles in the mixing process!)
7. Put mixer on stir.
8. Preheat oven to 300F
9. Boil water to prepare the water bath
1. Dissolve sugar in the water on medium-high heat.
2.When dissolved, don't stir the caramel.
3. Turn off the heat when the caramel reaches a dark-golden color (darker than the picture's caramel)
4. Pour caramel into the ramekins, until the bottoms are slightly filled. (Note: the caramel will harden, don't worry about that because the oven will redistribute the caramel for the flan)
5. Turn off the mixer and put flan mix in caramel
Oven baking (reminder 300F)
1. Place ramekins in deep pan.
2. Place deep pan in the oven.
3. Pour boiling water into the deep pan until water reaches a little below the edge of ramekins.
4. Bake for 45-60 minutes, depending on your oven.
5. When 45 minutes is up, test to see if the flan jiggles a lot. If not, you are done!
Enjoy this creamy delicious treat! If you want, you can use 550g of whole milk and no cream at all or replace the heavy cream with half and half to get a less creamier texture.
Monday, August 29, 2011
Woosh woosh woosh... typhoon is incoming Taiwan. I doubt it'll hit Taipei, but one of my flatmates said the typhoon is going to be ultra strong like hitting a HADOUKEN on Taiwan. The winds are quite strong, and I heard the South is pretty bad. Hopefully, the winds don't cause buildings to vibrate at its resonance frequency!
I hope everyone is safe! Also on the other side of the world, hopefully things are alright with Irene!
Anyways, what did I make on this ultra not so windy day?
With myself limited to salt, pepper, lemon juice, garlic, chicken, and mushrooms (bought at Carrefour for 150 NT = around 5 USD that can last me three meals).
Well, you'll find out below...
Roast Garlic Lemon Chicken with Trumpet Mushrooms
Ingredients of woosh woosh.
1 whole Bulb of Garlic
2 Chicken breasts
10 Trumpet mushrooms (you can replace with whatever mushrooms you like)
2 tbs Lemon juice
Salt and pepper
Prep work of lightning fast wind
1. Slice mushrooms in however you like fashion.
Roasting Garlic (Preheat oven 175 C or 350 F)
1. Take apart garlic and leave the skin of garlic on.
2. Chop tips of garlic off
3. Put garlic in aluminum foil.
4. Drizzle olive oil, salt and pepper over garlic
5. Wrap the garlic into a ball with the aluminum foil
6. Place in oven (middle rack) for 20-25 minutes. (Note: Your smoke alarm might go off)
Cooking and putting everything in place on this windy day. (Do this while the garlic has 5-10 minutes left in the oven)
1. Heat pan in oil.
2. Sear chicken breasts on both sides (nice and golden on each side about 30-45 seconds each side).
3. Season with salt and pepper
4. Place chicken on parchment paper and in the middle rack with the garlic.
5. Bake for 15-20 minutes.
While everything is cooking in the oven... and the garlic is done.
1. Carefully (it's HOT) peel the garlic cloves and place garlic in a bowl
2.Use a spoon, fork, grinding tool, and mash the garlic into a paste.
3. Add the lemon juice, salt, pepper, and generous amount of olive oil.
4. Mix well until the ingredients are incorporated.
1. Cook the mushrooms until nice and brown (be about 5 minutes)
2. O look your chicken is done just in time!
Putting it all together
1. Plate by placing mushrooms first and add some garlic paste.
2. Add chicken on top of the mushrooms.
3. Spread garlic paste on top of the chicken.
Well... time to enjoy most of my day indoors.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
I haven't had good dim sum that is reasonably priced ($15-20 per person that would be 450-600 NT).
O well... I would not recommend the place next to San Wan Hotel (It's a place to the right of the entrance). Their tea looked like nuclear waste, and that nuclear waste probably mutated their seafood and meats = not fresh at all.
Back to today's topic... I would recommend Parents Restaurant.
Parents Restaurant (朝桂餐廳)
200 Dunhua S. Rd., Sec. 1
(Exit 9 of East Metro Mall)
Go out and it should be to your left
Hours: 11:30am - 9:30pm
Since I posted a lovely picture of egg tarts ...
My god! The picture! It's a trap!
I shall tell you that the size of these aren't as big as they seem on picture. About the size of a nanochip (a couple nanometers), just kidding. They aren't the usual sized egg tarts that you would find in Hong Kong or bakeries. These are about the size of mini oreos.
But in terms of taste, size doesn't matter. Each layer of the tart was flaky and the egg portion had a nice density that melted in my mouth.
Since I'm already on desserts. I proceed to a mango panna cotta. WTF... Isn't that what you get at an Italian restaurant? Let me tell you, some dim sum restaurants have some of the best panna cotta I've ever eaten. Weird huh?
I guess I can do a nice transition from desserts to savory stuff by talking about buns or bao zhi.
What is in this bao???
Guess ... keep guessing ... Well. I'll just have you hanging because I didn't take pictures of the inside.
I'll tell you what's inside because I'll save you the trouble of ordering this.
The insides of this protective shell is supposed to be egg custard filling that supposed to drip all over like the baos at NBC Seafood Restaurant back in LA. I was disappointed to find a thick and dense filling like red bean paste.
Onto the next item.
One of my favorite types of baos (char siu bao). I would only have to give this an average rating. They put an interesting twist to it by adding star anise to the char siu, but I don't think that worked well. In addition, there was not enough balance with the sauce and the meat (too much sauce, little meat).
Well... that's enough criticism of their baos. I guess they aren't too good at making bao zhi.
Now onto more delicious items that I could probably and you probably are afraid to eat.
What might you be afraid to eat?? I dunno... chicken feet? beef tripe?
In the food world, you must try everything! DO NOT say NO just cause it sounds disgusting. Close your eyes and just eat it because it is ABSOLUTELY delicious.
Here's some chicken feet with some delicious spicy-ish sauce. These are a pain to eat, but the pain is worth the taste.
Beef tripe above. This is also delicious. Nice and chewy and full I mean FULL of flavor!
The next items are food that I always order at dim sum.
This is siu mai, something you would usually find at every dim sum restaurant. The sui mai was unique and just average. Why just average? There was too much meatiness and not well balanced with the skin. I expect siu mai to be juicy and not be eating a meatball wrapped in skin.
The next item is something I enjoyed.
This is shrimp long noodles (chang fun)
My god the shrimp was SUPER fresh! Of course, Taiwan is an island and has plenty of live shrimp unlike America. Usually when I eat this, there is usually a strong bad fishy taste and smell associated with it. This time, I didn't have that experience. The chang fun was perfectly cooked and was not soggy. I would definitely recommend this dish/
So my verdict on dim sum restaurants in Taipei still stays the same, but if your craving dim sum, I would go to parents Restaurant.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
Address: 2F., No. 131, Xining S. Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City 108
http://blog.yam.com/creative26 (check out their blog for events or mini concerts)
As you see above, there's quite an interesting entrance. There's lots of funky designs all over the place, and apparently, there's a gallery on the second floor and dining area on the third. I found it is a great place to relax and think about things while enjoying a cup of tea and cake. To my discovery, there were a lot of manga artists and writers in the cafe that were brainstorming their ideas.
Art gallery on the second floor.
Funky couch design.
So... lets begin talking about the food!
I was really hungry that day. I mean STARVING because some people wanted to go to McDonalds, so I wandered off to find this cafe.
Above, I ordered a set consisting of smoked chicken sandwich, strawberry mousse cake, and white peach oolong tea.
Here's a closer picture of the chicken sandwich. I don't know if I was just really hungry, but this was a pretty delicious sandwich. The chicken was juicy and moist and had an herby flavor. In addition, there was a slight tartness and sweetness to the sandwich that was well balanced.
Every time I have a sandwich, I need something refreshing to cleanse the savory flavor. I think I ordered the perfect drink that went with both the sandwich and my cake. As I stated above, I got a white peach oolong tea. Now, I was expecting some fake ass dried peach tea. Wait ... I'm in Taiwan, they hate using artificial fake ass stuff like they do in the states. There was actually REAL white peach in the tea! The oolong made the tea the right amount of sweetness and refreshment.
Now... the grand finale is always saved for last. The cake, and this cake is not a lie.
As one would think, this cake looks sweet. The top layer looks like cream and there's probably enough sugar in there to make a little kid hyper for a whole week.
One bite into this cake... the texture was amazing. Light, airy, fluffy, and not too sweet. The chocolate and strawberries balanced out with each other, unlike the time I went to Starbucks and asked them to put strawberry syrup in my mocha frap.
If you ever need a place to chill, de-stress, hang out, think about brilliant ideas...
Come to Somebody Cafe because everyone is somebody there with great ideas.
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Usually, foreigners see a ghetto shack, not near the MRT stations, has a couple flies, guy in a jersey mixing soup would be like:
Well. For me. Ghetto looking = authentic =
This place is exactly that. One of the best beef noodles I've ever had in Taipei.
林東芳牛肉麵 (Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodle Soup)
104 Taiwan Taipei City Jhongshan District Section 2,
BāDé Road 274號
(Something like that just plug it into Google Maps)
Let me show you a picture of epic noodles first before I explain how delicious it is.
Ok... See those noodles? Those are fresh made noodles and not dry. They were really chewy and as the Taiwanese would say: "VERY Q"
The meat was soooo tender that it melted like butter in my mouth.
The most important thing is the soup.
Unlike other beef noodle shops, this shop had a distinct Chinese herb flavor that made the soup super incredible. I don't think I can reproduce such a good soup. It seems like the soup has been stewed for several days. The beef flavor really punched me in the face.
Another thing that made this place soooo good was this:
It's basically solidified hot chili oil that has been infused with some herbs and spices. This really packs a spicy kick to the soup and gives the soup a nice aroma.
I would definitely go back here for seconds, thirds, and heck a whole month!!
Friday, August 12, 2011
Why am I talking about Italian food and there is "sweet rice ball shop" in the title?
BTW, that is not the translation of the shop's name.
Anyways, I've been eating Italian food almost every day in Taipei from people wanting to go out with us or just roaming around.
Things I've learned:
1. Their cream sauce is weird. (probably due to lack of dairy in Taiwan)
2. Get their tomato sauce based pasta.
3. They put seafood in EVERYTHING!
4. I really should start talking about sweet rice balls.
雙連圓仔湯 (Sweet rice ball shop) , not the literal translation [English Friendly]
Open since 1951.
Once again, I decided to take a different back alley home and I saw some man making deep fried rice balls. My god I've been eating Italian food! I should have some Taiwanese dessert!
Dude making the rice balls.
For 100 NT, you can get super delicious, not too sweet rice balls and some form of soup (I'll explain later).
What are rice balls?
Here is one:
They are these chewy dough-like ball made out of rice flour. What you see on top is peanut powder with sugar and sesame seeds. Somehow I can not describe how good this Taiwanese dessert is. I can definitely not find anything like it in America.
How do you eat it?
You take your chopstick and cut it into tiny bite size pieces and then rub the peanuts all over the pieces.
Throw it in your mouth and you'll see how good it is.
Now onto the soup.
Typically a when someone thinks of soup, they think of french onion soup, clam chowder, vegetable soup etc.
Here's a Taiwanese soup:
WTF is that? Peanuts in the soup, beans, more rice balls?
In Taiwan, you also have sweet dessert soups like red bean soup, green bean soup, peanut soup. Beans may sound nasty, but in Asia, they know how to make beans right. These soups extract the sweetness from these beans and is probably one of the best desserts in the world. You can have it hot or cold.
They also sell noodles and other stuff, but I would recommend getting rice balls.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Chicken and Assorted Mushroom Alfredo (4 servings)
2 Large chicken breasts
3 Large Shiitake Mushrooms
3 Large King Trumpet Mushrooms
125 g Spaghetti
10 Garlic Cloves
2 cup Heavy Cream
125 grams Parmesan Cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Diced up parsley to garnish
Prep Work in super clean Taiwanese kitchen (not really ...)
I had to prep in the dining room cause the kitchen was dirty.
1. Heat up water for boil
2. Slice shittake mushrooms into strips
3. Slice the king mushrooms lengthwise
4. Finely dice garlic
5. Grate the cheese into a bowl
6. Dry chicken with paper towel or cloth
7. Salt and pepper chicken
Note: (Stir milk occasionally so it does not burn).
8. Heat up milk until it is simmering (once it starts simmering turn the heat to the lowest setting )
9. Cook pasta while doing other cooking (take pasta out and pour a little oil and mix and set aside)
Cooking the Chicken
Preheat oven to 350 F or around 175 C (They use celcius in taiwan)
1. Heat up pan
2. Heat up the oil
3. Toss chicken in and sear for about 45 seconds or until one side gets tan crispy like.
4. Flip the chicken and do the same as step 3.
5. Toss chicken in the middle rack of the oven for 17-20 minutes.
6. Let chicken rest on a plate
Making the Alfredo Sauce
1. Under no heat or super reduced heat, quickly stir in the cheese a little bit at a time until the sauce gets thick like alfredo sauce.
2. Taste the sauce if it is good enough.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
4. Add in parsley
5. Let the sauce sit there.
Putting everything together
1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Throw in garlic and cook until aroma comes out.
3. Toss mushrooms in and cook until soft.
4. Throw noodles and sauce in the pan.
5. Coat the noodles with the sauce and toss around.
6. Plate and enjoy.
I got to say. Italian food costs a lot to cook in Taipei, but it was well worth it. The ingredients were soooo fresh. I almost wanted to make fresh pasta that day, but I think that would have took way longer to manually roll out the dough and cut noodles with a knife xD.
Sunday, July 31, 2011
Something that looks mediocre ... suddenly ... turns into an explosion of flavor in the mouth.
Dazzling Cafe (Honey Toast Edition)
You know how I mentioned how epic Chin Chin Cafe's honey toast was? It was so hugely epic that I even decided to walk 3 miles back to my apartment feeling all happy and stuff...
I have to redefine epic as stated above after eating toast from Dazzling Cafe.
On that Sunday afternoon, my friend and I got lucky that there was not a huge line as everyone claims at Dazzling Cafe. We were lucky enough to be one of the first people in the cafe without having to make reservations.
Time to start off reviewing the honey toast of new epicness.
At first, I saw that the toast was smaller than the one at Chin Chin Cafe and thought I was being ripped off for the price to amount of food I get. I guess size does not matter in terms of food. Taste is significantly greater than quantity.
Now, I heard mixed reviews about Dazzling Cafe, and how the toast is too sweet etc. Well... guess who has a sweet tooth ?? MEEE! like honey senpai from Ouran High School Host club.
For me, I have a specific and precise sweetness tolerance range like the precision of changing trajectory using an ion or hall thurster (that's a type of rocket propulsion system) for a satellite. I think Dazzling Cafe hit it spot on.
In addition to the toast, I got hot fruit tea. For those who do not know what fruit tea is, it is basically different tropical fruits (all from Taiwan), such as fresh passion fruit, mangos, apples, peaches (fyi it's peach season here), and kiwis, brewed with tea. There is no sugar added in the tea. It uses the natural sugars from the fruits to sweeten the tea and give it a sweet and citrus-y taste.
I don't think there was anything to complain about this toast.
In addition, the service was great! The waitress cleanly cut the toast and prepared it for us by taking a piece of inside toast, spreading cream on it, put ice cream and fruit on top. At Chin Chin cafe, the waitress just slices the toast and leaves it there for you to still question how to eat it without making a mess.
FYI ... I got the Party in Your Mouth Toast. It literally was a party in my mouth.
Friday, July 29, 2011
DON (Japanese Style Rice Bowls)
(English Friendly waiter)
After getting lost in the Fuxing, Dunhua, Sanmin Da Dao area. I accumulated a LOT of restaurant business cards from tiny hole in the wall places just because the menu that they post outside look delicious. Who needs a GPS. I think some mad scientist programmed a food GPS into my head, or I have some food magnetic field around me that will magically guide me to a good place to eat.
One of those tiny shops that I stumbled upon was DON. A group of friends and I decided to venture into this tiny restaurant. At first, it looked like it could only seat 5 people with bar seating. To our surprise, there was a basement level that could sit at most 20 people.
Why is it called Don?
In Japanese Don literally means "bowl", and guess what?? Don serves rice in bowls (no duh)
I ordered dark chicken meat with their teriyaki suace. My god! Usually when I get a teriyaki bowl. It is pretty salty. This one was pretty well balanced like yin and yang, salty and sweetness, creating zero forces and moment in my mouth etc. With it having well balanced forces in my mouth. I did not need to have turbulent flow of water to wash my mouth after my meal.
This place has one or two vegetarian dishes that my friends ordered. They also look delicious.
Vegetable and egg on top of rice.
Hot stone, curry udon soup.
Why did I mention English friendly?
Long story short.
The waiter kept speaking to us in English. I guess he just wanted to practice his English with us. ^_^. Props to him! Though I was trying to learn the dishes in Chinese xD.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Has anyone ever heard of the dessert stomach?
Well ... the algorithm of fullness and digesting food can go like this.
While Dessert stomach != full
If stomach = full then
Stomach = Desert Stomach
Eat tons of sweets
Eat more of everything else
Chin Chin Cafe (part 2) Honey Toast Edition
Despite stuffing my friends and I stuffing ourselves with food, we still decided to get dessert at Chin Chin Cafe. I decided to go to Chin Chin Cafe again with a few friends.
This time to share a GIGANTIC honey toast. I mean this thing is so big that I think you would need a couple W44x335 beams to hold it up along. Good thing the waitresses have superior asian kung fu strength techniques to serve us the honey toast despite how skinny they look.
The epic toast was beckoning us to eat it as we stared in awe. How the heck do we eat this thing?
Luckily the waitress had kung fu assassin skills and quickly cut up the sides of the toast, in which the insides were already sliced and baked in delicious honey.
With the addition of the quickly melting ice cream, cream, and fruit. We feasted until our dessert stomachs were full.
Despite how epic I may have made it sound ..
I had a problem with the crust being not that flavorful and a bit not so fresh baked bread taste like how my dad and aunt makes a big loaf of bread. I guess it is because we went at night and usually fresh bread just only has freshness for a few hours.
I also got fruit tea, which was pretty good. Nice and fruity!
Aside from that...
A great ending to the night as I walked 3 miles back home from Chin Chin Cafe ^_^
Sunday, July 24, 2011
a) Do tai chi in the park like a tai chi master.
b) Play tennis with the locals and swing the racquet like playing badminton.
c) Find food and get lost in Taipei.
d) Sleep in and dream about food.
I choose "c" because I just like finding places to eat in the gluttonous city (as Time magazine calls Taipei).
From my friend's (Judy) suggestion, I proceeded to find Chin Chin Cafe and got lost on the bus system. After walking around and asking around. I finally arrived at the glorious, bright, white, and shiny (it was really bright outside -_-) destination after 1 hour 37 minutes and 48 seconds of getting lost and getting business cards of various places that I might eat in the future.
Chin Chin Cafe (part 1)
The glorious entrance to deliciousness
What a nice interior. Really clean looking and simple.
You must be wondering about why it is part 1?
I went there believing that I would be eating giant toast.
So... if I didn't get toast....
What did I get???
Instead, I got a cheese tuna panini because the toast is also HUGE, and I would like to share the large, sweetness of awesome with people.
I guess this can be considered toast of some sorts.
By definition, the bread was crunchy like toast and has slight burn marks on it, but this was a panini.
It reminds me of the late nights studying and getting panini from Cafe 1919 at UCLA, but this panini was 10x better.
It had a nice honey mustard taste that went well with the caramelized onions, tuna, and strong cheese. Also, this portion can definitely be shared with two people. I think I paid 180 for it, and the panini was definitely worth it.
There was also a mini salad by it. I think they put a little too much dressing in it. I would ask for dressing on the side next time.
In addition, to the waitress' suggestion, I got their house special iced coffee. It was a bit too creamy for me, but nevertheless good enough that I have the aroma of coffee in my face.
Well, be ready for part 2 in the upcoming week. I'll be getting giant toast. What is giant toast? Well, you'll just have to wait and see.
Saturday, July 23, 2011
We went to the Zhongxiao Branch (not the one in the Sogo) because it is always the least crowded and tucked away in a back alley. There was literally no wait, unlike the one in the Sogo which had a line wrapped around the corners of the food court.
Now I've gone to Ding Tai Fung many times and have not ever reviewed it. I guess this will be the time I will review it.
Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐)
Of course, the first thing we had to order was the pork soup dumplings. It is their signature dish, and being a logical person, I had to order their specialties.
Each spoonful (yes you use a spoon to eat these because the juices deliciously squirt out when you eat bite into it) was quite delicate. The skin was slightly chewy and the pork well just tasted like any ordinary pork dumpling. I have to say this was pretty good, and I owe it to the skill of the people standing behind the window. The other branch at the Sogo is not as good as this branch because I feel like they rush everything at the Sogo in order to serve a million mostly foreign customers who think this is the best thing in the world.
To eat a dumpling requires skill and precision like a robot and rocket science (haha jk). You just have to make sure you don't spill the juices. Also eat it with vinegar and ginger as pictured below.
The next item we ordered was quite unusual. It had rice on top of the dumpling, and it was filled with seafood filling.
This dumpling was just mediocre. I find the rice made the overall product really starchy and made the dumpling skin seem overwhelmingly thicker. The filling then became almost non existent with the rice overpowering it.
The last dish that came was their noodles with House Special Sauce.
The noodles were pretty QQ (as we would say in Chinese as chewy). I enjoyed the noodles, but I thought the special sauce was a bit too spicy. I choked on the spicy, and I eat spicy food too ><. I should have ordered the sesame sauce noodles.
I think that Ding Tai Fung has a cult following, like Apple. Super pricey for just ok stuff. I find the quality has gone down every since I've gone here when I was young, and before they started opening a million branches around the world. It has become Ding 太瘋 (too crazy).
I would rather go to the street stand shop by my work and get pork soup dumplings for 50NT instead of 180 NT. They taste about the same, and if not better.
Where the hell do I go eat in Taipei that i can spend less than 100 NT and get super full/satisfied?
Well... actually there are a lot of places, but based on the equation in my head:
MRT station+hunger+distance to food + cheap + deliciousness = dumpling shop in the MRT Station.
There's actually a lot of these places around Taipei. Around 5-7 NT per fried (鍋貼 grr-whoa t-yeahh) or boiled dumpling (水餃 she-way gee-ow). Yes, I don't know ping ying or w/e the hell they call it. I find if you take known words and make them into Chinese it's a lot easier to pronounce than guo tie (wtf tie?) or shui jiao (swee? i guess jiao is easy).
Here's a small video about learning tones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZp4Jh_wRiA.
(ハ方雲集) Dumpling Store at Zhongxiao Dunhua Underground Mall
Store front (it's across from the ramen shop near the beginning of the MRT underground food court also called Happiness Street)
Menu Front (Sorry >< bad menu picture but everyone was staring at me at that point because I took a lot of pictures)
So... The yellow dumplings are 7 NT and are curry dumplings. The redish hue ones are korean spicy dumplings for I think 5 NT. The rest are just regular pork dumplings. They also offer seafood dumplings for 7 NT.
They also sell three types of soups. Unfortunately ran out of creamed corn soup : (, so I got hot and sour soup, which is also really good with the dumplings. The other soup they have is fish ball soup.
Deliciousness all done ^_^ for 125 NT (went over a bit the 100 NT to try the Korean dumpling and get something to drink). They also have soy milk and black sesame soy milk, which is pictured on the bottom left corner.
So... If your ever in a hurry or need something cheap to eat, you can find these shops around Taipei.