Wanderlust Taiwan- Fresh Gourmet Eating for $20 USD 藏月日式豬排專賣店

So here is the deal. One can easily get a high quality and delicious meal for two at a decent local neighborhood restaurant with high western standards in Taipei, Taiwan, for about $20 USD. This restaurant below is one of the examples. 藏月 is in the Daan district in Taipei. The decor, service, and food rival those in the NYC metropolitan area. Is it any wonder why I prefer to eat in Asia, live in Europe for the majestic architecture and enriched culture and raise my daughter in the suburbs of NY for the education?A box filled with goodies: from left to right- eggs sweetened, pickled vegetables, and sea cucumber seasoned with vinegar.Tonkatsu腰內肉豬排咖哩套餐: crispy and meaty with sesame sauce and cabbage.  Charcoal grilled fish. I believe this was the milk fish.mmexport1438856613880One of my favorite desserts: panna cotta or the caramelized pudding焦糖布丁as the Taiwanese calls it.

Yes, visit Taiwan for the gourmet food that doesn’t shrink your wallet. Visit Taiwan for the variety and freshness of food that satisfy your stomach. Come with me this December for the warm climate and the sunshine. 🙂

This experience takes place at

藏月日式豬排專賣店

No. 58, Section 3, Heping E Rd,
Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
地址:106台北市大安區和平東路三段58號
電話:(02)2733-8720
+886 2 2733 8720

Wanderlust Taiwan- Fish Ball Rules! Cheap and Yummy Noodle Soup vs. NY Pizza and Bagel 佳興魚丸店的魚丸冬粉

This is typical of a “small eats” place in Taiwan. The store is petite with less than 10 tables. The owner and his family work the restaurant. They control all aspect of the operations, from buying and making the goods to serving and cleaning. They are friendly and welcome you with big smiles. The menu is simple: only fish related items – fish balls and fish skin in different kind of noodle soups.The prices range from $35 TWD or just slightly more than $1 USD for dry noodles to $65 TWD or a little more than $2 USD for fish & fish skin with noodle soup.
The dark vinegar, Sha Cha sauce, chili and white pepper. You may create the perfect taste yourself with these condiments.Fish balls with meat in the middle, fish and vermicelli noodles in fish broth 
Tofu steamed in sauce.

Less than $3 USD gets me a warm, yummy and fulfilling noodle soup plus steamed tofu that are brought to my table. In the NYC area, $3 gets me maybe a slice of cheese pizza or a bagel with cream cheese while I wait in line to order. How I miss the taste of Asia and the easy and cheap access to food.

Happy Thursday, Hardworking and Slaving New Yorkers!

This experience took place at

佳興魚丸店
台北市和平東路二段
Taipei City, Taiwan

Wanderlust Taiwan- Home Cooked Taiwanese Cuisine for the Gypsy

I got lots of feedback on my “Wanderlust Taiwan – Leaving in a Few Days with a Heart of a Gypsy” post. People wrote to me. My ex-pat friends took me to lunch as did my local friends. They made me cry and felt that perhaps I do have a place where I may call home. Although homesickness is universal, it’s harder on the soul when the home has no geographical address. It leaves the heart in mid-air and between continents.

What do the Taiwanese do when we feel sorrowful? We eat to restore a sense of belonging and love.  I am proud to be immersed in this tradition.My local friends made me a well-thought out home-cooked meal, starting with a Nespresso coffee.
Clockwise from 9pm: stewed tofu滷香豆干, parboiled Taiwanese spinach清燙空心菜, stinky tofu fermented辣味蔭鳳梨臭豆腐 by my lovely friend, Nancy, at her home especially for me, garlic and vinegar cucumbers蒜味醋拌小黃瓜, carrots and daikon, noodles麻油麵線. In the center is stewed beef and tripe,滷牛腱,牛肚(堅持要用台灣牛)+翁家版酸甜辣椒醬. 
Handmade tapioca balls from lotus root flour with no preservatives
Tapioca balls in caramelized brown sugar,黑糖蓮藕粉波霸. Ends with Oriental Beauty tea.

Here is a clip of how the stinky tofu was steamed and prepared.

My love affair with Taiwan will continue next summer when my heart will beat with delight and my soul soar with glee. This is the journey of a gypsy.

Wanderlust Taiwan- Outer Space Cake 雞蛋糕: 雞老闆太空棒

This is a popular cake, made fresh and warm in a street cart, for all to snack on. In my case, I eat it for dinner and breakfast. You can find street carts like this in different locations in the cities of Taiwan. This style is called the outer space cake and this vendor is called the chicken boss. Here is his Facebook page, 雞老闆太空棒.  Here is a casual conversation with the chicken boss.  He works two jobs but loves this job because he controls his own schedule.

This takes place on the street of Taipei.

Wanderlust Taiwan- How to Be a Proper Taiwanese Woman

I am leaving tonight to go to NY. In the past few days, I have felt the love of the Taiwanese people and embraced my motherland. I love this little Island. I love the good and the bad. It now feels really sad to leave home. I am already homesick.

But I also realized that since I don’t feel authentically Taiwanese, I needed to have an improvement plan for me to work on while back in NY. Here is my action plan, projected timing and current performance.

How to Be A Taiwanese WomanToo bad that I don’t have time to figure out how to insert a table into WordPress. My apologies if the chart isn’t easy to read. 🙂

 

Wanderlust Taiwan- RaoHe Street Night Market Visit 饒河街觀光夜市

This is my only visit to the night market this year. RaoHe Street Night Market, 饒河街觀光夜市, is famous for its food and as-seen-on-TV products. Click here to watch a Magic Comb demonstration from a night market vendor. Click here to read about my prior visit to Linjiang Street Night Market last year.

For those who have never been to an Asian night market, it’s hard to imagine the crowds, noises, smells, lights and the sights. The only thing that came close to the Asian night market is the Plaza Jemaa el Fna in Marrakech, Morocco. It’s an overwhelming experience of the senses.  The temple next to the entrance  A sign demonstrating the proper way of queuing for the stand. 
The queue was long and this was what everyone was waiting for, a Japanese snack from Osaka that looks like a cake and has layers of cabbage, bacon, eggs, and shrimps. Grilled on both side and topped with mayo, Bonita flakes and wasabi.Charcoal grilled abalones and escargots
Fried squid with a multitude of seasonings to choose from Plum candies Pig feet  Eggs cooked by tea leavesBlack sugar cubes. Drinks made from winter melons with black sugar. Waffles with some special flavors: caramel green tea, Yu-Ching mango 
This entire stand is based on the chicken pieces that this man pulled and shredded by hand A variety of handmade dried tofu: sha cha, original and spicy 
This is luxurious night market eating because these people got seats. Most of us eat out of a paper box or a plastic bag while walking and browsing.

Do you think you would enjoy something like this?

Typhoon Soudelor in Taipei, Taiwan – Taiwanese People Are Crazy!

Soudelor was felt in the early morning between 3am and 9am on Saturday, 8/8/15 in Taipei, Taiwan. My high-rise building (I am on the 12th floor) swayed gently by the howling wind. It felt like a an earthquake and was unsettling. Sirens from the police and the EMTs were non-stop last night.

By 3:30pm in the afternoon, bakeries, movie theaters, clothing stores, Seven-Eleven, Family Mart, Dominos, local restaurants, pharmacies, and general merchandising stores are all open and ready for business. Many people were out helping to clean up the streets. I was out running.
     Soudelor exited Taiwan about an hour ago at 2pm. The MRTs are still shut down but the buses and taxis are everywhere. Taipei is almost back to business; Taiwanese people are crazy.

Hear the wind howling?