Wanderlust Taiwan- RaoHe Street Night Market Beef Noodle Soup, 饒河街齒牛香很不好吃

This is the RaoHe Street night market 饒河街夜市 beef noodle soup experience. We went in because the place was packed with people. It was one of the few places that had a store front, running fan, cold bottled water for the foreigners, and AC. As a rule of thumb, a restaurant overflowed with diners is probably a good bet. I was wrong. I think this was the worst meal I had in Taiwan this summer.See the menu behind the man who was staring at the camera? The night market noodle soups are in general about $1 to $1.5 USD cheaper than those in a slightly more up-scale restaurant. Read the other beef noodle post, click here.紅油炒手 Dumplings in hot chili sauce, a famous Sichuan dish. This was good. The sauce on the freshly cooked dumplings that were still tender and warm made the dish. The green veggies balanced out the spiciness.紅燒半筋半肉Braised half tendon and half beef noodle soup. It was tasteless. I don’t know how they stay in business.牛筋和海帶, Beef tendon/kelp/tofu. Meh and blah. We mixed these into other dishes and added a lot more sauce to make them ok to swallow.泡菜, Taiwanese pickled vegetables. Best dish of the night.

The restaurant was busy because they had a store front, tables and chairs, and efficient management of the diners. The wait staff is extremely efficient to usher you in and out. Because of their efficiency, they are able to let you sit down in an air-conditioned room, resting your sore feet from walking the night market. This is the reason why the restaurant was busy. This is how they stay in business by working on the peripherals and not the main product. It absolutely had nothing to do with the quality of their food!

Taiwanese food is almost always yummy and excellent. Having a bad meal is blasphemy in my book. Yuck! 台北市饒河街齒牛香的牛肉麵難吃。真丟臉啊!

This experience took place at

No. 104, Raohe St,
Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 105

 

 

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- Brother Hotel, 兄弟大飯店, for Authentic Taiwanese Cusine

There are usually confusions about Taiwan: whether Taiwan is a part of China and whether Taiwan has its own cuisine.  The answer is no and yes, respectively. Taiwan is its own country and has a distinct culture and personality. Most importantly, it’s democratic with no censorship. Food wise, the Taiwanese cuisine certainly has its uniqueness. Here are examples from the Orchid Restaurant, 蘭花廳, in Brother Hotel in Taipei.Boiled Bamboo Shoots to be eaten with mayo. Sweet Potato Congee. 地瓜稀飯。The sweetness of the potato was infused into the congee. Baby Yam Leaves stirred-fried with garlic. Taiwanese cuisine is famous for using fresh ingredients and minimal cooking.  This is a perfect example. Boiled Shrimps with shells. 燙溫仔蝦。Nothing beats fresh seafood, especially the ones that were just caught in the morning. Omelette with pickled vegetables 
Fried Milkfish, 煎虱目魚肚- This is a popular fish in South East Asia.  The fish belly which is what we had is extremely tender, soft and smooth.Stewed Chicken with three cups of rice wine. 三杯雞Red bean soup for dessert. 紅豆湯。Bean soup for dessert?  You would have never thought it could be so tasty and healthy.

Simple cooking.  Fresh ingredients. Minimal processing. Food for healthy living and longevity. These are the principles behind most of Taiwanese dishes.

This experience took place at

Brother Hotel’s Orchid Restaurant
兄弟大飯店的蘭花廳
台北市南京東路三段255號
TEL:02-27123456(總機)    FAX:02-27173334    E-mail:service@brotherhotel.com.tw

Wanderlust Taiwan: Wonton Specialty House, 御廚房 – Cheap and High Quality Eats

This is a small place, 御廚房, right off the Liuzhangli MRT station on the Wenshan train line. With no research, we walked in for dinner. I was exhausted from a long day and did not even realize that they are known for their wontons until now. It’s a local place that has seating for maybe 15 people.


Pork and Vegetable Dumplings 鮮肉高麗菜餃:Easily rival if not better than the Dumpling House I went to in Flushing. $60 TWD or $2 USD.

Shredded Pork and Pickled Vegetable Soup with Noodles 榨菜肉絲湯麵: This is my daughter’s favorite noodle dish in Taiwan.  She gave it a thumbs up. The broth was packed with flavors from the pickled vegetables and the pork. Very well executed. $60 TWD or $2 USD.

Today’s Vegetable 燙青菜: Blanched and sautéed with a little Taiwanese Bolognese sauce. This is the reasons why I never liked a cold salad nor can I ever be a vegetarian.  Vegetables are so much better when sautéed with a little meat sauce.

Total Bill: $150 TWD or approximately $5 USD.

Who wouldn’t come back to a place like this? High quality food that is all about substance and value. They even have the AC running! Next time, I will order the wonton.

This experience took place at

御廚房
台北市崇德街二號
This is right next to the Taiwanese crepe place.