Showing posts from March, 2017

[Taipei, Taiwan] - 藍家割包/Lanjia Gua Bao

If you've ever wondered where the best pork belly buns are, it's right here, at 藍家割包/Lanjia Gua Bao. Call them  割包, gua bao, kua bao, pork belly buns, tiger bites pig, whatever you will. They have gained a lot of popularity thanks to Eddie Huang and his Bao Haus, David Chang's flat weird ones from Momofuku, and most likely the ease of comparing them to a "Chinese hamburger." Either way, they are delicious when done right. The ones here have a super fluffy bun that has a touch of sweetness ( 包  perfection!), and it's filled with semi sweet stewed pork, crushed peanuts, pickled veggies, and cilantro. You can choose just the lean pork, just the fat, or both. Do yourself a favor and at least get the 50/50 once before passing judgement. Don't order the lean pork and say you've had one!  After gobbling down that delicious morsel and ignoring the regret of only having one, wash it down with a nice bowl of steaming hot soup. They have a few choices. We or

[Taipei, Taiwan] - Central Park Cafe 中央公園咖啡館

In high school, my friends would argue that they're a "Monica" or laugh about being a "Phoebe." They would have heated discussions about who was the most attractive - Chandler, Ross, or Joey. Who were these people? What made them so great? And why does everyone want "The Rachel"? At a friend's house, I saw a poster of the six of them drinking milk shakes. It looked really corny. My friend said to me, "God, I just love Jennifer Aniston. She's just so gorgeous!" Fast forward 5-10 years to when I catch up to their age. I get it now. That I'm-done-with-college-what-do-I-do-now phase (which, incidentally, Ave Q the Musical addresses really well!). While it's not 100% accurate (are you really looking for real life accuracy in a TV sitcom? It might be kind of depressing) and does miss out on the diverse cultures of NYC, but it is still an entertaining show. I was late to join the Friends party, but I got there circa season 7 and

[Taipei, Taiwan] - 穆記小吃牛肉麵館/Mù jì xiǎochī niúròu miànguǎn

Based on quite a few recommendations, I made my way over to 穆記小吃牛肉麵. It's located in a small neighborhood a ten minute walk away from the Taipei 101 MRT Station. All of the reviews have been stellar, although I have to say, each beef noodle shop has their own collection of followers who all proclaim that theirs is the best. How much is bias based on eating there since youth, or it being their first beef noodle experience, I can't say. What I do know is that this isn't exactly on my top 5 list.  Have you watched that scene in Sex and the City where the door greeter/waiter yells at Carrie, "Singles at the counter! Singles, counter!" That's how I was "greeted" when I entered the shop. Except instead of a counter, I was seated a banquet table with two other families. Everyone ate quietly aside from the slurping. I was given a quick minute to order, and while waiting for my food, was yelled at for taking a picture of the employees working. So, I only

[Taipei, Taiwan] - 紐澳良小廚 Nola Kitchen

NOLA Kitchen was a random find, a suggestion from Facebook. The first time I went was when it was still relatively new (it opened in 2012, I went in 2014).   Due to a data loss, I don't have those pictures of the beignets, au lait, fried green tomatoes, or chicken and waffles. That said, I can't stress enough just how much things have changed from 2014 to December of 2016 when I went this most recent trip.  First of all, the beignets were shaped in Christmas themes. It was cute, actually. Unfortunately, they were a bit too hard, and there wasn't enough powdered sugar (if you aren't sure how much is the right amount, please refer to my Cafe du Monde post - not that I'm expecting NOLA Kitchen to be on that level! There are other beignet shops in New Orleans who can't even get on that level. But I think there's nothing wrong with having goals!). I would suggest if you have the same issue as I did (because it's not consistent. Previous trips have been b

[Tokyo, Japan] - Sushi Kyotatsu / すし京辰 成田空港第1ターミナル制限区域内店

I firmly believe that countrywide, we have a shortage of airports with solid restaurants to eat at. This is why I am extra appreciative of the airports that do give passerby access to food that make you forget you're at an airport. The kind of food you would seek out normally if you felt like having a nice dinner out. As someone who flies a fair amount, I really do appreciate good airport food. Not only that, I know if I don't eat something at the airport, I will be hungry on the plane or have to suffer through eating some weird microwaved lunchables on the plane.  The first time I flew through Narita was on a flight back from Taiwan. This was about ten years ago. The cheapest flight was a United Airlines flight. One of the reasons I don't like United is their constant delays. The flight from Taipei to Tokyo was uneventful, but my flight out from Tokyo to San Francisco was delayed FOUR HOURS. I walked around the entire airport. I walked from one terminal to another. I

[Yilan, Taiwan] - Kavalan Whisky 金車噶瑪蘭威士忌

A few years ago on a flight to Taiwan, I saw advertisements all over the place for Kavalan Whiskey. It was my first time hearing this brand. Upon finding out that it was a Taiwanese brand, I was pretty skeptical. I guess that's what the world thought until Kavalan started winning awards for best whiskey. Curious? Don't believe me? There are various articles abound marveling at the emergence of Kavalan as a whiskey powerhouse: Eater Time The Independent NBC News It only makes sense, Taiwanese people love whiskey. I am not a hard liquor fan typically, especially with age. But, when a whiskey is good, it's good . We decide to take the bus to Yilan and spend a day there eating and checking out the distillery. On the way back, we'll just "swing by" Keelung for some more food. Things to note - the bus to Yilan stops behind the train station, so you'll have to walk around to the front of the station where the bus to the distillery is. If you wan