Sunday, January 22, 2012

eating my way through taipei...

Spent the whole day in Taipei, eating my way through the city, waiting for transition to happen. Again I ate at places that were recommended on hungry girl's blog. I was craving Vietnamese food so the first stop of the day was Yue Yuan Pho or Savoy.

yue yuan pho
The restaurant is on a street filled with restaurants and all the trees made it hard to spot the restaurant, just look for the bight yellow sign. Anyone who goes with me to eat Vietnamese food knows I only order one dish, not being a big fan of pho or rather boiled meat, barbeque pork with rice. I'm sure as people know depending on where you are food is served depending on the tastes of the people. For me the biggest difference I've seen in food is with the barbeque pork with rice. In nor-cal the pork is grilled and amazing. In so-cal the pork was either the Chinese barbequed pork, char siu, or canned pork that is grey in color, super disgusting. I definitely recommend the pork at Yue Yuan Pho, succulent and flavorful. I wished this restaurant had fish sauce but they only had hoi-sen and sriracha.
barbequed pork chop with rice
There are two different options for the rice dishes, one that comes with an egg roll and egg or one with just the meat by itself. The fuller meal for the pork cost $150 NT while the meat only option cost $90 NT. Rice costs $10 NT and isn't listed on the menu but you can request it.

From there we walked to find a photography store, Tokyo Masamune. I recently purchased a Fuji Instax Mini 25 and wanted to buy a bag for it. Trying to locate the restaurant and store in Taipei has given me insight on how streets work in Taiwan and to read a street map. There are a ton of big streets in Taipei that consist of several car lanes, these streets are given names which are the ones on the street maps. The road is divided into sections, not more than four or five. Streets that come off the big street are called lanes and streets that come off of the lanes are called alleys. Lanes and alleys are numbered and in order to locate them you need to be in the correct section off of the big street. It is such a weird concept for me that not each individual street has its own name.

tokyo masamune
A few buildings down they have second shop that is way smaller but has a wall full of stickers. If people are interested in lomography or instant film photography, this store is a must visit. I was still a little hungry so took the MRT to the next eating place. I've been dying to try Chao Zhou Bao Zi's cheese and bacon baos mentioned by hungry girl because it sounds like such a unique combination in a bao!
chao zhou bao zi
cheese and pork bao
I'm not sure if this is the cheese and bacon bao mentioned by hungry girl but my friend stated that this was the only cheese bao. This bao contained cheese and pork and cost $20 NT. The bao would have been better without the pork. The pork was good but it just distracted from the awesomeness of the cheese. The cheese was so amazing and I wanted to buy another after taking just one bite. The cheese is reminiscent of cheese on pizza, flavored with garlic and whatnot. If you turn back and walk straight across, through the big intersection at ZhongXiao East Road, and keep going for another two blocks you'll end up hitting a store called Mogoo. If you love kettle corn I recommend this store!
american original
Mogoo sells kettle corn in a variety of different flavors from caramel to seaweed. Be warned that the other flavors are on top of the already sweetened flavor you get with kettle corn. This kettle corn tends to be more sweet than salty but is the closest I've found to my beloved kettle corn from the UCSD vendor fairs. The shop only sold two sizes, a bucket that cost $110-$130 NT, depending on the flavor, and a smaller size that came in a resealable bag ($90-$110). I bought the bucket of American Original for $110 NT. The food eating continued into the night with a stop at the Raohe Night Market.

This market isn't as popular as the Shilin Night Market with tourists but the market was super crowded. I'm not sure if its usually this crowded or because everyone was in Taipei to celebrate New Year's Eve. I felt like this market with the crowd was worst than Shilin because while there are humongous crowds in Shilin there is also more space. The most popular thing at the Raohe Night Market is the black pepper buns which I didn't try because there was such a long line for it. Did try a pork bone soup and some Indian cuisine.

The pork bone soup wasn't even comparable to the soup my grandma makes. Also after finishing the soup there was a strong aftertaste of what I assume is MSG. The lǔròu fàn (braised pork rice) wasn't impressive at this stall at all. Then got to fill up on some Indian food.

allah din indian kitchen
chicken kabab
The night ended with shawarma! Brings back wonderful memories of gobbling down shawarmas all around Spain and Italy because they were the cheapest thing around. We asked for it to be spicy and it was! My mouth was burning as I was eating this. I forgot the price of the wrap but I think it was a little less than $100 NT. Of course I didn't spend my whole day eating even if it looks that way. I'll post all the touristy stuff I did later.

The Details 
Yue Yuan Pho (Savoy)
No. 12, Lane 155, Dun Hua N. Road
tel: 02-2718-0660
M-F 11:00-14:30, 17:30-21:00   Sat & Sun 11:30-21:00
-They have several restaurants located around Taipei check their website for the locations.

Tokyo Masamune
No. 2, Alley 7, Lane 346, Bade Road, Sec 2
tel: 02-2777-3036
M-F 11:00-21:00  Sat & Sun 13:00-21:00
website: Yahoo Auction  (Chinese only)
facebook: Tokyo Masamune

Chao Zhou Bao Zi
No. 52, Lane 216, ZhongXiao E. Road, Sec. 4
tel: 02-2773-8371
MRT: SYS Memorial Hall or ZhongXiao/DunHua

Mogoo Popcorn
No. 2, Alley 10, Lane 223, Zhong Xiao East Road, Sec 4
MRT: SYS Memorial Hall or ZhongXiao/DunHua
website: (Chinese only)
-Check website for other locations around Taipei

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