Showing posts with label Taipei. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Taipei. Show all posts

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Taipei binging trip day 5 (last round)

It went by in a flash and we were already on the last day of our trip in Taiwan.  We woke up early to go to the Taipei International Flora Exposition 2011 where we heard it was a must see attraction, and people were lining up as early as 7 am.  Well, I wouldn't and couldn't wake up that early to go line up even if I try, so we got up and left for the expo just right before 9.  Once we arrived and saw the state of the lineup, and out of all the lineups I had seen on this trip, this one was actually the longest I had ever seen in my LIFE!  It was so long that we couldn't even see where the line ended.  After finding a spot to line up, it would've taken us at least an hour an a half to get inside an exhibition hall.  I guess it could have been a much longer wait.
OMG! (I was standing at the other end of the same lineup which looped around)



Canada exhibit!
Thailand exhibit!
Sonnentor Cafe
After a couple hours of roaming around the expo, I was already feeling the heat stroke in my "winter gear". Apparently, Taipei had been very chilly except for that day when it was sunny and deemed as the hottest day in the season (of course!).  While the flowers were beautiful and we still had more than half of exposition to explore, I was dying from the heat and dehydration (and once again we were getting hungry).  So we left the expo and searched for a nice, cool, relaxing place to have lunch.  We ended up at Sonnentor Cafe, an organic cafe which is located in the Shilin district.  Offering selections of European fare, bakery, tea and coffee, Sonnentor Cafe has been gaining reputation for their quality products made from fresh and organic ingredients.  We arrived the cafe just passed the lunch rush. The ambiance was cozy, warm and welcoming.  The patio situated at the front was lush with the botanical garden surrounding the area, which had put us to a calm and serene state after a long morning in the sun.
 

 

Set lunch menu with soup, salad, entree, and a beverage

A platter of organic bread
I believe Sonnentor Cafe is also well known for its fresh, organic bread.  We had tried an interesting variety such as the whole wheat with orange peel and it was pleasantly different, and zesty.  All of the bread were incredibly fresh, and they had the best texture I've ever had.  They were soft, yet slightly doughy and firmness when being pulled apart. They were served with tangy tomato aioli instead of butter, nonetheless, they were just as great on their own.
Starter salad with orange yogurt dressing
Hearty bowl of onion soup

Creamy Fettuccine  with eggs and bacon
Fettuccine with roast vegetables gratin
Cheesy!

Pesto chicken fettuccine

Napoleon for dessert
Ending things off
Once again, we pretty much shared our dishes so we could sample all the varieties.  The portions were very large and we had nothing to complain about the quality.  Everything from the bread to the dessert were delicious.  The onion soup had a rich tasting broth that was well balanced and not too salty. The starter salad was a fair size with refreshing dressing.  The fettuccine noodles in the pasta dishes were a bit thicker than average and held the sauces very well.  The Napoleon was nothing short of amazing either.  The pastry was crispy, light, and melted in my mouth with sweet cream and giant strawberries tucked inside.  Wow, that was a really good meal with a very relaxing atmosphere.  The price was more than reasonable for the value, starting at only NT 280 (or close to $10).  It was a steal!  I would definitely come back here for lunch and pick up bread the next time I'm visiting Taiwan.

Soon, the aftermath started to take effect when too much carbs at the table to make us feel really sleepy.   But it was time to go back and pack before heading home.  Thanks so much Ivy and family for being such great hosts and showing us around.  We had a great visit with tons of great eats, and can't wait to come back again!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taipei binging trip day 4 (my pants don't fit!)

Dan Shui/Tam Sui

 
After a quick recovery from all day shopping and all night food hopping from the previous day, we geared up and set off to a new adventure.  Ivy brought us to Dan Shui (Tamsui) district, which is located by and named after Dan Shui River.  The area is also very popular among locals and tourists for historical attractions, picturesque riverside, and, of course, food shops!  By now, we knew better to wear loose fitting clothes and comfy shoes.  This place was even more packed than the night market, if that was possible..  Once again, stay close and don't lose each other in the crowd!!

Red bean and custard cake shop. How cute is the sign!!
They're not stinging out on the filling at all!


Local specialty: A-gei
Agei = Tofo skin wrapped glass noodles topped with fish paste served with spicy sauce.
Local specialty: Steel/iron eggs
Homemade preserved plums
Shop that makes mango jelly with creamy liquid inside. Neat!
Exploding rice cracker shop
Different seasoning on exploding rice crackers
Rice crackers come flying out of this little machine!
Dan Shui riverside
As we were nibbling on snacks and enjoying the scenery, we suddenly heard a nice traditional melody being played.  We stopped to listen and wondered if it was a CD player, even contemplating to buy a copy as a souvenir.  There was a large crowd gathering around the music ten so I got up on the bench to have a better look. What I saw was a middle age blind woman singing live music and playing on the piano.  We, amongst other visitors, were mesmerized by her beautiful voice and couldn't help but stop and listen to her music.  Here's a short clip of her performance, she should be on TV!

  


Traditional Taiwanese peanut ice cream wrap
Thin crepe, shaved peanut brilltles, ice cream, and CILANTRO!
Surprisingly AWESOME!
Deep fried shredded taro wrapped durian, if you don't mind the smell!
A-Gei and Dan Shui fish balls filled with meat on Zhenli St.
A-Gei tastes like Thai sukiyaki! Spicy, savory, with a little bit of bean curd pungency.
A romantic stroll watching sunset

Lovers' Bridge
Late night dessert at "Shui Gui Bo"
After a long trip back from Dan Shui and a quick rest, we were off the a famous dessert shop around Beitou area which had just reopened after Chinese New Year holidays.  We arrived the dessert shop Shui Gui Bo to face yet another long line up, which by now we were already used to.   We had just spent the last 2 days walking amongst the crowds of thousands of people and waiting in line with at least 20 people everywhere we went.  The dessert shop was decorated with antique display reminiscent of the traditional country lifestyle.
A cute old school local front door display

Oh look, more lineup!
It's not really a surprise anymore, and not good without either!
Chicken in ginseng broth from next door
Various dessert toppings such as red bean, grass jelly, glutenous rice dumplins, barley
Glutenous rice balls simmering in a pot of brown sugar broth
Another tsua bing dessert with a variety of toppings
Tsua Bing = Shaved ice dessert. 
Giant glutenous rice balls that were simmering were tossed in a mixture of ground peanuts, sugar and sesame
While we were in Taiwan, Ivy introduced us to the term "Q Q", a slang which describes the texture of rice balls, or dumplings.  When something is described as "Q Q", it means that it has the right bounciness and chewiness, not too hard and too soft; just perfect.  When I tried the multi-coloured glutenous rice balls, my first response was "Q.....Q!!".  It was perfectly cooked and delicious that I was glad there was a term to describe it to the very tee. The shaved ice dessert also comes with a crackling twist.  Pop rocks are sprinkled on top before consuming and you get a nice fizz and pop in your mouth after taking a spoonful of the dessert. The bowls were huge, massive, actually.  Unless you are hungry or really ambitious, you're probably better off splitting the treat with someone.  It was a late night snack we feasted on right before we went to sleep.  Another yummy chapter added along with the weight we gained from this trip.