Sometimes in my life, circumstances collide and allow me to do something really fun things, even if they are for work. Over the last two weeks, due to the opening of a new Nike store in Taipei and the Nike Taipei Women’s Half Marathon, I was privilged enough to spend 10 days in Taipei!
Even better, for the first few days, when not working, my co-worker and I had some free time that one doesn’t usually have on business trips. In fact, from looking at my social media, it looked like all I had was free time to go eat. I assure you that wasn’t the case – it’s not like I was taking photos of me sitting in the hotel writing PowerPoint presentations. People actually looked at the photos that my colleague Tracy and I put up on Instagram and WeChat and thought we weren’t working. We were, we just had free time in the evening to go on a #taipeifattour.
First restaurant – I know this is useless without a name and address, but Yongkang Street is a famous eating street in Taipei’s Eastern district. I’m not sure I’d recommend this restaurant again – but there’s a bunch of other stuff to eat in the neighborhood, including the original Din Tai Fung and Kao Chi, which I saw in everyone else’s photos, but we didn’t get a chance to eat at. It was a Northern Chinese (Dongbei Cai) restaurant. Just looking at the food shots – it wasn’t even that interesting a food place, so let’s just move on.
The second night, we met up with our friend and former colleague Jordan for some good homestyle Taiwanese cuisine.
Red cooked beef noodles, green bean congee, Taiwanese small plates, bitter cabbage.
Homestyle tofu and century egg. Taiwanese food has a habit of looking unappetizing, yet tasting amazing.
With Tracy, Jordan and me!
We then went to Tunghua Night Market for Douhua (tofu dessert)
My douhua. You may remember I went to Tunghua with Jordan last time.
On Saturday morning, Tracy and I went to the famous Yonghe District for breakfast at the World Soymilk Magnate . There’s a million places in Taipei (and all over the world to be sure) called stuff like “Yonghe Soybean King” but they’re all based on this one, which is the original and most famous, having been serving breakfast all day here since 1954.
Here they are cooking up a batch of you tiao or savory Chinese crullers.
Tracy with her hot soybean milk (doujiang)
World Soymilk Magnate.
Breakfast spread including you tiao, egg pancakes and sticky rice roll
Taipei has some of the best Japanese food outside of Japan in the world. In fact, I’d argue that the best Japanese food in Taipei is better than most of the Japanese food in Japan. The old Taipei fish market, while not serving it’s original purpose, has been bought by a restaurant company and turned into a combination several restaurants and fish supermarket collectively called Aquatic Addiction Development. Coincidentally, my friend Charinee happened to be in Taipei at the same time as me, and suggested going here for sushi.
First, it’s super crowded, and the wait to get a spot at the sushi bar during busy periods can be around an hour. It’s pretty worth it.
We’re pretty hungry in this pic.
This uni was fantastic. Just tasted like the sea, and everything good about seafood.
Here’s our first order of nigri. The o-toro, unagi, ebi are all excellent, but pretty standard. The white fish, lightly seared, on the left? I’ve never had anything like it. I don’t know what it’s called in japanese . . . and Charinee thinks it’s flounder, but she isn’t sure. I don’t know the Chinese name for it either? It’s a oily fish, and the light sear brings out this amazing buttery taste. In fact, sitting here now almost two weeks later, I can still remember the taste and texture of this on my tongue. It’s very close to my favorite sushi piece I’ve ever eaten.
This is excitement
Sashimi – the tuna literally melted in our mouths.
We liked the flounder (?) so much, we put in another order.
This may have been one of my favorite meals of the trip. And that’s saying a lot, because I ate extremely well.
Another day, another dinner – I met up with Jordan again for vegetarian udon noodles. This place was located in the alleys behind Chunghsiao East Road, Section 4 in the neighborhood near Tunhua Road. This was the hot and happening area when I used to visit Taipei for work 14 years ago – it’s still relatively hot, but it feels like more people are hanging out in Hsinyi near City Hall.
Cold sesame udon with kimchee and a soft poached egg.
Here’s Jordan’s order with the black sesame tofu, the cabbage rolls, and this tasty vegetarian wrap thingy. I don’t remember where this restaurant was, but if you ask in the comments, I can ask Jordan.
After dinner, Jordan took me to a Taiwanese ice place. What’s the difference between ice and ice cream? No dairy products, so supposedly healthier. This is taro ice.
Monday was Dragon Boat Festival, and in another lucky conincidence, my friend Abbie happened to also be in town from Hong Kong. We met up with friends (and celebrity family) Alex and Jackie for Sichuan at Sichuan Wu Chao Shou
Here’s the signature dish
Abs, me and the signature dish
We had a very very full dinner here, and the food was excellent. I’d go as far as to say it is my favorite Sichaun restaurant I’ve ever eaten at – Sichaun restaurants actually in Sichaun are way too spicy for me. But this place didn’t have the rough flavors that many Sichaun places have – and combined with the excellent oil cooked beef and the steamed yams and ribs, this would be a favorite place of mine if I lived in Taipei.
Of course, what should you do when you’re really full and satiated? Go out for fried chicken afterwards. Alex knows this place in the north of the city. Taipei First Store Popcorn Chicken King
So for Taiwanese salty fried chicken (it’s really called that) you pick out what you want deep fried. It’s not just chicken pieces, but also things like mushrooms, basil leaves, beef and pork tripe, various vegetables.
Like a state fair in the US, you could even get deep fried Oreos!
Fried chicken and deep fried basil
Jackie may be a model and tv hostess, but she still enjoys fried chicken (but not too much, apparently she had a stomach ache afterwards)
I’m going to stop here, since I just checked and I still have a ton of photos.