Beef noodling

Here’s a secret. Up until recently, I thought Taiwanese Beef Noodles were overrated. *GASP*. Yes, it’s true.

Let’s go back a bit: Beef Noodle Soup is one of the National Dishes of Taiwan. In fact, it has it’s own wikipedia entry:

Beef noodle soup is a Chinese and Taiwanese noodle soup made of stewed or red braised beef, beef broth, vegetables and Chinese noodles. It exists in various forms throughout East Asia and Southeast Asia. Stewed beef noodle soup was first created by the Hui people (a Chinese Muslim ethnic group) during the Tang Dynasty of China. The red braised beef noodle soup was invented by the veterans in Kaoshiung, Taiwan who fled from mainland China during the Chinese civil war.

Here’s the wiki link

With all of the times I had been to Taiwan plus additionally all of the Taiwan eateries in Shanghai, I’d eaten beef noodle soup dozens of times. And I always thought “huh, it’s ok . . .but national dish? It’s no Hainan Chicken Rice”

Turns out, my issue was not getting it from a really good place.

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Off to the other side of the straits

Until I flew over, I didn’t realize it had actually been 4 years since my last visit to Taipei, but it’s a real shame, because Taipei is one of my favorite cities in east Asia.

As a tourist, there’s actually not THAT much to do there, unless you’re really really into the Imperial Museum, or eating, but as a mini-break from being in China, and, again, as someplace to eat well, then Taipei is great.

First off, one of the more charming things about the city is both how nice the people are and how provincial the city seems. While beset by all the problems of a large modern metropolis, Taipei’s citizens are overwhelmingly nice. So while dealing with pollution, economic stress, traffic, the people of Taipei uniformly put on good cheer, are polite and are decidedly not grumpy, which already is a welcome change from Shanghai.

I have to stop here and mention one thing – for a long portion of my life, I had a terrible image of Taiwan. And I’m going to say it was completely unfair. But here’s the background. When I was young, my maternal grandfather visited Los Angeles. I’m not sure how many times he came, but it was either once or twice. He treated the entire large Chung family out to dinner in Arcadia or Monterey Park or some San Gabriel Asian bedroom community. That meal was not only one of the worst Chinese meals, it was one of the worst meals I’ve ever eaten. Cold, insipid food. I may not even be remembering correctly, but we thought it was a Taiwanese restaurant. Strike one.

Then when I went to Cal, my roommate Rich and I fell into an anti-Taiwanese state of mind. Possibly because we were two Cantonese guys surrounded by a bunch of Taiwanese guys or more likely our neighbor Fred who was Taiwanese and he never failed at any opportunity to show off how much money he had or tell us how terrible a school Cal was – he eventually transferred to UPenn/Wharton.

Anyways, I missed a lot with this anti-Taiwanese attitude until I started to go for work in the late 90s and early 2000s and fell in love with the country and the city of Taipei and now its one of my favorites.

With four years between trips, I used the excuse of the 2013 Taipei Fubon (half) Marathon to fly over and re-discover the city.

The first stop: Night Markets! We went to Tonghua in Xinyi District – which is near Taipei 101 and city hall. It’s the not the big night market, but it’s central and food focused.

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Singapore in Shanghai

Newly opened iAPM Mall has been talked about quite a bit here in Shanghai.

Three years ago, during my last visit to Singapore three years ago, Mylinh and Sandra took me to Jumbo Seafood at East Coast Parkway Seafood Centre. Recently Jumbo Seafood opened in iAPM and we went down to check it out.

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Accidental Thanksgiving

So there I was with a couple of co-workers after the Shanghai marathon after party pre-party. Yes, that’s right it was the after-party pre-party.

Instead of continuing on to the actual after-party, we decided that dinner would be a preferable option, so we decided on nearby Madison to get something to eat.

Now, due to having to prepare for the Shanghai Marathon, I skipped Thanksgiving this year, and was very sad about it. I mean, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday with the turkey and gravy and mashed potatoes and stuffing and, well, it makes me hungry even now to think about it.

So when we walked into Madison, we were pleasantly surprised to hear they were doing Sunday night dinner: Thanksgiving. 300 RMB for all we could eat turkey, stuffing, green beans, etc. etc.

We were in!

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Running Shanghai

So the Shanghai Marathon came and went again – and I ran it. It was awesome!

First, something new we did, we listed every single runner’s names at the Marathon Expo. Here Tracy and I point out our names!

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Crab crab crab crab

My co-worker Elton was given a case of Shanghai hairy crabs, but with no way to cook them, he asked if I had a steamer. Well, of course I do! We called some colleagues, made some side dishes and served … Continue reading

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Upteenth Post about Hong Kong

Long time readers of youusedtobealright will remember that a couple of years ago, I screwed up a trip to Cambodia to meet my friend Brian Hopkins and only ended up seeing him for breakfast in Siem Reap. (post here)

So when he emailed me that he was going to Hong Kong, I decided to fly down and meet him and hang out in HK for yet another weekend.

First, I ran into my friend Suda on the street on my way to eat scrambled eggs for breakfast. Since I didn’t really have the time to go to Australia Dairy Company, we settled for almost-as-good Hokkaido Dairy Milk Farm.

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Airpocalypse 2013

So you’ve probably seen the hundreds of stories about the pollution in China and air quality and how terrible it is to live here.

Those are all pretty much true. However, the last week or so, an temperature inversion has capped Shanghai, not allowing the pollution to escape. Thus . . . airpocalypse. There’s a AQI scale – usually bad days in Shanghai are in the high 200s or low 300’s.

Today? We’ve gone off index.

View out my window this morning.

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Northern Barbarians

The guy who sits next to me at work was having his birthday and he said he wanted hot pot. I suggested Dong Lai Shun a Beijing chain which is famous for it’s “shuang yang rou” – thinly sliced lamb in an old style hot pot. He was in.

This is just going to be a series of shots of lamb and eating.

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RUN HAI

Wow. Look at that. So many days without posts. No excuses – but some catching up.

First, a couple of weeks ago, we had some global running folks in from Oregon, with including some of Portland’s Stumprunners hosted by Nike China and Shanghai’s Dark Runners.

We went down to Xuhui Binjiang and ran the famous riverside run at a pace much faster than I’m used to normally. Time to get those miles up.

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