Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Tasting Taipei, Random Food Finds

Wherever we found ourselves in Taipei, we found something good to eat.

Kamikawa Japan Ramen
No 18 Gongyuan Rd. Zhongzheng District, Taipei City (above Chunghwa Telecom)
11AM to 230PM / 4PM to 9PM
While waiting for my companion to finish her business in Chunghwa Telecom, I hung around outside the shop and found a pink poster with Chinese characters and pictures of ramen. A few minutes later, a lady planted herself across from me and started giving out flyers. She handed out a flyer to everyone who passed by but never attempted to give me one. I thought, "the place must need customers for them to be handing out flyers." I squinted my eyes and tried to see what was on those flyers. The flyers were pink and had pictures of bowls of noodles. I asked for one. A quick glance at the flyer and I immediately wanted to eat there. Why? The price was irresistible (NT$79~119, about Php120~180) compared to prices of ramen in Cebu!

I convinced the group to try out the place and we found the entrance behind Chunghwa Telecom. The restaurant is called Kamikawa Japan Ramen and is located right above Chunghwa Telecom. I was surprised to find the place so crowded; we had to sit in a row and share a table with a group of girls. And then remove ourselves right after eating, to give way to other hungry customers.

We had the miso ramen (NT$119), tofu (NT$39), and gyudon or beef rice topping (NT$79).  Kamikawa Japan Ramen's food was satisfying and generous. No wonder the place was crowded.

Directions to Kamikawa Japan Ramen: Take the Tamsui–Xinyi (Red) or Bannan (Blue) Line to Taipei Main Station, exit 8. (See map.)

No. 29 Zhongpo North Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City
1130AM to 11PM

Yentl Pasta was found on our way to Wufenpu, the wholesale garment area. We were too hungry to look for Taiwanese food that we settled on the first restaurant we saw: Yentl Pasta, an Italian restaurant. This restaurant, like Modern Toilet, required a minimum spend (I forgot how much) per person.

I am not a big pasta person, just a big (as in fat) small (as in 1–inch tall) person...I wanted anything but pasta, but everyone was too hungry and I did not want to be eaten alive and we were enjoying the air–conditioning too much (the Taiwan summer sun was just mad; never go in August!).

We shared a plate of cheese sticks (Yum! Fat mozzarella sticks!) and individually ordered our meals. I had chicken breast and garlic spaghetti (NT$168)—tangy; I liked it—and added NT$88 to make it a set with vegetable soup, salad with Japanese dressing, creme brulee, and peach and melon tea. That's over my budget, so why the set? Because I wanted dessert and the peach drink :D

Directions to Yentl Pasta: Take the Bannan (Blue) Line to Houshanpi Station, exit 1. (See map.)

No. 25 Chang'an West Rd, Datong District, Taipei City
7AM to 1130PM

After a visit to the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Taipei, we passed by a bakery/cafe with a dazzling display of cakes with strawberries. I lingered a minute or two in front of the display, then dragged everyone into Cafe 85°C and bought these cakes: strawberry (NT$40), chocolate strawberry (NT$45), and crepe cake (NT$65). Both the strawberry and chocolate strawberry cakes were delicious that I wish I had more. The crepe cake was okay—my standard for crepe cake having been set by the crepe cakes of Nadeje in Melaka, Malaysia (I haven't found crepe cakes as good as or better than Nadeje's).

Directions to Cafe 85°C: Cafe 85°C has many branches in Taipei. The one we discovered is near MOCA Taipei. To get there, take the Tamsui–Xinyi (Red) Line to Zhongshan Station, exit 1. (See map.)

Hei Mien Tsai
Foodcourt in The Eslite Spectrum (beside Songshan Cultural and Creative Park)
No. 88 Yanchang Rd, Xinyi District, Taipei City
Our stomachs were rumbling when we arrived in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park—it was almost lunch time. The happy faces on the food trucks in the park beckoned to us, but upon closer inspection, the happy faces of the trucks revealed just snack items. We decided to go inside The Eslite Spectrum just beside the park, to find something that would resemble lunch. 

The foodcourt, on Eslite Spectrum's basement, was buzzing with people and because our stomachs were rumbling incessantly, we decided to eat at the first shop we spotted that had a vacant table. Hei Mien Tsai for lunch it was.

I don't know the name of my food; the menu was in Chinese. What I do know is that the NT$110 I spent for this lunch (a set meal of noodles with veggies and sausages and a large drink) was well spent...except for the drink, which, I'm sorry to say, I chucked in the bin after two sips (it was cold bitter tea, eeyuckk).

Directions to The Eslite Spectrum: Take the Bannan (Blue) Line to Sun Yat Sen (SYS) Memorial Hall Station, exit 5. (See map.)

No. 37 Chengdu Rd. Wanhua District, Taipei City
I had to squeeze between people milling about along Chengdu Road. That's when I noticed that they were queueing for milk tea. Ding, ding! Taiwan is the home of milk tea or bubble tea. Next thought: join the crowd and buy one. There was a row of different milk tea shops along Chengdu Road and I picked the one I was nearest to: Comebuy (or maybe it was really the name that called out to me to "Come, buy!").

I tried the classic milk tea with pearls just to see if it differed in taste from the pearl milk tea that I usually get from Chatime in Cebu. Nope, tastes the same. The only difference? The price. This large cup from Comebuy cost me NT$40 (or Php60); this drink would cost Php90 in Cebu.

Directions to Comebuy: Comebuy and other milk tea shops are just about everywhere! But if you want to know how to get to this branch, take the Bannan (Blue) Line to Ximen Station, exit 6. (See map.)

Taiwan Series:
Tourist Visa for Taiwan
Taiwan Preparations
What's in a (Business) Name? Taiwan
Wisdom from the Road #20
Welcome to Taiwan
Taipei Accommodation: Fun Taipei Backpackers
Free Taipei Tourist Stops
Wisdom from the Road #21
Taipei: An Artist's Playground
House Visits: Shilin Main Presidential Residence and Lin Family Mansion and Garden
Life in Mini
Time to Count My Money, Taiwan
Tasting Taipei, Starting with Breakfast
Tasting Taipei, Splurge Section
Tasting Taipei, Shilin Market
Tasting Taipei, Random Food Finds (you're here!)

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