Archive for the 'Food and Drink' Category

Lei-cha (擂茶), Beipu, Hsinchu County

Lei cha (擂茶) is a traditional Hakka drink that draws a lot of tourists to the small town of Beipu in Hsinchu county.  Literally translated it means “ground” or “pounded” tea, but the name is misleading.  When I think of drinking tea, I envision a relaxing, quiet time sipping away at a light beverage, but this isn’t the case with Lei cha. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Lei cha is a thick, heavily flavoured brew that will probably leave you more thirsty after you drink it. Continue reading ‘Lei-cha (擂茶), Beipu, Hsinchu County’

Taiwanese snacks (台灣 小吃)

Forget cleanliness.  In Taiwan, food and food preparation is much closer to godliness.  This island offers a massive variety of all sorts of delicious/disgusting treats for the foodie.  In addition to the millions of restaurants, there are small snack stalls and food stands peppered all over the island.  This makes it very difficult to stick to a square 3 meals a day because the options for snacking are so varied and so commonplace.  You can barely walk a block without seeing a street vendor hawking some sort of  edible product.  And that’s why I’m still getting fat.

To list all of the available snacks would be an impossible task, and probably take up all my storage space on WordPress.  In addition, you would probably have grandkids by the time you read to the end, so here are a FEW samplings of some of my favourite and not-so-favourite Taiwanese snacks or “small eats” (小吃 – xiao chi). Continue reading ‘Taiwanese snacks (台灣 小吃)’

A-Gei (阿給) restaurant, Danshui

Danshui is a well known tourist attraction north of Taipei.  It sits along the Tamsui river and is a nice, relaxing place to have a small getaway.  Like every touristy spot in Taiwan, there is an “absolute, must try restaurant” that no trip is complete without.  I’ve grown used to these, and most of the time it’s just some dumpling soup, or noodle dish that you could probably get in any restaurant, but it’s supposed to be THE BEST at said location.

With this in mind, I went to A-Gei restaurant, which serves a dish (called A-Gei) that originated in Danshui.  It’s supremely famous – supposedly the first, original restaurant that started selling this type of food.

I’d never heard of it, and of course, wanted to try it. Continue reading ‘A-Gei (阿給) restaurant, Danshui’

Dinner at 狠蝦 (Ruthless Shrimp??) restaurant, Taipei

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Taiwan has a trillion restuarants to pick from.  With this overwhelming choice, a lot of people rely on blog posts written by others to pick out restaurants to try.  When looking for a spot for New Year’s eve dinner, my gf came across one such blog describing a restaurant in Taipei called 狠蝦 (Hen Xia) – literally translated, this means “Ruthless Shrimp”.

Food is generally cheap in Taiwan, but seafood is a little pricier, so when I was informed that this is an all you can eat shrimp buffet, lardbutt inside me started singing with pure joy.  Done deal.  We were going to 狠蝦 or “Ruthless Shrimp” for our dinner.

The restaurant is located on the 2nd floor of a building on Roosevelt Rd in Taipei.  The sign outside has a big shrimp on it and simply says “Shrimp Buffet”: Continue reading ‘Dinner at 狠蝦 (Ruthless Shrimp??) restaurant, Taipei’

Take-out drink bag in Taiwan

Even after a year and a half here, there are still some things that are so strange, one never gets used to seeing them.  Things that, while make sense in a certain way, violate my perception of what’s normal.  The other day, I was at a restaurant when one such thing happened. Continue reading ‘Take-out drink bag in Taiwan’

85° C – the Tim Hortons of Taiwan?

For all you non Canadians, Tim Hortons is the ubiquitous coffee shop in Canada.  They have stores on almost every corner, and I’ve never seen one close – except maybe for renovations.  Hockey dads and moms hit it up before early morning practice,  sleepy eyed office workers make a pit stop there before work, hung over students stumble in prior to class – pretty much every coffee drinker comes by for their daily dose of caffeine – even soldiers posted overseas look forward to when the Timmys kiosk will open on base.  The coffee shop is and probably always will be Canada’s darling. Continue reading ’85° C – the Tim Hortons of Taiwan?’

Disappointment with KFC Taiwan

Since coming to Taiwan, I’ve rarely been to a western fast food joint.  There are too many Taiwanese taste bud tantalizing treats to pig out on, and I’ve been indulging in all of them.  So I was surprised the other day when I got a hankering for the ole Colonel’s secret recipe.  It’s been over a year since I’d bitten into a crispy 2 piece meal, so I figured – what the hell?  Let’s do it. Continue reading ‘Disappointment with KFC Taiwan’

Tom Yum flavoured potato chips and other snacks

My inner fatty has been grumbling and rumbling recently, probably in response to my snack free diet.   So, to broker a ceasefire, I wandered into 7 -11 looking for a lard filled peace offering.  I was perusing the chips when I came across this:


Tom Yum is a Thai preparation (mostly served in soup form).  It’s a very strong, delicious flavour combination of lime, lemon grass and chillies.  Kind of a hot and sour soup with a million more flavours.  I’ve had it before, but never in chip form.  This was the first time, I’d seen potato chips trying to emulate a soup.  Needless to say, fatty was delighted to try it. Continue reading ‘Tom Yum flavoured potato chips and other snacks’

Comebuy teashops

Ximending is the heart of Taipei’s urban youth vibe.  Everything new, hip or cool can be found here.  There is an overabundance of all sorts of shops selling the latest clothing, jewelry, fashion accessories, shoes – everything a hipster could want.  This results in so many brightly lit store signs, that they just meld together.  For an occasional visitor it’s a mish mash of colour – nothing really stands out.  Except this:

IMG_20121110_171445 Continue reading ‘Comebuy teashops’

Taiwan’s rice sausage

Taiwanese are very creative when it comes to food and food preparation.  They find ways to make even mundane items exciting and tasty.  Try and think of something more boring than plain old rice – hard to do right?  Rice has to be the most simple of edible items.  Not here!  Besides fried rice, congee, rice desserts and rice drinks, they also have the rice sausage! Continue reading ‘Taiwan’s rice sausage’

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