Thursday, July 31, 2008

Long Quan St.

Aside from the famous Salty Chicken and Sheng Jian Bao that Shida night market is known for, there are a few other vendors along Long Quan that I like. I'll start locationwise starting from the end closest to the He Ping Rd. entrance.

Cong bing vendor

Blisters are always a good sign. I love this vendor because he's very generous with his green onions and black pepper. The onions are chopped thick so they have a pulpy bite--green with substance! This is nearly marinated in black pepper. So even if it looks harmless, the numbing sensation will cue you in on the non-red heat.

Two Peck jipai

Two Peck is a chain in Taipei. They just finished constructing a new vendor right outside Guting station exit 5 but I've only been to the Shida night market vendor. You can choose from two flavors spicy and black pepper. The picture above is 香辣 as I think most things taste better hot. This one is even better than the jipai that is famous at Shilin night market. They're confident enough to post a sign in front that says "You must be patient."

Further down right past the 100yr-old Lu Wei stand is this place that sells breakfast items like danbing, fantuan, youtiao, doujiang, etc. I often come here for the seating because as long as you spend NT$15 they won't kick you out for bringing in xiaochi from elsewhere.

This is the only place I know of that sells Jiucaihezi, chives pancake. I'm surprised that a lot of Taiwanese don't know what this is when I ask about it because it is only one of the most delicious things ever. It's something like an oversized guotie with vermicelli noodles, egg, and jiucai (chives, not scallions) as stuffing. Compared to the jiucaihe I've had in the states, this one is smaller and has thinner skin.

Were you to make a detour off of Long Quan towards Shida you'd pass by

Taro glutinous rice cake. A no-brainer for people who love the delicious purple tuber.

And Ke li bing

Many times better than the crepes at the 101 foot-court. I recommend the Mexican Sausage and Super Mango Sundae. There aren't any pictures because I was too hungry both visits.


O Sole Mio

...makes me o so ~le pissed off~ [gestures with authentic french cool]

mostly because the name (which roughly translates to "oh, my sun") suggests some kind of radiant delight which can be gotten from the NT$90 or so patronage-- if not then at least an experience that can pass for mildly Italian to an ignorant Korean-American like myself.

After taste testing three flavors from the meager selection at the Heng Yang store I finally decided on tiramisu. Not because it was good tiramisu but because I wanted to milk every italian pretense out of this place that just tucked away US$3 from my pocket. I guess I thought it would taste better from a proper cup while sitting down. But nothing. No sun, no sparks at all. Simply unremarkable.

I kick myself for expecting anything after reading lukewarm reviews. I might also have been more disappointed than necessary because they didn't have my usual pistachio in stock that particular day.

So really, it's not that bad. It's just that it's not good, either.

Uni-president soft serve from 7-11 makes me infinitely happier.


14 Tonghua St

57 Heng Yang Rd

122 Yi Zhong St, Tai zhong

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

first post

Two months into my three month stay in Taiwan.
There are good bakeries everywhere in Taipei but IJY Sheng is my favorite chain; I frequent the one in Shida night market because I live only blocks from it. All this was consumed over the course of two months because even I have my limits. I will keep the descriptions to a minimum because its more productive to let you ogle these babies than to say "its sooo good!" after every photo.

Oreo cheesecake #1 best seller in the refridgerated section

I usually don't like the mooncake type texture but this was so beautiful and tasted strongly of taro.

I'm a coffee lover and I take my coffee black with no sugar so I have a bias against any food that makes coffee taste like it should be sitting next to the chocolate milk in the dairy aisle. But this was ranked #2 in popularity so I tried it at the risk of disappointment. And it's good! The pretty little mass decorating the surface is also found sitting on top of a layer of mocha cake and takes it from very good to so good I would get it again and forgo tasting new cakes.

The closest way to describe this is an asian Boston Creme donut. The cavity is filled with a custard and chocolate.

I was never a fan of cheesecake until I had this. If I remember correctly it was 3am when I was converted.

Caramel cake

This was also caramel, with an apple filling

My favorite 麵包 from IJY. I think you can never go wrong with 竹碳麵包. The ingredient is literally charcoal made from bamboo and makes a distinct but elusive flavor that I still can't fully grasp. The color is beautiful and you get a surprise layer of mochi inside.

The 竹碳麵包 was so good I had to try the chocolate counterpart. It loses to the former by a hairline. In place of the mochi there is a layer of chocolate right below the surface.

I haven't seen this in the states but matcha and redbean pairings are very common here.

Innards first because they were so great. The colors reminded me of spumoni.

did I say that I would keep the commentary to a minimum?

Everything NT$30-60


IJY Sheng

台北市師大路 53 號 電話:(02)2362-0425 傳真:(02)2362-2625