Friday, October 1, 2010

[台北] - 饌王精品牛肉麵 Chuan Wang Gourmet Beef Stew Noodles Taipei

Along the busy shopping district of Zhongxiao Fuxing in Taipei, where all the celebs and ladies go to blow their cash on clothing, make-up, fashion accessories etc, a man can only tolerate so much of that, spend so much time inside Sogo, with the random snack shop, or the tempting Ten Ren Tea Station, or Rose Records (pricey CDs by the way).

When the clock strikes 12 noon, the inner cavity gut goes "grrrrrrrooowl" and suddenly you need a fix of something.

You look around this stretch of road.

Hmmm... Mickey D's? Nah.

What are those interesting looking indoors restaurants on the 2nd, 3rd floor of this building? Dunno, but you would have to hike up the steps of them office buildings to take a peek....too time consuming.

Sushi? Could be shady....

Street food? Oh have to duck into the side streets and alleyways, and even those can be a risk taking adventure.

Then you fixate your eyes on a sign that says beef stew noodles 牛肉麵, and suddenly all common sense goes out the door.

It can't be that bad!

Saw this giant sign, and I figured, hey why not. It's somewhere up on the 2nd or was it 3rd floor of this old office building. When I get to the top, there's a sliding door entrance. It looks like a clean fast food joint, tables everywhere and friendly service. So you go up to the cashier, order what you want, and the food is brought to you on a tray.

Too bad I didn't consider the tomato beef noodles...would have tried that.

So I settled for the half beef flank, half tendon combo.

Looks good doesn't it? Well it better be for US$9 (circa NT$270). This was a large, and man I must have overpaid.

Definitely decent, but not the best I've had in town.

4 years later, I look this place up on the net.
They won one of the annual Taipei Beef Noodle Soup Festival competitions, like the #1 most popular beef noodles restaurant in town.

And then I found out that the owners somehow got people to vote for them online, many many many times, just to push themselves to the #1 spot and win. Ayeee yai yai.

饌王精品牛肉麵 (Chuan Wang Gourmet Beef Stew Noodles)
106大安區忠孝東路4段94號2樓 (2F, #94, Zhongxiao E. Rd., Sec.4, Taipei)
Tel: 2-2711-0388

Monday, September 27, 2010

[台北] - 八王子新懷石料理 Hachioji Japanese Cuisine

This meal was quite a few years ago, when Chen Shui Bian 陳水扁

was president of Taiwan (from 2000 - 2008).

It is said that Taipei's Hachioji restaurant 八王子新懷石料理 was his all-time favorite Japanese restaurant. I'm sure he dreams about it now behind bars.

Don't remember too much about the meal, but it was quite decent. Certainly very different from the mom & pop izakaya types or the high end kappo & sushi dining experiences in town. Very relaxed surroundings and despite the words kaiseki in the restaurant name, seemed more like an upscale yet semi casual mood dining kind of place.

Seemingly Japanese but yet has a Taiwanese influenced slant (with kaiseki touches).

For some reason the restaurant's website is down, but they do have a very extensive menu, covering the basics, as well as elegantly arranged set dinners.

Presentation and quality is certainly no slouch

Combination sashimi platter over a bed of ice. Salmon, hamachi, squid, tuna, julienne mountain yam (yamaimo), and sea urchin (not as sexcellent as Santa Barbara or Mendocino unfortunately), arguably all sourced locally. NT$900 which is roughly US$30...ouch.

 Marbled beef slices with some sort of garlic butter mixture on top, white stem of large scallions, resting on a lotus leaf, on top of a square bowl of very very very hot stones (with hot water). The heat from the stones cooks the meat, melts the butter, you roll that sucka up like a joint with the scallion, then dip in the seasoned side of sauce. Good stuff. Light elegant, and good use of butter that didn't make you shameful of being a gluttonous bastard (unlike at Ruth Chris steak house).

Combination vegetable tempura (local interpretation, not the traditional kind), The round thingies are veggie rolls deep fried with cooked salmon inside.

A nice change of pace indeed.

八王子新懷石料理 Hachioji Japanese Cuisine
Tel: 02-25079900