Category Archives: Taiwan

[Hsihu, Taiwan] A-Ming Lamb Pot 溪湖-阿明羊肉爐

Address:  彰化縣 溪湖鎮 員鹿路二段 416號

Hours:  9am – 11pm

Telephone:(04)8816-961

Restaurant website:  http://www.a-ming.com.tw/

Other reviews (in Mandarin):  http://cafuca2.pixnet.net/blog/post/14318255-冬

http://www.wretch.cc/blog/abunc8/34532963

 

From the times that I grew up in Taiwan, and the times I’ve visited since then, I don’t think I’ve ever had lamb pot until my last trip.  We were around the Hsihu area and my uncle recommended that we try the lamb pot, which is a specialty of the Hsihu area.  A-Ming’s has been around for at least 60 years, so we were really looking forward to try it.

Apprently A-Ming’s is pretty well known, and has already had an interview or two in the news…

 

Once you walk in the restaurant, you’re greeted by all sorts of lamb parts.  Quite daunting!  There’s lamb skin, lamb tendons, lamb bones, etc.

 

Besides the lamb pots, you can also order all sorts of lamb dishes.  The hot stir-fry items include lamb intestines, lamb testicles (yikes!), lamb heart, lamb kidneys, or just plain lamb meat.  There’s also boiled meat options like boiled lamb meat, boiled lamb leg, boiled lamb tail… NTD 200 (approx USD 7) for a small dish and NTD 300 (~USD $10) for a large dish.

 

The lamb pot comes in a large pot, and already has lots of lamb meat in it – you get to choose between lamb meat with the skin on or without the skin.  There’s also options to add in extra meat and/or other lamb parts.  The soup base is traditional chinese medicinal herbs that has been cooked for hours.  Lamb pot is a winter delicacy – eating it is supposed to rejuvenate you against the cold winter.  Each order of the lamb pot is NTD 500 (~USD $17).  This is a 2 order pot – the waitress had told us it would be enough for our party of 7.

 

Assorted veggies (cabbage and radish) also came with the lamb pot.  So just throw them all in once the lamb pot arrives.  All of the seating are round tables, so it’s easy for everyone to reach for the food!

 

The lamb pot with everything thrown in.  It looked and smelled so good!

 

We also ordered noodles on the side (乾麵線) since the lamb  doesn’t come with rice.  The noodles tasted hand-made and was really good with the soup.  Each order of the noodle is NTD 30 (~USD $1)… this is 5 orders.

 

The lamb pot we ordered had lamb meat with the skin.  The lamb meat was tender and flavorful.  The soup base was a combination of the sweetness of the goji berries (枸杞), the richness of the herbs and the aroma of the rice wine.  There’s no gaminess on the lamb at all… I think the herbs must take away the gaminess. Yummy!

 

We also ordered the stir-fried mixed lamb intestines (熱炒羊雜).  It was stir-fried with basil, garlic and green onions.  Really flavorful and a great dish to go with beer!

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[Lugang, Taiwan] Wangwang Noodle Soup 王罔麵線糊

Address:  彰化縣鹿港鎮大明路39號 

Hours: Mon – Sun: 5:30 am – 6:30 pm

 

They also have a Facebook page!  For those of you in Taiwan, 王罔麵線糊 also does delivery 宅配!  See their FB page for more details.

 

This street vendor holds a lot of childhood memories.  Lugang is pretty close to my hometown, so we used to go quite a lot when I was growing up in Taiwan.  Nowadays, whenever I go back to visit Taiwan, I usually make a stop to the childhood favorites.  Wangwang Noodles only sell one thing:  the noodle soup 麵線糊.  According to their Facebook page, Wangwang Noodle Soup has been around since 1928!  This is a locals joint, but I’ve noticed quite a lot of out-of-towners on my recent visits.  A lot of the locals eat this for breakfast, which explains the early opening hours.  Give it a try when you’re in Lugang!  Even though closing time is 6:30pm, the shop does tend to close early once they sell out.  The noodle soup shop is located in the Lugang market, which also has other good eats to check out!  🙂

 

Always full of customers.  Even with the old decor, the customers don’t stop coming!  Even after 70+ years, the food stays consistent and tastes the same!

 

The homemade chili sauce.  Just a small spoonful will add lots of kick to your noodle soup!

 

The noodle soup 麵線糊!  Vermicelli noodles in a thick broth, covered with a few cilantro leafs.  In the soup, there’s also egg flower, dried shrimp and pork nuggets in the soup.  After swirling some black vinegar into the soup (and maybe some of the homemade chili sauce), it’s ready to eat!  The vermicelli noodles are so soft and the pork nuggets provide a nice meaty texture to the noodle soup.  Yum yum!  NTD 25 per bowl (less than USD $1)

[Tainan- Guanziling, Taiwan] Chilishiang Pot Chicken 台南關子嶺七里香甕仔雞

Address: 台南縣白河鎮仙草里6-28號

Telephone:  06-6840049

 

Guanziling is a small town in Tainan, which is well-known for its mud hot spring.  What is so special about the mud hot spring you may wonder?  There are only 2 other spots in the world (Kagoshima in Japan, and Vulcano in Italy) which has mud hot springs.  The water quality of the mud hot spring is supposed to be great for skincare and may cure some skin allergies.  You can read more about the town and surrounding activities at wiki-travel:  http://wikitravel.org/en/Guanzihling.

So on our way to Guanziling, we noticed that the town is surrounded by tons of chicken places.  There’s literally one every few feet.  There was tea pot chicken, pot chicken, etc.  On our way out of Guanziling, our driver recommended that we stop by one of the chicken places for lunch.  Apparently, Guanziling is not only known for the mud hot spring, but for the roasted wild chickens as well.  The place that was chosen for our lunch spot was packed, and we almost had to wait for a parking spot.  That was already a good sign… that and the wafting aroma of roast chicken was just irresistible!  Chilishiang also has a few other locations (in Nantou 南投,Hengchun 恆春, hualian 花蓮), but they’re all in Southern Taiwan.

 

There’s set menus and an a-la-carte menu.  The set menu is perfect for larger parties.  The sets all come with 1 pot chicken, some entrees, some sort of soup and rice.

 

The a-la-carte menu offers a lot of choices!  Prices are reasonable and the portions are generous!  For drinks, the restaurant offers a whole pot of ume plum juice.  But for those of you who would like other choices, there’s a 7-11 right next door.  🙂  There were 3 of us and we weren’t sure of the portion size, so we went with the a-la-carte option.

 

The pot chicken!  I’ve never had chicken like this before!  The chicken is actually cooked/roasted inside the huge pots, therefore the name ‘pot chicken’.  While the chicken cooks, the fat and juices are collected into a steel bowl.  And yes, you can see that it’s a WHOLE chicken!

 

Each pot chicken is made with a wild chicken, so the meat is firm and juicy.  The skin was really crispy and gave off such a great flavor.  The chicken comes pre-chopped, all you need to do is to put on the plastic gloves and get down for some grubbing!  Each pot chicken also comes with a small bowl of the chicken juice/fat and salt/pepper for extra seasoning.  One of the best chickens I’ve ever had!  NTD 450 per chicken, and just enough for 3 people (approx USD $15).

 

The vermicelli 麵線 was drizzled with a red scallion and soy-sauced based sauce.  The vermicelli was cooked just right, and had an al-dente texture.  Great with the chicken!  NTD 30 (approx USD $1)

 

Since we ordered a-la-carte, the chicken didn’t come with the rice.  So we ordered 2 bamboo rice 竹筒飯.  Glutinous rice mixed with shitake mushrooms and red scallions, then stuffed inside the bamboo and cooked.  The bamboo rice was a bit dry, so we mixed in a little of the chicken juice and that made it really tasty.  NTD 50 each (approx USD $1.70)

 

Stir-fried veggies 炒時菜 — this was really fresh and cooked just so that there’s still a little bit of crunchiness to the veggies.  Yum!  NTD 100 (approx USD $3.30)

 

Wild herb scrambled egg 野生當歸煎蛋 - this was recommended by the restaurant since they ran out of the other scrambled egg that I wanted to try.  I never had Chinese herbs in scrambled eggs before, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to.  Flavor-wise, it was pretty good… the flavor of the herbs didn’t overwhelm the eggs.  Sort of tastes like veggies in scrambled eggs.  It was a very big plate of the scrambled egg!  NTD 150 (approx USD $5)

 

It was a lot of food for the 3 of us – we definitely over-ordered.  But, all of the food were really good.  I’d highly recommend!  Service tends to be a little slow though, especially when they’re busy with large parties.  The chicken was served to us within a few minutes, but all of the other dishes came out really slowly… so our lunch lasted about 1.5 hours.  Be prepared for a long lunch!

[Taichung, Taiwan] Wangta Ricecake 王塔米糕

Address:  台中縣清水區中興街30-1號

Hours:  9am – 8:30pm

 

Review from TTNews (in Mandarin):  http://0426223299.tw.tranews.com/

 

My uncle introduced me to this place during my last visit to Taiwan.  He had found out about it online.  This place has been around for over 70 years so it’s pretty famous around the area.  There is also a parking lot adjacent to the restaurant, which is pretty convenient.  It’s a great place for cheap and tasty Taiwanese eats.  After eating here, you can also walk to 85 Degrees and a great almond pastry shop around the corner!

For those of you who live in Taiwan, this restaurant also does island-wide delivery 全台宅配。

 

You can find a big billboard on the side of the restaurant.  Over 70 years of history!

 

The menu can be found overhead as you walk into the restaurant.  The choices include dry and soupy noodles, the famous rice cake, various soups, and veggies.  They’re all really reasonably priced!

 

The famous rice cake.  It’s more like a rice tamale (without the leaves) covered with a light gravy and cilantro.  The rice cake contains braised pork, a few dried oysters and dried shrimps.  The rice itself is really flavorful and chewy.  I never had rice cake with gravy like this before… it was pretty good!  NTD 30 for the rice cake and NTD 10 for the stewed egg (USD approx $1.30).

 

Boiled veggies are not so plain here — it’s topped with stewed pork/red scallion which gives it a really rich flavor.  Yum!  NTD 30 (approx USD $1)

 

We also ordered a few of their soups – the ‘golden needle’ pork sparerib soup 金針排骨湯 and the meat nugget soup 肉羹湯, which I think is made from pork。Both have excellent flavors but are light enough to offset the heaviness of the ricecake.  NTD 35 for the ‘golden needle’ pork sparerib soup 金針排骨湯 and NTD 30 for the meat nugget soup 肉羹湯.

 

Close up of the meat nugget soup 肉羹湯.  There’s quite a bit of meat in every bowl!  There’s also shredded radish in the soup.

 

This item is called the oil tofu 油豆腐 on the menu, so I thought it’d just be the yellow tofu.  Little did I know it comes stuffed with meat and is covered with a light sauce.  Highly recommend!  NTD 35

[Taipei, Taiwan] Hello Kitty Sweets

Address:  台北市大安路一段90號  Taipei City, Da-An Road, Section 1, #90

Hours:  11:30~21:30 Everyday

Directions:  Take the Ban-Nan (blue) metro line to Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, exit 3.  Go straight, then make a right at 大安路 (Da-An Road).  The cafe is about a minute walk, on your right.

http://www.hellokittysweets.com.tw/

 

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Visiting this sweets shop is a must for all Hello Kitty lovers.  The shop is not only all decked out with Hello Kitty items, but the pastries, cakes and drinks all bear the symbol of the cute feline.  The servers (both guys and girls) all wear cute pink uniforms and the shop even sells some Hello Kitty souvenirs (like travel mugs and candy).  Be warned, since there aren’t that many restaurants dedicated to Hello Kitty, there are quite a bit of tourists here.  Also, this is one of the few places in Taiwan that I know which charges a minimum fee AND a mandatory 10% service charge.

The minimum charge per person is NTD 300 (or around USD $10).  In addition to serving desserts, the restaurant also offers a lunch and dinner menu, which features pasta, steak and burgers.  The full menu could be found on the restaurant’s website.  I read online that for normal meal times, reservations are highly recommended, since the restaurant is a bit small.  We went for late tea time, and were lucky enough to get seated right away without a reservation.

 

The store front display window

 

Yes, even the napkin holder and the napkins themselves were all Hello Kitty prints!

 

The display windows featured the to-go desserts.  So cute!

 

Hello Kitty egg tarts!

 

Sesame brûlée in Hello Kitty jars!

 

     

There are a few combo sets, priced at NTD 300 to satisfy the minimum charge per person.  Each dessert combo set comes with a dessert and a drink.  This is the crème brûlée set.  It not only came with the crème brûlée, but also some fruit and chocolates on the side.  The crème brûlée was really good!  Nice sugary crispy top, with the creamy filling inside… mmmm…

 

I chose the pudding latte to go with the crème brûlée set.  You can pick from hot or cold.  This is the cold one.  It was a little sweet for me, but I liked the texture of the pudding in the drink.

 

A mango pudding also came with our combo orders.  It was so cute that I almost didn’t want to eat it…  this was also pretty good.

 

This is the green tea with red bean swiss roll.  Doesn’t it just look like a fairy tale???  The green tea Hello Kitty stencil is just perfect… It really is a feast for the eyes! The cake itself was moist and delicious.  I heard the macaroons were only ok.

 

The chocolate swiss roll.  This was also pretty good, although not as tasty as the green tea version.

 

Hello Kitty hot cocoa.  I heard this was also yummy.

 

Live out your Hello Kitty dreams here!  ^ ^