One magnificently delicious bowl of niu roh mien, beef soup with hand-made noodles in spicy broth.
If it weren’t for “Eating Asia” the food words-and-photography genius-team of Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman, we would still have a grand and tasty time in Taiwan, but we would not feast in nearly the frequent, magnificient, knowledgable, and varied way we do thanks to their work. Not only can you click your way to Asian food heaven by reading their extraordinary and extensive blogposts; you can also find their words/pictures on Zester Daily. Check them out once, and you will go back for more.
Here are two places you can find their work online:
This particular post led us to the amazing Taiwanese beef noodle soup master, whose small cafe is located back in a food-stall/market alley not far from Taipei’s main railroad station:
This feature by “Eating Asia” in the Asian Wall Street Journal led us to Astoria Coffee Shop, also featured in this post.
To find the beef noodle master, we got out of a taxi, looking for the marketplace where the beef noodle shop is located. I noticed the pink tulip version of the painted electrical boxes found all around Taipei.
We headed into the market alleyways here. Whether you're hungry, thirsty, in search of shoes, motorcycle helmets, toys, or groceries, you'll find booming businesses to offer whatever you need.
Fruit stalls lined the passageways as we neared our noodle-destination.
This is the place, where big red bowls of beefy goodness await.
Did I devour this bowl of beef noodle soup on a steamy-hot July day? With relish, delight, pleasure, and even speed.
You'll also find plump pork dumplings, freshly rolled, on stacked up wooden trays, ready to be cooked.
Pork dumplings, thick, rustic and tasty, with a bowl of finely minced garlic, soy sauce and vinegar for dipping.
After this mighty fine meal, we headed back out to the main street, in search of a nearby pleasure shared by “Eating Asia”: Astoria Coffee Shop, a European-style coffee shop which serves up a proud pour of local culinary history along with the java and treats.
Back on the busy major street, we saw a beautiful Buddhist temple across the way, and then this green sign for Astoria Coffee.
Downstairs is Astoria Bakery, with great pineapple cakes, countless goodies, and their signature marshmallows with walnuts, which I adore. Upstairs, a fine spot for a Taiwan-style coffee-break. Leisurely, lovely, delicious coffee and atmosphere.
This was one perfectly delightful cup of Astoria's classic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
Astoria's history in Taipei dates back to 1949, but their original location, seen in this photo posted in the staircase taking us back down to the busy streets, dates back to Mainland China in the 1920's.
August 11, 2011 at 5:31 am
Businesses and shops line Taipei's major thoroughfares and side streets, but...
...parks abound, filled with trees, shade, flowers, ponds, and active people: tai chi, tango, zumba and more.
This lovely pond is tucked away by the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall
A beautiful 'tray' of lotus plants seems to float on the water
Despite the faraway feeling, Taipei's metropolitan features are just a short stroll away from here
Look closely --- it's a quite yet lively place.
No children playing in the morning's heat, but at dusk, this place will draw many delighted children and families
I love these power-boxes, sometimes fenced in...
And sometimes right out on the sidewalk…
Motorcycles make sense in city traffic; this building is just a few yards away from three massive Japanese-style department stores, with great food courts in the basement of each one.
Guardian lion mother plays with her cub while keeping an eye on beautiful Taipei.
July 30, 2011 at 7:53 am
Ao Ba : One of my favorite restaurants where we enjoy old-school Taiwanese dishes every year
5-Spice Boiled Peanuts, waiting on the table along with a pot of jasmine tea
Soft spring rolls with curried chicken-napa cabbage-bean sprout filling
Pork belly, stewed in soy sauce with ginger and rock sugar, topped with fresh cilantro
Taiwanese omelet with minced preserved radish: sa-poh nung
Stewed pork belly simmered with pickled bamboo shoots
SO delicious, and welcome in this porky meal, is this plate of 'kong shing tsai', or 'ong choy', also known as water spinach, and in Thailand as pahk boong. Whatever you call it, you can know it on sight by the fact that this vegetable has hollow stems, giving it the poetic name "empty heart" vegetable in the mix. So many names, but one word: delicious.
A seasonal specialty, this is finely shredded bamboo shoots, stir-fried with garlic and delivering a most pleasing crunch along with lovely flavor
Another old-time Taiwanese favorite, this is coarsely chopped pork, freshly steamed with sliced salty duck egg yolks on top. Amazing texture, tangy plush flavor that lasts all the way through the sauce. They warned us it took 15 minutes for this one, as they steam it up to order. We said we'd wait, and clearly, we didn't wait hungry; this came toward the end of the meal.
Fried rice with minced preserved radish, topped with egg. So very tasty and stands on its own. A meal, not just rice-to-go-with-the-with-rice dishes. Must learn to make this...
Watermelon, mango, papaya, orange sections, one maraschino cherry, and one carven tomato wedge. Beautiful cool sweet ending to our lunchtime feast at Greenleaf Taipei.
After such a memorable feast, a stroll makes sense, and so we walked back along the lane to Nanking East Road, passing the original location of Greenleaf, where we enjoyed many fine meals. Note the logo above the red wall, of a green leaf on white background. Ao Ba or Greenleaf refers to the beautiful island of Taiwan, which is shaped like a green leaf floating in the blue sea.
July 26, 2011 at 8:37 am
Have a look around this amazing city of Taipei, Taiwan.
July 25, 2011 at 3:02 pm
Taipei's Taoyuan Airport knows how to welcome travelers like me with their minds on Taiwan's fantastic food.
After a long but diverting and worthwhile journey across one continent, one ocean and a good chunk of a second continent, we arrived in Taiwan at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday night. Though I slept only a few hours on the plane, the excitement of completing the journey and Being Here!!! at last dissolved my exhaustion. I stayed awake unpacking, planning activities (yes, that’s heavily focused on meals and snacks, though not completely) for several hours, then slept well until 7 a.m. Our brimming-full Sunday is zooming by — I imagine the cartoon clock with the hands whizzing around the face. Here’s a kickstart on this first day, lunchtime visit to the food court at Shinkon Mitsukoshi Department Store, where we feasted on noodles, dumplings, rice, and fruit smoothies.
Vendors dish up an extraordinary array of Taiwanese, Cantonese, Japanese, Italian, Korean, and other cuisines. It's always busy, lively, and delicious.
Here’s my favorite lunch item for today.
Pork Chop Noodle includes a salt-and-pepper porkchop, thinly-sliced and perfectly fried, with a side of soup noodles with minced pork, and stir-fried lettuce.
Then it was quick reading-and-nap session in air-conditioned comfort, followed by beauty salon indulgence and then visit to our cousins’ home, where their warm welcome came with cool sliced fruit. More photos on my Facebook page. Gotta go — time for dinner!
Pear, apple, and banana, peeled and cut for us to enjoy with tea.
July 24, 2011 at 11:28 am