Din Tai Fung – A Taiwanese Culinary Experience

Well as you have read from my Taiwanese trip earlier, one thing that stood out was the food. As I could not just go Taiwan to taste the food whenever I had cravings for dumplings, I have to look for alternatives.

Luckily, one fine day my best friend brought me to an authentic Taiwanese restaurant that made me reminisce about Taiwan. The restaurant is called Din Tai Fung. An award winning restaurant originating from Taiwan and has branches all over the world. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Din_Tai_Fung)

The interior of the place was great and the orders were all taken in a very systematic manner. Now let’s dive into the food.

The first we tried is their signature dish. Steamed Pork Dumplings. As the ones I had in Taiwan, it was served hot and the dumplings even have the juices trapped within the dumpling’s skin A sign of good dumpling.

thb_steameddumplings_porkxlb

 

The next dish was a surprise for me. Because I have not tried it in Taiwan. Wanton in chilli oil. The wonder was in the chilli oil which gives a titillating taste to the wanton.

thb_snacks_wanton

 

The next dish was stir-fried vegetables. It was a simple dish made of tender sprouts and seaweed. it was a perfect balance to the spicy wantons and piping hot dumplings.

thb_veg_doumiao

 

The nest dish was the Hot & Sour soup. Unlike the name, it was a mild and refreshing concoction of various ingredients which is pleasant and smooth to your throat.

thb_soups_hotsour

We finished off with fried rice with shrimps and eggs. Usually restaurants will be stingy with the shrimps and eggs but here it was in right proportion. Great way to balance the meal and cool down the palate.

thb_noodlerice_prawnfriedrice

 

In summary, it was a great place to visit to get the taste of Taiwan cuisine. It was authentic, served by great staff in a pleasant environment and reasonable price. I strongly recommend anyone who have dumplings craving to visit Din Tai Fung. You won’t be disappointed.

*All pics are from http://www.dintaifung.com.sg/

Till the next scribble,

David Webb

Advertisements

Taiwan Trip – Conclusion

We left Taiwan with a heavy baggage. Luggage overflowing with many items and extra luggage around our waist which we gained from all the fantastic food over the days.

It was really a different kind of experience for me in Taiwan. Taiwan is a clean and safe country interconnected by an efficient train network.

The food is great, the people are friendly and there are lot of scenic places to visit. It offers a bit of everything to everyone. You can be a foodie, adventure seeker or even someone who just want to relax by looking at scenic views.

Taiwan offers a bit of everything for everyone. A fantastic place which I will visit if I got a chance again. In short it was a truly satisfying and memorable trip for me.

taiwain_2628003b

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/10204105/Taiwan-the-last-outpost-of-old-China.html

Till my next scribble,

David Webb

Taiwan – Day 5 till Day 8 (Taipei)

After breakfast, we checked out from our hotel and proceeded to the train station. Our next stop is Taipei which is the capital where there are a lot more places catered to tourists. We will be spending around 3-4 days there before flying back to our home country. It took us around 3 hours from Taichung to reach Taipei.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

As Taipei was further north, we could feel the cooler climate as we reached closer to Taipei. It also has a more international outlook as it is the capital. From the Taipei main train station we took an inner-city train to Ximen. We have pre-booked an apartment in the famous shopping area in Taipei called Ximending. The apartment was cozy but comfortable.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

After settling down, we set out to visit Taipei 101 which is the second tallest building in the world. We didn’t went up to the top because it was pretty crowded as it was a popular tourist spot. We instead take in the grandeur of the building from outside.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was almost night, and we set out to visit a popular nightmarket in Taipei. It is called Shida Night Market. As usual, we tried quite a few of their popular food items like Garlic Flavored Fried Chicken, Pan-Fried Dumpling, Grilled Chicken, Beancurd with peanuts and a refreshing Grapefruit + Lemon drink. Some pics below.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Day 6 began with us having carrot cake (a local dish made from radish) and bubble tea for breakfast before setting off to Ruolin to visit Jiufen Old street.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Jiufen is a old gold mining town located on the top of the mountain thus having great scenic views. The streets are lined with shops selling items like mochi , handicrafts and pretty much anything that is traditional.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was even colder there as it was located high in the mountains. We also had the famous A Gan’s sweet taro balls desert. Piping sweet desert high up in the mountains in a cold weather facing the scenic views. It was truly a surreal experience for all of us.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

On our way back we again visited Shida Night market for dinner and tried those items which we wanted to try again from last night. After dinner, we went back to our apartment tired but satisfied.

We started Day 7 by taking a cab to the famous “Chia Te” shop that sells traditional pineapple and sun biscuits. Believe it or not, it as so crowded that we need to queue up just to enter the shop! When there is a crowd you can be assured that the items there will be good too. It was indeed true as we bought and tasted the biscuits.

After “Chia Te”, we went to Tamsui which is a coastal town with great scenic views. But the first thing we did upon reaching Tamsui was to eat at this famous shop selling mee hoon and other items which is apparently popular among the locals there. True enough it was a light and tasty meal.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After the meal, we took a ferry to the other side of Tamsui. Apparently there is a “Lover’s Bridge” there which is a popular wedding shoot spot among couples. When we were there we saw a few couples doing their wedding shoots there. Surprisingly even couples from other countries like Malaysia and Singapore goes there for their shoots. We chilled at the Starbucks there and waited for sunset. The place was really captivating and it was a quiet and calm evening for all of us.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

From Tamsui, we took a bus to supposedly the most famous night market in Taiwan. Shilin Night Market.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

True enough the layout of the shops were very different. It was in an enclosed place and there were alot of shops in a compact manner. Even though it was an different kind of experience as here there are tables and chairs for you to have your meals, we preferred the more traditional type night markets where it was in open air and you walk and eat at the same time. In Shilin we tried some new dishes like oyster omelette, spicy dumpling, fishball noddles and lemon jelly drink.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

It was pretty much coming to a end of our trip. Next day evening was our light. We went back to our rooms satisfied but at the same time determined to explore the area we stayed, Ximending to the max before we leave Taiwan.

Day 8 started with a breakfast in Mcdonalds. Then Project Explore Ximending started. Apparently Ximending has a strong Japanese influence and is reported to attract almost 3 million shoppers a month!(See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ximending) No wonder it was crowded all the time.

We explored the place and bought many items at a reasonable price.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We finished the shopping by having braised geese at a shop. When geese is not cooked well it will be very tough but here they have braised it to perfection and it just tastes great. Look at the picture below, it looks gorgeous.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After the tasty meal, it was back to room to pack our luggage and then to airport to catch our evening flight back home.

Taiwan – Day 3 & Day 4 (Taichung)

We began Day 3 by checking out from our hotel to the train station to catch a train to the next city in our itinerary, Taichung.

It took us around 3 hours to reach Taichung. It was more developed as compared to Kaohsiung. According to the local folks, Taichung is the business city while Kaohsiung can be considered as the port city.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Our hotel is around 10 minutes walk from the train station. It is called Park City Hotels. The hotel was posh and has all the necessary amenities (like gym, thus could do abit of workout to burn off at least some calories from all the eating previously).

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

After checking in, we immediately set off to explore Taichung. Our first stop is SOGO shopping centre. It is 18 stories high!! Thus you have multi-level of clothing, grooming accessories, home items and basically everything under the sun. Best place for ladies and guys if you like shopping.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

By the time we finished, it was almost night. So what does one do in Taiwan at night? Of course visit night market! So we visited the Feng-Chia night market. The key difference between this night market and the ones we went in Kaohsiung was that it also has shops selling other apparels like clothing and shoes unlike in Kaohsiung where only foods were sold.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

Here too, there was a long list of special food items we ate. Some of the items are Crispy Chicken, Tea in the Box, Long sausage in Short Sausage (basically sausage wrapped in glutinous rice) and hot mochi covered with peanut.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

With a filled stomach, we retreated back to our hotel room for the night.

The next day, after breakfast in the hotel, we headed out to Miyaharu (former eye hospital). Now it has been converted to a upscale shop selling freshly made Taiwanese delicacies like pineapple tarts, honey and Taiwanese tea leaves. These are sold in nice packaging thus ideal as souvenirs.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

After buying some, we headed out to Yizhong street. It has been elected as the most popular shopping area in Taichung. It consists of both a shopping area and a night market which becomes active at night. It is located just next to couple of high schools and universities. Thus it is catered to attract the young crowd. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yizhong_Street)

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

It has many solo shops like Nike, Adidas, Levis etc. Some of these shops are multi stories high. There are also quite a few shops selling IT items. In general the pricing are like 20% cheaper as compared to the prices elsewhere (international pricing). We shopped around and bought items like shoes and hoodies. And subsequently we got ourselves stuffed again with the good food available in the night market. The food items were similar as the the one we visited the previous night. Then we proceeded back to the hotels.

The next day we will be checking out and heading to the capital, Taipei.

Stay Tuned!!