Friday, December 29, 2017

Swordfish Fish soup noodles, shrimps and oysters, Taipei

Our local guide brought us here. Totally unplugged. No foreigners, just locals enjoying their food. We thought we may have intruded into their morning routine breakfast with our cellular phone taking photo shots and videos.

Wonderful swordfish noodles, the broth was from the fish. There was not a hint of msg.  We had two other platters of deep fried shrimps and oysters to go with our noodles. The three types of seafood are not surprising as Taiwan is surrounded by water

No. 19, Section 1, Dihua St, Datong District, Taipei City, 103

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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Myanmar Dishes (Chinese and Indian Influences), Yangon

A very short trip to Yangon and some simple food to boot. Stayed near the airport to facilitate movements as Yangon can be very jam during the day. Its a far cry from my last trip 12 years ago where life and consequently vehicular traffic can be sedentary mostly.

My host took me to a nice Myanmar restaurant serving pre-cooked food laid on a long tables as though theses are mixed rice (chap fan). It is flanked by a western and Chinese, similarly appointed, all owned by a single owner.

Highlight of the meal are these 2 pieces of pork and mutton. I found their food aromatic and pleasant to the palate. Surprisingly it was not hot (spicy). My host told me that most of their local food are raised and foundated on onion, garlic and ginger bases. The gravy was generous and I was like a happy child in my early years excitedly spooning those delectable gravies on to my plate of rice obliviously to my host. I was not too sure it was rude but then who will  not be delighted if the food was enjoyed completely.

Delectable pork and mutton Burmese style

Very Chinese Fried Popiah
And very South East Asian Salad
Stir fried Kangkung - northern neighbour influenced
Dhal - western neighbour influenced

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Famous and Original Yong Her Taiwanese Breakfast - Taipei

We were privilege to have a local guide looking after both of us. He brought us to the original Yong Her (my transliteration from Mandarin).

The Dough sticks (Yow Chaw Kwai), Shanghai dumplings (Siew Loong Pao) and Soy milk are staple breakfast of the Taiwanese. The food were delivered fast and the taste excerpt for a fraction of the famous local Michelin starred restaurant. Mind you its good.

What I like is the soya milk is in a hot container being on a constant fire. Likely this also caused a lots of soy flakes/skins sticking to the side unless an attendant was there to stir it continuously.

Overall a very satisfying meal. Local knowledge is best!

No. 97, Section 1, Tingzhou Road, Zhongzheng District


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Beef Vindaloo - Homecook

This is one of the best Indian dish I had tried. Easy to do and modify. The taste as expected was tart and spicy looking at the ingredients used.

What I would do when I tried next? There was a complain that it was not hot (spicy) enough. There will be more ginger and chili either fresh or in powder form.

I did a variation of the cooking using a pressure cooker. After frying the marinated meat in a pan to lock in the spices, I dished it out and put into the pressure cooker together with the rest of the ingredients. No need to add water as the vegetables will produced the necessary liquid the prevent burning.

Thereafter another round of frying in the pan to get the all the ingredients to every pieces of the meat. Fry until satisfied you have every morsels of meat completely coated with the fragrance and taste of the spices and other ingredients.

1.3kg tenderloin trimmed of fat and sinew. Cut into 1cm by 5cm pieces

Marination of beef (couple of hours will do)
4 tbsp lemon juice
8cm ginger chopped to tiny bits
6 fresh red chillis deseeded and chopped
1 ½ tsp McCormick cumin powder
1 ½ tsp garam masala
1 ½ tsp coarse black pepper powder
1 ½ tsp McCormick cinnamon powder
1 ½ tsp organic Opika turmeric powder

3 tbsp peanut oil
1 yellow onion chopped
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
5 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Reference to Beef Vindaloo 

 Frying for the locking in the taste and fragrance of the spices

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Vegetarian Meal at Beitou Taiwan 竹子湖 山中園 野菜餐廳

My vegetarian meal up the mountain near Yangmngshan National Park.

Chinese Yam with Chinese herbs, how Chinesey can it get? Subtle, healthy and heartwarming on a cold rainy day.
Mantou in 12 flavours like macha brown sugar, 5 spice powder, taro and some I can remember
Mixed vege with wood ears and bamboo shoots in oyster sauce
Local Mee-Hoon in soup base
Tianchi leaves, grow well in cool Highlands. Slimy and herbal taste.
We took a risk with this cold dish - Fern (Paku Pakis) in mayonnaise. Crunchy and fresh with generous among of onion and other (cannot identify) toppings.

near 112, Taiwan, Taipei City, Beitou District, 湖田里

Google Map:
25.1728450, 121.5330120

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hakka Noodles and Dishes in Miaoli Taiwan

Hakkas made up of 20% of Taiwan's population. They migrated from Guangdong and Fujian in the 18th century. We ate at Miaoli County situated between Hsinchu and Taichung.

Believe it or not simple rural dishes do not need to cost an arm and a leg. These set me back only RM28.

We had a plate of meat from the pig's head. Imagine facial meat and some cartilages. Surprisingly fresh as it has no stale smell at all as these meat do not keep well. Served with lots of julienned ginger.

Next bowl was Hakka noodles with wanton. These noodles are the same with that we have in Malaysia. Then a bowl of 'Ban Teow' flat noodles. The sauce has to be thoroughly mixed with the flat noodles. I suspect there's the usual sugar, bean paste and soy sauces thick and thin plus maybs some secret ingredients.

And finally the ubiquitous and obligatory vege dish. Cabbages in Taiwan are like Kangkong and Sawi in Malaysia. Its everywhere. Cooked with lots  of moisture, it's wet and topped up with deep fried onions.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pressure-cooked Pork Belly - Homecooking

Bought a cookbook from Yangon airport at USD60 and was wondering if its worth the money and the time try the recipes. It is by Tin Cho Chaw and the book is eentitled Hsa Ba or simple "Please eat!"She won an award for this book. Flipped through most of the pages and I wondered if China in the north and India in the west have influenced Myanmar cuisine in a large scale? Noticed many Indian and Chinese influenced recipes or very similar ones.

Tried a dish I had fail one time too many, Braised Pork Belly. The recipe in this book seems simple enough. It did not disappoint. Came out delicious and the instruction is so simple.

Cooked it twice as my wife do not want too much sugar was suggested in the book i.e. 3 teaspoons for 300gm of pork. I find the caramelisation very nice and the taste was good. But alas I have to cook for two. So in my 2nd round I go for 1/2 teaspoon for 600gm of pork a reduction of 88%. I did not achieved very strong caramelisation but the thick soy sauce did the job well enough for me to get the desired dark brown final product.

600gm Pork Belly
1/2 tsp sugar (instead of the suggested 4 tsp)
6 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
10 cloves garlic peeled an left whole
15 slices of ginger

Cut up pork into big pieces (a couple of centimeters length). Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons of soy sauce. Mix thoroughly and leave for an hour or so.

Cooking: (author suggest a slow cook in the oven but I went for the pressure cooker as I will take 25  minutes compared to 2 hours in the oven)

Fry the marinated pork in a pan with 2 tablespoons of peanut oil until it the pork is browned on its surface. Transfer to the pressure cooker. Add the rest of the 4 tablespoon of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of dark soy sauce and the garlic cloves to the pressure cooker. Add a few tablespoons of water. Set the pressure cooker to 25-30 minutes and you get tender meat and soft rind.

Second round with much less sugar and lard pieces just pure pork belly.
First round with lots of lard included
The cookbook

Friday, December 8, 2017

Cijin Island Seafood, Kaoshiong, Taiwan

We had our mandatory seafood dinner in Cijin Island just off the port city Kaoshiong. These seafood could not be fresher. Just off the fishing boat, dressed and prepared and ready to go in the wok. All these costed the 2 of us RM126. The red snapper was done just right. It came with candle fires below. The sauces were rolling and the fish was piping hot. Meat was fresh and lovely on the palate. Nothing beats the fresh taste of the sea.

The baby octopus was slight uncooked but I think for a reason. It's not rubber or crunchy but rather soft and the inside was moist and jelly like. Eaten with pickled ginger and cabbage its has the oomph. The Lala was very fresh and it's pretty neat as it was fried in basil leaves leaving a aromatic smell and earthy taste on the clams.

The crystal fish was like bait fish. Deep-fried in batter and eaten with pepper, the meat was tender and fresh to the palate. I believe that this fish should be chewed longer for us to taste its goodness.

Finally the vege is called 'sansu' in the local vernacular. It was crunchy, smooth but not slimy and sweet. If available in Malaysia it will be a hit!

All my food in the cold....

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Milkfish Belly - Nanjichang Night Market area Taipei

Milk fish is known to have lots of fine sharp bones and is almost inedible. Today I was brought by a local to sample this incredible and delightful dish.  I was told the fish was cooked till the bones have dissolves. I doubt so. I think it is more likely to have been debones by an expert.

The soup is aromatic and the fish cooked in its own juices with some julienned ginger and chopped spring onions.

I have eaten milk fish in various forms in Philippines (bangus), Indonesia (bandeng) and Bangladesh (hilsa). This was tops as it allowed the fish's subtle sweet and milky flesh to speaks for itself.

Does it taste milky as it's name so directly refer? If you have a chance to eat this fish, try chewing it thoroughly and allow your saliva's enzyme to act on it. I believe you would wholehearted agree that it's name correctly refers to how the fish taste in the mouth.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Kwai Lam Seafood Restaurant, Subang New Village

Never have I been so spoilt for food adventures. The GPS apps are big Boon for foodie to explore with accuracy in terms of getting to the destination and also speedily. Timing can be planned to the dot on the arrival time esp to avoid peak sectors. Also Google for the restaurant and the operating hours and their holidays will be displayed. Most importantly the reviews from various customers are there for all to read and appreciate. Then coming to a decision to go or not to go will be a breeze.

Since moving here I have been thinking of eating at TUDM/Subang New Village area for a while. Kwai Lam came on the radar. We arrived at 9pm just away from the peak session. Seemingly most of the crowd are gone or it may be the sign of bad times and people are eating out that much. I expected the restaurant to be half full.

Known for their Ikan Bakar, I went for grilled Stingray. Totally fresh, grilled to perfection. Meat was tender and been light sauced the fish taste came to the fore. Those who want a heavily sauced fish can use the Sambal belacan and seafood sauce to accompanied the fish.

I hardly order mantis prawns since all my experiences was not very good as I simply do not like the spongy texture of the prawn. I was rewarded this time as the taste was heavy with caramelised exterior and the sauces deeply ingrained. Most of all the meat was firm and dense. The texture was fantastic. Beyond expectations!

The lala was overcooked and the soup was without the strong rice wine taste and fragrance. The saving grace was the Hokkien Mee. Fried to dry perfection. All the sauces hanging on the fat noodles. My verdict - the best Hokkien Mee around. For those of like the Old PJ Food Court Hokkien Mee who has fed the residents there for over 40 years, this you will enjoy.

5, Jalan TUDM, Kg Subang, Shah Alam, 40150, Shah Alam