Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Kitcho 吉兆割烹寿司: The Omakase Experience



Omakase. The Japanese "I'll-leave-it-to-you" dining experience that I have heard so much but never had, until this May in Taipei. Kitcho was highly raved on the net and getting reservations wasn't exactly easy, though E and I managed to score lunch seatings a week in advance. Taking the mid-priced 20 courses at TWD2500 (Just slightly above a hundred sing bucks), it was one heck of a meal that lasted well over 2 hours. Oh boy, was it enjoyable. Fresh sashimi cuts, juicy scallops, buttery sea urchin, melt-like-butter fatty tuna. Did countless silent back-flips and not-so-silent woos and ahhs throughout.

Admittedly, I didn't recognise some of the fishes, nor did I fully comprehend when the cheerful Taiwanese chef announced their Chinese names. But I do know that this was one of the best meals of the year and definitely making a booking on the next Taipei trip. Eyeing the next menu tier eh.

Itadakemasu.








Only half scallop for our menu tier, shiok stuff nonetheless



Creamy uni wrapped with pressed seaweed. E and I were plotting to distract chef and run away with the entire box of orange treasure. Food porn at its best.







Otoro Nigiri. Melted in my mouth and slided down the throat in barely 3 seconds. I got high. Like damn high.





Tamago with the texture of sponge cake. Very memorable.







Kitcho 吉兆割烹寿司
106, Taiwan, 台北市大安區
忠孝東路四段181巷48號
Tel: +886 2 2771 1020
Nearest Train Station: 忠孝敦化

Taken with Nikon D7100
Saturday, September 27, 2014

蜂大咖啡: Kopi Peng ala Taipei



Haven't quite explored Taipei's coffee culture, but 蜂大咖啡 had always been on the rader. Their eye-catching old school roaster at the front and robust whiffs of coffee smell is hard to miss, yet didn't have the time to explore on my previous trips. On the other hand, E tried it on her previous solo trip and told me it was one of her favourite coffee, so we headed over for a short morning coffee break after dropping off luggage at Rainbow hotel.

Food menu had simple toast and egg items, while the specialty cold brew was indeed thick, rich and inviting on a warm day. Crowd formed by the time we left. A good cuppa to start the day.





蜂大咖啡
台北市萬華區成都路42號
Tel:+886 2 2371 9577
Nearest Train Station: 西门

Taken with Nikon D7100
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

阜杭豆浆: The Taipei Breakfast



I'm pretty comfortable with traditional breakfast in Taipei, much of the 大餅豆漿油條 stuff are close to my Shanghainese roots. 阜杭豆浆 (pronounced as fu3 hang2) in 華山市場 is one such hot place for tourists and locals alike, with the queue stretching for hours and selling out before noon time. No idea how the other stores in the food court survive, as 90% of visitors seem to be here solely for them.

Was the wait worthwhile? Definitely, in my opinion. Fragrant soy bean milk, fresh crunchy 油條s, thick fills-you-up 厚烧饼 (oh that shiok fluffy omelette in it) and my childhood savoury snack of 咸豆浆 (think tau hway but salted with preserved cucumbers). On the second trip, E and I also discovered their darn awesome 焦糖甜饼 that had caramel-like gravy flowing out when torn apart. Oh yes, prices are uber wallet friendly with most items below S$1.


Come early, come hungry.



Always theurapatic to watch open kitchen at work.




Good morning Taipei.


阜杭豆浆
100, Taiwan, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District
忠孝東路一段108號2F
Phone:+886 2 2392 2175
Nearest Subway Station: 善道寺

Taken with Nikon D7100
Sunday, September 21, 2014

Memoirs of Food; Under Renovations


永康街牛肉面

Hello! I know I haven't been blogging for a while, but these days its all about bouncing between work and getting enough rest that I am becoming quite lazy to do anything else.

With changing lifestyle and habits, I realize I can't sit down for 2-3 hours to write my usual entries anymore. So I'm gonna change my writing style to make it less report-like (if you have been following me for some time, you will understand!) and edge towards snippet/snack-size updates, a recollection of memories on my gastro journey which by the way, has always been the purpose of the blog. This translates to more frequent updates hopefully.

And the first series to kick start with? My two Taipei trips earlier this year. A sneak peek of their awesome beef noodles!

Will be doing some minor facelift to the blog as well, getting pretty dusty eh. For (almost) daily updates, Instagram la

Dan

Taken with Nikon D7100
Monday, August 25, 2014

Shima: Teppenyaki Buffet, Rebooted

This is an invited session



One of my earliest memory (say.. 15 years ago?) of Teppanyaki in Singapore is at Shima, the Japanese restaurant rather tucked within Goodwood Park Hotel. Back then when Teppanyaki wasn't as mainstream, dining there was a real treat, visual and taste, considering its upmarket buffet pricing with chefs preparing your items upon order smack in front of you. In fact, another fond memory was that they had this air-freshner booth at the entrance where you enter to remove odour. Definitely Japanese!




Having undergone a major renovation several months ago, I was invited to try out their Weekday Teppanyaki Buffet Lunch menu ($49.90++ per pax, additional $10++ on weekends with a slightly longer menu) which had remain popular all these years. While the layout and size had definitely changed, the one-inch thick cast-iron griddles fixed on tables that were with Shima since day one remained; same idea as the Chinese to use seasoned woks for good stir-frying. They also have two connectable private dining rooms for a more intimate dining experience which honestly, unless you are there for a business meal, misses all the fun of Teppanyaki.



Salmon Sashimi, Prawn Tempura

Fresh slices, decent batter, not something I will repeat orders for though. They are after all known for Teppanyaki.



Salmon, Prawn

Cooked in their special Shima sauce, the tender fillet was nicely done with a sweet, refreshing taste. Crunchy deshelled prawns for lazy peoeple (aka myself), could pop a dozen of these easily.



Oyster (Seasonal)

Sizzling on the griddle, the plump, tasty morsels were still bursting with flavour and had the fragrance of garlic.



Chicken, Mixed Vegetables

Least exciting meat of the lot, and vegetables were a tad on the oily, salty side.



While the usual buffet served Australian tenderloins, Sous Chef Victor Yok invited us to try out the US counterparts instead. As we were half awe-ing half scrambling for cover during the steak's mandatory flaming moments, Chef Victor was making sure they weren't burnt in a calm, almost zen-ish manner. Grand master indeed.


US Tenderloin ($45 per 120g)

With many places going Wagyu, this was a good change as to concentrate on a good cut with chewy texture and robust flavour.



Garlic Rice, Off-Menu Special: Oyster Omelette ($30 per 120g)

What's teppanyaki without Teppan fried rice? Fried all the better with beef fats, it was well-oiled with a smokey fragrance. And as we joked with Chef Victor about Teppan-styled Taiwanese Oyster Omelette, he told us there is such a sscret item that people requested for, and sure it was awesome with the same plump oysters. Now you know!

You could of course ask for seconds if the first round of everything-on-the-menu didn't fill you up, but that's not likely to be the case as we realised, with the individual small portions adding up to quite a considerable amount. Just remember, don't expect fancy griddle work or spatula juggling here; Shima runs a decades-proven teppanayaki house, not a circus.

Shima
Level 1, Goodwood Park Hotel
22 Scotts Road, Singapore 228221
Tel: 6734 6281

Special thanks to LeRoy of FoodNews for the invite!

Taken with Nikon D7100