Tag Archives: Japanese

Coco Curry House: Japanese Curry

8 Oct
photo (2)locationdesLocation: Closest MRT station is Gongguan; leave from exit 2 and walk towards the university entrance
Information: To me, a big plate of Japanese curry is real comfort food. After a day of hard work, sitting down at the table and getting served a plate of homemade curry is the best. Eating it brings back memories of my childhood. I am actually surprised by the lack of curry restaurants in Taipei, even though Japanese cuisine is so intertwined with Taiwanese cuisine. Luckily, the Japanese curry chain restaurant has multiple locations in Taipei. The one we went to in Gongguan (right next to the MRT station) had a fairly trendy décor. The menu is really similar to that in Japan with lots of different options; fried chicken, fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu), prawns, hamburger and lots more.  In addition, you can change the portion of rice and choose the spiciness of the curry.  Plus, you can select extra toppings, including an egg, extra meat and vegetables.  I had picked a fried pork cutlet with my curry and a hard-boiled egg (only had those). The taste was pretty much the same as in Japan; in other words it was pretty good. On another occasion I had tried the fried chicken with cheese curry. Although the cheese doesn’t have a strong taste it really adds to the texture in a good way. The fried chicken, however, was too tender, and not so fatty. This might be a plus for some people, but I didn’t enjoy it too much.
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Rating: Prices are around NTD 200, including free water, which the staff constantly keeps pouring. The curry, although not homemade, tastes authentic and is nice. I would recommend this place, especially when you are really hungry as the portions are big.

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Cash City (錢都): Shabu-shabu Restaurant

30 Aug
imagelocationdesNearest MRT station (although not that close to the actual location): 七張(Qizhang).  Take a bus towards Jingmei Girls Highschool (景美女中)and you’ll find the orange colored restaurant on your right after a mere 50 meters.

Information: Taiwanese cuisine has been really influenced by Japanese food. Adoption of similar flavors and names can be found in the dishes. A popular dish is shabu-shabu, a hot pot, which originated in Japan. Just as in the case of other hot pots, the idea of shabu-shabu is to put various ingredients into a cooking pot and then dip them into a sauce before eating. We tried shabu-shabu at a local chain (one of many) where you can pick from various meat and fish options. An assortment of ingredients was already included in the price and served right away once we took our seats. We each had our own small hot pot built into our table, which is not that common in Japan where it is usually shared. We struggled a little before we were able to figure out how to turn on the heat (push a button that was under the table). Unlike Japanese shabu-shabu the hot pot was filled with chicken stock (but there were various other kinds of stock to choose from). After putting some of the ingredients in the pot our option of choice was served; thinly sliced pork and a seafood banquet. Slowly simmering we feasted on these accompanied by vegetables, tofu, fish balls, surimi, and fried seafood. This hotpot chain also offered a sidebar with free tea, various sauces (different from Japanese sauces), and ice cream. It was a very pleasurable experience overall. Nom nom nom.

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Rating: The food was nice, service was fast and the prices were really reasonable (200-250 NTD a person). We will definitely visit this place again; also because we received a coupon for some free meat or seafood.

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Duo Yakiniku: Japanese Barbecue

25 Aug
Duo1locationdesNearest MRT station: Taipei Main Station

Information: There is an amazing food court at Taipei Main Station with lots of different options. We decided to go to a Japanese barbecue restaurant. I think barbecuing your own meat is one of the best things in the world. Grilling the meat while it is slowly becoming edible, wonderful. In Japan my heart would start beating faster every time I went to eat there. I was really excited when I saw this place, because it really reminded me of Japan. The menu is in Chinese, Japanese and English; so it is really easy to order here if you don’t know any Chinese. I decided to go for beef tongue, ribs, thinly sliced steak, chicken, and an assortment of vegetables (just to eat a little healthy). We were able to choose from different quality meats from ‘normal’ steak to premium Japanese steak (wagyu). Usually at the cheaper places in Japan they don’t use real charcoal, but they did here. The meat tends to be grilled a little slower than at restaurants that use a heating element. Obviously getting the real deal is a lot cooler. Every platter of meat had 4 to 7 pieces on it depending on the meat you pick. It was really nice, even though I had picked the cheaper option. The meat had been marinated in some semisweet sauce, which added a lot of flavor, but wasn’t overwhelming. The vegetables were so-so, but who goes to a barbecue to eat veggies, right?

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Rating: Expect to spend at least 500 NTD a person, but it was really tasty. I don’t know if it is worth it, as I don’t know the prices of other yakiniku places. Service is fast and the atmosphere Japanese.

Kagetsu Arashi Ramen

22 Aug

arashi1      locationdesNearest MRT station: 中山 exit 1 (zhongshan) see map

Information: As an avid ramen (Japanese noodle dish) eater I was really excited to go and eat at Arashi Ramen, a ramen chain founded in Japan. The store is located in the basement of a famous Japanese department store. The first thing I noticed was that the menu was kind of difficult to understand, because the options of ramen weren’t clear. I went for the Konniku Genkotsu Chashumen; ramen in a pork bone broth, topped with slices of pork and an egg. In addition I ordered an extra half-boiled egg, because it wasn’t an option to pick this egg over the hardboiled egg included in the dish. The thinly sliced pork was plentiful and tasty, but a little too thin for my taste. The broth was also too weak of taste and therefore the noodles were fairly tasteless, although the texture of the noodles was nice. I could have ordered a stronger broth, but I wanted to try the original one first. The half-boiled egg was also not great; not so much flavor and not quite as creamy as I am used to.

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Rating: I wouldn’t recommend this ramen chain. In fact, I am really disappointed with the overall quality and the prices (prices vary from 160~250 NTD), especially when there are so many better and cheaper options where you can eat. Food not so tasty and the service is nothing special.

Categories: image

Hoshina: Handmade Udon Noodles

20 Aug
handmadelocationdesNearest MRT stop: 中孝敦化 exit 3(zhongxiao dunhua) see map.
Information: Located in between expensive brand clothing stores and 24 hour Hong Kong diners are several smaller alleys with popular restaurants. Hoshina is definitely one of them. With only two branches in Taipei, this place was packed with people and I needed to wait for over half an hour before I could finally get a seat. It was absolutely worth it though. The restaurant specializes in Japanese Udon Noodles (烏龍) and everything on the menu is 100 % handmade! I was recommended the plain cold noodles in a broth, since it gives a great impression of the quality of the noodles.  You can mix in a poached egg for an extra creamy taste. The noodles were divine. The texture was not as rough as your average cooked noodles; these noodles were smooth and firm and a little chewy (but not too firm, ‘just right’).  It came with a surprisingly tasty soup containing dried fish and white sesame; it was clear but tasted creamy, really interesting . Other side dishes I ordered were vegetable pancakes, tofu wrapped in cabbage and green vegetables in sesame sauce, but there were several others. The restaurant itself was classy and tried to mix in the ancient Japan feel with a modern twist.  I would absolutely recommend going here; it’s a little more high class than my previous reviews and the prices are a little higher; but I’d gladly spend some extra money for this kind of great quality food.  By the way: as a dessert you can order their handmade Japanese cookies; they were out of this world and the smell was so good!
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Rating: Oh man, where do I start! Amazing quality food, you can watch the chef at work (like monkeys in a zoo, but really interesting though), everything extremely fresh and handmade, good service. Because this place is quite popular, expect to wait a while; but you can watch the chef go crazy with the noodles or take a walk; they’ll tell you how long you need to wait; it’s not so bad. Prices were a little higher than your average restaurant, expect to pay about 200-300 per person. But I am telling you; it is worth it. I can’t wait to go back and try some of their other dishes.
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Taiwanese Sushi Desu! ~

16 Aug

Taiwanese Sushi

(I apologize for the title) Exact location. Guting Station (map) exit 8; cross the street, turn right and keep walking. You’ll find it on your left hand side after a mere 2 minutes (depending on your walking speed of course)

Information: After reading the title, you might find yourself asking: What is Taiwanese Sushi?! Fact of the matter is; I am not really sure. There doesn’t seem to be a set rule for either rice consistency, ingredients or sauce. What I have noticed so far, when eating local Sushi,is that they put wasabi (the extremely spicy green condiment) on the rice, before they add anything else (I didn’t know that when eating local Sushi for the first time; my mouth was on fire). I went to Keelung (基隆)a couple of weeks ago. There was a popular Sushi chef there slicing up huge chunks of fish, putting it on an equal amount of rice (smothered in Wasabi) and adding thickened soy sauce on top. I initially thought that was the way to make Sushi here, but the place I went to in Guting was completely different. This looked like ordinary sushi to me (apart from some interesting ingredients, like asparagus), but as mentioned before, the rice consistency was a little different and a little sweeter than what I am used to. It came with Chinese soy sauce, which is a little saltier than Japanese soy sauce; the sauce and sweet rice  really complemented each other. Be careful though; they mix wasabi with soy sauce in a bag when you order to-go; that’s a lot of wasabi! There is a very small and cozy bar if you want to sit down for a while and watch the chef cutting up some fresh fish and ingredients. Anyway, I really like the twist they give to a lot of Japanese food here, which I think is a reason to check this out; to compare. 🙂

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Rating; Well, it’s nothing like good quality Japanese sushi; but it’s fresh, it has unusual ingredients, the flavors are really interesting and it’s a local twist.  Prices varied from 10 – 25 NTD a piece. No English; but you can pick out the Sushi yourself!   好吃! ~

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Sweet Snack: Red Bean Cake (紅豆餅)

6 Aug

紅豆餅

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Take exit 2 towards the Gongguan commercial district and you’ll find this snack chain together with many other kinds of delicious street food.

Information: This lovely dessert  is originally from Japan (they call it Imagawayaki). It’s extremely popular in Taiwan, and you can always find them anywhere on night markets or among street food vendors. In Taiwan they call it Red Bean Cake. The outside is made of a certain cake batter put in a muffin-shaped griddle. Red bean paste (made from Japanese Azuki beans) is then put inside and it’s topped off with another thick pancake-like bottom (often containing black sesame seeds). There are plenty of different fillings besides red beans, such as milk flavor, green beans or savory fillings. If you find a good version of this cake, the cake/filling ratio should be something like 40/60. The outside of the cake is not as soft as you would expect (bummer) but as soon as you get to the sweet and moist red bean filling, the outside will soften up and start melting. I found out after I stumbled upon this place that it was highly recommended in a book I bought about Taiwanese snacks; so be sure try this one out. Just look for the logo with the cute obsessed munching thing.

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Categories: Desserts

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