Tag Archives: Taiwan

Beef Noodle Master – Yong Kang, Taipei

Yong Kang Beef Noodle1

Even though I go to Taipei regularly, I still manage to find new and old eateries I’ve never been before. Yong Kang Beef Noodles (永康牛肉麵)is one of these places, it is one of the most traditional and well-known places in Taipei for beef noodles. It’s a very old school looking store and probably hadn’t been renovated since it opened, with tables and stools filling the restaurant to the brim. They open at 11am, and we got there at around half past, already there was a queue forming and we were told that it will be a 15 to 20 minute wait.

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We were given a small round table and shared with another party of 3, you don’t have a choice here. You either share a table or you’ll have to wait again for your own and they’re most likely not going to give it to you :) This is quite a common practice in Asia ~ The menu is all written on the wall in Chinese, which is a little concerning because I’m not sure how non-Chinese speaking people will be able to order what they want. But perhaps if you ask the waiters or waitresses they should be able to help you.

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD)

Side dishes approx $35TWD ($1.5AUD) each

We started off with some cold side dishes, which you can see in the photo above, you go to the counter and tell the waitress what you’d like she’ll scoop it onto a plate and you will need to bring it back to your table. From the top left, we got a soy braised octopus, braised mung and also cucumber with konnyaku jelly. The octopus and cucumber had a nice hint of spiciness to it and these were great starter.

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Beef noodles small $200TWD ($7.2AUD)

Within a couple of minutes the beef noodles we ordered arrived. They come in two sizes but we decided to go the small because we knew we’d be eating all day :P For those who are unfamiliar with Taiwanese beef noodles, its very similar to the ones made in China, they both use beef brisket and perhaps tendons. What makes Taiwanese beef noodles special is the soy sauce used to make the broth and also the spiciness along with the herbs such as star anise used. I personally prefer this Taiwanese version as flavours are stronger. Anyhow, back to these famous beef noodles from Yong Kong, they certainly lived up to their name! All three of us were so impressed by the tenderness of the beef, the al dente noodle but most importantly was the broth! Happy to declare probably one of the best I have up until now :)

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

Clear broth beef noodle soup $160TWD ($6.6AUD)

My other sister Bianca can’t really eat spicy food, so she opted for the beef noodles with a clear broth instead. There was definitely a contrast between the two beef noodles, as the clear broth the beef flavour is more prominent and becomes the hero, as opposed to the spicy broth in the other one. The beef didn’t feel as tender but wasn’t tough and the clear broth was nonetheless tasty. I think both beef noodles were delicious really depends what you prefer :)

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Wonton in chilli sauce $100TWD ($3.8AUD)

Because it was our first meal of the day, we were pretty hungry. We decided try the wonton in chilli sauce as well. One of my favourite ways to eat wontons! A slight disappointment compared to the beef noodles, as I found the filling a little bland and expected the chilli sauce to be a lot spicier.

When I was doing research about Yong Kang Beef Noodles I found their website which is all in Chinese but the URL for their website is ‘Beef Noodle Master’ :P Find the name a little tacky but their noodles are everything but the best ~ really enjoyed our meal at Yong Kang, only advice is to get there early and go with an empty stomach!

永康牛肉麵館

No. 17號, Lane 31, Section 2,
Jīnshān South Rd, Daan District
Taipei City, Taiwan 106
Opening times: 11am-9:30pm
PH: +866 02-2351-1051

Meeting Nami (JOC) – Hanlai Hotel, Kaohsiung

Big huge hello to all My Dearest Readers! How have you all been? I have been keeping up with most of you through Instagram and other forms of Social Media, but boy I’ve missed blogging. Have been so preoccupied trying to catch up with everyone in HK and also doing some (erm…maybe a LOT) of shopping :D

Hk 2014

Have so so so many new stories, restaurant and cafe to share with you. But the first one would have to be meeting Namiko Chen from Just One Cookbook! If you like Japanese food and have tried to Google for Japanese recipes, I’m sure you would have come across Nami’s amazing blog with easy to follow recipes, step-by-step photos and she has recently added videos for her recipes!

Just One Cookbook

Nami and I have followed each others blog for quite some time now, and we’ve always talked about meeting up one day. Coincidentally, last week Nami posted up on Instagram that she was flying to Kaohsiung, Taiwan to attend her brother-in-law’s wedding. I was ecstatic! Because I too was going to Kaohsiung the next day, so I boldly messaged Nami and asked if she would like and have the time to meet up. So excited she said yes, so we quickly organised to meet on the Tuesday afternoon at the hotel lobby lounge cafe at the Hanlai Hotel.

Hanlai Hotel

Hanlai Hotel

I got out of the taxi and started looking around the cafe when I saw a lady wave at me and I recognised that was Nami and her husband! She was everything I imagined her to be, the sweetest, gentlest and most genuine people you can meet! We had such a good time talking about everything from how she started her blog all the way to how she moved from Japan to the US and the challenges there are. I also shared all the crazy things I get up to down under hehe

Hello Nami!

Hello Nami!

Moving onto the food, we decided to get the tea set which was $299TWD ($12AUD) each including a drink. It was such a generous serving and we simply did not expect so much food, the food was served on a little 2 tier stand with sweets on the top and savoury on the bottom.

Afternoon Tea set $299TWD ($13AUD) + 10% Service Charge

Afternoon Tea set $299TWD ($13AUD) + 10% Service Charge

Starting with the savoury items, there were two tuna sandwiches, a baguette with a piece of ham and a petite serving of pasta prawn with a spicy tomato sauce. I really enjoyed the baguette with the ham as it had good flavour and crunch from the bread. The prawn pasta was a little spicy for Nami but I thought it was quite nice maybe because I like spicy food.

Savoury

Then there were the sweets, we all got a small serving of fruit which I thought was really nice as it’s quite refreshing, a small square sponge cake with vanilla custard which was my absolutely favourite. The sponge cake had the lightest texture. Last but not least we all got a different piece of cake, I got the strawberry shortcake which I knew Mr Bao would’ve loved because this is one of his favourite cakes! There was, however, a little too much cream for me.

Sweets

We were also given an extensive list of drinks to choose from, not just tea or coffee. I ordered the iced coffee latte with coffee jelly and it was lovely with a strong coffee taste but what really impressed me was the coffee jelly which I kept scooping into my mouth~ I also like how most restaurants and cafe have set meals which include a drink, while it doesn’t seem as common in Australia.

Iced coffee latte with coffee jelly

Iced coffee latte with coffee jelly

Would highly recommend anyone going to Kaohsiung to stay or visit the Hanlai Hotel and try the afternoon tea. I think it’s really good value for money, for less than $15AUD you get to enjoy a wonderful afternoon tea with delicious food and drinks. The atmosphere is also really nice for a bunch of girls to get together and chit chat.

Once again would like to thank Nami and Mr JOC (her hubby) for meeting me! It was such a pleasure to finally put a face to a blog and I really admire their dedication to their blog and have become so inspired by them to really put more effort and time into my own little blog! Hope you have a safe flight back to San Francisco and I’m sure we will meet again either :D

Hanlai Hotel
No.266, Cheng-kung 1st Rd
Kaohsiung City 801, Taiwan R.O.C.
高雄市前金區801成功一路266號
PH: 886-2-2751-7527
Website: http://www.grand-hilai.com.tw/english/index.htm

Finally Arrived – Hot Star Large Fried Chicken

I’m sure long-time Readers will know my love for Taiwan :) I go quite regularly and at least once a year I’m not sure what is it but I really like the food, people and culture there. That’s why whenever a new Taiwanese franchise ventures into Melbourne I get extremely excited, because they satisfy my constant cravings for Taiwanese food.

Hot Star on Elizabeth St

Hot Star on Elizabeth St

In the past year we’ve seen Chatime and Gongcha bubble tea outlets opening in Melbourne, this time it’s Hot Star Large Fried Chicken! I have shared with you how much I like their XXL large piece of fried chicken in this previous post. So you can imagine I was thrilled that they were opening in Melbourne. Their first store opened a couple of months ago on the busy Swanston St, I have been meaning to try but have heard the long queues so wanted to wait until it died down a little. Then last week I got the good news that Hot Star was opening another store on Elizabeth St once again next to Gong Cha.

Hotstar Melb

Mr Bao and I went down to Hot Star at around 7:30pm and was very lucky to find parking right in front of the store. It looked very similar to the store they have in Hong Kong, where it is an actual store. Compared to the ones in Taiwan night markets the fried chicken is sold at food stalls. We met Prima the store manager that and was given a tour of the narrow store.

Hotstar1

It was really interested to see the fried chicken cooked in front of us, Prima explained that they take quality control very seriously. The staff have been flown to Taiwan to learn how to marinate the chicken, coat it in the special batter and deep fry to make it crispy delicious but not too oily or greasy. All ingredients except for the chicken breast (they source locally) the rest are imported from Taiwan to hopefully replicate the same taste and flavour in Melbourne.

Hotstar2

The fried chicken at Hot Star is renown for their huge size, but because it is so thin it only takes about 5 minutes for it to be cooked in the deep fryer. It is then placed on the drying rack where it will air dry and crisp up before another flavoured powder is sprinkled over it.

Hotstar3

The most popular and my favourite powder would be the hot chilli powder, but they do offer plum powder as well for those who like it more mild ~

Hotstarmelb

Our dinner on Friday night as a XXL fried chicken each and a cup of Gongcha. I can’t think of a better drink to pair with the Hot Star friend chicken, I chose the Milk Tea with pearls while Mr Bao got the Milk Tea with Honey and pearls.

Hot Star Fried Chicken $8

Mr Bao opted for the fried chicken with only salt and pepper and not of one of the flavoured powders. We were both so impressed of the taste and texture of the fried chicken, I honestly think it is on par with the ones in Taiwan. Except the flavour of the chicken is a little different, as Prima suggests the type of chicken and how they’re bred is quite different in Taiwan compared to Australia.

Spicy Fred Chicken $8

Spicy Fred Chicken $8

This fried chicken with the spicy hot powder totally made my day and took me immediately back to all those times I’ve visited the night markets! Mr Bao and I enjoyed the fried chicken so much we didn’t even bother talking to each other until we finished and he wanted to go get another piece hehe

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The Hot Star fried chicken is renown for being super large at least 29cm long it was definitely bigger than my face! I have heard some criticism from people that it is quite expensive $8AUD compared to $55TWD (not sure if prices have increased). You get a can of softdrink for $9.9AUD, I do agree that it is quite expensive compared to Taiwan. However, I don’t find the price to be unreasonable given the size of the fried chicken and the fact that we don’t have to fly to Taiwan to get Hot Star… I’m happy :)

Hotstarmelb1

Mr Bao and I were so obsessed we actually drove back to Hot Star last night at around 9:30pm and they were already sold out! We didn’t expect them to be so popular :( will need to go back another time. I really urge all Fried Chicken fans no matter if its Southern Fried Chicken, Korean Fried Chicken or good old KFC, you need to try Taiwanese Fried Chicken and Hot Star! Hope you will like it as much as we do!

Hot Star Fried Chicken (Elizabeth St) 
429 Elizabeth St
Melbourne CBD
PH: 0481 134 291
Hot Star/Gong Cha on Urbanspoon

Daisy and Mr Bao@Nevertoosweet visited as guests of Hot Star Large Fried Chicken and Harvey PR

Midnight Cravings – Taiwanese Fried Chicken

Home Sweet Home :) After a long 9 hour flight Mr Bao and I finally got back to Melbourne, Australia ~ even though I’ve been away for so long, I settled in right away hehe it was so nice to see people walking at a ‘normal’ pace and not ‘power-walking’ hahaha

I was a little overwhelmed by everything that I had to deal with though – my poor car had an extremely flat tyre, had to open a mountain of mail, pay the bills to ensure we still had water, gas and electricity and a whole heap of other things to do :( but I guess that’s what you get when come back from an extended holiday ~ Anyhow, so by the time I got all that done… it was way past mid-night and I had serious cravings but surprisingly didn’t want dessert lol rarely happens hahaha I actually craved for FRIED CHICKEN…not KFC…but Taiwanese Fried Chicken :D

There’s two types of Taiwanese Fried Chicken, one where it’s cut into thumb-size pieces and then deep fried, while the other is a large piece of chicken breast shaped like a pork cutlet :)

Thumb Bite Pieces VS Chicken Cutlet

For those who may not have heard or had Taiwanese Fried Chicken before, it has a unique taste because it is deep-fried and often seasoned with white pepper, chilli and fried basil. But because different stalls will create their own seasoning it’s hard to describe the taste of it :( sorry! I’m still working on my writing skills, but if there’s any Taiwanese restaurants near you, I highly recommend you trying ~ It’s so addictive even more so than KFC :D

I only ever really go to these two places for fried chicken in Taiwan – Ji Guang Delicious Fried Chicken (繼光香香雞)and Hot Star Large Fried Chicken(豪大大雞排). 

Ji Guang ~ Thumb Sized Fried Chicken

Gonna start with Ji Guang Xiang Xiang Ji (繼光香香雞) first ~ they specialise in the ‘bite sized’ form of the fried chicken :D They opened their first store 38 years ago and developed a special seasoning that using more than 10 herbs and spices ~ the exact same recipe is still used today.

Constantly frying ~

Apart from the fact that it’s so delicious, I love going to Ji Guang because they are constantly frying new batches of chicken and I have never bought cold or stale fried chicken which I think is crucial :)

Its a bit scary the amount of oil used ~ but it is so yummy that the calories are worth it hehe definitely not something people dieting should eat :P

Weighing the chicken ~

You can buy the fried chicken in either a small or large size, which is weighed ~ I’m not really sure of the difference in weight but I think the small size is more than enough for 1 to 2 people.

Small Serve Fried Chicken $55TWD ($1.8AUD)

The best way to describe Ji Guang’s fried chicken would be they are bite sized chicken thigh pieces coated in a light batter then deep-fried until golden brown and then tossed in its special seasoning. You can either have the original or have it with chilli, for those who can’t eat spicy food, I recommend staying away from the chilli powder as it is quite hot :) Oh did I forget to mention ~ It’s also quite cheap too! You can buy a small pack for less than $2 AUD:) so there’s no excuse to share hahaha YAY I don’t like sharing! The chicken is mine :D

Now to the next famous fried chicken Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (豪大大雞排), they serve their fried chicken in form of a large cutlet ~ Hot Star opened their first store more than 10 years ago and has reminded one of the most famous stalls at the Shi Lin Night Market ~ no matter when you go, whether it be rain or shine there will always be a line waiting :)

I recognise this lady ~

Because I’ve been going to Taiwan on a regular basis for many years, I recognise this nice lady, who will organise the long queues, serves the chicken and takes the money ~ it amazes me how she can do everything so quickly and efficiently :)

Big Fried Chicken Cutlet~

They only come in one size and once price $55TWD ($1.80AUD) same price as Ji Guang once again a cheap eat :) Instead of using chicken thigh, at Hot Star they use a large piece of chicken breast and some how make it even bigger, coat it with a thick floury batter and then deep fry it ~ Once again they use a special type of seasoning and you have the option of adding chilli powder :) For me I always add the chilli powder because the hotter the better ~

MASSIVE!

I think this picture shows you exactly HOW big this chicken cutlet is! It’s bigger than my face hahaha It’s really filling if you had the whole thing so even though they don’t cut it for you, I suggest you sharing with someone, so you can save some room for other goodies at the night market ~ I have to admit though, not everyone likes Hot Star’s fried chicken, because they say the batter is too thick and it’s not as crispy as Ji Guang as it’s such a large piece.

I really can’t say which one I prefer :) Because I love them both hehe when I feel like something more crispy, I’ll go for Ji Guang, when I want something salty and filling I go for Hot Star ~ It’s also easier for me to get Hot Star because they have a store in HK too also read on their website that they’ve opened in Singapore too :D

No matter which store you go to ~ I really hope you get to try some delicious Taiwanese Fried Chicken soon and become addicted like me hehe

What are your mid-night cravings? :D

Ji Guang Delicious Fried Chicken (繼光香香雞)
108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District
武昌街二段100號
PH: +886 2 2381 5869

Hot Star Large Fried Chicken (豪大大雞排)

台北市士林區文林路113號 (陽明戲院前攤位)
No. 60號, Jīhé Road, Shihlin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
PH: +886 926 028 315

Multiple Courses – Teppanyaki

I’m sorry for the late post, for those who follow me on Twitter/Instagram will know I’ve gone a little crazy with the desserts lol so I’ve done a lot of eating but not much writing my bad! Promise to do better from now on ~ Wanted to give you a little break from just desserts today and take you to Teppanyaki at The Splendor hotel in Kaohsiung.

My parents are really traditional and only like Chinese food, especially Canton cuisine. That’s why I was really surprised and excited when they were willing to go to Teppanyaki with me ;) This is one of Win Win and my favourite restaurants in Taiwan because they serve great quality teppanyaki also offer a semi-salad and dessert buffet all at a great price :D

We all ordered from the lunch menu and as you can see it includes many courses ~ Mum ordered the Teppan Fried Crispy Chicken $850TWD ($27.85AUD), Dad ordered Prawns with Chicken $1500TWD ($49.15AUD) and I got the Australia Fillet $1200TWD ($39.30AUD) and because we were guests we didn’t need to pay the 10% service charge YAY!

Let’s start with the semi-buffet ~

Lots of dishes to choose from ~

They had a good range of savoury dishes such as teriyaki beef, mini tuna potato salad, smoked chicken breast with peppers and an organic salad bar ~ great way to start a meal.

I was trying to be good so started off with a plate of salad ~ I’ve never had the ‘purple’ veggie but I’m sure Norma (Garden To Wok) will know~ I was a little skeptical when Dad placed it onto my plate…but was still willing to try. It was quite pleasant to eat lol very refreshing but I know none of my sisters would eat it because it really is like eating ‘grass’ :P

Left - Minestrone Soup
Right - Cream of Mushroom

We were then served soup of the day ~ they had Minestrone, Cream of Mushroom, French Onion and another soup which I’ve forgotten sorry! Mum and Dad both got the Cream of Mushroom which was another surprise hahaha they usually say it’s too creamy and rich. I knew it was going to be a filling and rich meal so got the minestrone instead. As a responsible blogger hehe I tried both soups and thought they were cooked well, however, the minestrone tasted a little diluted…think I prefer the Cream of Mushroom more ~

Very talented chef!

We were very lucky the executive teppanyaki chef Jeffrey Ho was cooking for us today ~ He was very nice and told us that he’s originally from Singapore that’s why he could speak a little bit of Cantonese. Mum was SO happy because she doesn’t really speak any Mandarin but still thinks she does even though people don’t understand her :P

Entree - Teppan Fried Salmon with Scallop and Seasonal Vegetables

I forgot that we had an entree and was surprised to see it, I was too busy eating from the semi-buffet ~ Both the salmon and scallops were cooked perfectly, especially the scallop it wasn’t overcooked or too raw :)

Dad's Prawns

The prawns were so pretty with its tailed spread out like a little flower ~ Dad only had one and gave me the other. The mango salsa was a little spicy but went really well with the prawns. Too bad Win Win missed out hehe prawns are her favourite.

My beef fillet ~

Chef Ho kindly helped us share my beef fillet so we could all try it :) This may sound a little patriotic but hahaha I honestly believe we produce the best beef in Australia~ It was so tender and juicy! Only thing I would say is that it was a little too ‘well done’, Mum likes everyone cooked thoroughly but it was still totally delicious!

Teppan Fried Crispy Chicken

Mum and Dad both ordered chicken so lots to share amongst us, I’ve had it before but it still amazes me how they can keep the meat so tender ~ I’ve had teppan fried chicken elsewhere and its either overcooked where it becomes tough or it’s not thoroughly cooked and I need to ask them to recook it. But Chef Ho was perfect the first time round and it was scrumptious ~ I don’t usually eat the chicken skin because it’s quite fatty and I save my calories for desserts but I couldn’t resist the crispy chicken skin with Chef Ho’s homemade sauce.

Veggies

Last teppanyaki dish was some teppan fried bean sprouts, Dad and I love bean sprouts and after having a substantial amount of meat it was nice to have some veggies to refresh our palate :) but we found it to be slightly bland and just needed an extra pinch of salt and pepper ~

Taken to the 'dessert' room ~

We were then asked very nicely to ‘get up’ and go to the dessert room down the hall :) LOVE THIS PART ~ The Splendor hotel is the tallest building in Koahsiung so we had a great view of the city ~

Great view ~

Mum was particularly impressed with the view because she kept saying Koahsiung’s such a small city hahaha but then there were still many high-rise buildings.

Desserts!

Now to my favourite part ~ even though the teppanyaki was great, to me a meal must always have dessert for it to be complete :D they had a mini dessert bar which had a decent range of cakes, pudding and fruit.

My selection ~

I wanted to try everything! But because I was already quite stuffed, I only picked the ones that interested me ~ Starting from the left (anti-close wise). Green tea and red bean sponge cake not bad, however, the matcha flavour wasn’t strong enough and there was too much whipped cream :( Creme brulee had a nice hard crispy caramelised top, I didn’t really like the creme part it was to ‘eggy’ for my liking. Peach friand it was nice enough but a little dry and wasn’t really sweet enough definitely not my favourite. Mango mousse cake a very regular cake you get from any Asian bakery once again not my favourite. But my favourite was the walnut and chocolate brownie! I was expecting it to be dry and hard, instead it was so moist, soft and crunchy with the walnuts :) One of the best brownies I’ve had in such a long time ~

Iced Green Tea ~

Dad and I finished this wonderful multiple course meal with an Iced Green Tea, while mum had a hot English Breakfast tea which I conveniently forgot to take a picture of :P I was getting sleepy with all the food we just had lol

Highly recommend you trying Teppanyaki when you get the chance to go to Koahsiung, great value for the quality and quantity of food that you get ~ I really hope they still have that brownie when you go :D

Teppanyaki – The Splendor
39/F, No 1 Tzu-Chiang 3rd Rd
Kaohsiung, Taiwan
39/5 高雄市苓雅區自強三路1號n
PH: +886 7 566 8000  

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