Le Ruban Chocolat Taipei (可可法朋)

There are many desserts cafe in Taipei, but probably the most interesting one that I have come across recently is Le Ruban Chocolat. It is a sister cafe of the more popular Le Ruban Patisserie, which serves desserts like cakes and breads and cookies. I heard that there is constant long queue at that cafe by, I guess, ladies. Le Ruban Chocolat serves a limited quantity of desserts and baked goods, but it also serves chocolate bars of various flavours which the sister cafe doesn’t.

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Taiwan Street Food – 盐酥鸡 The deep fried everything stall

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Okay, I know there are many street food in Taiwan that I must have, but this one is one that I will not miss not matter, even if I am too busy I will get it at midnight! Another reason is there is a stall like this right below my Taiwanese friend’s the place where I usually stay when in Taipei.

First, these stalls are easy to find in any night market. For some, you don’t even need to be in a night market to find them. In other words they are everywhere. Even though the stall may say 盐酥鸡 (salted crispy chicken), it also sells 炸鸡排 (friend chicken chop) AND a variety of food from livers, chicken backside, squids, tofu and including vegetables like mushrooms, broccoli, sweet corn and even cucumbers! Everything that you order is thrown into the deep fryer and then season with salt and pepper and chili powder.  The recipe is so simply and yet the combination is so potently delicious that I wondered why no one is selling this in Singapore! Actually there are some shops doing that here, but they are mostly only mushrooms and pre-fried, totally not worth your while.

In all honesty, this is a weight-watcher’s nightmare, but my guilt is somewhat lessen by the fact that I can order vegetables instead the crispy chicken or chicken chop which is coated in flour. Next time you are in Taipei, just walk up to on of these shops, pick some stuff and try it. Fried vegetables never tasted any better than this! Note, you don’t have to pick all of them, just one piece of what you want and the stall owner will top up your choice to the correct weight.

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Sorry for the bad photo, but you can see in here that I have order broccoli, one stick of chicken back side, fried chicken skin and green chili. Yum!!

Taipei: 維格鴛鴦綠豆糕 – Vigor’s Mung Bean Cake with Red Bean Filling @ Ximen Station

Vigor (維格餅家) is another of those award winning pineapple cake shop in Taiwan which is very popular with tourists, especially from Hong Kong. Also they are conveniently located at exit 4 of the Ximen station.

I had tried their pineapple cake before and so have some of my friends in Singapore. Most of us felt that its nice, but just ordinary. Not much different from what we can get here back home.

Their mung bean cake however is an entirely different story!

I am not really sure if we have any equivalent in Singapore, but I am sure there are. What makes vigor’s mung bean cake really good is how smooth the pastry is and it crumbles nicely into your mouth. It is especially good when you pull it out of the refrigerator. Yes, it is even nice as a cold dessert. The pastry is mildly sweet and it has a very flavorful mung bean taste. The red bean fillings doesn’t really do too much, but maybe add a bit more bean sweetness to this. I can hardly taste the red bean, but I guess without it the pastry may look a bit boring and lack a layered sweetness.

Totally recommended.

Taiwan Street Food – 黑糖珍珠撞奶 (Black sugar syrup soaked pearls in milk)

This is a drink that I only recently discovered in Taiwan as I had never really been a fan of the pearl (珍珠) in the Taiwanese bubble milk tea, usually opting out the pearls.  I think this new mixture probably only came about 1 – 2 years ago. Also judging by its popularity amongst the youngster, it should be a relatively new thing, until something else takes over! lolz

The drink is very simple, soak a bunch of tapioca balls in black sugar syrup and serve it with full cream milk. Simple, but heavenly!

The pearls are piping hot at the bottom of the cup (in the picture above I could only hold that cup for a few seconds!) and the cold milk is poured on top. Stir them together and you get a drink that has both the fragrance of milk and black sugar (and its sweetness), plus a chewy tidbit. Because the pearls are soaked in the sugar, they are not tasteless and are nice to chew on. To make a good cup, I think, depends on the quality of the pearl and the milk. Black sugar tastes don’t change too much, in general.

In the picture above is a popular shop at 公馆 (Gong Guan) station where there is tiny night market street. This is a bit early, but if you go there around dinner time, the customers will pack the street. Actually, I thought that another (smaller) store selling a similar drink just behind me (where this photo is taken) seem to have a better milk to go with it. But both is worth a try.

Taiwan Street Food – 大肠包小肠 (Small sausage wrapped by big sauage)

This picture may look suggestive, but its one of my favorite must eat food when in Taipei. It is a relative simply concept. A small sausage, which is your typical sweet Taiwanese sausage, is placed on a large glutinous rice filled sausage. In between these two various other flavors and ingredients like garlic, onions, radish, etc are added. You can have Japanese, Korean, Thai, Satay flavored toppings, including many I would not know what they are made of! In itself, I think we can say that is a complete meal with meat, vegetables and rice!

What makes this delicious is the toppings and most important how the small sausage is roasted. A lot of care is taken to roast the sausage so that its crispy on the outside and very fragrant. One of my favorite sausage is the wild boar meat (山猪).

This stall at Ximen is very popular and I love to eat the small sausage just by itself. Its in one of back lane where the Ximen multi-storey carpark is, just below the Toilet Cafe

Taiwan Street Food – 胡椒饼(literally pepper biscuit)

If one of the snacks I often like to try when I Taipei is their 胡椒饼. This is a Chinese-style biscuit baked in a hot oven filled with meat (mostly pork) seasoned with pepper and other stuff. Best when served hot from the oven, but mind you it is very very hot inside. I remembered once I bought a beef version and passed it to my friend to try, forgetting to warn him. He took one bite of it, screamed out loud and promptly threw the snack onto the floor! How embarrassing.. haha.

This stall is a popular store at the junction of  重庆南路一段 and 开封街一段. It is just opposite See You Hotel, quite Mitsukoshi where the exit of the Taipei Main Train station is.

Taipei: Chia Te Pineapple Tarts and Sun Biscuits

Frankly speaking, I have never been a great fan of pineapple tarts (凰梨酥)  and sun biscuits (太阳饼). But a few years ago when I was on a work trip to Taipei, my colleague bought some tarts whose shop is only based in Taichung and I loved it. The tart practically melts in your mouth. However, since I have left my old company, I have been looking for something similar whenever I travel to Taipei for holidays. But so far none have met my taste meter.

So this current trip to Taipei, we decided to ask a taxi driver to recommend the best pineapple tart in Taipei and he recommended Chia Te (家德). He mentioned that his wife queue for more than 1 hour during festive seasons to buy that tarts and they only produce enough for the day. Also noteworthy was that it won some best pineapple tart awards in Taipei for a few years running. Hearing this, of course, we were determined not to let the opportunity pass us by and decided to pop down the shop early next morning (around 11 am lah). Continue reading “Taipei: Chia Te Pineapple Tarts and Sun Biscuits”