No matter how much I tell my friends to get mentally ready for the Lin Heung ‘warzone’ experience, they never really are. If you do not speak Cantonese (or at least pu tong hua), and have no understanding of the dim sum trolley culture – good luck. For popular items like the Cheong Fun and Cha Siu Bao, this is a competition of fastest runner and fastest hands first. Probably one of the 10 things you must experience in Hong Kong if you are a foodie. Too bad it is closing really soon.
Sanyod is one of the most well-known restaurants at the Bangrak district of Bangkok, offering Thai-Cantonese cuisine and attracts regulars and customers from other parts of the city. They come here to try the signature char-grilled Roast Duck marinated with a secret sauce and other tasty Cantonese dishes. It is also awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand. The duck at 150 baht (SGD6.50 or USD4.80) comes with part-tender-part-fatty pieces drenched in a sauce with Chinese herbal hint.
Probably the most famous fluffy pancakes from Osaka Japan, Gram Café & Pancakes has arrived in Bangkok right at the popular Siam Paragon. You might have seen videos of Gram’s Pancakes which made their way around social media, of stacks of 3 pancakes being ‘shaken’ on plates. Each 4 cm thick, served with syrup, butter and whipped cream. It is all about the texture – ultra-fluffy, soufflé-like, and melt-in-your-mouth. Very long queue expected, up to an hour or more. It's all about the gram.
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The one distinguishing factor about cafes in Taipei, is the calming and peaceful environment, best described as “文青”. I can’t find an English equivalent, but you often find the Taiwanese hanging out with a book at hand, or engaging in quiet conversations – discussing about politics, the arts and gossips. There appears to be a lack of English websites featuring these Taipei cafes as well. Armed with recommendations from friends and Chinese guidebooks, here are 12 cafes to visit in Taipei.
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When people talk about the “Best Beef Noodles in Taipei”, it is usually a toss-up between Yong Kang Beef Noodles 永康牛肉麺館 or Lin Dong Fang Beef Noodles 林東芳牛肉麵. I ordered a bowl of Beef Noodles, at NT$160 - an affordable SGD7 or USD5.20. The light aroma arrived before the bowl, and while the soup looked slightly clear, it was surprisingly flavourful underlying with taste of herbs and spices that didn’t overpower the rest. The stock is said to be cooked over 20 hours, using beef bones and herbs.
The owners of one Michelin-starred Ming Fu were so low profile and “largely uninterested” that they didn’t attend the Michelin ceremony. It is the kind of place you’d probably just walk by and not normally walk into. The most famous dish here is Buddha Jumps Over the Wall 一品佛跳牆, which has been earning rave reviews. As this soup contains real shark fin, you could request the staff to omit it if you don’t eat or prefer not to eat shark fin. Reservation is A MUST.
Golden Flower Toast 金花碳烤吐司專賣 located near the Ximen Red House, enjoys a constant steady queue. The sandwich shop, with a drink of the same brand just a few shops away, serves up interesting flavours more than you can imagine. The mammoth of a sandwich came like a tower, of toasted buttery breads, grilled pork belly, cucumber slices, tomatoes, lettuce, egg, cheese (but of course)… and interesting addition of peanut butter. Be prepared to wait 15 minutes, to even an hour for your sandwich.
Jian Hong Beef Noodles 建宏牛肉麵 is listed under the Michelin Bib Gourmand, opens 24/7, which can satisfy your hunger from wee hours of the morning to middle of the night. Offering include Beef Noodles, Mixed Beef Noodles, Beef Innards Noodles, also available in soup versions. They all come in 3 sizes, priced at an inexpensive NT$90 for small, NT$100 for medium, and NT$110 for a large bowl (SGD4, 4.40, 4.85.) This is considering some stores are selling theirs double the price.