January 23, 2012

Shanghainese Village New Year's Feast

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It's the first day of the Year of the (Water) Dragon, and there was a rare occasion for the two sides of my family to gather for a meal.  You don't get a whole lotta choices when it comes to restaurants that open today, so dad booked Shanghai Kitchen (上海鄉村) and got us a room.  Unfortunately our table wasn't that big enough, so the 15 of us had to squeeze a little...

Stir-fried shrimp with freshwater eel (蝦爆鱔背) - I was expecting the eel to be deep-fried, but oh well...

January 15, 2012

Elves in my kitchen day 3: all day breakfast

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Once again, I woke up to the sound of ruckus in my kitchen.  It was 7:30am and both Dyson 2000 and J were hard at work.  Dyson 2000 was chopping up water chestnuts, trying to make a water chestnut pudding (馬蹄糕) for mom without the right ingredients.  We had tried in vain to look for water chestnut starch around town, but ended up settling for tapioca starch instead.

After a few rounds of steaming in the oven, we had a product that hopefully will be reasonably close to the real thing.  We'll see in a few days when mom gets her hands on it...

January 14, 2012

Elves in my kitchen day 2: eating non-stop

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I woke up this morning to the sound of something being slammed against a hard surface.  Thwack!  Thwack!  I opened the bedroom door and found Dyson 2000 hard at work, working one-handed on some dough.  I guess we'd be having some homemade bread for breakfast!

When I returned from voting in the presidential election, there were 3 little piles of dough in my oven, and the fragrance started the disperse through my kitchen to the rest of the apartment.  We could already see the large air bubbles...

January 13, 2012

Elves in my kitchen day 1: Keelung food crawl

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Dyson 2000 and J are here in Taipei for the weekend.  I've set up a weekend of cooking lessons for them, and mom will show them some of her signature dishes.  I was really excited to receive my guest room's first visitors, and really looked forward to spending some quality time hanging with them.

After spending most of the afternoon in my kitchen with mom, my visitors met up with me for our excursion out of Taipei.  We met at Taipei Main Station (台北車站) to take the train up to Keelung (基隆).  Our destination?  The famous Miaokou Night Market (廟口夜市).  My first visit here came only about 2 weeks ago, and apparently Dyson 2000 salivated at the picture I posted after my visit.

But first a little something to whet our appetite.  We had a little time to spare thanks to the trains being delayed, so I stopped at Maison Kayser to pick up a few canelés.  The ones here are big, but actually pretty decent.  A little crispy on the outside and moist on the inside - although slightly more custardy than I would normally prefer.  Slurp.

January 8, 2012

Western cuisine = steak

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It's been a while since I last met up with a couple of friends for a meal, and we all happened to be around tonight.  Someone was in the mood for beef, maybe because we had such a horrible experience together a few months ago.  Since Danny & Co. was not free, we decided to head to Robin's Grill at the Grand Formosa Regent.

It's a Sunday night, and the place was doing brisk business.  As I'd realized a few months ago, for many people in Taiwan having a "Western" meal still means having steak for main course.  Well then, might as well go straight to a steakhouse...

There was an amuse bouche of smoked salmon roll with caviar.  Ho-hum.


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