Menu In Progress | Savory before sweet. Tasty before neat.
We are Mike and Sherry and we're located in San Diego (Pacific Beach, to be more precise). We are avid consumers and producers of food and beverages. This blog gives us a place to share our culinary adventures with family, friends and anyone else who stops by.
7-Eleven is the dominant convenience store chain in many parts of Southeast Asia, and particularly in Taiwan. It was our go-to place to grab beer and snacks, but you can (and many people do) get a whole meal there. They sell all sorts of stuff that can be reheated in the on-site microwaves, and even have bubbling cauldrons of soup with various bits of things like tofu and fish cakes simmering away.
One of the Taipei airport food courts had a 7-Eleven and we took advantage of it while waiting for our flight. Surprisingly, prices here were not inflated compared to other Taipei 7-Elevens, and we enjoyed a number of reasonably priced rounds of Taiwan Beer. It seemed a fitting end to our time here.
On our way to the airport to travel home from Taipei, we used the convenient baggage check at Taipei Main Station and headed out for some noodle soup.
Our destination was Liu Shandong Beef Noodles. Located on a corner at the intersection of two alleys, this place just oozed atmosphere.
We sat down and ordered a couple of bowls of noodle soup - one beef, and one pork chop. They arrived steaming hot and very generously sized.
The beef bowl was very tasty, but on this occasion I think I may have enjoyed the pork chop version a little bit more.
The lightly coated pork that had been fried before being added to the bowl really hit the spot on this rainy afternoon.
We took our time enjoying our noodles, listening to the happy slurping going on at the tables around us. It was a perfect last outing before we descended back into Taipei Main Station to board the airport MRT.
Dongmen Market was just a few blocks from our hotel in Taipei, so we ended up checking it out a couple of times. It is a very comfortable, well-patronized but not at all frantic local market that spans a street section, as well as an inside area.
Lots of produce available, as well as plenty of meat, fish and seafood.
On one of our visits, we breakfasted on some daikon buns from a little corner-side stall.
I'm definitely developing a bit of a crush on daikon.
As we were heading out, we noticed a happy, vibrant crush of mostly elderly people around a small store-front.
We had no idea what was going on, but we were motioned to sit down and quickly had steaming bowls thrust into our hands.
It turned to out be mochi - balls of glutinous rice heated in a sweet and somewhat medicinal, but very pleasant syrup.
These mochi snacks were free. I'm not sure what was going on - perhaps some sort of promotion or celebration by the business. They were also walking up and down the street giving out bowls to the market vendors. Everyone was quite giddy and delighted.
We had seen mochi frequently on our travels in Asia, but had never had it. This made for the perfect first experience.
The Shida market is one of the smaller night markets in Taipei, but what it lacks in size it makes up in energy. It is near a University, and on our visit it was busy with young people getting something to eat.
Above is a stall selling Shanghai-style pan-fried pork buns.
Below was one of many popular stalls we saw in Taiwan that lets you pick a mix of ingredients which get quickly cooked in a cauldron of stock and served as a to-go tub of soup.
Our destination, though, was a place called Shi Yun which serves custom pick-and-mix fry-ups.
We were standing around trying to figure out how to order when a nice gentleman waiting for his food noticed our confusion and helped us out. He told us to take a basket and take a single piece of each item we wanted. The staff would then fry up a standard-sized portion of each item you selected.
We got chicken, squid, green beans and a skewer of chicken hearts. A few minutes later, our order came out - hot, crunchy, nicely seasoned and delicious.
We were back in Taipei for a few nights at the end of our trip before flying home, and Shilin Night Market was still on our list of places to try.
Shilin is the largest of the Taipei night markets - encompassing several square blocks full of wares being sold, games being played and (most importantly) food being eaten.
This stand had us at meat-on-a-stick. We happily chomped through three of the grilled pork sausages.
This lady caught our attention, and we tried a couple of her pastries - one scallion and one salty radish.
The scallion one was very good, but we really fell in love with the salty radish (daikon) version.
As if the street-level sprawl of Shilin wasn't enough, there is also a large, underground food court.
We waded our way through the hordes of people, checking out the various stalls.
The above place was selling "coffin toast" - a hollowed out toast sandwich filled with a variety of questionable fillings.
This Teppanyaki stall was doing a good business. We'd seen this style in Taipei before, near the Ningxia night market - the customers are served on minimalist rectangles of foil, which presumably keeps things hot while they eat.
Prices everywhere were very reasonable, and seemed quite consistent from stall to stall. A picture of spicy wontons at one stall finally convinced us to commit and sit down.
Above are the pre-mentioned wontons. Nothing amazing, but very tasty.
We also got an order of lu rou fan and some greens.
A very satisfying and inexpensive meal in a fun, vibrant setting.
While Brickfields is more traditionally known as the "Little India" of Kuala Lumpur, we found that a lot of places we were interested in were showing up in the nearby Bangsar neighborhood instead. We made the short trek out there one day to have lunch at Sri Nirwana Maju restaurant.
We both had the banana leaf lunch. This was not a strictly vegetarian restaurant - the sauce for the rice had chicken, fish and veggie versions.
The star of the show for us was the red-colored vegetable pictured above. Not sure what the veg was - maybe some sort of squash (the red was an added color). It was coated in a delicious batter and fried to a nice crispiness.
We also got piece of fish - which we think was horse mackerel. Tasty, and a nice accompaniment to the meal.
The place was doing a brisk business inside and out, and we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch.
For the second part of our stay in Kuala Lumpur, we were in the Chow Kit neighborhood, the heart of which is the Chow Kit Market. We walked through it multiple times and different times of day as it always seemed to be on the way from our hotel to somewhere else.
During the day, the market is a very colorful and dynamic place, with a large fruit and vegetable section that is covered, but still very open-air.
The section selling animal bits is more covered.
A huge variety of meat, fish and poultry is on offer.
We walked past on a number of nights, and the meat section was still fascinating to look at even as it was closing down.
With the main produce market closed for the evening, a secondary set of stalls starts up.
One night we walked along the market row with the twin Petronas Towers lit up in the background and the call to prayer from a local mosque washing over everything.
Our destination was Restoran Rose - a place that serves up a variety of Indonesian fare.
On this night, we were after Sate. They had their skewers all prepped and ready to go:
Some fumbling mixed-language interaction revealed that the decisions to make was what protein we wanted, and whether it would be sweet or not.
We went for two combos of beef and chicken skewers - this one was the non-sweet version:
The skewers were small, but tasty. The sauce was savory and plentiful, and there were chunks of Nasi Impit (a simple, dense rice cake) in it to add more sustenance to the dish and use to sop up the sauce.
The second combo we ordered was the "sweet" one, which turned out to be a peanut sauce:
The sauce was thick and not overly sweet - again served with the chunks of nasi impit.
We washed everything down with some tea and enjoyed the scene. Overall, it was a fun and inexpensive meal in a pleasant setting.
Our first morning in Kuala Lumpur happened to be "Mawlid" - the celebration of Prophet Muhammad's birthday. What this meant was that lots of places were closed. After trying a few options and returning to our hotel in failure, we noticed that the lady at the reception desk had a tasty looking to-go breakfast.
We asked her where she got it, and she directed us a short walk away to Restoran Tajudin and we soon had delicious trays of food and hot mugs of tea in front of us.
Roti canai with dals and a very nice sambal, a super tasty potato cake, an egg, a sausage, and a curry puff for good measure. What's not to like about that?
As we were leaving, the offerings were being switched out for lunch. We'd hoped to get back here for another meal, but never managed it. Maybe on our next visit.
Nasi Kandar Pelita is a chain of restaurants, one of which is conveniently located in the center of Kuala Lumpur. It is a large, bustling food mecca and we enjoyed two dinners there.
We arrived on our first rainy evening in Kuala Lumpur a bit overwhelmed. Helped by a friendly waiter, we ordered from our table. A Roti Canai, a Chicken Biryani set, squid, and of course Nasi Kandar rice.
Our first introduction to Malaysian Roti Canai was very good, with nice layers of bread/pastry to soak up the variety of sauces with.
The chicken biryani was tasty, as was the squid.
But the heart of the meal was definitely the nasi kandar rice - mostly because of the sauce. The rice here typically comes with a mixture of the cooking sauces of the various supplemental dishes. On our first visit, they brought the mixture of sauces in a dish to our table:
The sauce spooned over the rice was very, very good.
On another evening, we were more organized, and bellied up to the counter to pick out individual add-ons to our rice - fried chicken and and braised mutton, along with some greens and the necessary complement of sauces.
We also got a Masala Dosa, which was tasty and filling.
Even with two visits, I feel like we only scratched the surface here.
Nestled under the the iconic Petronas Twin Towers, Nasi Kandar Pelita is definitely a conveniently located spot.