Friday, May 18, 2018

indian/revisited: i still strongly recommend MAYUR INDIAN KITCHEN




MAYUR INDIAN KITCHEN 
馬友友印度廚房
350-5 Keelung Rd, Sec. 1 台北市基隆路一段350號之5

MRT: Taipei City Hall or Taipei 101


hours: 11:30 am – 9:30 pm 

$-$$ (This meal was by invitation and hosted, but all opinions are my own.)

Visit reviewed: 4/3/2018
Previous reviewed: 5/17/2012

RECENTLY, I REVISITED THE ORIGINAL Mayur Indian Kitchen in Xinyi and was happy to find it even better than when I first wrote about it in 2012! (That rarely happens.) Since 2012, Mayur Indian Kitchen has expanded from one street side shop to six Indian restaurants across Taipei, all with different specialties including all vegetarian, buffet or late night with live music.  I'm not sure why I didn't return since I wrote about it six years ago, but Chef Mayur had kindly invited me over the years, as he sent messages here and there about the new restaurants he had opened. 

After I had posted some butter chicken that I had ordered after an ubereats fail from another Indian restaurant during Chinese New Year, he told me that my original blog post had brought so many customers to his restaurant, but that the Mayur Indian Kitchen I visited back then was completely different from my last visit and hoped I could see for myself. 

So I invited a few fellow Indian food loving friends to meet me at the Guangfu location, which was missing its sign above, but had doubled in restaurant space. Mayur Indian Kitchen (MIK 1) now had indoor table seating in a festive bright red dining area, as well as the al fresco tables outside. It's still quiet on this street, so sitting outside in good weather isn't a problem. 



 


The current glossy menu had page after page of appetizers, tandoori, vindaloo, tikka masala, butter chicken, masalas, vegetarian curries, naan, parathas, and drinks, which affordable prices from NT$190-395. I could understand why a revisit was overdue because the restaurant had grown into a completely different experience than the one that was just starting out in 2012 which chicken on the bone in the curry and less than a dozen curries available. Thank you to Chef Mayur for the invitation and for your hospitality.  (It's such a funny coincidence that my post in 2012 was exactly 6 years ago yesterday).







I'm a creature of habit, especially at Indian restaurants. I will tend to reorder the same things that I like, but I'm open to trying new things. So while we put in our order for butter chicken, palak paneer, naan, paratha, aloo gobi and raita, some finger foods came to the table.  



It was my first time trying these Dahi puchka from Kolkata (NT$150 for 6), which were small puffs filled with yogurt, tamarind and mint sauces. They were flavor bombs and slightly messy if you didn't eat it in one bite. A lighter way to start the meal than the more well known Punjabi vegetarian samosas (NT$135) dense with potatoes and peas. 



Soon our table filled with curries, naan, rice and vegetables. After a few photos, we dug in. Our favorites were the butter chicken (NT$245) which had that classic sweet and slightly spicy addictive sauce, and surprisingly the recommended aloo gobhi (NT$225), which is curried cauliflower and potatoes. It is a MUST ORDER. I used to order aloo gobhi all the time in the states, but sometimes you get more potatoes than anything else. Mayur Indian Kitchen's version had strong cauliflower game where the cauliflowers were just the right texture and was spiced without being heavy. 

Such a happy meal as my friends and I used the naan to scoop up every last bit of the butter chicken curry and filled our plates and bellies with food. I loved everything. 

The only thing I probably wouldn't reorder is the Malai Tikka (NT$225) which was not as juicy or flavorful as I've had elsewhere. Next time I'd try the tandoori chicken. MIK 1 also still only serves yellow rice, which I noted on my first visit. In my conversation with Chef Mayur, most people in India typically eat regular rice and not basmati rice because it's more affordable and it's more filling. 

Otherwise there are 18 types of naan, roti and paratha to order from, including garlic chili naan and sweeter coconut naan or cheese naan. We ordered three- plain, garlic and aloo paratha, for the three of us and it was more than plenty. 



butter chicken
palak paneer (spinach with paneer) & spiced rice

aloo gobhi and chicken malai 
aloo paratha (NT$85)
plain naan (NT$55)
garlic naan (NT$55)

A large sign outside the restaurant displays the new exclusively vegetarian MIK as well as the addresses of the other locations. Rather than make each restaurant the same, Chef Mayur chose to give each one a specialty. MIK 1 is homestyle Indian food. MIK 2 is more upscale.  MIK 3 is purely vegetarian. MIK 4 is a buffet (but only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays). MIK5 is stated to the be the largest Indian restaurant in Taipei. And last but not least, the newest MIK 6 is an Indian restaurant by day, hookah and live music restaurant by night, offering Indian food until 3AM. 



What was Chef Mayur's entrepreneurial secret to opening 6 restaurants in 6 years? Chef Mayur wooed his family from India to Taipei in his expansion to helm and cook at the different branches, and his father is the chef at MIK 1, which serves classic, homestyle Indian dishes. “My father cooks food for our guests just like the way he used to cook for our family. In fact, he treats all MIK customers as our family guests.” And to find that in Taipei is such a treat. 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

news: 2018 OVERDUE TAIPEI RESTAURANT ROUNDUP

A TAIPEI RESTAURANT ROUND UP is long overdue. I have a lot of drafts of blog posts in my folder and this one had the following sentence- "Every summer when I come back from LA, I notice a few changes, but this summer was the first one where a lot of people had one restaurant on their lips- "have you been to Longtail yet?""

Now it's April 2018 and I've already done a 10 places you should try next that I should republish here and Taipei has moved onto another new set of restaurants. Michelin finally came to Taipei and everyone is abuzz about the bib gourmand list.

The list is going to be long because I have a draft of 2016 that was never published to add in- so forgive me if some of these places look not-so-new to you, it's new since my last round up. Please let me know if you have a restaurant that has opened or closed and I'll add it! Let's get to business.

2018 CLOSINGS
  • Commune A7 (closed to make way for construction for hotels)
  • Emack and Bolios (ice cream)
  • Origines (closed at end of March 2018)
  • Le Mout (will close at end of 2018)
  • La Cocotte (closed after 9 years, the same month it was awarded 1 Michelin star)
  • Juanitas (closed again)
2017 OPENINGS (aka how behind I am in posts)
  • Longtail 
  • Liquid Bread Co (sandwiches)
  • Tamed Fox (brunch and desserts)
  • Ichiran Ramen
  • NKU (modern)
  • Coffee DPT (chocolate chip cookies and coffee)
  • Commune A7
  • Honolulu Cafe (from Hong Kong)
  • Gusto Market (italian deli and shop)
  • Steam Pot
  • Buttermilk at Amba 
  • Grace
  • GDS Play cafe (DaAn)
  • Tastelab by Regent Hotel 
  • Banco (pizza and pasta)
  • Maple Tree House Korean BBQ
  • District One Taipei (modern vietnamese, oxtail and lobster pho)
  • Amaronis (NY Italian American)
  • Pokeholic (Poke bowls)
  • Jumbo Seafood (Singaporean)
  • Red Dot (Singaporean/Indonesian)
  • Gastrojoy (private kitchen)
  • Ura muteki (deep fried wagyu)
  • Kamekona Hawaii (teppanyaki)
  • Mecato (empanadas at Maji Square)
  • Quantum Tacos (Maji Square)
  • Ice Mountain (shaved ice)
  • Gusto Pizza
  • Pie Guy 
  • Meat Love (korean bbq)
  • Wok
  • Juanitas (mexican)
  • Lady M (crepe cake)


2017 CLOSINGS
  • Achoi 
  • STAY (closed 9/30/2017) 
  • Sweet Tea (also closed 9/2017)
  • Le Kief
  • Savor Private Kitchen
  • Grandma Nitti's
  • Flavors Meatball 
  • Bite2Eat 
  • Juanitas
  • Lobster Bar
  • Dairy Queen 
2016 NOTABLE OPENINGS (even longer lists of places that I am due to post) 
  • Sugar Pea 
  • Jamie's Italian
  • Mitsukoshi A11 foodcourt reopening 
  • Nur
  • Chou Chou 
  • Terroir 
  • Street Churros
  • Plus Pizza 
  • Rou
  • Cafe by Juicy Diary 
  • Machin
  • Le kief 
  • Line Cafe
  • Domani (Italian)
  • Rakujin (wagyu yakiniku)
  • Antipodean
  • Revel Eatery
  • Baba Kevins (american bbq)
  • Twinkeyz Tacos
  • Sarabeths
  • Ramen Nagi
  • Plants Eatery (vegan)
  • Green Room (vegan thai)
  • Mortons Steakhouse
  • Cheogajip (korean fried chicken)

2016 CLOSINGS 
  • Cozi Burger 
  • Lobster Bar 
  • Amigos (in March?) 
  • Dan Ryans 
  • Burger Fix 
  • Voodoo doughnuts 

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

News: TAIPEI’s FIRST MICHELIN BIB GOURMAND & CLOSING OF LE MOUT AND ORIGINES

(4/3/2018- I wrote this last month but never posted it.. I think I was trying to find an appropriate photo, but I will just have to post it without as too many things are happening in the meanwhile!)

WITH THE RELEASE OF TAIPEI'S first Michelin guide and this week's Bib gourmand list, my newsfeed has been flooded with announcements. The Bib gourmand selection includes places that Michelin wants to honor, usually under a certain price point, but have not been awarded an actual star. The first list spotlights a lot of local eats including 10 nine market stalls and 8 beef noodle soups. I thought it was also interesting that they recognized Joseph's Bistro, an Indian restaurant.

The past few days, I've also learned that Origines helmed by Chef Cyril Hou will close at the end of this month and the award winning Le Mout in Taichung will close at the end of 2018. Both have announced the closings on their Facebook pages, and Chef Lanshu has written a heartfelt letter about her decision to close her 10-year-old restaurant. I have yet to try either restaurant, but would like to try them before they close.

So with the upcoming release of Taipei is Michelin guide, will it make some of our favorites more even crowded, or will it shine a global spotlight on Taipei's fine dining restaurants that need more than local customers to thrive? Perhaps both. The past five years or so we've seen a boom of fine dining restaurants, modern bistros, steakhouses, sushi bars, Japanese and Korean bbq. Now we as customers have a wider range of culinary options, but are there enough people in Taipei who eat out that often, at that price point with that palate? As much as I enjoy a fancy meal out now and then, there are so many places even I have yet to try, or favorites that I haven't revisited in months.

Are you looking forward to what restaurants the Michelin guide will pick? I'm definitely curious! Do you think they will be able to find both the well known and not as well known local favorites? Or do you be more interested in a Taipei street food guide?


TAIPEI 2018 BIB GOURMAND

  • DIAN SHUI LOU (Songshan) 點水樓 (松山)
  • DIN TAI FUNG 鼎泰豐 (信義路)
  • FU HUANG SOY MILK  阜杭豆漿 
  • HAMAMATSUYA濱松屋 
  • HANG ZHOU XIAO LONG BAO (DaAn) 杭州小籠湯包 (大安 )
  • HAO GONG DAO JIN JI YUAN 好公道金雞園
  • JOSEPH BISTRO
  • MAO YUAN 茂園 
  • MEILI 美麗餐廳 
  • MY ZHAO My 灶 
  • MY SWEET HOME SMALL KITCHEN 我家小廚房 
  • NO. 1 FOOD THEATER CUSINE 一号糧倉 
  • PENG FAMILY 彭家園 
  • SERENITY 祥和蔬食 
  • SHUANG YUE FOOD 雙月食品 
  • SONG KITCHEN 宋廚菜館 
  • TAO LUAN TING ROAST PEKING DUCK PALACE 北平陶然亭 
  • ZUI FENG YUAN 醉楓園小館 

TAIPEI 2018 BIB GOURMAND BEEF NOODLES
  • HALAL CHINESE BEEF NOODLES 清真中國牛肉麵食 館
  • JIAN HONG BEEF NOODLES建宏牛肉麵
  • LAO SHANDONG HOMEMADE NOODLES老山東牛肉家常麵 店
  • LIAO BEEF NOODLES 廖家牛肉麵
  • LIN DONG FANG BEEF NOODLES 林東芳牛肉麵
  • LIU SHANDONG BEEF NOODLES 劉山東牛肉麵
  • NIU DIAN BEEF NOODLES 牛店精燉牛肉麵
  • YONG KANG BEEF NOODLE 永康牛肉麵

TAIPEI 2018 BIB GOURMAND NIGHT MARKET
  • A NAN SESAME CHICKEN
  • STINKY TOFU BOSS
  • LIU YU ZI 
  • RONG'S PORK LIVER
  • CHEN DONG PORK RIBS MEDICINAL HERBAL SOUP
  • FUZHOU BLACK PEPPER BUN at RaoHe Night Market
  • SHI BOSS SPICY TOFU



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

sandwiches/american: i recommend LIQUID BREAD CO



LIQUID BREAD CO
No. 270 YanJi Street. 
延吉街270號
(02) 2704-6218

MRT: Xinyi Anhe

hours: 11:00AM - 9:00PM.  Closed Mondays


hours: 11AM–9PM, Closed Mondays

Price: $$

Kid Friendliness: kid friendly sandwiches like cheese bites, BLT. no high chairs spotted

Visits reviewed: 12/5/2017



[TAIPEI- XINYI] SO MUCH HAS CHANGED SINCE I STARTED BLOGGING 12 years ago. I used to take photos with my pocket Canon, upload them to my laptop and then upload to blogger and then tinker around with the html, type and post. But now even though taking and editing beautiful photos is easier and faster, it hasn't made blogging any easier. 

The app I used to use "Blogger" has slowed down as iPhones got faster and is now no longer in the app store. But then the blogger app started to upload the photos in a lower resolution sometimes AND crashed when I type more than a few letters. But since the app is no longer in the app store, it longer has any technical support and I couldn't download it to my new phone. So in order to upload pics from my new phone to my old phone, I had to airdrop them.That's why I was posting so infrequently on the blog because it would take FOREVER to do. 

BUT today I had an epiphany. I could airdrop photos to my desktop (because my laptop's hard drive is full as is my iCloud) and then do it the old school way, upload to blogger and type and post from there. 

SO here it is, a new post!




Liquid Bread Company is sandwich shop founded by the owners of Purebread Bakery and Gen Creative earlier this year, located in the quiet alley behind the Xinyi and Guangfu intersection. Those craving American style sandwiches in Taipei don't have a lot of choices, so the founders of Liquid Bread Co saw on opportunity to offer the sandwiches they wanted to eat themselves with higher quality ingredients made almost entirely in house. 

Liquid Bread Co's partner Jim says, LBC was "the natural progression of a bread shop, the wanting of showing how sourdough is used, in addition to missing a well put together sandwich." 

The menu includes classic sandwiches like pastrami, BLT, tuna melt as well as creations that give a nod to Gen Creative's chefs' heritages like carnitas, spicy pork belly, Taipei Bomber, which is a ham and cheese sandwich with egg salad added in. 

Every month, there is also a collaboration with a guest chef to offer a limited edition sandwich. This month, it's with Le Blanc's Chef Long Xiong and (regretfully) Le Roast Beast was sold out the day that I went. (I will have to go back before the month's end to try it!)




The menu board on the wall is only in Chinese, but there is a paper menu with English sandwich names and ingredients. It is a bit tough to match up prices to the sandwiches if you don't read Chinese since the prices are only on the menu board, but they range about NT$290-420 and half sandwiches are available. 

Side dishes include housemade soup of the day, pickled broccoli slaw, potato salad, egg salad and packaged chips like Doritos. A variety of craft beer is also available to down with your meal. Service is self serve, meaning that you grab your own food, pay at the counter and then bus your table afterwards.






The roasted tomato soup (NT$90) comes with two small pieces of bread, which I used with the egg salad to make a mini toast. It would pair perfectly with cheesy bites and I used it to dip my tuna melt. Since it's more on the sour side than sweet, I wouldn't be able to finish off a bowl on its own, but paired with a sandwich, the creamy tartness is a great complement to each other. You could create your own soup and half sandwich combo, though it would be nice if they could offer a price break on the soup if you added it on. 




After trying almost every sandwich on the menu (thanks to Liquid Bread Co), which were my favourites? I was expecting it to be carnitas since that's the sandwich I had heard raves about on Instagram, but they were out of carnitas that day. Booooooo.


So I was actually surprised by how much I liked the BLT (NT$290). The thick slice of Sedor Farms bacon was crispy yet juicy, and perfect with the crisp lettuce and tomato. I typically wouldn't order BLT, but the owner Jim insisted I try it. It would be even better with some avocado slices, (BLAT? ABLT? BLTA?), but on its own it's a refreshing bite with the addictive tomato jam. 




The pastrami sandwich (NT$420) was a nice stack, with provolone cheese, house prepared mustard and zucchini pickles. I liked it a lot, though the kind of pastrami I usually crave is the juicy, jus soaked heaps of thinly sliced pastrami like what you would find in LA at Johnnie's Pastrami or the Hat, rather than the traditional deli style pastrami on rye. 


Made with mozzarella, gouda and parmesan, the cheesy bites (NT$180) were super buttery and cheesy, like a grilled cheese cut into quarters for bite sized enjoyment (or dipping in tomato soup).



The tuna salad and the tuna melt sandwich are both priced at NT$290, and the tuna is made from fresh tuna for the tuna salad. 



And in my video making, I only got video and not a photo of the Pork Belly sandwich (NT$290), which was really hearty with three slabs of spicy pork belly in each half, pickles and cabbage slaw on a soft dinner roll. The meat wasn't as fatty as I expected and since I didn't have room to eat it at lunch, I had it for dinner and it held up pretty well as leftovers. With so much meat, this sandwich is definitely the most bang for your buck, and an underrated AND filling sandwich where carnitas and pastrami get all the hype. 





And last but not least, the junk cookie with chocolate chips, marshmallow, oreo and peanuts. It's that kind of crispy chewy cookie that is hard to find, but not as monster sized or gooey as the cookies from DPT Coffee. 




Before I went to Liquid Bread, I had heard a lot of people say, "the sandwiches are really good, but it's on the expensive side." I can't say that I disagree, as the prices for the sandwiches average about NT$290 and that's without any included sides or soup, but that they are serving some of the best sandwiches in Taipei right now and if you love sandwiches, then it's worth it to fill that craving- they taste just like a sandwiches you would get in the states. 

The day that I went, almost all the other customers included expats or people speaking English and I wonder if the market for sandwich lovers is big enough for them. It will be a bit of a hurdle because I consider myself in their customer demographic and even I find it a bit expensive to pay US$10 for a BLT or US$13 for a pastrami sandwich since I often do make sandwiches myself at home. I would definitely recommend Liquid Bread to my friends and you guys, so I was on the borderline of whether to strongly recommend or recommend them, taking price into consideration.

When I posted the picture of the pastrami sandwich to my Facebook page- multiple people excitedly asked where? So good food will get people excited, but how many others are like us? That's seems to be the topic of discussion for a lot of the restaurants I've been trying lately- trying to offer something that's different for Taipei in the style of what's popular in the US with quality ingredients, but can they compete despite the higher price point? 

Would love to hear your guys thoughts! Comment below or chime in on my Facebook or instagram!

Monday, November 13, 2017

pop up/french: CHEF MATTHIEU DE LAUZUN x ORCHID RESTAURANT


shine bright like a diamond


[TAIPEI- DAAN] One Michelin star Chef Matthieu De Lauzun from Montpelier, France popped up in Taipei from 11/9 - 11/12 at Orchid Restaurant 蘭 using local vegetables and focusing on seafood. 

My favorite dish of the tasting menu was the poivron farci, or stuffed pepper. The sweet roasted red pepper was stuffed with fresh crab and the squid was presented two ways, as "noodles" atop and fried. 

This is Chef Matthieu's first time to Taipei. I got a chance to chat with him a little and he said he really thought the local ingredients were great so he tried to use as many vegetables and seafood locally. He also has had a chance to enjoy local eats, one of his favorites being the pepper bun from the night market. (Mine too! Can't miss it when visiting!)

With Michelin Guide coming in 2018, it's great Michelin starred chefs can collaborate with local talent and Taipei diners can also get a taste of what's already ranked as Michelin-worthy around the world. Thanks Orchid for the invitation and for continuing to discover and bring guest chefs to Taiwan



my weakness - bread and butter






saumon sauvage



the DIY version would be a tortilla rolled up with smoked salmon and cream cheese. or maybe i've been watching too many buzzfeed videos. 


Poivron farci

Roasting the red bell pepper brought out a sweetness that was almost fruity that matched the sea sweetness of the crab and squid, which were executed to the perfect texture. The lump crab is hiding underneath all of the "noodles." Loved this. 


Bar (de pêche atlantique)




truffe blanche (de alba)

I also enjoyed the truffle risotto with the perfect egg, the yolk in limbo between solid and liquid. 



filet foie gras joue de boeuf
so full at this point, but i was very happy to have the foie gras



Sphere framboise/ citron


citron et mandarine



Sweet ending. 



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