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Work trip to Taipei in 2015. I always look forward to visiting Taiwan – the food is good, shopping is fantastic and people are nice. And the weather was nice and cooling initially and then became quite chilly. Just as well I was was prepared for the cold front. So upon landing at the airport, I was whisked off to work. Work finished at about 5 plus and i was brought to dinner. Taiwanese, being so hospital, asked me what I would like to have. And I, not one who hesitates in stating my food preference, said hot pot! So we went to a place near the office which has 3 different hot pot restaurants. The first one has a minimum waiting time of 45 mins. We then got a queue number for the 2nd restaurant and someone went to the 3rd restaurant. Waiting time for 3rd restaurant is over an hour. So the 2nd restaurant it was! We were seated after a 20 mins wait.

The second hot pot restaurant

The second hot pot restaurant

To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this would be a good meal. I mean, I have never heard of Cash City and honestly, why did they call themselves Cash City?!?! So one chooses from the ala carte set menu which would consist of your chosen meat/seafood, vegetables, noodles/rice and a drink (free flow). So I chose a seafood/fish platter. And wow! the serving is huge! The vegetables served would have be more than sufficient.

Waiting for the main course to arrive

Waiting for the main course to arrive

Well, the hotpot was delicious. I didn’t take a photo of the main courses, aka the seafood platter.

Back the hotel, I couldn’t resist heading opposite to Shilin Night market. I was walking aimlessly and then I was stopped in my tracks upon the sight of these rabbits. They are my version of Edward Tulane.

These occupied my thoughts for the next couple of day

These occupied my thoughts for the next couple of day

IMG_3119So I got greedy and decided to try this beef..IMG_3120The taste was good but the meat was too chewy. My jaws got really sore after the first few pieces.

The next day, when I saw my Taiwanese colleagues, I asked if they have any recommendations for nice restaurants that I could head to for dinner. They didn’t really have any recommendations and when I asked about Mitsui, they said they’ve never been there. So I decided I will stick to my decision of Japanese dinner at Mitsui. It was only a matter of deciding which Mitsui to go. In the end, I chose the Mitsui closest to the hotel.

I.LOVE.MITSUI. That really sums up how I feel about Mitsui. This was my 3rd time to the restaurant and I was really excited. Mitsui is on the higher-end but prices are actually good value for money considering the quality of food served. Compared to Singapore, Mitsui’s prices are not that high.

So, I decided to go for the deluxe set menu. The interesting thing about the menu is that the items are not fixed. The waiter asked about my preference and what I don’t want and set about recommending what was good. So my server suggested that we go for quality rather than quantity for the meal and I heartily agreed.

I was seated at the bar counter and I loved looking at the uni in front of me.

UNI!!!!!!

UNI!!!!!!

First course - sashimi

First course – sashimi

The toro was awesome!!

Then my sister from HK facetimed me. There’s free wifi at Mitsui, so I happily answered the call. My sister can’t believe I went out for a luxurious meal all alone. Hey, I do enjoy my own company, very much some times. Of course, I had to show the uni in front to the sister.

Oyster

Oyster

Very fresh oyster..

MY UNI

MY UNI

And I really took my time enjoying the uni. This is a fair bit of uni and every single bit was oh, so delicious!!

Abalone salad

Abalone salad

I was surprised to see a whole abalone served. For a moment, I wondered how to eat the abalone as gracefully as I could, given that there was no knife provided. I then realised the abalone was nicely sliced.

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The corn was really sweet and the abalone was nicely done – at least I didn’t get a sore jaw from eating a whole abalone.

A complication

A complication

So I remembered the waiter saying that he would place an order for cheese lobster for me and I was excited about this dish. My chinese isn’t that bad that I couldn’t understand cheese and lobster in mandarin. So when this arrive, I immediately took a photo of it and just as I was about to tuck in, the server said this was served wrongly and promptly removed it from my sight. I thought perhaps it should go to someone else first and mine will come later.

And then they served this….

Lobster in soup

Lobster in soup

This was when I thought my standard of mandarin is real bad. I recalled the waiter saying he would order prawn in soup for me. So my cheese lobster became soup lobster. But you know how nice a customer I am when I just obediently ate this, especially when I thought ‘oh, maybe my cheese lobster would be served after this prawn soup dish’. I was wrong.

Local fish

Local fish

I have never tried this type of fish before. The skin is rough, kind of pebble-like. It was crispy and was actually nice to chew on (initially). After a while, my over-active imagination made me stopped eating the skin. The fish was lightly seasoned so that one could taste the freshness. It was fresh but I can’t say the flesh is extremely memorable. The skin was memorable though.

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Wagyu beef. Beef was nicely done and and a nice way to start the end of the meal.

IMG_3150So this is soup with prawn. When this was served, I was pretty sure this was part of my original order while the lobster in soup was the wrong one. Anyway, it was kind late to rectify the order.

Passionfruit and the rest

Passionfruit and the rest

Fruits were served for dessert and I had this memorable meal for my time in Taipei. When it came to paying the bill, I mentioned about my cheese lobster which was taken away from me. After some discussion amongst themselves, the waiter told me they had made a mistake. But not to worry, the price of the lobster soup is the same as the lobster cheese. Yeah sure, I wasn’t concerned about the price but rather my chance to have cheese lobster :S I suppose another trip to Mitsui is warranted for in my next trip.

Before I left, I made a trip to the toilet. And look at what’s used.

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So after the big meal, I decided to head to Shilin again and made up my mind to get a pair of ‘Edward Tulanes’

With this purchase, I'm finally happy!

With this purchase, I’m finally happy!

Next day, for lunch, I was brought to Taipei Main station and we had a western lunch.

IMG_3174Lunch wasn’t bad but to be honest, I would prefer to eat chinese food given that we are in Taipei.

The rain continued for the whole day and it was a chilly day in Taipei. Luckily I went prepared 🙂

Rainy day

Rainy day

On a rainy day, there are lesser stalls at the night market and lesser patrons as well.

One of my fav street food

One of my fav street food

I love this chinese sausage wrapped in glutinous rice. One of the yummiest food on earth!

Craving satisfied

Craving satisfied

It was nice but it can’t beat the really delicious version I had in Hualien before. That was sold by an middle-aged lady in her food truck. I guess food trucks rock!

The next day, lunch was at a research institute and we popped into a restaurant for lunch. Yummy food as usual and the most interesting  dishwas bitter gourd with salted egg yolks, which I really enjoyed.

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At night, boring me headed to Shilin (yes again!) and I saw this. Was most amused as we had just finished watching the My Love from Another Star drama. Good marketing targeting those the Hallyu fans. IMG_3190

The thing about night market is that I feel I had to eat some street food. So takoyaki seems like a good choice on a chilly night.

Takoyaki

Takoyaki

Hmmm, this was a tad too dry for my liking. The ones in Singapore taste much better.

I also headed to my all-time favourite night market in Taipei – Shida night market!

The reason was because I cannot leave Taipei without eating from here!

IMG_3195So you pick whatever ingredients you want and hand them over to the stall assistant who would chop them up and pass them to the cook. So do keep an eye out for your basket of food in case it gets mixed up. You can then let the cook know if you want your food spicy or not.

This is how it's done

This is how it’s done

Ta-dah!

Ta-dah!

I love Shida because of the stall above and also because while it is a small market, I feel that the quality clothes sold there are really fashionable and of good quality.

I had a great time shopping. It has to be said, I met a fellow shopaholic in a shop where I was looking to purchase 5 dresses. But the shop accepts only cash and I had insufficient Taiwan dollars. Fellow shopaholic informed me there’s an ATM machine nearby and I could withdraw cash from there. Ah ha! But logical me kept the shopaholic under control. So I made do with 3 dresses instead 🙂

Breakfast

Breakfast

So the next morning, I headed to opposite to try to find some local breakfast. And I found the sandwich that I was looking for! Happiness! I always enjoyed this sandwich in Taiwan.

Rainy morning at Shilin market which is very different from night

Rainy morning at Shilin market which is very different from night

Prowling the market in search of pink guava

Prowling the market in search of pink guava

At the airport, I realised I had not had any beef noodles. So after checking in, I headed into a cafe which offered beef noodles. Great way to end my Taipei trip. Till next year….

Beef noodles

Beef noodles

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