Taiwanese fast food

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

Taiwanese fast food usually comes in the form of "bentos" (便當), and this term originates from Song (宋) dynasty in China, which means "convenience stuffs". Then it is imported to Japan and means "boxed lunches". Since Taiwan is ruled by the Japanese for 50 years, we continue to use this term "便當" as boxed lunches, while the same stuff is called "盒飯" in mainland China.

Typically, a Taiwanese fast food restaurant sells drumstick bento (雞腿飯), chicken cutlet bento (雞排飯), pork chop bento (豬排飯; 排骨飯), ham hock bento (豬腳飯; 蹄膀), soy-stewed pork bento (焢肉飯). And these items may be deep fried, stewed, or grilled.

▲ A menu. (http://bargains-taipei.blogspot.com/)

Since these boxed lunches are very convenient, a lot of people in Taiwan usually do these bentos for lunch, especially the employees of companies.

▲ Grilled drumstick bento (雞腿飯) (http://www.homeping.tidi.tw/)

▲ Deep fried chicken cutlet bento (雞排飯) (www.ipeen.com.tw/)

▲ Soy-stewed pork bento (焢肉飯). The pork fat is very tasty.

Beef noodle soup restaurants

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

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(From wikipedia) There are two common variations of beef noodle which differ in the way the broth is prepared. When soy sauce is added, the soup is called red roasted or braised beef noodles (紅燒牛肉麵). Braised beef noodles was reputedly invented by Kuomintang's Sichuan Province recruits who fled from mainland China to Kaoshiung, Taiwan. Therefore it is sometimes (misleadingly) referred to as "Szechuan Beef Noodle Soup" (四川牛肉麵). The red braised beef noodles is the most common type of beef noodle in Taiwan. The beef is often stewed with the broth and simmered(煨), sometimes for hours Chefs also let the stock simmer for long periods of time with bone marrow; some vendors can cook the beef stock for over 24 hours. This type of beef noodle tends to be spicy because Doubanjiang and Five-spice powder are sometimes added. However, the broth may also have a sweeter taste if the fat from the beef is simmered. There are several variations with the broth, such as spicy, tomato, garlic, and herbal medicine. The tomato variation (番茄牛肉麵) is popular in Taiwan and features chunks of tomatoes in a rich red coloured soy-tomato broth.

(From wikipedia) The Chinese Muslim style of beef noodles is also known as clear-broth or consomm? stewed beef noodles (清燉牛肉麵). It often uses halal (清真) meat and contains no soy sauce, resulting in more taste of the beef in the soup. Salt, red chilis, star anise, white pepper, and green onions are used to add flavoring to the soup. In halal restaurants, only quality local beef from the Taiwanese zebu (黃牛, lit. "yellow cattle") prepared by the local halal butcher is used for the beef noodles.

Anyway, beef noodle soups are now very common in Taiwan. In Taipei, we have "beef noodle festivals", and a bunch of local beef noodle restaurants are invited for competitions. For those who are interested, the link for the 2013 festival is here.

A video about Taiwanese beef noodle soups.

▲ Beef noodle soup (braised), featuring juicy beef chunks. (http://tw.tranews.com/)

▲ Order yourself some delicious side dishes in these restaurants. (http://blog.xuite.net/sij555/)

▲ Steam dumplings are often served in these restaurants. (http://solmag.tw/)

Hot pots

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

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In Taiwan, two types of hot pot restaurants are commonly seen. The first one is all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant, and the second one is small hot pot restaurant.

To get an idea about all-you-can-eat hot pot restaurant (USD 10 - 20), it is helpful to take a look at this video:   Link

▲ Hot pot is an irresistible food. (http://www.gomag.com.tw/)

▲ Some restaurants serve extremly fresh shrimps - either they have their own fish tanks for their seafoods, or all their seafoods are directly delivered from fishing ports to stores.

Small hot pot is also a good choice if you do not want to eat too much. ($3 - $4 USD)

▲ Small hot pots. (http://www.web66.com.tw/)

Taiwanese stir-fried restaurants

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

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I do not know when this type of restaurants become popular in Taiwan, well, they're just everywhere now.

Some of the dishes are originated from China, for sure, and some of the dishes are created by the Taiwanese cooks. Let's take a look at a few of these dishes.

▲ The menu. (http://vidgaying.pixnet.net/)

▲ Stir fried beef with green onions (蔥爆牛肉). (http://vidgaying.pixnet.net/)

▲ Stir fried clams with basil (炒海瓜子).

▲ Sauteed Pork and squid with dried bean curds and celery (客家小炒).

▲ Chopped cold chicken (白斬雞) (http://www.ipeen.com.tw/).

▲ Stir-fried Bird-nest Fern with sesame oil (麻油炒山蘇) (http://kukumei.pixnet.net/).

▲ Fried egg tofu (老皮嫩肉).

▲ These restaurants serve beers. Heinekens are also available. (http://www.ipeen.com.tw/)

All-you-can-eat buffets

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

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There are various types of all-you-can-eat restaurants in Taiwan. The hot pot restaurant I just mentioned is one of them. Usually a high class buffet in Taiwan serves a combination of Chinese cuisines, Japanese cuisines, and western cuisines, and more. ($20 - $30 USD / person)

▲ Suchi bars. (http://www.mokafun.com/)

▲ All kinds of Japanese tempuras. (http://netpp.blogspot.com/)

▲ Slow grilled beef. (http://netpp.blogspot.com/)

▲ Seafood collections - 1. (http://vickymavincentpa.pixnet.net/)

▲ Seafood collections - 2. (http://vickymavincentpa.pixnet.net/)

▲ Comfortable dininig areas. (http://rmlove30.pixnet.net/)

▲ Various food selections - 1

▲ Various food selections - 2 (http://food.eztable.com/)

▲ Fruits and dessets. (http://vickymavincentpa.pixnet.net/)

Western cuisine in Taiwan

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

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Here I'll introduce some popular chain restaurants in Taiwan. They offer delicious set meals ( $20 - $40 USD / meal). I suggest you take a look at their English menus (with pictures):

TASTy restaurant

Wang steak

Toros steak house

Onion restaurant (No pictures in the menu)

Chinese cuisine in Taiwan

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

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There're several famous branches of Chinese cuisine, including 魯菜、川菜、粵菜、蘇菜、閩菜、浙菜、湘菜、徽菜, classified according to where these dishes are originated from. The first four branches are the top four branches of Chinese cuisine.

In Taiwan, 川菜 and 粵菜 restaurants are more common, and 閩菜 is already incorporated into Taiwanese cusine, since a lot of Taiwanese people are immigrated here from Fujian (福建) county in China 300 - 400 years ago (閩 is the abbreviation form of 福建). 湘菜 and a subbranch "杭幫菜" of 浙菜 is also available here. Since I'm not an expert, I do not know if there're any restaurants featuring 魯菜、蘇菜、徽菜 in Taiwan based on my knowledge.

The flavors of some of the dishes are already modified by Taiwanese, and some of the dishes are "created" by Taiwanese. For example, in many Szechuan cuisine (川菜) restaurants, you may order a dish called "Fifth watch spicy fire pot" (五更腸旺), the ingredients including duck bloods and pig intestines (Oh, actually I do not like this dish because I don't like animal innards), which is kind of close to the dish "毛血旺" in Szechuan province in China. But this dish is not available in China. Therefore, if you want to do some really authentic Chinese food, please head for China.

Szechuan cuisine (川菜) in Taiwan

▲ Chinese menu - 1 (http://wenzai.pixnet.net/)

▲ Chinese menu - 2 (http://superp.pixnet.net/)

▲ Gongbao chicken (宮保雞丁) (http://superp.pixnet.net/)

▲ Eggplants with garlic sauce (魚香茄子) (http://wenzai.pixnet.net/)

Cantonese cuisine (粵菜) in Taiwan

▲ Salted shrimps (鹽焗蝦) (http://forum.pchome.com.tw/)

▲ Deep-fried boneless duck with taro stuffing (芋泥香酥鴨) (http://forum.pchome.com.tw/)

▲ Chinese broccoli with oyster sauce(蠔油芥蘭) (http://blog.xuite.net/oilking168/)

Hunan cuisine (湘菜) in Taiwan

The menu (with English) of 1010 Hunan cuisine

Hangbang cuisine (杭幫菜) in Taiwan

▲ Chinese menu - 1 (http://poetry.pixnet.net/)

▲ Chinese menu - 2 (http://poetry.pixnet.net/)

▲ Stir-fried crab claws with chili sauce (醬辣石蟹鉗) (http://blog.xuite.net/jerome1103)

▲ Braised codfish with tofu (乾隆遇美味; 砂鍋魚頭豆腐) (http://blog.xuite.net/jerome1103)

▲ Deep-fried beancurd skin roll stuffed with shrimp and minced pork (腐皮鮮蝦捲)

▲ Steamed sweetened cream with coconut milk bun (黃金流沙包)

Japanese restaurants

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 2, 2014

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Japanese restaurants have various forms here. Let me list a few: (1) Ramen (拉麵) house (2) Yakiniku (燒肉) restaurants (3) Japanese porkchop restaurants (4) Traditional Japanese restaurants (5) Kaiten Sushi restaurants (旋轉壽司).

Ramen house

▲ My favorite ramen house in Taipei. (http://purinpei.pixnet.net/)

▲ Their fried chicken ramen. (www.ipeen.com.tw/)

▲ Roast pork cutlet ramen. (http://copee416.pixnet.net/)

Yakiniku (燒肉) restaurants

▲ Japanese BBQ in Taiwan - 1 (Chinese Menu). (http://www.ipeen.com.tw/)

▲ Japanese BBQ in Taiwan - 2. (http://www.look2.com.tw/)

▲ Japanese BBQ in Taiwan - 3. (http://www.ipeen.com.tw/)

▲ Japanese BBQ in Taiwan - 4. (http://235.tw.tranews.com/)

Japanese porkchop restaurants

▲ Anzu porkchop restaurant. (http://kidday.pixnet.net/)

▲ Juicy and very delicious deep-fried porkchops. (http://kidday.pixnet.net/)

▲ Deep-fried oysters. (http://changfong.pixnet.net/)

▲ Porkchops and shrimps. (http://changfong.pixnet.net/)

Traditional Japanese restaurants

In a traditional Japanese restaurant, all kinds of Japanese foods are provided. Those foods include sushis, salads, hot pots, tempuras, hand rolls, BBQs.

▲ Hand rolls. (http://www.momoya.com.tw/)

▲ Grilled mackerels. (http://www.momoya.com.tw/)

▲ Tempuras. (http://www.momoya.com.tw/)

Kaiten Sushi restaurants (旋轉壽司)

The menu (with English) of a famous chain restaurant featuring Kaiten Sushis.

▲ Kaiten Sushi. (http://www.ipeen.com.tw)

Korean restaurants

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 1, 2014

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Some commoly seen items of a Korean restaurant in Taiwan include: small side dishes, seafood pancake, kimchi tofu soup, bibimbap (石鍋拌飯), BBQ.

▲ Bibimbap and side dishes. (http://0283691302.tw.tranews.com/)

▲ Seafood pancake. (http://0283691302.tw.tranews.com/)

▲ Kimchi tofu soup. (http://0283691302.tw.tranews.com/)

Thai / Vietnamese restaurants

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 2, 2014

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Nowadays in Taiwan there're many foreign workers and foreign brides from south east Asia, and they bring their food cultures when they come. I'll talk a little bit about Thai ("Thai"land, not "Tai"wan) food and Vietnamese food. There're also some restaurants selling Malaysian food, Singaporean food, Burmese food, which the interested readers might explore by themselves.

Thai food

▲ Moon shrimp pancakes. (月亮蝦餅) (This dish is "invented" here, not a traditional Thai dish, but it is very popular in Taiwan) (http://portable.easylife.tw/)

▲ Thai Style Hot & Spicy Chicken. (椒麻雞) (http://072614907.tw.tranews.com/)

▲ Kra Prao Moo. (打拋豬) (http://portable.easylife.tw/)

▲ Steamed Lemon Fish. (http://portable.easylife.tw/)

▲ Tom Yum Goong. (泰式酸辣湯) (http://life.chinatimes.com/)

Vietnamese food

Vietnamese food in Taiwan usually comes in the form of "small eats".

▲ Vietnamese rice noodles. (越式河粉) (http://gourmet.homeycat.tw/)

▲ Vietnamese spring rolls. (越式春捲)(http://blog.xuite.net/hsin66.wang/)

Vegetarian restaurants

Posted by Shiu-Tang Li on Jan 2, 2014

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A typical vegetarian restaurant in Taiwan runs as cafeterias. Besides, many restaurants have additional meal options for vegetarians. There're also some restaurants providing delicate set meals for vegetarians, or providing high class buffets.

Many Taiwanese do veggies for healty reasons or religious reasons. And doing veggies occasionally may save the lives of animals and is considered a green behavior. But if you choose not to eat meat at all, you have to pay much more attention to the intakes of proteins. I think the thrives of these veggie restaurants also shows "doing veggies" is considered a good life style.

▲ My favorite chain vegeterian restaurant in Taiwan - 1. (http://appleapplecat.pixnet.net/)

▲ My favorite chain vegeterian restaurant in Taiwan - 2. (http://appleapplecat.pixnet.net/)

▲ Veggie buffet - 1. (http://changfong.pixnet.net/)

▲ Veggie buffet - 2. (http://changfong.pixnet.net/)

▲ Veggie buffet - 3. (http://changfong.pixnet.net/)

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