Tag Archives: dessert

Not on the list: Afternoon tea with friends

18 Jul

Waffles a la mode

This post is primarily an excuse to post more photos of food, as you can probably tell. My friend Christine, who is pictured below, and whose brother supplied my delicious peanut mochi, loves cooking for friends, and she invited me on this day to join her for afternoon tea. Besides waffles with bananas, ice cream, and whipped cream, here are some other things she put together for us:

Vegetarian sushi

I ate about half a watermelon by myself

More of the spread, including Christine's awesome homemade pizza

Christine is one of those people who really embodies the welcoming nature of people in Taiwan, and you can tell by the diverse company she keeps. Every time she hosts a dinner or barbecue (always featuring Christine’s home-cooked food, which is so good she really ought to have a restaurant), I meet people from so many countries and backgrounds that I can’t keep track of them by the end of the evening. I never cease to be amazed at how well she gets to know so many people, never forgetting a name, particularly since I myself constantly struggle to match names with faces. I really ought to take a few lessons from her!

Our lovely host!

Taipei Thing #20: Eat peanut mochi

18 Jul

花生麻糬

Summer has wreaked havoc on my plans to finish writing these posts within a month, but I seem to have found a free moment to get back into the swing of things. The delicious treat you see above was suggested by Jesse, though I’m sure just about everyone who made suggestions seconded this one as soon as they read it.

I must make a confession about the peanut mochi above, however. If you’re from Taiwan or are familiar with important names in food, this photo might give you a hint:

陳記 brand!

Yes, that’s right, my 5 Days in Taipei included a treat from down south: Taitung’s mochi masters, 陳記. When I visited my food-loving friend Christine on this particular day (Day 3 of my “trip”) and mentioned some of the food tasks I had left, she immediately brought out these snacks, which had been brought up to Taipei by her brother that day. So, though it’s technically a Taitung mochi, I did consume it in Taipei – that counts, right?

The good news is that, even if you live in Taipei, as long as you can read Chinese (or have someone who can help you), you can get your own 陳記 mochi delivered to your nearest 7-11 if you order through their website at: http://www.machi.net.tw/index.htm.

And how did it taste? Well, mochi is one of my favorite desserts in Asia, and this one didn’t disappoint. I brought some Japanese mochi home to my family in the US a couple of years ago, and they weren’t impressed, but I’m thinking they might have had different impressions of mochi had they eaten this one. Recommended! And I’ll definitely be making a stop to the original store in Taitung when I visit there this fall. Can’t wait to try the other varieties.

Taipei Thing #18: Jesse House Bakery

13 Jun

Jesse House, where are you?

Back when my friend Jesse lived in Taipei, he appreciated having his own bakery – or at least one that shared his name. I’m sure that’s why he wanted me to stop by this place on Song Jiang Road, which I still remember passing by on my very first day in Taiwan in 2005. And since I happened to be headed to afternoon tea with friends, I had a great reason for making a special trip.

Then, I got there, and saw this:

Foiled!

It seems Jesse House has disappeared from this location, as has the Burger King that used to be a couple of storefronts down. Apparently, I don’t spend enough time in the area, or I would have noticed this sooner. Fortunately, Jesse House left the sign up, so I was at least able to figure out that I had the right place.

A bit of research has since told me that the only location still open (unless the website is telling lies) is the one in Gong Guan. If I ever manage to find it, I’ll surely stop and celebrate, hopefully with a danish of some sort.

Sorry, Jesse!

Side note: The Ice Monster Returneth

27 May

It's coming...

I had been told that Ice Monster will reopen in June, and that seems to be the case, if this apparent facelift is any indication. I can’t say I particularly care, since I didn’t actually go to Ice Monster very often, except that it will be nice to have a Taipei institution on the map again. There had been news reports this spring that business has gone down for other shops on Yong Kang Street since the closing of Ice Monster, so hopefully its return will bring back the tourists and the shoppers. I’m also interested to see what changes are being made behind those temporary walls. We’ll find out soon.

Taipei Thing #10: Have red bean & mochi ice at Tai Yi Milk King

26 May

Tai Yi Milk King. Go in the daytime to avoid lines.

Continuing with Monday’s food tour, here’s another suggestion for good eats, this one from Joan, the world-famous hungry girl. I never really took advantage 臺一牛奶大王 when I lived only 2 blocks away, so I was happy to oblige on this task! We went in the early afternoon, so the place wasn’t too busy. Normally, there are lines on summer evenings, especially on the weekend, but we didn’t have to wait at all.

First, check out all the choices:

Kaifu with Tai Yi's large selection.

Of course, it’s all in Chinese, which is probably the reason I didn’t go there much when I arrived in Taipei. Here are some more special items you can get at Tai Yi:

You can pick up an order of tang yuan (湯圓) to take home.

Tai Yi is pretty well known among locals, but it doesn’t get the tourists like the overrated Ice Monster used to (and will again soon), so I think it offers a more “authentic” Taipei shaved ice experience. The menus and no-frills environment are good evidence of that.

Joan’s suggestion was to try the red bean and mochi ball ice (紅豆湯圓牛奶冰). I’m not a fan of red bean, but I live for 湯圓, so I gave it a try. Kaifu went with the pudding ice, which cracks me up every time I see it. (There’s a place on Yong Kang that even serves it with sprinkles!) Here are our ice masterpieces:

Red bean & mochi ball ice & pudding ice

I have to admit that I wasn’t able to finish all the beans in mine, though I did of course finish all the 湯圓. Just look at how many beans they piled on there!

Red bean overload

We had just eaten our vegetarian meal and a shawarma, too, so I was really full by the end of the ice. I’d consider getting it again, but perhaps asking them to tweak the bean/mochi proportions, or else sharing with someone else. In any case, it was good to get out of my usual habit of getting mango or strawberry ice. Thanks, hungry girl!

PS: As a self-appointed expert on public restrooms, I advise you not to use the bathroom at Tai Yi before you finish your ice. In fact, the bathroom smells so bad that you may want to just head to McDonald’s a block away to use their relatively clean facilities!