Category: Food

A little 2018 review

A little 2018 review

Happy New Year! Before kicking off the 2019 adventures, I thought I’d look back on 2018 a little.

The start of last year’s review also fits here really well: 2018, it’s been a crazy year!

January

We started the year in Germany with our first home trip. Back in Shanghai, I was pleasantly surprised by the arrival of strawberry season. We also experienced our fist Shanghai winter and Thorben volunteered for a crochet charity. Our first trip of 2018 took us to cold and beautiful Harbin, where we almost froze but were amazed by the beautiful snow and ice sculptures.

February

For our first Chinese New Year we took a much anticipated trip to Australia! It was a fantastic vacation, I can’t really decide which part was my favorite: Snuggling a koala, exploring Kangaroo Island or maybe the outback?

March

At the beginning of March we returned from Australia, me with a little souvenir: pneumonia. I spent most of the month at home on the couch recovering.

April

Thankfully, I recovered in time for spring and got to see many beautiful flowers and blossoms in Shanghai. For Thorben’s birthday, we took a trip to Tokyo. We’d missed most of the cherry blossoms there but took comfort in the awesome food. The eating continued throughout the month at our first Shanghai Restaurant Week. I also got a little crafty at a screen printing class hosted by GGI, while Thorben visited Vietnam for his department outing.

May

Our second trip within China was to Nanjing over Labor day. In May, we also celebrated my birthday together with our first visitors, Thorben’s parents, with whom we also took a bike tour around Shanghai. Thorben started a new hobby in 2018 – archery tag – and played in a league in May.

June

In June, my parents came to visit and we checked out a few of the Shanghai sights: M50, Jing’An Temple, Yu Garden and some parks. I also visited another new place in China, Moganshan, with my department for our team outing. My sisters had a joint birthday party in the middle of the month, so I took a trip to Germany to surprise them.

July

The next trip to Germany, this time a business trip, was just a few weeks later. 10 days for me, 2 weeks for Thorben, who also went to Inner Mongolia for work that month.

August

Our summer 2018 was filled with friends and food. The China explorations continued with a group trip to Moganshan, where Thorben and many of our friends competed in an obstacle race (I was only along for the ride).

September

Basically, the whole month of September was about food and travel. It started with a weekend in Taipei, where Jana, Ellie and I ate our way through the city. Back in Shanghai, it was restaurant week again and we got 2 more visitors, my little sister and her boyfriend. Together, we went to Luoyang, Xi’An, Chengdu and Leshan. Besides two great food tours, seeing the pandas was definitely a highlight of the trip!

October

In October, we used Golden Week to travel some more: Thorben went to Tibet and hiked all the way to the Everest base camp, while I went to visit my American family in Utah, Arizona and California. The US marked my 4th continent visited that year (and gave me gold status for flying way too much). After a few weeks back in Shanghai, I took another trip to Taipei to celebrate Pride.

November

After my third Germany trip at the beginning of the month, the rest of the month was spent in Shanghai. I got a beautiful view of Shanghai from above, we went to a great event called Chi Fan for Charity and celebrated Thanksgiving. Thorben grew a (truly terrible) mustache for Movember and played in another archery league.

December

Ellie came to visit from Taipei for a long weekend at the end of November/beginning of December and helped me finish baking the final batch of Christmas Cookies. To get even more into the Christmas spirit, a friend and I made our own Christmas sweaters! Finally, Thorben and I spent the last 2 weeks of 2018 in Germany and were pretty busy with 2 weddings, 2 birthdays, visiting friends and family and celebrating Christmas!

And that was 2018! I can’t wait for more trips, Shanghai adventures, visitors and dinner parties in 2019 🙂

Restaurant Week Round 2

Restaurant Week Round 2

So much happened in September: I started the month in Taipei, came back to 7 nights of restaurant week, my little sister and her boyfriend arrived in the middle of it and we ate and touristed our way through Shanghai, Luoyang, Xi’an, Chengdu and again Shanghai.

Sadly, our awesome visitors left yesterday so it’s time to start posting all the pictures and write down all the things we did before I forget.

First up: Restaurant week, the Second.

I think I already mentioned that it happens twice every year and many different restaurants offer special menus at usually good prices. I had high expectations after the 9 restaurant week meals in April 🙂 This time it was from August 30 to September 9. Because I “lost” three days in Taipei I only managed to go 8 times 😉

Here are all the beautiful dishes I ate (or shared):

And here is the full list:

  • Colca, Peruvian: 8 courses of yumminess, really great start on the night before flying to Taipei.
  • Garlic, Turkish: Enjoyed it so much last time we came again. And brought friends. The food was still great and the portions huuuge.
  • Alma, European: Really good new find, loved their menu.
  • Azul Tapas & Lounge, Spanish: Great girls night with lots and lots of different delicious dishes.
  • Masse Gastro Lounge, Southeast Asian: Not bad but my least favorite out of the 8. Wouldn’t go again for food.
  • Bistro Burger, American: Nice little burger place close to us with an awesome deal during restaurant week.
  • The Cut, Steak: Good food but would only go again if they have a deal. Thorben’s steak is better.
  • The Fellas, Italian: The second repeat because it’s always amazing for food and the view, especially when trying to show off Shanghai to visitors 🙂
A Foodie Weekend in Taipei

A Foodie Weekend in Taipei

Last weekend I took a 3 day trip to Taipei to visit Jana and Ellie. It’s been almost a year since I last saw Jana (Golden Week last year!) and 5 months since Ellie’s business trip to China, so to say I was excited is a bit of an understatement 🙂

To sum it up, all we did was eat and talk and take pictures of us eating. The 2 tourist shots I got were more of a coincidence. We saw Taipei 101 several times on our way to and from food places and then a nice temple was in front of a night market we went to.

Din Tai Fung

Let me start at the beginning. After I landed the first order of business (after dropping off my bag) was to go to Din Tai Fung. While we have several of them in Shanghai, they have one major flaw: They don’t serve chocolate xiaolongbao! So I had to get my fix of them and they were beautiful.

Jamie’s Italian

For Friday night dinner Jana and I headed to Jamie’s Italian. While this might not be the obvious choice when going to Taipei, Jana and I have a special place for Jamie’s Italian in our hearts after our trip to Budapest last year. We ended up eating 3 pizzas, because they were just so good 🙂 This time we “only” shared an appetizer, 2 pizzas and 2 desserts. The waitress was still impressed with us – she suggested we share one pizza because it’s big. What an amateur.

Toasteria

For Saturday brunch we went to Toasteria. I’d researched brunch places in Taipei before my trip and Jana made the reservations – team work 🙂 They have lots and lots of options, including omelettes, classic breakfasts, pasta, paninis … I got french toast and then shared a grilled cheese. Apparently they’re famous for those so I just had to have one. It was delicious.

Raohe Night Market

In search of greasy street food we went to Raohe Night Market Saturday night. I don’t remember the name of any of the food we had but it was all pretty good! We had scallion pancakes, ice cream with caramelized peanut shavings and cilantro wrapped in a crepe type thing, passion fruit jelly on a stick, a deep fried salted egg yolk pork thing with sweet potato, fruit juice (vitamins!) and baked pork buns. In that exact order. Also, we wore matching dumpling t-shirts. Just because we’re awesome 🙂

Pool time

Our original plan was to spend all the time we were not eating at the pool. Sadly, it was closed all day Saturday for maintenance and when we got there early Sunday morning we were told we could only swim with swimming caps … which we didn’t have and they didn’t provide. Oh well, so we only got to relax next to the pool for a couple of hours.

The Hello Kitty Taxi

When we got into the taxi on our way to brunch on Sunday we were in for a treat. It was completely decked out in Hello Kitty merchandise! I’m glad we took some photos as proof 🙂

Sugar Pea

Our destination for that cab ride was Sugar Pea. We all agreed, if Instagram was a place, this would be it 🙂 Anyhow, the food was really yummy … and pretty. Of course I took pictures. And put them on Instagram.

Thanks for a fantastic weekend, Jana and Ellie! I can’t wait to come back soon and continue eating our way through Taipei!

Birthday celebrations

Birthday celebrations

Saturday was the most important day of the year – my birthday – and it was the first one we celebrated in Shanghai. The day was mostly about food, surprise, surprise 😉

Presents and Brunch

My family sent a huge box of goodies for my birthday, including 4.5 kilos of chocolate – or that’s what the customs note said. Somehow Thorben managed to hide it from me for 2 weeks so it was quite the surprise. I also got 2 awesome paintings, which I’d been admiring at a gallery on our street. After presents we had brunch at Bull & Claw, my favorite brunch place. Or one of my favorites, it’s hard to pick in Shanghai. We brunched so much I had to take a nap after we got back 🙂

A Shanghainese Dinner

In the evening, we had a little dinner party with Shane, Morgane, Leyfa and Thorben’s parents, who arrived on Friday. Thorben hired a Chinese Chef through the app “好厨师” (good chef). He came to our house with all the ingredients and didn’t stop cooking for over 4 hours. Most of the food was Shanghainese, so it was good Shane was there to explain them to us. It was quite a feast, I think we had 16 different dishes, I didn’t manage to take pictures of each one. But no matter how much you eat, at the end there’s always room for a slice of cake. Or two 🙂

Thanks for all the birthday messages, calls, presents and of course thank you to my party guests for celebrating with me! Turning 28 wasn’t so bad I guess 🙂

Shanghai Restaurant Week: We came, saw and ate

Shanghai Restaurant Week: We came, saw and ate

The last 10 days were all about food. Not that that’s so unusual for us but this time it was because of my new favorite event: It was Restaurant Week in Shanghai! Restaurant Week is a worldwide event that happens twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. For China Restaurant Week, hosted by DiningCity, Shanghai is 1 of 5 cities that participates. When it happened in the fall we were traveling, so I decided to fully take advantage this time.

For the 12th China Restaurant Week there were hundreds of restaurants all over Shanghai to choose from. They each offer special lunch and dinner menus, usually with 3 courses, at discounted prices:

  • Category C: Lunch for 68 RMB / Dinner for 108 RMB
  • Category B: Lunch for 108 RMB / Dinner for 188 RMB
  • Category A: Lunch for 138 RMB / Dinner for 278 RMB

It was a really good excuse to try out a bunch of new places. I was pretty ambitious and went to 9 restaurants, so I only missed 2 days where I had other plans. Here is a little picture review, sometimes I was too preoccupied eating that I only managed to take pictures of an appetizer and dessert 🙂

Those are the places with my rating, or a combined rating with Thorben, of the dinners (and lunch at Wolfgang Puck).

  • Maya – Mexican: 3/5
  • Garlic – Turkish: 4.5/5
  • Wolfgang Puck – Bar & Grill: 3.5/5
  • Lychee – Asian Fusion: 3.5/5
  • The Beach House – Seafood: 4/5
  • Tomatito – Spanish: 3.75/5
  • Pasha – Turkish: 4/5
  • Tiacassia – European/Cheese: 4.5/5

Yesterday, for the last night of restaurant week, Shane and I went to “The Fellas”, an Italian restaurant at the Bund. The food was really good, I’d give it a 4.5, but the view was even better.

The next Foodie event done by DiningCity will be the China Brunch Weekend from June 29 – July 8. I can’t wait! 🙂

Tokyo: The Food Edition

Tokyo: The Food Edition

Here is the run down on all our Tokyo food experiences:

Sushi

We started and ended our trip with sushi. On our first day we headed over to “Umegaoka Sushi No Midori”, which was highly recommended online. The place was really popular, even on a Thursday at 2:30 pm we had to wait for 45 minutes to get a table. The sushi was very pretty and yummy though 🙂

On our last day we went to Sushizanmai, a big, popular chain. At 10:30 am we already had the first sushi in front of us, no wait on a Monday morning 🙂 The place was pretty empty, so we sat at the counter and watched the masters work.

Making our own Sushi

Another Airbnb experience: a sushi class with a Japanese sushi master. We met Nori and 2 other participants at a grocery store where he showed us all the necessary stuff to make sushi. We then went to his apartment and made nigiri and maki sushi. He was really strict about the technique – a real sushi master has to train for 8 years after all – and made us practice on playdough first 🙂 I didn’t take many pictures because of fishy hands but thankfully our host was on it 🙂

Tsukiji Fish Market Food Tour

The Tsukiji Fish Market will be relocated in October so we were lucky we still got the see the old building and craziness happening inside. I booked a tour through Ninja Food Tours that included lots of tastings and it was really fun! First we had a chicken, egg and rice dish and then really started the tour. The market also has a big wholesale vegetable and fruit portion and we had some yummy strawberries there. Pretty fruit is considered a nice gift but we passed on the 50 USD cherry box and 60 USD mango 😉

We also checked out all the crazy fish and sea food of the inner market and then had ate at the outer market. The place is huge and busy so I’m really glad we went with a guide who knew what he was doing. We had sweet omelette on a stick as a palate cleanser, then an amazing tuna bowls, pork dumplings, some matcha drinks, tried some dried fish candies and finally had a mochi strawberry dessert.

Kobe Beef

For Thorben’s Birthday we went to a kobe beef restaurant and indulged in a dinner with 8 courses, 7 of which included beef. We ate it grilled, baked, fried, marinated, raw, inside a dumpling … It was delicious 🙂