Category: Food

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ This time it was from August 30 to September 9. Because I “lost” three days in Taipei I only managed to go 8 times ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚
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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Sugar Pea

Our destination for that cab ride was Sugar Pea. We all agreed, if Instagram was a place, this would be it ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 “ๅฅฝๅŽจๅธˆ” (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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ™‚ 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 ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t take many pictures because of fishy hands but thankfully our host was on it ๐Ÿ™‚

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 ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 ๐Ÿ™‚

Eating out in Shanghai – Dessert Edition

Eating out in Shanghai – Dessert Edition

Since I got back from Germany I’ve mostly been hibernating in our apartment and eating chocolate while watching Grey’s Anatomy. This post has just been sitting there as a draft for a while , so I thought it might be time to post it while I dream of sunnier days when I went out for ice cream a lot ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, I’m still trying to convince some people to visit here, maybe these pictures will help?

Disclaimer: Of course you can get dessert at most restaurants but this post is dedicated to the little stalls and places that just sell delicious dessert.

Japanese waffle shaped like fish with filling

I went here with Verion before his farewell dinner, because obviously it’s always a great idea to get dessert before dinner. The stand sells waffles which are shaped like fish and have different fillings in them. I learned they are from Japan and are called Taiyaki. I got banana custard and it was really good. Unfortunately I don’t know what the booth was called but it’s inside the Shanghai Metro City mall.

Beard Papa’s

Pearl showed us this place which sells yummy cream puffs. I got a cookie puff filled with custard and it was delicious – not too sweet and with a very rich, vanilla cream.

Gracie’s Ice Cream

The ice cream is pretty expensive (6.50 โ‚ฌ for 2 scoops or 11.50 โ‚ฌ for a pint to take home), but it is so so good. They have some interesting flavors like Balsamic Strawberry & Buttermilk, Black Sesame & Honey or London Fog (Earl Grey). My favorites are Half Baked Cookie Dough and Malt, Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate, though Mango Coconut and Passion Fruit are also delicious. We also got a reward card so I can justify going more. And the best thing is that you can also get the pints delivered from Sherpa’s. Guess what’s in our freezer :).

Buco

Buco is a tiny, hole-in-the-wall ice cream place, right next to Gemma’s, an Italian restaurant. It got recommended to us a few times, usually when I raved about how great Gracie’s is. When we finally tried it I was a bit disappointed. My pistachio ice cream was really good and creamy but Thorben’s fig and blueberry were pretty watery. So I will keep telling everyone that Gracie’s is the best.

Pantry’s best

I went here with Ellie after drooling over the cupcakes during a previous visit. They all look so beautiful but I was kind of scared they would just taste like pure sugar. I was very pleasantly surprised. The red velvet one I got was moist with a rich cream cheese frosting and not overly sweet. Success! Ellie also liked her raspberry red velvet one though it didn’t taste like raspberry. We were too busy inhaling them to take close up pictures ๐Ÿ™‚

Beesket

This is a juice place so more of a dessert after dessert kind of place (unless your name is Thorben and you count fruit as dessert). I still wanted to include it because I think it’s cool. You take a little container and can choose 3 fruits, stick them in there and then you can watch them make the juice according to your specifications.

Lillian Bakery

I think we talked about their egg tarts before but Lillian definitely deserves to be mentioned again. The only thing I’ve tried from them are the egg tarts and they are delicious: a crispy, flaky, buttery crust combined with a rich cream filling that tastes like crema catalana or creme brรปlรฉe. They have a little stand in our metro station and I may or may not have eaten 4 of those for dinner once ๐Ÿ™‚

Awfully chocolate

This dessert chain is devoted to chocolate 100%. Cakes, pies, cupcakes, brownies, truffles, white chocolate creme brรปlรฉe … Everything was yummy and super rich and just awfully chocolatey ๐Ÿ˜‰ I couldnโ€™t eat all the ganache on my cupcake and had to admit defeat. If you are really in the mood for lots of chocolate this is definitely a good place!