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Sunday, August 19, 2018

Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs 張記傳統魚丸

The traditional fishball Soup Eatery that can never be missed whenever I'm up there in Jiu Fen. I believe those who have been there and done that will definitely agree with me.

Stall Front
With the open kitchen preparing the fishball and dishes, it attracted a good handful of onlookers watching its operation and photo taking for most tourists.

Watching the boiling of Fishballs
Having been here more than 3 times, their menu did not change much. Every thing stays quite the same, even the crowd.

There are a few menus and you are just spoilt for choices besides their signature dishes. To cater to the tourists, the menu is written in Chinese, English, Japanese as well as Hanyu Pin Yin.

Side Orders
There is a constant crowd whenever we are there in Zhang Ji Traditional Fishball Eating Place. However with Taiwanese friendly service, you will feel welcome everywhere you go. Interior is traditionally furnished with wooden plankings, resembling the 客站 (guests stopover) that we often seen in the traditional Chinese shows. Not to mentioned about its menu, it looked retro too.

Side Bench
One do not just stopped at ordering their fishballs only, we did try ordering other items available in their menu. Bamboo Shoot is crunchy in the right thickness and was not too oily drizzled in chilli oil. If you worry about the typical foul smell, nope, it does not exist here.

Pickled Bamboo 脆香筍 - 40 NT $
Love Century eggs? If you do, wait no longer and just order this side. The dish is chilled with Tofu and Century egg topped with Bonito Flakes, Spring onions and sweet sauce. You will definitely love how runny the egg is!

Preserved Egg and Tofu 皮蛋豆腐 - 40 NT $
Not forgetting the typical braised dish that most Taiwanese Eatery offer. The braised meat came with good portion of fatty and lean meat without being unctuous. Pairing the braised meat with these pearl grains, we felt very stomach comforting indeed.

Braised Pork Rice 卤肉饭 - 35 $
Their dried noodle are quite springy topped with braised pork. An alternative choice to the braised pork rice.

Dried Noodle 特制干面 - 45 NT
Ordering a bowl of mixed fish ball soup will be a good choice if you want to try assorted balls without bursting your stomach. The soup is tasty with chopped celery and contained a mixture of Fu Zhou Fishball, Mushroom Meat Ball and the normal Fish ball.

Mixed Fish Ball Soup 综合鱼丸汤 - 50 NT
We love Fu Zhou Meatballs and ordered a bowl of it. While they come from a boiling pot, do be additional careful when you bite on the balls for the "juice" may just ooze out and scald your mouth.

Fish Ball Soup 福州丸汤 - 50 $
What we enjoyed about Zhang Ji's traditional fishball doesn't just boil down to their inexpensive pricing but more on its quality of food. This is definitely not a tourist trap because even the locals recommend it.
Unlike our fishballs, I like the fact that these are not overly bouncy. The springiness on the balls were addictive on our jaws. Once you bite into the Fu Zhou Fishball, you will enjoy the burst of fragrant meat. Look at the ratio of the meat to the fishball encasing. How generous it is!

Unfortunately for our Fu Zhou Fishballs back home in the Supermarts, the ratio is the reverse. We have more of the bouncy encasing and a small amount of meat! Thus enjoy all you can while you are there.

Meat Filling of Fu Zhou Fishball
Looked transparent and raw, however if you enjoy drunken chicken, this plate of chilled dish are pack full of the chinese wine taste.

Drunken Chicken 醉鸡 - 180 NT $
Overall, if you are in Jiu Fen, this is one of the stalls there that is worth a try, especially if you went there over the cold seasons, the hot fishball soup would definitely of great help to warm your body up. 

Zhang Ji Traditional Fishballs 張記傳統魚丸 
Location: 224, Taiwan, New Taipei City, Ruifang District [台北縣瑞芳鎮基山街25號]

Friday, August 17, 2018

Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿

Skipping Yong He Dou Jiang which we already have in Singapore, Fu Hang Dou Jiang is one of the popular breakfast spots in Taipei that you may want to add to your itinerary. Well liked by the tourists and local, it is not surprising that one may have to queue for hours just to get their breakfast.

Operations of Fu Hang Dou Jiang
As long as we hurried to the place after alighting from their metro we were quite skeptical of the long queue that comes out all the way from the building's 2nd level to their ground floor and to its perimeters. There I began to worry about the time needed to queue for the weather is so hot in August even during the morning time.

The Queue from Level 1
Not long after, we went up into the food court following the queue. Everything was swift, including the ordering portion.

Over at the Counter
While lining up , we get to see the operations in the kitchen.

Neat Kitchen
Everyone in the kitchen was just too involved in their delegated duties.

Operations in Kitchen
This is something interesting to me. The staff is trying to reach the breads in his oven with a pair of long metal thongs.

The catch here is that you have to make up your mind quick when ordering the items because you can only rejoin the queue later on if you want to add on. That's a lot of time taken!

It was said that the local would prefer the Salty Soya Bean Milk to the original. I'm too use to the original taste and not quite comfortable in having the salty version. However, I will still give it a try as such Soya Bean Milk is rare back home.

Salty Soya Bean Curd 咸豆漿 35 NT$
The good thing I notice about Taiwanese Soya Bean is the smoothness in their milk drink without being too thick. The thickness is just at its right amount.

Soya Bean Milk 豆漿 30 NT$ 
Besides the bowl of Soya Bean Milk, the fried dough stick was something commendable. It was fragrant, light and fluffy. The crispy skin on the stick was an addiction. Furthermore, though these are fried items, they are not too greasy.

 Fried Dough Stick 油条 25 NT$
Last but not least, a decent try of they egg crepe. Soft, naturally sweet with the eggs and scallion.

Egg Crepe 蛋饼 30 NT$
It was quite lucky that we had queued less than 30 minutes, there were many tourists, Japanese and Koreans made up a majority.

Though the WOW Factor is not very big on their food, I would say after trying their Soya Bean Milk and dough sticks, what we have at home in Singapore cannot be compared over here. How I wish we have such wonderful items back home, of course that includes the pocket friendly pricing and tasty food. 

Fu Hang Dou Jiang 阜杭豆漿
Location: Huashan Traditional Market 2nd Floor, No. 108, Section 1, 100, Section 1, Zhongxiao East Road, Taipei City, Zhongzheng District. 中正區忠孝東路一段108號2樓之28(華山市場二樓)

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Zhou Jia Soya Bean Milk 周家豆漿店

We heard of Zhou Jia Soya Bean Milk through one of the local TV program recently and decided to do a breakfast itinerary all the way in Keelung from Taipei. Just like a typical local breakfast place in Taiwan, place is quite run down with ceiling fan and light covered with layer of dust.

Look into the Shop
It was said that this is the busiest breakfast place in Keelung but do not worry if you see a long queue as it is for those who are taking away. For dining in patrons, there should be enough sitting.

Lady Serving the Take Away Queue
Popular among the locals, the ladies are working non stop. There are no secrets to how these pancakes were prepared. Just right in front of the shop, you will get to see them busying frying the scallions pancake.

Woman at Work
The dough was already well prepared and placed neatly on the tray, each looking like big flower bud.

It was then being transferred into the oil pan for further processing.

Frying of Scallion Pancake
The "bud" dough was then stamped and flattened, achieving a round shape pancake with about 2 cm thickness, ensuring its taste.

Just for these pancakes, there are already 3 workers tasked in preparation. One frying the pancakes, the other arranging the cooked pancakes and another attending to the take away queue.

Lady Arranging the Pancakes
We were quite lucky to get invited to the 2nd Storey as the 1st Level was fully occupied. Boxes / Baskets of Scallions were left on the rack for airing.

Dining at 2nd Level
Soya Bean Milk and Scallion Pancakes are freshly make daily.

Look into Kitchen from its stairs
Here's our order. Simple and satisfying. Enjoying the breakfast just like a local, not to mentioned that the price of these items cannot be even compared to one breakfast meal back in Singapore. One cup of chill Soya Milk cost only 15 NT$ which is about $0.65 Singapore Dollar. We ordered a fried egg at 10 NT$.

Our Simple Breakfast 
This is the basic and original version of the Scallion Pancake. It is fragrant.

Scallion Pancake 葱油饼 - 17 NT$
If you prefer to have egg for breakfast, you can add on to your Pancake. The egg is plastered onto the pancake.

Scallion Pancake with Egg 蛋饼 - 27 NT$
Though it was fried, this pancake is not overly greasy, what's more to mention is that they are very generous in the ingredients used, chopped scallion especially. The exterior was crispy, not flaky and the first bite into it was great.

By having this pancake and sipping the Soya Bean Milk, you will get a taste of authentic Keelung breakfast.

Scallion Pancake with Egg
If you are ever in Keelung for the morning, Zhou Jia Soya Bean Milk is not to be missed. Want to try out their breakfast? I suggest to go early before these delicious pancakes get sold out. Another tip is that don't get mix up with the queue if you are dining in house.

Zhou Jia Soya Bean Milk 周家豆漿店
Location: No. 309號, Xin'er Road, Zhongzheng District, Keelung City, Taiwan 202


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The Coconut Club

Having heard of the Coconut Club since early last year and wanted to try it so much (we have no  chance as it was closed during Sunday previously), and Yes! I finally did  . However, recently, The Coconut Club has expanded its wing in becoming one of the new entrants to Michelin Bib Gourmand List 2018.

Ang Siang Hill & Club Street
Not to worry about being too crowded, besides dining in the restaurant, there are still outdoor seats in front of its shop as well as the neighbouring shops.

Luckily we were there earlier, if not we could have be the one joining the long queue outside.

Look at the crowd
Don't know what to order besides the standard Nasi Lemak? Do approach the staff and check out what is their special dishes of the day.

The drinks were served shortly after our orders were made. We had cold homemade barley and Calamansi with Sourplum.

Homemade Barley - $3.50 (Cold) & Calamansi with Sourplum - $4.50
Look at the wall paper! It's featuring some houses on the beach with coconut trees. The mixture of black and white scenary on the wall paper together with the furnishing gives a cosy and modern feel to the place.


And right at this small corner beside the cashier, you will get to see their staff busying with preparing the beverages.

Drinks Preparation Corner
Sambal Sotong was fresh and chewy. Love the bite on the the rings, not too rubbery. However, it gets more and more fiery in taste after a few mouthful of the Sambal Coated Sotong. For those who cannot take too much spice may want to ask for less spiciness.

Sambal Sotong - $13.80
Their standard Nasi Lemak includes coconut rice, fried Ikan Billis, fried egg, peanuts, cucumber, Sambal Chilli and Ayam Goreng (Fried Chicken). If you prefer other meat, you can trade it for Otah or Fish instead. Starring item on the plate of nasi lemak will be this crispy Ayam Goreng Berempah, its very fragrant and juicy. I believe the use of ingredients like lemongrass, galangal and ginger gave a good punch in its marinate, elevating the taste of the usual fried chicken.

Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng Berempah - $12.80
On other plate of Nasi Lemak, I have swapping the deliciously fried chicken leg for a fish. Likewise it was deep fried to crispines, paired with a bowl of kicap manis sauce, ideal for dipping the fish meat in. Tasty! However, if you prefer a fuss free meal, Nasi Lemak Ayam Goreng will be a better choice as there are tiny fish bones. On the other hand fried fish can be order separately as a side base on the market rate.

Fried Fish Nasi Lemak
They are also able to cater dining for bigger group as there is a long table  in the middle of the restaurant.

Walking all the way straight into the restaurant, you will get to see the kitchen and the process of preparing food.

Preparation Counter
The team is well organised, each with dedicated duties.

Serving the plates
Overall, in terms of food taste, I will still prefer the usual popular nasi lemak in the neighborhood

Rating: 3 / 5

The Coconut Club
Location: 6 Ann Siang Hill, Singapore 069787