06 May 2015

Food Review: Slurpy Things

Let’s talk about some of the more off-beaten food choices in Taipei. This week I was introduced to octopus noodle soup, a Tainan specialty, at a downstairs mall sorta of area by Fuxing. I wish I could tell you where it was but I forgot to check-in for it. (That’s how I track stuff I’m eating, by checking in on Swarm.) The thin rice noodles, clear broth, and loads of octopus rings are a delight.

And then at Ningxia night market, we stepped into a seafood place on the side and my friend introduced us to milkfish soup. Milkfish is very popular but hard to eat because it’s very bony. I don’t like to work that hard for my food but in this version, the milkfish is already de-boned! And served with some ginger strips in the soup and a side of wasabi/soy sauce dip, the entire taste is very 輕輕, or light and delicate. At least I hope that’s what 輕輕 means.

Also at the night market we had this sesame peanut shaved ice concoction with giant mochi balls stuffed inside. The lady slinging the stuff was ruder than the Soup Nazi but her product was amazing. I guess if you have a huge line you can be as un-customer friendly as you want. This ice thing is totally worth the wait.

Other discoveries this week: a pretty acceptable tsukemen spot and also a very nice soba place, both in a part of town I’d never explored before. I’m starting to feel like Taipei is kind of small but I know there’s lots of little areas I’ve yet to explore, so it was affirming to find such a cool area still within striking distance of my house. Note: The tsukemen place is right across from the famous unagi-don spot, which I've never been to yet because I have a slightly irrational fear of eel still, after my college roommate got a bone stuck in his throat like ten years ago and we had to hit the emergency room. Also, I am not trying to eat Flotsam and Jetsam, thank you very much.

So this soba place, 二月半, is located in Zhongshan, which used to be quite a popular arty area before Huashan sort of took over. There’s a bunch of intriguing Japanese spots we walked by and this soba place was a definite find. Located right across the street from the old, Spot, an art house cinema, 二月半 served delicious soba in a relaxing and authentic atmosphere. Well, I don’t know if it was authentic, but hey, it had Japanese stuff on the walls.

And while I’m here, a plug for 小李子, which serves congee all night and is open until six in the morning. It’s basically my go-to place after a late night and to be honest, I’m more excited about the rice porridge than the actual going out portion of the night. If you want to get me out of the house fast, just text “Wanna go get 稀飯?!"

Also I did important work this week and compared the filet-o-fishes from McDonald's and MOS Burger, a ubiquitous Japanese hamburger chain here. Despite copying McDonald's in every way, the MOS Burger filet-o-fish is a mere knock-off. Don't settle for anything but the real deal.