Category Archives: curry.

indian/tibetan: tibet kitchen (西藏廚房)


date: august 6, 2014
contact: no. 217, sec. 2, heping e. rd., daan dist., taipei city/台北市大安區和平東路二段217號/02.2705.4770
hours: 7 days a week [lunch] 11:30-14:30 :: [dinner] 17:30-21:30
price: 300NT-600NT
rating: ♥♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)
nearest mrt: MRT technology building (捷運科技大樓站)

I really like Indian food, which I’ve mentioned on this blog before. It probably has to do with my days slinging chicken tikka masala and saag tofu in college. Whatever the reason,  I’m always on the hunt for good, affordable Indian food.

Tibet Kitchen is less than a five-minute walk from MRT Technology Building station on the brown line. Out of the exit (there is only one), make a left onto Fuxing S. Rd. (福興南路) toward Heping E. Rd. (和平東路). Once you hit Heping (which will be the first traffic light), cross make a right down Heping toward the Taipei Fubon Bank and you should reach the restaurant within minutes.

I pass by Tibet Kitchen everyday on my way home from work and there is generally a decent crowd (generally, not always). I don’t think reservations are necessary unless you have a particularly large group of people, as there is a pretty good amount of seating. On a Wednesday at 7pm, other than a large group of about 16 and two tables of four, we were the only ones dining.

The menu at Tibet Kitchen is in both English and Mandarin, with dishes divided into several sections: Indian vegetarian, Indian non-vegetarian, Tibetan non-vegetarian, drinks, sides, starters, etc.

My friend and I decided to do the two person set meal for 899NT (+10% service charge). The meal came with:
– two samosas
– two  pieces of tandoori chicken
– one non-veg item
– one vege item
– two bread items
– two bowls of rice
– two drinks
– two desserts
The non-veg, vege, bread, dessert, and drinks can be anything on the menu. I chose the vege item, palak paneer, and Ariel chose the meat item, chicken jaipuri.

First out were the samosas (印度咖哩餃). They came out hot and fresh with a side of coriander chutney for dipping. The samosa stuffing had a nice yellow curry flavor, but the outside tasted a little too much like fried wontons to me… Not bad, just not my favorite. I probably wouldn’t order these individually.

Next was the tandoori chicken (印度酸乳碳烤雞). With the two person meal you get a drumstick and a breast piece. The chicken itself was decently tender and had pretty good flavor.

For bread options I chose the butter naan (印式奶油烤餅) and Ariel went with the chapati (印式煎餅). Both were okay.

The palak paneer (咖哩菠菜乳酪) was the first out of the main dishes to arrive. Palak paneer is easily my favorite vegetarian Indian dish–I get it everywhere I go. For the most part I thought this was pretty good. It could have been a little heavier on the spices, but overall, I liked this.  While this doesn’t really rank up there with my favorite palak paneers, this definitely satisfied the craving.

The meat jaipuri (霽浦爾咖哩), for which we selected chicken as our meat (you can also choose from beef and mutton), was something neither of us had ever had. I get cliche when I go to Indian restaurants and order chicken tikka masala, so we were both up for something different. According to the menu, this is an “authentic dish cooked with extensive use of chopped onions, tomatoes, and topped with sliced omelette.” I was a little iffy about this dish, not because it wasn’t good, but because I’m not really sure how “Indian” it was. To me, other than the fact that the chicken used was tandoori chicken, the sauce and vegetables tasted like a Chinese dish with onions and bell peppers. Next time, I’ll try the butter chicken or chicken tikka masala.

Desserts were the last thing and by this time we were both pretty full. There are only two dessert items so we decided to get one of each: gulab jamun (印度香甜球) and fruit yogurt. The fruit yogurt was literally just some plain yogurt with some canned peaches thrown in…so…if you’re looking for something special, this is not it. On the other hand the gulab jamun is pretty unique. The menu says it’s a “cottage cheese ball fried and soaked in flavored syrup.” The ball itself was quite small, probably about the size of pingpong ball. The texture is hard to describe, it does taste like fried cheese curds in a way, just soaked in a very sweet honey-like syrup. It actually reminded me of something I recently ate while at a cafe in Little India in Singapore. Really, desserts at Tibet Kitchen can be skipped.

Overall I thought Tibet Kitchen was decent. The drinks were pretty standard. I got cold Indian tea, but it tasted kind of watered down. I would probably give Tibet Kitchen more like 3.5 hearts, but for now the dishes were good enough to make me say I’d go back. There are a few vegetarian items I would like to try, such as the baigan bharta (香炒茄子) and bindi masala (香炒秋葵), and maybe the butter chicken and chicken tikka masala, so I’ll be back, if not for any other reason than I pass by it every day…

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thai: thai-style restaurant (泰風味小吃店/tàifēngwèi xiǎochīdiàn)

IMG_2120R

date march 22, 2012

contact No. 2, Lane 108, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City/台北市中正區羅斯福路四段108巷2號/02.2364.5750

hours 7 days a week 11:30-21:00

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt MRT Gongguan Station Exit 1 (捷運公館站1號出口)

All pictures taken with my iPhone 4S.

Anyone that has walked around the Gongguan/NTU area will probably notice the disproportionate amount of Thai restaurants in the area. It seems like there are at least 2 Thai restaurants to every 1 of any other style cuisine. Even with so many Thai places, I’ve actually tried very few having found favorites that I continually go back to. However, in an attempt to try new things to blog about I wandered into 泰風味小吃店 (roughly translated as Thai-Style Restaurant).

Finding 泰風味小吃店 isn’t too bad. It’s in the alley on the next to the Shuiyuan Market building (水源市場) outside of exit 1 of MRT Gongguan station. It’s in the alley to the left of building if you’re heading south on Roosevelt Rd. (羅斯福路). You can see a large purple sign that says Thai Food on it (it is next door to a branch of the dumpling chain 鮮天下, which has a green sign). The large purple sign looks quite generic, which at first was off putting; however, after seeing an ample amount of patrons go in and/or get something to-go I figured why not.

inside of 泰風味小吃店.

The restaurant itself is nothing special to look at. It’s pretty much the definition of “hole-in-the-wall”: it’s very narrow, with small tables lined up against the left and right side and not particularly the cleanest or prettiest to look at. I happen to be a believer that these types of mom and pop shops often have the best food, and I found that in the case of 泰風味小吃店 I was right.

menu at 泰風味小吃店.

The menu is a standard Taiwan-style mark the menu deal in Chinese only.

picture menu at 泰風味小吃店.

There are pictures of some of the dishes on the wall, but not all. I saw quite a few foreigners come in and it looked as though they have an English menu; however, it didn’t look like it had all the menu items on it.

set menu options at 泰風味小吃店.

In addition, they have several set menu options (also in Chinese).

Anyways, I’ve now been to 泰風味 on several different occasions; therefore, I’ve managed to try a few different things on the menu, which include:
– Cold Eggplant (涼拌茄子) 30NT
– Thai-Style Pepper Chicken with Rice Noodles (椒麻雞米線) 130NT
– Green Curry Chicken with Thai Rice Vermicelli (綠咖哩雞湯巴巴絲麵) 100NT
– Tom Kha Kai (椰子南薑雞湯) 100NT

cold eggplant (涼拌茄子) 30nt

The cold eggplant was pretty delicious. I happen to love eggplant, which I’ve probably mentioned a thousand times, and this little side dish did not disappoint. There was definitely a spicy kick, but there was great flavor in the sauce: a little sweet, a little sour, a little spicy. Be warned, for me “a little” spicy might be very spicy for those particularly sensitive to heat.

thai-style pepper chicken with rice noodles (椒麻雞米線) 130nt

My latest trip to 泰風味小吃店 had me ordering the thai-style pepper chicken with rice noodles. I love pepper chicken (aka jiaoma ji) and get it often. I generally prefer noodles to rice; however, jiaoma ji generally comes with rice. I was happy to see it come with rice noodles, which is why I had to try it. The jiaoma ji here was really good. It was pretty spicy, a good spice to me, but, again, likely very spicy for someone sensitive to heat. The sauce was delicious: good balance of sweet, sour, salt and spice. The chicken also didn’t taste particularly greasy for being fried. The overall combination of the chicken and sauce with the noodles was great. There weren’t a whole lot of noodles, so for a super hungry person, or someone that likes a lot of carbs with their meal, this might not be filling enough; however, for me, it was the perfect size. I will definitely be getting this again.

green curry chicken soup with thai rice vermicelli (綠咖哩雞湯巴巴絲麵) 100nt

On a previous visit I tried the green curry chicken soup with Thai rice vermicelli. There is another place in Gongguan that I always get this dish from. It’s my “go to” place for green curry chicken soup. However, upon seeing it on the menu here, I figured I should try it for comparison (plus, it’s 50NT cheaper than the other place). Boy was I glad I tried it. I thought the green curry soup here was delicious, maybe even better than my other place. The soup here is basically just a slightly less thick green curry sauce. It was pretty spicy, definitely not for someone with a sensitive palette. The chicken was super tender and the soup had great flavor. Vegetable-wise there was corn, green peas, eggplant, and bean sprouts in the soup. They have five different choices for the type of noodles you can put in your soup. I asked a server for which one they though was best with the green curry soup. He recommended the 巴巴絲 (bābāsī/Thai-style rice vermicelli). The texture was basically identical to other types of rice vermicelli and a perfect match for the soup. This is another thing I will definitely be getting again.

The first time I came to 泰風味小吃店 was because I was craving tom kha kai and hadn’t found a good one that I liked in Gongguan yet. I saw it on the menu and decided to give it a shot. I thought it was pretty delicious, perfect for a cold night. You can get it with noodles, but I just got the soup (note that without the noodles it’s still the same price). The balance of the lemongrass to galangal to coconut milk to kaffir lime leaf was great. The soup felt really warm in my stomach and was just really comforting. The chicken was tender, too. There have been times that I’ve had tom kha kai and thought it was too heavy, too thick to drink a whole bowl of, but this one was not. It wasn’t watery, but it was not so heavy that you felt like you were drinking straight coconut milk either. Very good.

Overall, there was something about this place that tasted a little more local Thai to me (and yes, I’ve been to Thailand). Maybe it’s because it’s spicier than most other Thai places I’ve been to in Gongguan or there is just a certain flavor I get more of here…I’m not quite sure. With the plethora of Thai joints in Gongguan I’m sure that everyone has their favorites, but 泰風味小吃店 has definitely won me over and earned itself the title of one of my favorites.

vietnamese/curry: feng yan vietnamese restaurant (鳳燕越南小吃店)

date april 18, 2011

contact No. 5-5, Lishui St., Taipei City,/台北市麗水街5-5號/02.2396.4078

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:00-14:00/[dinner]17:00-21:30/closed the last Monday of the month

price 100-150NT

rating  ♥♥♥♥ (4 hearts out of 5)

nearest MRT Guting (捷運古亭站)

I love curry and I love cheap hole in the wall places. My friend Tina brought me to 鳳燕越南小吃店 after a failed attempt to go to the Japanese restaurant next door. Lishui Street (麗水街) is located near Yong Kang Street (永康街), where all the beef noodle soup (牛肉麵) and the original Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) is.

The menu is all in Chinese and located on the wall outside of the restaurant. There was a lot of stuff on the menu that looked really good, but I had a craving for curry, as I often do, so I got the Homestyle Vietnamese Chicken Curry with rice (越南家鄉咖哩雞肉飯) for 110NT. Tina ordered the Coconut Milk Seafood Curry Soup with noodles (椰奶咖哩海鮮湯河粉) for 120NT. We also decided to split the Papaya Salad (涼拌木瓜絲) for 50NT. Note that the restaurant is really small, like maybe sits 15 people max inside. It was packed the whole time we were there; she said this place is pretty popular.

I really love papaya salad, so I’ve had a lot of it. This Papaya Salad (涼拌木瓜絲) for 50NT wasn’t bad. There was something about it that was missing, but overall it was pretty good and had a pretty good balance of sweet, tangy, and spicy.

The Homestyle Vietnamese Chicken Curry with rice (越南家鄉咖哩雞肉飯) for 110NT actually comes with the option of rice or noodles. I opted for rice, although next time I want to try the noodles. The rice comes with eggs, stir fry vegetables and rice cakes, all of which were good; standard, but good. The curry was pretty tasty. There is a drizzle of coconut milk and crushed peanuts on top which is pretty good. The chicken is actually a chicken leg, on the bone, and not sliced chicken, so be prepared for that. The chicken was really tender and very flavorful. What I loved most was that buried under the chicken was a piece of taro and some sweet potato. I love sweet potato and taro, especially when marinated in tasty flavors. The curry flavor was pretty strong, which I like. I really am not a fan of watery curry. I would definitely get this again.

Here’s a closer look at my Homestyle Vietnamese Chicken Curry with rice.

Tina opted for noodles and got the Coconut Milk Seafood Curry Soup with pho noodles for 120NT. All of the noodle dishes come with the option for pho noodles (河粉) or vermicelli noodles (米線); Tina got the pho noodles. She said that it was good, but a little salty. I tried a sip of the soup, and she was right, it was really good, but a little salty. Honestly, I wouldn’t have really minded, as I like salty foods.

Overall, I really liked this place. There was a couple sitting at our table who got Pho and it looked really good. It looked like most of the people there were actually ordering the Pho, so I will definitely be back to try it.

japanese/curry: magic curry (魔法咖哩)

date January 17, 2011

contact B1, No. 38, Sec. 1, Zhongxiao West Road, Taipei City/台北市忠孝西路一段38號B1/02.2388.6298

hours 7 days a week 11:00-22:00

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

website http://www.magiccurry.com.tw/

nearest mrt Taipei Main Station MRT (台北車站捷運站)

I love all curry: Japanese curry, Thai Curry, Indian Curry, ect. If it’s curry I like it. I’ve been to two of Magic Curry’s locations (one at Taipei Main Station and one at Ximen MRT) and food wise, it’s the same. The one at Taipei Main Station is out of the M6 exit, located right beneath the Caesar Park Hotel.

The location at main station has quite a bit of seating. At peak dinner hours, though, expect a wait. The longest I’ve had to wait was maybe 20 minutes for a table for four around 19:00.

The menu is mostly curry, so if you don’t like curry, don’t go. They have maybe a few items that are curryless, but really why would you go to a place called Magic Curry if you didn’t like curry. Every time I go I end up with the garlic pork curry (蒜味豬肉咖哩) for 190NT (240NT for a set meal).

This last time I decided to add cheese for an added 10NT. My friend Stephanie got the same thing but added a hot springs egg (溫泉蛋) for 25NT (note that the egg is raw and put into the curry to cook). They give you the option for how spicy you want it. I got “big spicy” (大辣) this last time because the medium spicy (中辣) was not spicy at all to me the times before. “Big spicy” was perfect for me, spicy enough for me to feel the heat, but not so spicy that my lips or tongue was numb. Note that I LOVE spicy foods. For people who are sensitive to spice, go small spicy (小辣). I like the flavor of the garlic curry. It has a very rich curry flavor; it is also thick which I like. They put an ample amount of cheese on my curry which was awesome because I love cheese. The pork was really tender too.

Rice comes with all of the curry dishes. You can request more rice and more of the pink pickled radish on top of the rice free of charge. The most I’ve seen someone eat was three plates of rice. So for those with a big appetite, or if you just really like rice, you can eat as much as you want here.

Just for reference, this is the garlic pork curry with hot springs egg.

Our friend Josh is a vegetarian so he got the vegetable curry set meal (健康素菜咖哩) for 230NT (a la carte 180NT). I didn’t try any, but he said it was good, and it looked good. Set meals come with a soup, salad, drink, and dessert. I have gotten set meals before. Everything is pretty standard. Although, this time Josh got an apple cinnamon ice cream that was delicious! It tasted like apple pie goodness.

Price-wise it’s okay. Not really expensive, but not cheap either. Stephanie was disappointed that her curry was not as hot as it should have been (probably from the raw egg). Overall, I like this place. It’s consistent and tasty. Plus, with multiple locations, it’s pretty convenient.

thai: sawasdee

date December 19, 2010

contact No. 10, Alley 4, Lane 286, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Road, Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區羅斯福路三段286巷4弄10號/02.2368-4300

hours 7 days a week [lunch]11:30-14:00/[dinner]17:00-21:00

price <NT300

rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Gongguan MRT (公館捷運站)

Read my updated review of Sawasdee.

I first ate at Sawasdee about a year and a half ago when a good friend who lives near it took me. I really love thai food and Sawasdee has since become one of my favorite places in Taipei for good cheap Thai.

Located in a small alley off of Roosevelt Road (羅斯福路) in Gongguan (公館), Sawasdee is kind of hard to find and also right next to another Thai place. I have not been to the Thai place next to it, which you pass getting to Sawasdee, but have never felt the need to since Sawasdee is delicious.

The inside of Sawasdee is pretty small. They have two large round tables and about six other tables that sit either two or four. Around dinner time it’s always pretty packed. If you have a small group, they might just have you share a large round table with others if there is no other seating.

Like most typical Taiwanese mom and pop shops, the menu is in Chinese only; however, they do have pictures on the wall of some of their more popular dishes.

I usually go to Sawasdee for dinner and get one of their set meals. I often end up with their green curry chicken set meal for 100NT. For 100NT you get soup, steamed egg, veggies, a bowl of curry, and rice, pretty amazing deal if you ask me. Everything is delicious. The steamed egg is always tasty and light. The veggies are always lightly seasoned and never over cooked. The soup is nothing special, but it’s not bad at all. The curry is great: coconuty and creamy with a hint of spice. I really love that the coconut taste doesn’t completely overwhelm the dish. The basil also adds great flavor without overwhelming the other flavors. The chicken is always tender, never overcooked. Really, it’s a deliciously tasty deal for 100NT. AND it’s filling.

Stephanie and I decided to try the papaya salad for 120NT. To be honest, for the price, it’s not worth it. The papaya salad by my work is half the price and better. There isn’t really any wrong with it, it’s just not worth how much you pay for it. Everything tastes fresh, the sauce is a little sweeter than I prefer, but I’ve had much better.

Their signature dish is fried chicken with a sweet pepper sauce. I’ve had it before and really like it. One of my favorite parts is the shredded cabbage they put under the chicken: it soaks up the sauce. You can get it in a set meal for 110NT. Their shrimp moon cake is good, pretty standard. You can get it in a large portion or small portion which is nice. I’ve had other things on the menu, but can’t really remember what. What I do remember is that it was all good.

Overall, I really love this place. You can call in orders to pick up (no delivery), but the portions are much smaller. Eating in is the best option. So if you need some good cheap Thai, I highly recommend Sawasdee.

western: modern toilet.

date january 19, 2010

contact 2F, No. 7, Lane 50, Xi Ning South Road, Wan Hua District, Taipei/02.2311.8822/台北市萬華區西寧南路50巷7號2樓

hours Monday-Friday 11:30am-10pm/Saturday-Sunday 11am-10:30pm

price 200-250NT

rating (3 out of 5 hearts)

website www.moderntoilet.com.tw

nearest mrt ximen(西門捷運站)

I’d seen the pictures of food that comes in brightly colored toilets and decided that for the novelty of it I wanted to try it out. Since I had friends in town from California, figured now would be as good a time as any to try it.

inside modern toilet.

The inside of modern toilet is definitely unique: you sit on toilet seats and eat on bathtub tables. It’s really cute and kind of cool, but definitely not something I’d do on a regular basis.

the menu.

The menu is pretty eclectic. They have all kinds of things from pastas to curry, from gratin to steaks. Their most popular dishes are marked with a little poop on the menu. All pastas, gratins, hot plates, and meals come with soup, a side dish, and a drink that can be substituted at a 1/2 off discount. I decided to go with their signature curry chicken (190NT).

signature curry chicken meal 190NT (招牌馬桶咖哩雞)

According to the menu the curry chicken is one of their most popular dishes. It was good, not great or special, but still tasty. It has a little spice to it which was nice (and not a surprise as it’s labeled on the menu as being spicy). The chicken was a little dry and I wished there was more vegetables in it, but the flavor of the curry was good, more salty than sweet which I prefer. The seaweed soup it came with was your average seaweed soup. I was not a huge fan of the side dish that looked like a mixture of seaweed, vegetables and tofu skin. You can request your tea to have no sugar if you want, I didn’t and liked it just as it was.

One of my friends opted for the Mediterranean Seafood Pasta (220NT) which she said was good, also nothing spectacular. The other two opted for the Pork Cordon Bleu. Both of them were very happy with it and I thought it was pretty good too.

ice cream (part of the meal).

Last thing was the ice cream. It comes in a cute little squatting toilet served like poop. It’s has a much icier consistency than regular soft serve and also has a different sweetness.

Overall I think that Modern Toilet is okay. The food is mediocre, but for the novelty of it all I’d try it again. If you want a fun experience go to Modern Toilet, just don’t expect gourmet style food.