Category Archives: thai.

food at a glance: sawasdee | thai-style sweet pepper chicken cold noodles (椒麻雞涼麵)

photo 1

date july 27, 2014
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 original review of Sawasdee.

July in Taiwan means the whole country is your own personal outdoor sauna. This also means cold noodles are a perfect way to enjoy living on the sun. One of my favorite things about summer in Taipei (other than mango season) is that it is time for Thai-style sweet pepper chicken cold noodles (椒麻雞涼麵) at my go to Thai restaurant, Sawasdee.

In general, I love the sweet pepper chicken at Sawasdee — I get it often. But during the summer they do something a little different: they stick the chicken on top of a bed of cold noodles. For 100NT you can get a delicious plate of these cold noodles, which comes with a cup of soup (their usual is a daikon radish broth). The serving is pretty big (I pack half to go) and is served with some sliced cucumbers, carrots, and half a boiled egg.

photo 2

Get it while you can because this is a summertime offering only!

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.

thai: thai ya thai food (泰亞南洋料理店)

date June 30, 2012

contact 1F, No. 47, Lane 313, Fuxing N. Rd., Songshan District, Taipei City/台北市松山區復興北路313巷47號1F/02.8712.7788

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:300-14:00 :: [dinner] 17:30-21:30

price 600NT and up

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Zhongshan Junior High School MRT (捷運中山國中站) or Songshan Airport MRT (捷運松山機場站)

website http://www.thaiya.com.tw/ (Chinese Only)

All pictures were taken with my iPhone 4S.

After an extremely long overdue reunion with an old college classmate we decided on Thai food for dinner. Her boyfriend said he knew of a good place so off to Thai Ya Thai Food we went.

Thai Ya is located about a 5-10 minute walk from Zhongshan Junior High School MRT (捷運中山國中站) and Songshan Airport MRT (捷運松山機場站). Note that it is easier to find from Zhongshan Junior High School MRT.

According to Thai Ya’s website they have seating for 85. We got dinner around 7:30pm on Saturday evening and the place was pretty packed. I would suggest reservations just in case to avoiding waiting around.

The menu at Thai Ya is pretty extensive and should have something for everyone. It is in both Chinese and English, and there is a picture for each item on their menu. In the back of their menu they have set menus (套餐) for parties of 2 and up. For the three of us we decided to get a set menu for 2 and then order some other stuff a la carte. The waitress allowed us to modify our order to have each dish be a smaller portion so that we could get more stuff. Pretty awesome.

Unfortunately since I didn’t order, I’m not actually sure what we ordered or how much it cost, but I’ll do my best.

As with most Thai restaurants, rice came with the meal. We all appreciated that it was short grain sticky rice vs. long grain jasmine rice.

First out wast the cold pork, which was accompanied by a type of spicy chili vinaigrette. It was pretty good and the pork had a nice “crisp” to it.

I happen to really love pepper chicken and Thai Ya’s Yunnan pepper chicken (雲南椒麻雞) is pretty good. Lightly coated and crispy, it’s not too spicy, vingary, or salty.

I thought we had ordered green curry chicken, but I think we ended up with the coconut chicken, which we had ordered first, but “cancelled” when we ordered the green curry chicken. My friend can’t eat spicy food, so we ordered this sans chilis. The chicken was incredibly tender, but the coconut sauce was not quite coconutty enough for me. While it was good, it could have used a little more coconut flavor.

I know that I’ve mentioned about a zillion times how much I love eggplant, but it’s because I do. I thought this eggplant with meat was very good. It wasn’t too oily, as eggplant dishes often are, or too salty.

Chinese water spinach or water morning glory or whatever you want to call it (I prefer to just call it kong xin cai), is probably my favorite leafy green vegetable. This plate of water spinach (空心菜) was quite delicious. Pretty standard, but nonetheless not overcooked, still crunchy and not over seasoned.

We decided to get another cold dish and based off our server’s suggestion we got the cold seafood salad (涼拌海鮮). Seafoodwise there was shrimp, squid, clams, and fish. If there was more, I missed it. There was also cucumbers, onions, and cherry tomatoes. All the seafood was nice and tender and the dressing on this had a nice tartness to it.

The shrimp pancake (月亮蝦餅) was pretty tasty, pretty standard. We ordered a small portion, which came with four slices, so I’m not sure what a normal comes with.

I’m generally not a fan of bittermelon (苦瓜), but this soup wasn’t bad. This  bittermelon soup had mushrooms and green onions in it. I’m not sure if there was any meat in it, but if there was, I didn’t get any. The broth was pretty good, maybe a little salty for some, but I have a pretty salty palette, so I thought it was fine.

Since we had ordered a two person set meal we got to choose two desserts. These were the low points of the night. We ordered one mixed whatever with sago and other various things, and one with just sago. The coconut soup in both of these were both super watered down and pretty tasteless, which was disappointing because I love sago in coconut soup.

We also ordered a small pitcher of thai iced tea that was not that small. The waitress said that it could pour about 2.5 small cups per person in our party of three, but we think it was way more than that. The tea itself was not bad, a little watered down from what I’m used to, but okay.

Overall, this place is pretty good. Lots of variety, and with the exception of the dessert, nothing was bad. Service was pretty good, too. This place is definitely best for large parties, or small parties like us that like to eat a lot. Based on the prices I saw on the menu, everything is reasonably priced, about 200-300NT per dish, unless you get something super fancy. Thanks to my friend’s boyfriend, who decided to treat us ladies to dinner, I’m not sure what our total was; however, I feel like you could easily eat here for about 1000NT (maybe with less variety than we got) total for a small party of 3-4.

thai/chinese: 雲南小吃 (yunnan restaurant)

date june 5, 2011

contact No. 54, Zhongzheng Rd., Daxi Township/大溪鎮中正路54號/03.388.2249

hours unknown

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥ (4 out of 5 hearts)

99% of the reviews I’ve done in Taiwan are in Taipei, so here’s one not in Taipei. I went to my hometown, Daxi (大溪) in Taoyuan County (桃園縣), over the weekend to spend some time with my family and ended up at a Yunnan style restaurant with my cousin.

For anyone that has been to Daxi, you know it’s small and rural. There isn’t a whole lot of stuff to do. It’s famous for its bead curd (豆干). My family has a bakery there called Shing Feng Pastry (杏芳食品) that has delicious bread and brownies that they’ve owned forever. I spent my summers working at the front counter with my aunt, cutting bread, and packaging cakes. Daxi is green and there is an “old street” (老街) that is popular for tour buses on the weekends. My cousin and I hadn’t eaten yet so we went on a search for food.

My cousin had remembered that there was a Yunnan style restaurant near our bakery, so we headed over there. The restaurant is literally a giant open space with tables and chairs. We got there around 3pm and it had a few people in it. I think it was the staff’s lunch break because they were getting ready to sit down and eat, but they were very nice and didn’t act like we were bothering them at all. Gotta love Taiwanese hospitality.

The entire menu is in Chinese and I can pretty much guarantee that no one at the restaurant speaks English, as not many do in Daxi from my experience growing up there. You’d be better off with Taiwanese. My cousin and I decided to order the papaya salad (木瓜絲涼拌) for 60NT, sweet pepper sauce chicken (椒麻雞) for 120NT, signature thin pork slices (招牌大薄片) for 100NT, baba noodles (粑粑絲) for 50NT, another type of noodle called 米干 for 50NT, and roti (甩餅一份) for 70NT.

As I have mentioned many times, I love papaya salad. This one is among the best I’ve had in Taiwan. It tastes a lot like the one near my office, which is my favorite and tastes most like the ones I’ve eaten in Thailand; this is a very close second. The shreds of young papaya, cucumber, and carrots along with cherry tomatoes and peanuts in a balanced sweet, sour, and spicy sauce was delicious!  The portion was a decent size for the price, too. I would definitely get this again.

I also love sweet pepper sauce chicken. This one was pretty good. The chicken was tender and it wasn’t overly battered. The sauce was a little more on the vinegary side than I’m used to, but it was pretty good. One thing that I really loved about this was the thinly sliced onion under the chicken. I love onions and because the onions are so thin they get pickled in the sauce under the heat of the chicken. Delicious!

The signature thin pork slices were okay. I’m not a huge fan of  this kind of meat, which I was told was pork by my cousin, but she loves it. What I did like was the garlic chips on top. That was my favorite part.

The noodles that we got were “dry” noodles, meaning without soup. I liked the baba noodles because they were thinner and pretty chewy or “qq”. The noodles my cousin got, which were thicker, were okay but too thick for my taste.

The roti or 甩餅 was more like shredded pancake or thousand layer pancake (抓餅). It was pretty good, crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. They drizzled condensed milk on it which as nice, but this was not roti, so don’t expect roti.

Overall, I liked this place. I rarely eat out when I’m in Daxi because my aunt usually cooks and she’s an amazing cook, but it’s good to know that if I do have to go out and eat there is good Yunnan style food less than five minutes away.

updated/thai: sawasdee

date March 18, 2011
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 original review of Sawasdee.

I went to Sawasdee on a Friday night after work. Got there around 7:15pm and it was full as usual. Luckily I grabbed a table right as a couple left, so I didn’t have to wait.

I mostly just wanted to update this post because I got a picture of their signature fried chicken with sweet pepper sauce rice meal (招牌椒麻雞飯).

For 110NT if you order the meal you get the chicken, rice, soup, steamed egg, and some stir fried veggies (carrots, cauliflower, bok choy, and cabage). As usually all the sides were delicious. Steamed egg was good, soup was flavorful, and the veggies were well seasoned and not overcooked. The chicken was delicious. The batter on the chicken is not very thick; I think it might just be flour and egg. I really love the raw shredded cabbage under the chicken. Let it sit for a while under the hot chicken to warm up and soak up the sauce. The sweet pepper sauce is seriously delicious. It has a pretty good balance of sweet, garlic, chili pepper, and vinegar taste. It’s not too spicy for those sensitive to spice; the kick is pretty light in my opinion, however if you are particularly sensitive to spicy things (for example if you get things small spicy [小辣] or mini spicy [微辣] and think it’s still spicy) I’d maybe stay away. I literally left no sauce on the plate. It tastes great on the chicken and great on the rice. Really I just wanted to share this. Too good not to. Plus for the ridiculously great price of 110NT, this place never disappoints.

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.

thai: 曼谷燒 (Màngǔshāo)

P1030219

date 10.06.2009

contact Roosevelt Road Sec.3 Lane 286 No. 18, Da An District, Taipei/02.2363.0081/台北市大安區羅斯福三段286巷18號1樓

hours [lunch]11:30am-2:00pm [dinner]5:pm-9:30pm

price <150NT

rating ♥♥♥ (3 of 5 hearts)

After walking around Gong Guan for a while weighing our options we decided on 曼谷燒 (Màngǔshāo) or Bangkok Fever (or not. shāo has so many definitions, to cook, to roast, to burn, fever, so I just picked the one I liked best).  One of the reasons we picked it was because there were a lot of people waiting to eat there, so we figured it had to at least be decent for people to wait.

Bangkok Fever is located right next to the famous Taiwanese sausage wrapped in a rice sausage place in Gong Guan. The restaurant is very small only fitting maybe 15 people max. There is another Thai place right next door. It is NOT the same place, and I’ve heard that place is not good. Anyways, you have to order first. The menu is in Chinese and English and there are pictures of most of the items. I went with the Combo #1 Coconut Curry Chicken and BBQ Pork 110NT (1號餐 椰汁雞+烤肉飯) while Dan opted for the BBQ Pork meal 85NT (泰式烤肉飯).

inside 曼谷燒.
inside 曼谷燒.

There is free water, hopefully not tap, but way better is the free Lemon Ai-yu stuff (愛玉佞檸檬). Our food came pretty quick and it was tasty. Both of our dishes came with slightly different sides. The sauteed bean sprouts and mixed tofu thing  were really good on mine. The sauteed greens could have been better; they were just too bitter for my taste and not cooked enough. The curry was good IF you like ginger, which I happen to love. You couldn’t really taste the coconut at all, it was more like ginger curry, but the chicken was good and the curry was tasty. The bbq pork was really good too. Tender and really flavorful. My one complaint is that they don’t give you very much meat. I could have done with less rice and a more meat, but I guess that’s why it’s cheap.

combination #1 (110NT)
combination #1 (110NT)

One thing Dan got that I didn’t was this really tasty piece of deep fried onion. I love onions and this was a nice suprise. Dan’s dish also came with the Thai style kimchee which was good, kind of sweet, but good.

thai style bbq pork (85NT)
thai style bbq pork (85NT)

Overall this place is decent. Give it a try if you quick good food. I wouldn’t exactly classify this place as “authentic Thai food” but it’s good, and if anything the free Lemon Ai-yu is worth it.