Category Archives: vietnamese.

vietnamese: yinzuo vietnamese cuisine (銀座越南美食)

date july 17, 2012

contact No. 6, Alley 4, Lane 286, Sec. 3, Roosevelt Rd., Zhongzheng District, Taipei City/台北市中正區羅斯福路3段286 巷4弄6號/02.2369.1733

hours 7 days a week [lunch] 11:00-14:00 (14:30 on weekends) :: [dinner] 17:00-21:00 (closed two random days a month)

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt MRT Gongguan Station Exit 4 (捷運公館站4號出口)

All pictures taken with my iPhone 4S.

I’ve passed by Yinzuo Vietnamese Cuisine many many times, as it’s located two doors from Sawasdee, one of my favorite cheap go to Thai places in Taipei, and every time I think, “I need to try this place.” I finally did.

Undecided on what to eat, Erin and I decided we wanted Vietnamese and this was the nearest place I could think of to my apartment.

Usually when I pass by Yinzuo on my way to Sawasdee it’s pretty full. The random Tuesday night we went was no exception, although the turnover seems pretty quick so I doubt a wait would be long. The inside of Yinzuo is clean enough, pretty typical for the mom and pop type restaurants in the Gongguan/NTU area. Tables here are pretty close together so it might feel like you’re eating with the party next to you, we know we did.

At the back of the restaurant is a self serve area with soup, sauces, and extra tableware/utensils. We didn’t get any soup, but it looked like pretty standard seaweed soup.

Like most of the restaurants in the Gongguan/NTU area, the menu is all in Chinese. Their menu is divided into sections (from top to bottom): appetizers, cold dishes, noodle dishes, rice dishes, and beverages.

Each table has a picture menu under the glass as well. While not all items are pictured, a large majority are. Note that there is no English on this picture menu.

Food:
– Cold rice noodles with chicken (涼拌雞絲米粉) 90NT
– Cold rice noodles with BBQ pork (涼拌烤豬肉米粉) 100NT
– Fried spring roll (越皮炸春卷) 85NT

We decided to get an appetizer of the fried spring rolls (越皮炸春卷) for 85NT. One order comes with two spring rolls that have been cut into three, for a total of six tasty pieces. The skin on these spring rolls is nice and thin and fried so that it’s crispy; they are filled with a noodle, pork, and vegetable mix; very tasty. Be sure to dip it in the accompanying fish sauce mixture.

I opted for the cold rice noodles with BBQ pork ((涼拌烤豬肉米粉) for 100NT. For 100NT you get a bowl of cold rice noodles (米粉) topped with BBQ pork, slices of cucumber, shredded carrots, and crushed peanuts. The fish sauce concoction that usually accompanies cold noodle Vietnamese dishes is added before the dish comes out to you. Overall I thought this was good, but not particularly awesome. There was something a little bland about the fish sauce mix, which is strange to me because fish sauce usually has such a strong flavor. The BBQ pork itself was pretty good and the dish comes with a decent amount. All together I guess there was just a certain something lacking in the sauce to noodle to topping ratio that would have made this awesome. Still though, pretty good.

Erin decided to get the cold rice noodles with chicken (涼拌雞絲米粉) for 90NT. With the chicken comes some sliced cucumber, shredded carrots, and peanuts. She had the same thoughts I did about my food: good, but lacking something.

According to the menu, their signature dish is chicken curry (咖喱雞), but for some reason neither of us got it so maybe I should go back and try it. Overall, for the price the food here is pretty decent. There are definitely other things on the menu that looked good and this place is always busy, which is a good sign. Maybe I’ll go back and try something different.

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vietnamese: cyclo noodle & rice (洛城牛肉粉)

date august 13, 2012

contact No. 377, Sec. 4, Renai Rd., Daan District, Taipei City/台北市大安區仁愛路四段377號/02.2752.8666

hours Monday-Saturday [lunch] 12:00-14:00 :: [dinner] 18:00-21:00 :: Closed Sundays

price <300NT (Cash only)

rating ♥♥♥ (5 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (捷運國父紀念堂站) or Zhongxiao Dunhua MRT (捷運忠孝敦化站)

website http://www.cyclopho.com/

A visiting friend from Sydney, Australia picked Cyclo for dinner based on a recommendation from his friend. I’d actually heard about Cyclo and it’s “LA style” pho from someone else, so being a Southern California girl I was excited to try.

Located on Renai Rd. (仁愛路) you can either take the MRT to Zhongxiao Dunhua (忠孝敦化) and head south on Dunhua S. Rd. (敦化南路) then left on Renai Rd. or take the MRT to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall (國父紀念堂) and head south on Yanji St. (延吉街). If you’d rather take a bus, get off at Anhe Renai intersection (安和仁愛) and head east on Renai Rd. then left on Yanji. Although the address of Cyclo is on Renai Rd., the restaurant itself is located behind Renai Rd. off Yanji St.

On a Monday night around 7pm the restaurant was pretty crowded. I don’t think they take reservations so it’s just a waiting game.

The inside of Cyclo is pretty small and narrow. Tables run along the entire left side of the restaurant; there is also a long table on the right side near the door. At the very back of the restaurant is the kitchen, which is open so you can see what goes on behind the scenes. Everything inside Cyclo looks pretty new and clean.

The majority of the menu at Cyclo is in English and Chinese. The “For people who don’t eat noodles” and side dishes are only in Chinese, but it sounded like most of the servers speak some English. Note that each person gets their own menu to mark. Their signature dish is Vietnamese pho; however, they do offer three rice dishes, two other noodle dishes, and some side dishes.

We got:
– Beef noodle soup with three types of meat (清燉牛骨湯) 190NT
– Fried Spring Roll (炸春卷) 45NT
– LA style Spring Roll with fried shrimp (洛城生春卷) 65NT

Every table at Cyclo come equipped with a bottle of Sriracha sauce and a bottle of hoisin sauce, as well as a canister of pepper. I was happy to see the Sriracha because I’m pretty obsessed with it.

Since we ordered pho the server came out with two plates of raw bean sprouts, lemon wedges, chili peppers, and basil.

I decided to order the beef noodle soup (清燉牛肉湯) (aka pho) with light broth (淡), rare beef (生肉片), brisket (胸肉), and brisket point (黃金胸肉) for 190NT. Note that if you want to choose 4 types of beef you can for 230NT. You also have a choice between light broth and rich broth (濃); the light is the orignal. In addition you can choose between three types of noodles: rice starch noodles (細河粉), rice flour lath (板條), and thin noodles (細麵). I chose the rice starch noodles. Overall, I think this might be the best bowl of pho I’ve had in Taipei. It really did taste like pho I’d get at home in Southern California, which according to my Vietnamese friends is pretty good. The broth had a good beefy flavor and wasn’t too salty. All the meat was good, too. The noodles were also pretty good. Basically, as a whole, this was a bowl of deliciousness.

Will decided to order a few side dishes, so we ended up with the fried spring roll (炸春卷) for 45NT. One order comes with one fried spring roll cut in half. Stuffed with a pork and noodle mix, Will said it was pretty good.

Will also decided to order the LA style spring roll with fried shrimp (洛式生春卷) for 65NT. We noticed that you can choose what meat goes into the spring roll: fried shrimp (炸蝦) or American lunch meat (美式午餐肉). These spring rolls were pretty tasty. Like the fried spring roll, one order comes with one roll cut in half. While the serving size is small for the price, it’s still pretty tasty. I saw on Hungry Girl’s blog that the “American lunch meat” option is actually spam…not sure how I feel about that.

Overall, Cyclo was pretty delicious. The pho here was tasty and the side dishes were great, too. One thing we noticed was that they seemed to be out of a lot of things. Will had originally ordered the rice flour lath noodles, but they were out. He also tried ordering a variety of drinks that were all out as well. I guess the lesson learned is this: Cyclo is popular so come early to avoid lines and having everything already be sold out.

closed/vietnamese: paris in the orient (東方小巴黎)

 date may 25, 2011

contact B3F, No. 1, Sec. 1, Chengde Rd., Datong District, Taipei/台北市大同區承德路一段B3/02.2552.7255

hours 7 days a week 11:00-21:30

price 300NT (according to their website)

rating ♥♥♥ (3 out of 5 hearts)

nearest mrt Taipei Main Station MRT (捷運台北車站站)

website http://www.dcb.com.tw/

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UPDATE

My most recent trip to the QSquare food court found that Paris in the Orient has closed. I’m not sure when it closed, but a new restaurant has been opened in its place.

~::~::~::~::~

A last minute dinner invite from a friend landed us at the QSquare food court at Taipei Main Station. For someone who has lived in Taipei for two years, I totally failed to realize that A) QSquare had a food court, and B) there was a B3 level. My friends said they found Paris in the Orient by accident one day while lost at Taipei Main.

According to their website, Paris in the Orient sits 86 people. I believe it. It was pretty spacious. We ate at around 7pm on a Friday night and there was plenty of seating.  The menu is in both English and Chinese and has pictures of every item on the menu. They have a small section of set meals and the rest is mostly family style dishes. Of our group of five, two decided to order set meals for themselves, and then the remaining three of us decided to get stuff to share.

We ordered three of the Spinach Rice and John Dory Fish with Tamarind Sauce (翡翠飯香酥魚排佐酸子醬) for 199NT. I liked this. I thought the fish was fried perfectly: crispy on the outside, nice and tender on the inside. The rice was good, but not special. I feel like for something called “spinach rice” it didn’t really have a spinachy taste. The tamarind sauce tasted more like sweet and sour sauce, which isn’t bad, it just didn’t taste like anything special.

The waitress ordered us the wrong thing so we ended up with the Turmeric Rice and Fried Chicken with Sour and Spicy Sauce (鬱金香飯雞排佐椒麻雞醬) for 199NT. Funny thing was, we were just about to add this to our order when it came out. Angela preferred the turmeric rice over the spinach rice. I think I did, too; it was more flavorful. The fried chicken was good, but I felt like parts of it were over fried. The chicken was still tender, but the batter on some portions was just hard, not crisp. The sauce was pretty standard and tasted more like a marinade to me than a dipping sauce, but that okay, because I still liked it. I liked that it had sesame seeds and cilantro in it.

What we had originally ordered before the Turmeric Rice dish was the Stir-Fried Vietnam Pho (越南炒河粉) for 180NT.  So this was not what I was expecting, although, I should have known based on the photograph because it looked exactly like the picture. This was basically Pad See Ew, a Thai dish, right down to the flavor. It had the same sweetness that Pad See Ew does, same type of vegetables. This dish was probably my least favorite. I wouldn’t say it was bland, but I feel like it could have had more flavor. I ended up adding some of the marinade-like sauce to add some more flavor. The chicken in it was a little dry and tasteless. I mean, this dish wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

Overall, this place is alright. Everything was edible, service was good, the restaurant is clean. I don’t know how Vietnamese this place actually is, though. They had some other dishes that looked pretty good. I would eat here again, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to.

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.