Peking Duck at Beijing’s Liu Zhai Shi Fu (刘宅食府)

November 11, 2012 in China, Food, Reviews, Travel

Source: travel.sohu.com (I forgot to take my own)

One cannot say they’ve been to Beijing (formerly Peking) unless they’ve had some Peking Duck, right?

I was very lucky on Wednesday night that my cousin-in-law was free and offered to take me out to Liu Zhai Shi Fu (刘宅食府), a famous Peking duck restaurant with a traditional Chinese setting.

The place wasn’t that easy to find, requiring us to go through a narrow alley until we arrived at the massive traditional Chinese doors. Inside, all the decor was traditional Chinese, from the wooden tables to the benches, making me feel as though I had just landed on the set of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

We ordered the Peking duck, of course, which is three courses in itself, plus three other dishes. Apologies for the quality of the photos because I only had a phone and not my proper camera (I was too excited about the food and forgot to bring it).

The Peking duck was the highlight of the night. Unlike my previous experiences with Peking duck, the first course was just the skin. And it was so nice and thin and crispy, glazed with just the right amount of oil. And the way to eat it is to just dip it in a bit of sugar and/or chili sauce. Mmm….

The second course is your traditional Peking duck meat and just a little bit of skin (not crispy) wrapped in the pancake. You can add your own scallions and cucumber sticks and hoisin sauce — as much or as little as your want. There’s even this kind of melon you can put in but I wasn’t used to it.

 

And the third course is the bones with the remaining meat on it — you could either make a soup out of it or fry it with salt and pepper. We went with the latter option.

The other dishes we got were a cold cabbage platter which had this real nice sweet and sour tang to it, a pot of stewed chicken and eggplant rolls. All marvellous stuff. If I had to pick a favourite out of the three it would be the eggplant rolls — eggplant on the outside, meat on the inside, fried and dipped in sauce.

Check it out.

In all it was a fabulous dinner that will no doubt end up as my most memorable meal of the trip.

9/10

Details

Liu Zhai Shi Fu (刘宅食府)

Website: http://www.bjliuzhaishifu.com/

Address: 8 Meishuguan East Street, Beijing

Phone: (+86) 010-64005912

Price: Around 60-80 yuan (AU$9-AU$12) per person

Teishoku 8 (Taipei)

November 22, 2011 in Food, Reviews, Taiwan, Travel

Typical menu from Teishoku 8

Meal sets (“teishoku” in Japanese).  Japanese cuisine.  What a combo.   That’s what’s offered by Teishoku 8 (定食8) in Taiwan — eight set meals, to be exact.

The menu changes on a regular basis, but true to its name, Teishoku 8 always offers eight sets to choose from (in addition to some a la carte dishes) and they all cost NT$200 each.  Each set comes with salad, rice, cabbage, soup and a few mini dishes such as pickles.  The rice, cabbage and miso soup are also unlimited refill.

Another interesting nugget is that Teishoku 8 prides itself on fast and efficient service — if they take longer than 15 minutes to serve your food, you get your next meal there free.  Don’t get your hopes up though — there is a reason why they have such an offer — because they are confident they’ll never have to pay up.

On this particular evening we went with the teriyaki beef set and the teriyaki chicken set.  I know, two teriyaki sets, but I like teriyaki and the other options were either deep fried (hard to avoid in Taiwan) or not as inspiring.  I heard they had really good eel (unagi) sets but it was out of season and they no longer served it.

Teriyaki Beef Set

Teriyaki Chicken Set

Other available meal sets included tempura prawn, pork cheese katsu, tempura prawn udon + sushi, grilled mackerel, sashimi donburi and fish + katsu.

When you order, the waiter gives you a receipt with the time of your order on it and their deadline for delivering the meal, and on the back wall is a digital clock.  I got a little excited after about 8 minutes, but sadly the meals arrived before the 10 minute mark.  Damn their efficiency.

NT$200 for a meal set is considered pretty decent in Taiwan.  It’s not as cheap as the roadside vendors or traditional cheap eats, but for Japanese cuisine in a restaurant where you get unlimited refills it’s a great deal.  No wonder why the place is jam packed during lunch hour.

However, considering the price and the speed with which the food is delivered, you can’t afford to be too picky about the quality of the meal.  The two meal sets we got at Teishoku 8 were okay.  The teriyaki beef, which was thick, rubbery and difficult to chew through, though the flavour was not bad.  The chicken was better, tender and juicy, about the same level as a regular Japanese joint in Sydney — except about a third of the price.

Ultimately, Teishoku 8 is the type of place you’d go for a fast, relatively economic meal where the food is least acceptable and occasionally pretty good.  Unfortunately, given that there are lots of fast, relatively economic places to eat in Taiwan out there, many of which offer better food, Teishoku 8 doesn’t stand out very much.  That said, it’ll be good enough for some people most of the time.

7 out of 10!

Details:

Teishoku 8 (定食8)

Website: http://sushiexpress.com.tw/teishoku8/index.php

Locations: 8 stores in Taipei — for contact details and addresses check the website.

Opening Hours: 11am-9:30pm

Price: NT$200 per person (no service charge)

Shilin Night Markets!

January 7, 2010 in Taiwan, Travel

The massive food hall at Shilin Night Markets

Night markets are popular spots for locals and tourists alike in Taipei, and the biggest, most structured one is the Shilin Night Market.

Shilin Night Market is a great place to visit just to witness Taiwanese culture first hand.  There are loads and loads of people, especially on weekends, wandering through the narrow streets with shops on either sides and street vendors and food stalls scattered wherever there is spare space.

(Click on ‘More…’ to read about the markets and check out the amazing food pictures!)

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Cheap and Tasty Noodles Near CKS Memorial Hall

January 5, 2010 in Food, Taiwan, Travel

Restaurant: Zhang Wu Ji
Food: Chinese noodles, wontons, soup and savoury pastries
Address: Corner of Ning Bo (Po) East Street and Section 1 Roosevelt Road
Opening: Early morning till roughly noon
Prices: Expect to spend around TWD 50-100 per head

There are lots of cheap and tasty (or cheap and dirty) little restaurants in Taipei, usually run as long-standing family businesses.  Most of these rely on the business of local residents and workers, but some are good enough to attract visitors from other districts.

The tiny noodle and pastry breakfast joint called Zhang Wu Ji on Ning Bo (Po) East Street, near the corner of Section 1 Roosevelt Road (Luo Si Fu Road), is unfortunately not one of these places.  However, if you are going to see Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in the morning, it doesn’t hurt to check this place out if you aren’t afraid of the local food spots.  They are usually only open up to about noon, so you need to get in early.

Zhang Wu Ji looks dodgy from the outside but the food is great

(Don’t be put off by the exterior, click on ‘More…’ to see the declious food pics!)

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