Shopping shrimp restaurant in 八德 (Bade), 桃園 Taoyuan, Taiwan

November 23, 2012

Shopping shrimp restaurant poster

I agree that this is a strange name for a restaurant – Shopping Shrimp Restaurant – but I was told it is the transliteration from Chinese into English. Anyway, the three of us, Jim, Steve and myself, we were really looking forward to check out this place.

Jim had been there before and was raving about the pepper shrimps, the best in the world. In fact the “shrimps” turned out to be Thai prawns. Why did I have to come from Bangkok to sample Thai prawns here on the beautiful island of Formosa?

Tacky plastic plates at Shopping Shrimp

The deal was that you could eat as much as you wanted for 499 NT $ including four mugs of 0.4 litres of beer. Who can refuse such an offer?

From the International Center for Land Policy Studies and Training (國際土地政策研究訓練中心), where the three of us were teaching, we jumped on the bus to Bade and reached the restaurant in no time.

The inside of Shopping Shrimp Restaurant

We were early and the place was still rather empty. Later it should fill up quickly. The friendly staff selected among themselves the one who spoke some English and off we went and ordered our food.

The menu

The menu was in English and Chinese with big colour photos so that one would know what was ordered. We selected a few dishes, and anxiously awaited what was to come.

Pepper shrimps in a clay pot

It did not take long and the first clay pot of pepper shrimps arrived at our table. More followed soon. the waiter brought us the menu for more orders and we sampled the various types of prawns in all flavours and shapes.

Garlic shrimps

More shrimps

Shrimps wrapped in a leave

Shrimps on rice

Needless to say that the food was super delicious. We ordered more and more, even another pepper shrimp clay pot. We did not need carbs that night.

Taiwan draft beer

Needless to say, we washed the food down with fresh Taiwan draft beer. The three of us, we had a jolly good time. Shopping Shrimp Restaurant is a cool and groovy place.

Remark: Steve and Jim are from San Diego, they taught me Californian slang over dinner.

The three diners: Jim, me and Steve


Culture, food and music in Shanghai, China

April 15, 2012

Pudong skyline at night

I used my recent business trip to Shanghai, China to also indulge in some cultural activities. First, I participated in a new program of “Shanghai Flaneur”, a walking think-tank founded by one of my friends, Katja Hellkoetter.

The topic of this newly designed walk was “Shanghai’s historical ballrooms and it’s ballroom culture”. Katja had invited me to join and get an idea what her Shanghai Flaneur initiative was all about.

But before I take you any further, let us start with a re-union dinner on the river-terrace of The Seagull on the Bund Hotel – 海鸥饭店. From here, one has a wonderful view of the river, the Pudong skyline and the Bund. The hotel is in a perfect spot, at the confluence of the Suzhou and the Hungpu river.

View of the Bund from the Seagull Hotel

Re-union dinners are never perfect as far as the quality of the photo extraction is concerned. In fact I show you only three of the many dishes the two of us consumed. The first is a composition of doufu with leach and pine nuts, the second is shredded mushrooms with dried pork strips, and the third a puff-rice filled with various colourful vegetables and shrimps. These dishes did not only look good, they were super-delicious.

The doufu with pine nuts

Dried pork and mushrooms

The “veggie rolls”

Needless to say, we drank beer with the meal.

The Tsingtao beer

Unfortunately, it started to rain and we had to look for shelter. This did not bode well for the walk later that evening which was about to start in the Astor Hotel nearby.

I will not give you an account of the walk proper, just of its beginning and the end. The walk was conducted by Andrew Field, a university teacher of Chinese history.

From the Astor Hotel we walked along the Bund (fortunately, some of the participants had brought umbrellas otherwise I would have been drenched). And we ended the very interesting and entertaining culture-walk about two hours later at The House of Blues and Jazz.

The House of Blues and Jazz is a great place. that very night the Greg Lattrell Band from Boston, USA played blues and soul music, what a treat.

The Greg Lattrell Band

I just loved the music, especially the blues pieces they played, and stayed until the very end. This was a perfect day, re-union dinner with Katja at the banks of the Huangpu river, the walk with the Shanghai Flaneur along the Bund, and the blues music of Greg and his band.

Come and see, feel and experience Shanghai, the Paris of the Far East.


Chinese New Year – Bring the rabbit on

February 6, 2011

I took a time out from blogging. While just watching from the sidelines I had a record number of visitors to my entry on the Johanna Budwig diet which I wrote as tribute to my friend, the late Peter Ryan. But since then, I had declining numbers of visitors to my blog. Well, let’s resume.

Every Chinese New Year we have a family at a Chinese restaurant in our neighbourhood Thonglor called Royal Kitchen.

The restaurant is just a side street away from where we live.

Happy New Year and good wishes from the Adam family

So what did we eat? Well, it was bit of a mix. We started with some dumplings, had lots of prawns, some tofu, a steamed fish and some sweet and sour soup.

Fried dumplings

Prawns in orange

Prawns Shanghai style

Sichuan style tofu

Hmm, was delicious on rice

Sea bass steamed sorry, I came to late for the photo

Sweet and sour soup

Needless to say that the meal was delicious and we had a great time on the first day of the year of the rabbit.

PS: We drank beer and we did not eat rabbit, honestly.

Address:
Royal Kitchen Restaurant
912/6 Sukhumvit 55, Bangkok, Thailand 10110
Tel.: +66-2391 9634, and 2714 8548
e-mail: info@royalkitchengroup.com
www.Royalkitchengroup.com


Shanghai: on the run

November 6, 2010

I had not much time for food and drink while on a business trip to Shanghai this week. But it is always interesting to visit the “Paris of the East”. Now that the World Expo is over, it was a bit more quiet than the last six months but the controversy of the award of the Nobel peace prize to Liu Xioabo kept the blood of CCP officials boiling.

What did the Shanghai Daily say? Hu’s visit to France which has become a good old friend again and the order of 100 airbus planes made the front page. This contrasted well with issues the Shanghai people are concerned with: the high tax/licence fees for their pet dogs. Nice mix of local and global.

My breakfast: coffee and the Shanghai Daily

After my talk which I gave to German students I had some time for a quick lunch snack: dumplings in a broth with noodles, and a glass of the house red, of cause a Chinese wine. Delicious. Nice mix of East and West.

Lunch snack with red wine


Yunnan food at 中8楼 in Sanlitun – Beijing

December 28, 2009

Parallel to Xindong Lu where we lived in the early 1990s, the Sanlitun lane was nothing than a small side-street with a small food market in east Beijing. Ever since this small street took off from about 1993 onwards and has become one of the major hangouts in the city today.

During my recent visit I could witness this again. My friend Brian Wallace, the director of Red Gate Gallery took me out one night for a meal at Sanlitun.

He took me to 中8楼 one of the city’s classiest Yunnan restaurants. Apart from excellent food at very reasonable prices, Middle 8th offers elegant décor and excellent service.

Brian, director of Red Gate Gallery

Brian ordered the meal. I had seen the vegetables (picture below) on a table while we were waiting to be seated (booking in advance is recommended). It is Yunana vegatables in banana leaf, very tasty, lovely food.

Yunnan veggies

Scrimp salad

Sweet potatoes

Pigeon eggs, mushrooms and greens

Dali, Yunnan beer

Interesting beer glasses

Needless to say this was a wonderful evening and the two of us, we had a great time. I highly recommend the restaurant. Yunnan food is just very special indeed.

PS: Before we went for dinner, Brian took me to a boutique luxury hotel at Sanlitun, called “The Opposite House”. Red Gate Gallery is providing modern art by some of their artists during the months of October to December as a kind of “moving exhibition”.

Addresses:
The Middle 8th Yunnan Restaurant
中8楼
东三里屯中8号楼
3.3服装市场东小巷内
010-6413-0629
http://www.middle8th.com

The Opposite House
Beijing, China
北京市朝阳区三里屯东四街11号
010-65360601
www.theoppositehouse.com

Red Gate Gallery
Gallery Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Everyday
Tel/ Fax: (86 10) 6525 1005

Gallery Address:
Levels 1 & 4, Dongbianmen Watchtower
Chongwenmen, Beijing

北京市东城区崇文门东大街9号
010-65251005
www.redgategallery.com

Postal Address:
Beijing International Post Office
Box No. 9039, Beijing, China 100600


Black chicken

December 22, 2009

Black chicken

Have you ever eaten “black chicken”? During my recent visit to Taiwan I was invited by a professor from Taiwan Normal University to taste this Chinese delicacy. It takes a while to get used to the colour. However, the chicken meat and the soup it “swims” in are just awesome.

Try it next time when ordering Chinese food.


Shanghai delight

December 18, 2009

The Bund from the Pudong side

My friend Wolfgang took me out on a walk in Pudong. We started with dinner in a restaurant overlooking the Bund. After that we “climed” the two highest buildings in Shanghai and enjoyed the architecture and the view.

I just love Chinese food, especially the cuisines which are a bit more spicy such as Hunan, Sichuan but also Yunnan style food. The plates below give you and idea. The dishes were delicious and the presentation was also quite nice.

Green beans and stripes of beef

“Stinking dofu” with soybeans

Green pepers with octopus

A jelly desert

Tsingtao beer

We could have ordered a bottle of wine but beer, especially Chinese beers, go very well with Chinese food. It was a wonderful reunion after many years of only conversing via mail. For me it was also the first ever visit to Pudong. The highrises are worth visiting and exploring (many restaurants and bars with breathtaking views).

My suggestion: Go to Shanghai as long as you are still young.


Restaurant review: Waroeng Shanghai Blue 1920 in Jakarta

November 15, 2009

Shanghai Blue1

When discussing with my friends in Jakarta where to meet for dinner, Jasmin suggested “Waroeng Shanghai Blue 1920” right in the center of Jakarta.

The restaurant belongs to the Tugu Hotel group, owned by the family of Anhar Setjadibrata, a famous art collector from Malang, East Java. The family has two more restaurants in Jakarta, “Dapur Baba” and “Lara Djonggrang”, both exotic places with wonderful decorations of Indonesian and other antiques where we had spent memorable evenings with family and friends while living in Jakarta.

“Waroeng Shanghai Blue 1920” is no exception. The interior is just stunning. Apart from dining one can also listen to Jazz music which is performed on a large stage. It was my first visit, and I was in a nostalgic and elated mood: back in Jakarta and out with old friends.

We ordered a round of starters, in fact we ordered the whole menu of starters, followed by main courses. To say it from the outset: the starters were stunning, the main courses could not keep up with it and were mediocre at best. This did not prevent us from having a great time. We had a bottle of white wine from Western Australia. When selecting it together with my friend Flo, I thought that I would not forget the brand. Writing this blog entry a couple of days later, I must submit to the vagaries of life once again. Never assume the obvious. Memory will have its little victories. usually I take a photo of the wine bottles I consume, not this time. Maybe the reunion was just so much more important. Anyway, the started (see some in the pctures below) were wonderful and the wine was just right.

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For us the evening ended in the Buddha Bar, a trendy hangout in Menteng. We were not deterred by a function for Cartier which occupied the interior of the bar but instead sat on the wide back-terrace with the garden view (also nice in the night).

I highly recommend to the casual traveler to visit the restaurants of Anhar Setjadibrata in Jakarta. The atmosphere in the three places – Waroeng Shanghai Blue 1920, Dapur Baba and Lara Djonggrang – is wonderful but unique, the exhibits are breathtaking, they bear witness to Java’s glorious past.

PS: I never stayed at one of the Tugu Hotels but friends of mine rave about the one in Malang. From the website www.tuguhotels.com you might get a glimpse what it might be all about. Breathtaking, spectacular come to mind. I promised myself that one day I will visit one of them and enjoy a night delving in Javas past and in a “Tugu bed”.

Address:
Warong Shanghai Blue 1920 Restaurant
Kebon Sirih Raya 79
Jakarta Pusat
DKI Jakarta – Indonesia
PH 1: +62-21-391-8690
PH 2: +62-21-7088-3366
www.tuguhotels.com


Restaurant review: Yi Yuan Restaurant, Peking Food in Taipei

October 31, 2009

YiYuan1

After all the wonderful “island food”, I felt like something northern Chinese and therefore had suggested this type of cuisine to my friends, Jim, Chimei, and Tzu-Chin.

They choose the restaurant: Yi Yuan Restaurant it was called located in the The Westin Taipei Hotel in Taipei.

Its chef, Jordan Yang, is well known for its traditional Peking roast duck and his many new “incarnations” of other northern Chinese dishes. Yi Yuan roast duck is the signature dish of the restaurant and a must-eat.

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Peking roast duck

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The Chef doing his magic

During my years in Beijing, I had had the famous Chinese dish many times. Almost every visitor wanted to taste it at one time or the other with the result that in the end I often did not feel like roast duck at all. But now things are different. Living in Thailand exposes you to excellent duck dishes but the Beijing roast duck is very special.

To serve roast duck and carve it properly is a skill one has to be trained for. One also needs a very sharp knife. The very first bits were just the skin. Unfortunately, I have no clear picture of it but they were meant to be dipped in caster sugar and mustard (see the second picture below).

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Beautiful duck meat

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Caster sugar and mustard

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More duck meat

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The proper serve of duck ready wrapped

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The “empty” duck, stripped off all its treasures

After the duck we had various side dishes, some with seafood, others of a more traditional northern China style and the banquet ended with a soup of course. All the food was just wonderful. We indulged in a most interesting conversation about food and the universe which leads nowhere, as we all know, but gives so much pleasure to the mind.

Thanks folks for taking me there.

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YiYuan10

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We did not have any alcohol with our meal but sipped on green tea which was very refreshing. However, at the end of the hall stood a sideboard filled with various treasures and a mostly high percentage alcohol content. But nothing beats an original “gaoliang” made from sorghum as a digestive.

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The whole range of Chinese liquors

If Taiwan is on your travel list and your taste buds long for a very special treat, drop in at the Yi Yuan Restaurant in Taipei, and indulge in roast duck and other “Pekinese” foods.

Address:
Yi Yuan Restaurant at the Westin Hotel
www.starwoodhotels.com

台北市台湾
3 区南京东路 133 号台北 104
+886 2-8770-6565


Drifting in Taipei

October 18, 2009

Saturday, I had lunch with an old friend which was very pleasant and the Chinese food was excellent. After that I went for a long walk around the city. In 1983 when I did my field research here in Taiwan I came to Taipei from time to time for meetings and discussions and got to know the place a little. So I wandered around on my old tracks thoroughly enjoying the beautiful mild autumn weather.

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The modern art museum in the Peace park

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Fortune telling services are available

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Street scene

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Trees and people in the Peace park

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The charming Starbucks

After a while, I was looking for a quiet place to have coffee, not an easy undertaking on a Saturday afternoon when the city is buzzing with people. The first Starbucks was completely full, crowded and noisy. But I was lucky and found a charming place, also a Starbucks. I watched the customers come in, order drinks and food, relax and leave the place. Lots of students were surfing the net and/or doing work on their laptops. Some seemed to do homework and assignments. I was utterly at peace with the world.

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A look into the future

I had not much time since I wanted to meet friends later in the day and therefore went to “Taida”, one of the islands universities. I used the subway which was excellent and very easy to navigate. I had a pleasant trip. I could not resist to take the above photo. Somehow it felt like a window to the future. The running banner in the train informing the innocent traveler about the “don’t’s” included among others ‘betel nut chewing’ which was very common 26 years ago when I first visited the island.

I did not drink any wine that day. More about my adventures later.
Greetings from Taiwan; it’s a great place to visit.