Mosel wine in the EVA Air lounge in Taipei

November 22, 2012

The other day, while I was waiting for my flight home to Bangkok, I discovered to my great amazement in the business class airline lounge of EVA Air, that a wine from my native Mosel was on offer.

What a pleasant surprise, I thought, when I spotted the label in the wine cooler. It was a ‘2011 Bockstein Kabinett Grand Cru’ by St. Urbans-Hof in Leiwen, Mosel. The wine village of Leiwen is only a couple of kilometers away from my home town Trier.

I have visited the winery and love their crisp-dry Rieslings. For the first time I had the opportunity to taste one of their off-dry wines. The terroir, “Bockstein” in Ockfen, a small village at the Saar river, a tributary to the Mosel, is also a place very dear to me.

From the raised hides in the hunting territory of Schoden (another village at the banks of the Saar river) one could have a glimpse of the “Bockstein”, a rock formation towering over the Saar valley. It’s vineyards are very steep and the Riesling grapes grown are famous for their high quality.

Off-dry whites are not my favourites, but of course this wine showed it’s outstanding quality. It was full and lush, smooth as silk in the mouth, with intensive and mellow Riesling aromas. It had also a long finish, and I loved the balance of sugar and acidity.

Moreover, I found my beloved Mosel (Saar) here, thousands of miles away in a place of Asia where I least expected it.


Restaurant review: Yi Yuan Restaurant, Peking Food in Taipei

October 31, 2009

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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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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.