292015Jun

宅涮涮鍋

Hot pot culture is huge in Taiwan so when you find one that stands out, you kinda want to tell the world. And that’s what I want to do with this very modest looking restaurant,宅涮涮鍋. Inside, however, the quaint little place was very nice. The decor was modern with single seating at the bar. More intimate parties of two had table seating divided by walls.

Pricing isn’t too bad, though on the higher end but it shows in the food you get. As fresh as you can get for the seafood and the beef quality was superb. You can go over the top with the wagyu, but the sirloin was just as premium. Yeah, I chose the seafood set but had to try some beef.

The waitress went over all the items in our set. She let us know how long to cook everything. This was particularly important for my seafood set. Each item had huge differences in cook time. For instance, scallop shouldn’t be cooked for more then 30 seconds, shrimp should take about a minute, and the snails would take longest. All great tips because I’d probably overcook everything and ruin the whole dinner. Yay for instructions!

宅涮涮鍋
No. 34, Yongkang St
Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106
+886 2 2393 0051

https://www.facebook.com/pages/宅涮涮鍋/321753664556985

Verdict: Yes, this is a great place for shabu shabu and try the seafood set!

202015Jun

Seafood in Penghu

When you’re near the docks in Magong City, you’ll find plenty of restaurants displaying tanks of fresh local seafood. It’s a fun experience to shop and discover what each place can prepare. That is of course, if you spoke Chinese. Thankfully, the group I was with had no problem and knew specific places to go to. I won’t be able to list them here, but I can give you a sample of the different foods we had. All were indeed fresh and cooked to order and much less expensive than the places on mainland Taiwan.

We ate in this area three times and I could have done more. This was the local seafood eating experience I wanted.

The area wasn’t too busy either. I’d estimate places were at 75% capacity. That meant no wait. Well, just the wait for your food. Not bad to be in a place where supply was more then demand. Keep Penghu at these levels please!

Verdict: If you’re an adventurous seafood lover, give this area a try.

192015Jun

Twin Heart Stones and Sea Urchin

The southern most island in Penghu rests the Qimei township. A place where you can find the Twin Heart Stone Weir. We took a tour which included the boat and bus ride tour of the island, including some other points of interests around the area. Unless you have your own transportation this would be the only means of getting here. It’s not too bad though. I only saw about two other tour groups along our route. Nothing alarming even if you don’t like crowds. It made the almost deserted town feel a bit lively.

After a couple of stop we got to Twin Heart Stones. From the top you can clearly see the heart. But what I really like was the shop there. It was filled with food stalls toting fresh seafood. One of which was sea urchin. Oh yeah, a little roadside uni made this trip a whole lot better. However, it’s not for the feint of heart. It’s fresh, like super fresh, to the point they’re still alive and moving after the vendor cracked open the shell. As they washed them I couldn’t help but wonder if this was cruel. I’ll have to do some research. In any case, we only shared three among us.

There’s not much more to explore. I only checked out the other vendors who had everything from abalone to ice cream. We weren’t too hungry though.

Of all the stops on this tour, this was pretty good even though it was a bit of a tourist trap. Glad it didn’t cost too much.

Verdict: If you’re in Penghu, add this tour to your itinerary.

182015Jun

Squid Fishing

Out in Penghu, a small island chain west of Taiwan, there’s a local tourist activity of squid fishing. That’s right. Just when you thought shrimp fishing was challenging enough, here comes squid. I guess these things do get caught somehow. Now we, and a boat full of others, will find out how. I take that back, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t how it’s done.

We signed up for the trip at our hotel and went down to the dock close to sunset. It was an easy scooter ride there. It’s a short wait for everyone to get there and for them to start. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Everyone gets a life vest. You pick up your size and put it on before boarding.
  • Find yourself a seat on board, either inside or out. We picked outside to ensure we had a seat together in our group.
  • The boat ride out was about 30 minutes.
  • Once there, they turn on the lights in the water. That’s about when you start fishing.
  • Drop your line to about a few feet off the sea floor. Don’t worry, it won’t snag on anything.
  • Then wait. Patience.
  • We didn’t catch anything. So I don’t know what happens after that.

Some notes:

  • There was food toward the tail end of the trip.
  • Bring a light jacket. It can get a little chilly at night.
  • The whole trip takes about 2-3 hours.

Even though we didn’t have a grand story to tell of the giant kraken that got away, I’d have to say the experience was unique. I mean come on, how many times do you think you’d go fishing or even squid fishing. Not often huh? But unique enough for me to spend about 3 hours on a fishing boat with tourists? No. There’s this wonderful island to explore and I’d rather be in town eating and exploring. And that’s what we did after getting off the boat. Luckily there were still places open.

Verdict: Don’t do it!

 

102015Apr

Late Night Prawns

Here’s something different to do, shrimp fishing. And I don’t mean off the coasts of Taiwan. This is done within the city, in buildings made for long hours of fishing fun. I just so happened to tag along with a company outing and I have to say, thank goodness I did. This pastime requires it’s own technique that I couldn’t grasp. I would have starved if it weren’t for the skills of others. Yeah, you pay to catch your meal here.

During the day, this hobby is enjoyed by families and people of all ages. Late at night, you’ll still find the place in use. More by men passing time with beers and their catch. It can feel a little seedy but it’s all safe. Things are monitored and people tends to themselves. We were probably the loudest people there and that’s not saying much. The girls only screamed when we were carelessly flinging the shrimp around unfamiliar with the fishing rods.

Shilin and Beitou are the popular areas for these shops. The place we went to was actually in Yonghe, a place for those who didn’t want to venture all the way north. And to make it more unique, this place housed more then just shrimp fishing. It had a bowling alley and airgun shooting in the upper floors. As nice as it seems the place wasn’t crowded at all on this Friday night. That could have been due to the rain. But hey, I’m glad this was an option in this part of town, where I happened to be staying. Bonus.

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Verdict: Try it out. It’s an experience you won’t find too often in Asia and in Taiwan, they set you up right.

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