312016Dec

Omakase at Yoinn

New Year’s Eve brought a great omakase experience in both the food and the atmosphere. With so much competition in the realm of high end Japanese restaurants in Taipei, what I find rare are those places that add in a bit of character to their restaurant. That’s exactly what we were given at Yoinn Japanese Cuisine.

There are three price points for their omakase $1880 NTD, $2380 NTD and $2880 NTD. We went with the middle $2380 option thinking this would be a good sampling of the foods offered here. What I didn’t expect was the amount of food we got. It was pretty much a feast. And that was even before the chef decided to celebrate New Year’s Eve with us. With what he added to our meal, the price would have been well over what the top price had to offer. I mean, aged otoro, how’s that for an extra!

As for the service and décor, it was versatile and very attentive. Even with our ever changing courses, the servers kept our drinks filled and our area clear of used dishes. This while tending to other tables in this intimately lit restaurant. There are curtains for separators hanging from the ceiling. What’s really cool were the mobility of the curtains. They were made to be moved around according to the size of the party and table configuration. Pretty neat. Then there was the chef who was busy preparing dishes for everyone. However, he took the time to explain to me what fish we were being served. Though we had a language barrier, he was very patient.

After everyone left and only the people at the bar was left, Chef Isao opened up even more. We learned that he was the chef at several Japanese restaurants before opening up this one on his own. Those included a restaurant in Japan and one renowned one in Taipei – one of them acquiring a Michelin star. I forgot the names of them but after having his food, it was obvious we were dealing with an artist. One who doesn’t hold back sharing in his creation and gifts. We sat there through closing sampling his whiskies and scotches while having cured mullet roe “because it goes well with whiskey.” Yeah, this guy is a cool cat in my book. We will be coming back here.

Yoinn Japanese Cuisine (余韻日本料理)

Lane 366, Section 2, Bade Rd, 49號
Songshan District
Taipei City,, Taiwan
+886 2 2740 1088
www.facebook.com/yoinn168/

Verdict: Yes! For quality sushi and a full stomach I recommend coming here.

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!

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.

www.facebook.com/Globaltw116

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

202015Mar

Qimin’s Organic Hotpot

There doesn’t seem to be that much information about this place, in English that is. But this place boasts both a grocer and a hot pot restaurant. It’s niche organic offering expanded to Shanghai where they source ingredients from their local farm. As you can imagine, this place won’t be your global chain. They’ll focus on quality, which so happens to drive the price higher. I don’t mind when it’s about good eating. It’s a good thing in this town where there’s a hot pot joint around every corner. The taste stood out from them all.

Once we got there, it wasn’t too busy. We had reservations but there were a couple of free tables available. We got the end which was great. I had a few bags that fit great in the corner. Staff was friendly and responsive. Even helping us out when we ordered way too much. When we ran out of room on the table they held off on items until we were ready. And they seem to know how long it would take until the broth ran low. Before I knew it, refilled. Now that’s service for a hot pot place that usually has the wait staff running around refilling and restocking tables.

The place itself was clean and modern. Plenty of tables for large parties as well as counter seating. And most notable, was the fact that this place served individual pots. One for every person. And with all the steaming pots in this place, it felt very comfortable. The air conditioning wasn’t blasting and I didn’t walk out smelling like food. lol. My worse nightmare would be that Seinfeld episode where Elaine gets followed around by a pack of dogs. Glad this place had it locked down.

Qimin Market
No. 158, Section 2, Xinyi Road (台北市信義路二段158號2樓)
Da’an District, Taipei, Taiwan
+886 02-2772-5123
https://www.facebook.com/qiminmarket

Verdict: I highly recommend it for good hot pot and I myself will be back here. Probably within the month.

132014Dec

Seven Sushi

I had another long layover in Taiwan. This time it wasn’t overnight, it was from 5pm to 11:30pm. Yeah, you guessed it. I went into Taipei for dinner. Don’t worry, there was plenty of time even though I hit traffic. For those of you who don’t want to do the airport’s free tour of Taipei, I recommend making your own personalized layover. Here’s all you need to do to pull it off…

P1160853After leaving immigration, we looked for the ‘Bus to city’ sign. It’s in the same place as the ones to the High Speed Rail. We decided not to take the rail because we’d have to travel by MRT to get to SOGO. The bus would take us there.

P1160855

We chose the Evergreen Bus. There were several stops before getting to my destination, but all in all in would take about 45 minutes, barring any traffic. Round-trip tickets cost NT$230.

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Once we got our tickets it was off to the bus stop. There’s other buses there so make sure you get on the right one. Ours was pretty easy. Green and white, same colors as Eva Airlines and wouldn’t you know it, their parent company.

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The seats weren’t the most comfortable. But after trekking around Vietnam, these didn’t feel so bad. I actually got in a quick nap.

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The drop off was right in front of SOGO as well as the pick up. You can check the schedule for all the buses that go this route. Be sure to check when the last bus leaves for the airport. Vital information to know.

After shopping around for gifts, it was time to eat!

Enter Seven Sushi. This was the second time I came to this restaurant and it’s fast becoming my favorite sushi place in Taiwan. You have to make reservations here and it’s strictly omakase. There are various price ranges, $1200NTD, $1500NTD, $2000NTD, and $2500NTD. We chose $2500NTD and boy did we get a meal. The servers were really attentive. There were about four servers in this little shop which looked as though it could hold about fifteen people tops. Yeah, it’s pretty small. There are a couple of tables, but we sat at the bar. The chef explained every dish to us and I tried to jot everything down. There were, however, some local fish that didn’t have a direct English translation.

The two chefs were very personable as our courses came out. It was a steady stream of tastes that grew in portion size. Plan for at least an hour and a half eating here. We were glad to have some time in between the courses, as you’ll see from all the pictures below.

Tonight’s meal involved seafood from Hokkaido. Most Japanese restaurants seem to be showcasing this region. Great idea. And at Seven Sushi, they had a good variety of fish to try. I loved it. And even though I didn’t get all the names of the fish, I’m pretty sure the courses will change. The chef keeps his menu fluid, changing it constantly. As long as this quality continues, I’m game. Till next my next visit!

Seven Sushi (七道.鮨.新食.料理 )
No. 40 Yanji Street
Songshan District
Taipei, Taiwan
+886 02-2570-1080

Google maps, doesn’t pinpoint the place precisely, so I pinned it here:
https://www.google.com/maps/place/25°02’44.7″N+121°33’13.0″E/

Verdict: Find this place and make yourself a reservation. A very good experience.

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