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好市多 vs Costco January 14, 2018

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Culture, Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, 台灣, 台北.
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you know Costco well. Been there many times. Spent thousands of dollars buying steaks, baby back ribs, chicken breasts, milk, eggs, paper plates. toilet tissues, breads, cakes, paper towers, cokes, bottled water, fertilzers, grass seeds, shoes, socks, underwears, candies, chips, fresh vegetables, fruits, shrimp cocktails, salmon, paper plates, plastic cups, ziplock bags, TVs, cameras, PCs. Laptops and a lot of other items.

    A variety of sushi is sold here in nice packages.

    The meat section is standard any where you go.

    Just your regular Costco interior.

    But, have you ever bought any of these items from Costco or 好市多, as it is called in Taiwan.

    Take a look:

    This dish is so good that a buhhda will jump over the wall to get a taste.

    Famous 江浙菜 called mei gan kou rou.

    Octopus.

    Ramen Japanese style. Not instand noodle.

    Roast beef noodles Sichrun style.

    Lamb pot.

    Xiaolong bao.

    Mala soup.

    Pan fried beef cake.

    Northeast China sour cabbage hot pot.

    Ginger duck soup: very popular in the winter time.

    Braised beef briskets.

    Very expansive mixed seafood hot pot

    Fish head in clay pot. This picture looks bad.

    Braised pork belly.

    Lion’s heads: ground pork meat balls with Chinese cabbage.

    There you have it. Would you like to try them out? I haven’t.

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    DMV and Taiwanese driver’s license December 28, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Taipei, Taiwan, 台灣, 台北.
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    We just got our Taiwanese driver’s licenses. Mine is good till I am 75 years old. At that time I have to take a physical exam again which includes a stringent eye test. If I fail the physical, I won’t be allowed to drive.

    It took us a considerable amount of time, sweat and searching to get the license. The cost: $150 USD plus $550 TWD. 

    TMV stands for Taipei Motor Vehicles, not Taiwan Motor Vechile because each city or county has its own motor vechicle department. We got our licenses from the Shilin Station (士林監理所) of the Taipei Motor Vechicle department.

    Here are what it takes to convert our American driver’s license to a Taiwanese driver’s license.

    1. You have to have your American driver’s license verified either in the U.S. or here in Taiwan. We didn’t know this is required until I searched online. I did it at 台北在台協會 and it cost me $150 USD to verify a license. It is a rip off. Much cheaper if you do it in the U.S. at Taiwanese government office located in various regions in the U.S.
    2. You need to get one 1″ picture for the physical examine and two 2″ pictures for applying for the Taiwanese  driver’s license. Fortunately the 士林TMV has an automatic photo machine. The cost: $150 新臺幣。
    3. You need to pass a physical exam including an eye exam. The eye exam is more elaborated than the one I took in the U.S. It includes color blind test, regular vision test, peripheral vision test and one test I almost failed to padd. This test will need the test taker looking into a box. To the right side in the dim-lit box you will see a moving frame with a number of C’s moving from the bottom to the top. The opening of the C’s face a different direction constantly. You need to let the examiner know which direction is the opening. After you pass this aspect of the test, without warning, a bright light lit up in the middle of the box simulationg a passing car with its headlights on. You are suppose to continue to identify the opening of the Cs until the examiner tells you to stop. I had to do it twice to pass it. And honestly, I couldn’t tell which way the openings were pointing to after the flash of the light. It was pure luck that I got them right.
    4. The cost for the physical: $200新臺幣. Make sure you be there before 11:30 am for the physical because the office is closed for lunch at 11:50 am. 士林TMV has a physical exam department. I am not sure other TMVs have one or not.
    5. After you pass the physical, bring the paper and go to the second floor to apply for the license. You need to bring your American driver’s license, your passports (foreign and Taiwanese), the verification paper (認證文件), Taiwanese ID and $200新臺幣. It took less than 20 minutes to get our licenses on the second floor. They open through the lunch time.

    今晚吃素 December 28, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel, 台灣, 台北.
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    我們第一次來南崁的台茂購物中心(Tai Mall) 就看到這家漢來素食餐館正在裝修。它的邊上是台灣有名的誠品書店。書店邊上是漢來海鮮。它是一個名聲不錯,很大的吃到飽連鎖飯店。那次,我們是在漢來吃到飽吃的飯。

    南崁在挑園機場附近。我們來南崁是因為它的市中心有一個 Costco 還有一個不算太小的傢具中心。南崁比林口熱鬧,雖然市容比較差,房子比較舊,街道比較窄,交通非常亂,我們有時候也會來南崁走走。坐公車從林口只要20分鐘就在購物中心前面下車。台茂購物中心比三井 Outlet 要忙,是一個六層樓的大樓。台茂的美食街有不同口味的餐館。不像三井大多數是日本菜。

    台茂購物中心

    餐館不少。大宴小酌兩相宜。美食街一頓飯只要$180新臺幣上下,餐廳要$450新臺幣左右。美金對新臺幣是 1:30。最近新臺幣漲了8%。我以為美國升息會壓迫新臺幣跟著升息。沒想到臺灣的中央銀行因為台灣境內經濟和就業因素,把基本利息下調。台幣不降反而上升。現在已經掉到$30以下了。

    購物中心樓下的大賣場,有許多手工藝品。還有一個不小的高級菜場。

    漢來吃到飽的大門。

    漢來吃到飽裏面。東西多到你不知道要從那裏開始。不過吃到飽的餐廳有一點是可以預測的:絕大多數的客人都徘徊在壽司,海鮮,燒烤和甜點那裏。一般的沙拉,中式熱炒都沒有什麽人喜歡。

    第二次來,漢來素食已經開門了。比起漢來吃到飽和五樓的美食街來比,吃素的客人不多,可能是因為價錢比較高的原因吧。不過餐館門口的電動廣告做的很好看,幾個素菜的相片也非常吸引人。我們決定下次來試試。

    前幾天是禮拜六,我以為那天是聖誕夜,拉著老婆坐三重708公車來南崁吃素。偶爾吃素也是應該的。不然變成一個行動藥罐子,那就對不起自己了。禮拜五早上我們才去看過三高醫生,醫生說我們還是只有兩高。二高之一的指數比以前的有進步,已經回到正常指數了。她說我們可以把這一高的藥停下來,不過大多數人在冬天通常吃的比較多。她要我們繼續吃藥,等三月以後春天時再看。我猜我們每天一萬步還是有點用的。

    門口的電視廣告。

    我們叫的就是兩人和菜。份量不多。手工精細,味道優美。都是素菜。非常難得兩人餐只要$1000新臺幣。七,八樣,有頭臺,有湯,有沙拉,有主菜和甜點,看來很划算。

    漢來素食內部。

    大門。

    廣告做的很好。

    下次來吃芝麻流沙包。

    這是菜單。茶要$30一個人。

    熱的素菜春捲,配酸甜的水果蔬菜沙拉。一級棒。配的花生醬是多餘的。

    宮保假的雞丁。吃起來跟肉的texture一樣。

    韓國的石鍋拌飯。一般。沒有什麽特別。

    這是最好吃的一道菜。五顆星。

    你可以看到一根根的芋頭。味道奇佳。

    生薑菠菜。清爽。

    真材實料。冬日大補。

    很好吃。

    冰鎮西米露。

    我們邊上是一對夫婦,大概五十幾歲,本省人。他們跟我們一樣,提著一個背包,帶著帽子,第一次來。家在板橋,有兩個男孩,各生了兩個孩子。兩老已經退休,現在上無薪水班:週一到週五在家上班,晚上和週末休息。他們全天看孩子,跟著孫子跑,把他們的老骨頭都弄酸了。整天忙死了。早上八點左右到晚上七點半。還要給孫子弄吃的,洗澡,穿好,等爸爸媽媽來接。

    他說台灣經濟不好,孩子薪水不多,升遷困難,許多孩子不敢結婚,結了婚不敢生孩子。他還說,現在的孩子沒有他們年輕的時候肯吃苦,肯打拼。現在的小孩都被爸爸媽媽和,爺爺奶奶和外公外婆慣壞了,根本不知道苦是什麽。

    他們上個月給孫子在漢來吃到飽辦酒席,知道漢來素食已經開了,才來的。他們也點兩人餐,跟我們一樣吃不完,打包帶回家。他還告訴我們板橋的美食,等下次去吧。

    唉,人同此心,心同此理。

    1010,淡水 December 22, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, 台灣.
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    本來要去官渡。結果天暗的早,風又大,還飄著細雨。結果坐到淡水來碰運氣。

    老婆是湖南人,我們也都喜歡湖南菜。網路上的評價還不錯。既來之則安之。菜不錯。服務員都很有禮貌。服務周到。

    可惜離林口太遠。不過以後不會再去了。

    1010就在淡水捷運站的對面。這個大樓裏面有好幾層是不開放的。沒有生意的緣故。餐館倒是有幾家。個個規模也都不小。去樓上吃飯經過中間的幾層樓都是關起來的。怪。

    餐館的大門。普通,一般的很。

    招牌菜。

    兩人套餐。可以試試看。不算貴。東西也不是很多。單點份量大,一定吃不完。

    配一小碗的白飯有一點奇怪。配一點酸甜代一點辣泡菜不是更好嗎?

    幾個菜炒的都不錯。

    空心菜在美國還貴的很。在台灣以前是給豬吃的。這一道腐乳空心菜在美國吃不到。你知道為什麼嗎?美國的空心菜比臺灣的要粗一倍,長一半,老幾個禮拜。我可能誇張了一點。不過差不了多少吧。

    很好吃。辣椒是甜的。沒有一點辣味。鍋翻的好。肉嫩的很。好吃,好看。

    Is it fog or is it smog? November 29, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Health, Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
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    I was out early this morning to take care of personal business. The sun was out but the sky was hazy. It wasn’t fog because it smelled like something dirty was burning in the air.

    Taiwan is a small island and it has no way of buying electricity from other country. All electricity has to be generated here. Of the few industries remaining in the island, the semiconductor industry sucks up a lot of electricity to keep their plants going. And this is where the problem lies. 

    Taiwan has five coal fired power plants and the largest one is located in Taichung 台中. It has the dubious hornor of being the largest coal fired power plant in the world.


    Source: wikipedia

    Air quality in the middle and southern sections of the island is notoriously bad for a long time. Taipei’s air quality is bad too because of all the motorcycles on the road.

    On top of that, I once heard that roughly 30% of the particulates in the air here in the island came from mainland China.

    It is too bad for us living on the island who have no choice but to breath this air as I did earlier today.

    Here are some  disturbing photos and hard numbers:

    10:30 am.

    10:30 am.

    Mid section of Taiwan looked terrible. Gaoxiong 高雄 looked bad too. It has several fosil fuel power plants near by.



    9 pm

    9:30 pm, one block from my home.

    九份,阿妹茶館 November 28, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel, 台灣, 台北.
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    我們去九份已經好幾次了,不過我還是跟鄉下佬一樣,連阿妹茶館和那一道樓梯都不知道。直到前幾天才有機會去阿妹茶館見識見識。你說,我是不是太老土了。

    這就是那道樓梯。

    許多年輕的觀光客排隊在這裏留影紀念。我雖然不知道故事的內容,但是我還是希望有情人終成眷屬。

    阿妹茶館門口的裝飾擺設。

    這是茶館裏面的一景。

    阿妹茶館生意很好。許多人都在這裏歇歇腳,品嚐台灣的茶和欣賞茶樓外的山水。

    有道理。禍從口出,說話不能太絕。做事要留餘地。自己也心安。

    遊客如雲。走路都要小心。

    茶具。

    阿妹茶館的老闆是朋友的高中同學。那天他正好在餐館。特地出來招待我們。親自給我們泡茶,跟我們聊天。老闆很好客,我們很高興有如此好吃機會。

    老闆娘請我們嘗一嘗阿妹茶館找人特別做的點心。

    喝茶觀音

    這在茶館的外面了。我不知道神隱少女和湯婆婆的典故。有什麽典故。

    來九份老街的人大概都會來這一條樓梯走走。我來了三次才知道。

    據阿妹茶館的老闆說,九份老街是因為”悲情城市”這個電影而出名的。這個老電影用九份老街做背景,從一個啞巴攝影師跟一個小護士的眼中看影響台灣深刻的228事件。

    我在台灣時並不知道228事件。到了美國以後對政治沒有一點興趣。書要念。工要打。學費要賺。零用錢要湊。女朋友要追。結了婚以後,家裏事情都做不完,孩子還要照顧,根本沒時間過問臺灣的政治與矛盾。結果我去美國十幾年以後才聽過這件事。當時沒有在意,現在也沒有刻意的去把它找出來研究。到九份也沒有想過228,還不是跟著大家逛街,吃東吃西的。我們結婚這麽久了,在樓梯上也不用照什麼相了。跟著大家走一趟也算到此一遊。來過了。你說是不是?

    Capitalism at work November 28, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Food, Life in Taiwan, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, 台灣, 台北, 林口.
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    Linkou garden night market closes from Monday to Wednesday. During the other four nights of the week, it was busy with locals as well as tourists who came here for an hour or two; long enough to try the famous Taiwanese cuisine.

    林口花園夜市大門口。禮拜四晚上燈火通明,雖然沒有人(大)山人(大)海,但是小丘陵和小池塘也是有的。Kind of “people mountain, people sea” on a Thursday night.

    We’ve been here a few times and liked a savory curry lamb dish offered by an Indian chef in the back of the night market. 

    The Indian chef is working on 飛餅。This is the original. 達卡印度廚房。On a recent visit, 達卡印度廚房 has moved out of the spot and was replaced by an Asian food joint selling Indonesian food. 達卡印度廚房 has opened a restaurant across the street from the Linkou Subway station on Wenhua 3rd road.

    His primary job was making Indian roti, “飛餅, flying pancake” on an upside down wok which kept him busy all the time. His wife was, I think, Taiwanese and her job was taking orders, collecting money, making curry beef, rice and vegetable wraps and getting curry lamb or curry beef ready as orders come in. They used to hire a college student who helped with taking dishes to customers, cleaning the table and getting rid of trash. 
    I also saw their middle-school aged daughter who helped them out on busy nights. Lately, the college student stopped coming to work and his job was taken over by their son who is probably in junior high or elemtary school. 

    Chef’s wife and two kids.

    Still, with four of them working at full speed, they still can’t handle the booming business because their food is good, they offer good value, their prices are so affordable and they are the only place in the night market which offers decent Indian food. 

    Well, this is where free market and capitalism come into play.

    The 林口 night market used to have only one Indian restaurant which enjoyed great business for a long time. Now, two other Indian restaurants have opened up last summer.

    This is one of the two new Indian entrants to the Linkou Garden Night Market. Business was so so at best. Somewhat different Indian food served here.

    The other Indian food stall was much smaller and poorly managed though.

    堆積如山 November 28, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, 台灣, 台北.
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    這在台北忠孝東路一帶。下午五點多。看來台北人多不是蓋的。

    不過,這比紐約市一到下午六點左右,街上行人道上堆積的垃圾要好一點。台北的垃圾,大多數在垃圾車來以前才堆起來。車子老遠就把”少女的祈禱”一放著,住戶聽到音樂就把垃圾拿出來,等垃圾車來。台北市還有電腦或手機的APP告訴你垃圾車現在在那裏,還有幾分鐘到你的位置。前後也只不過10分鐘的事。有時候,出來晚了一步,說不定要追垃圾車,那也無可厚非。不過垃圾車天天來,今天沒趕上,明天再來吧。

    紐約的垃圾就堆在每個商業行號的門口。每天商店關門的時候就是垃圾開始堆在門口的人行道上了。紐約的垃圾,不管它臭不臭,香不香,一包還是二十包,那可是要一直堆到垃圾車來收垃圾為止。在我們住的 East Village 那邊,垃圾車晚上兩點多,三點鐘才來。也就是說,垃圾就在人行道上從下午五,六點公司行號打烊時開始,一直要堆到晚上兩點半。環保回收的東西放在透明的塑膠袋裏。餐廳裏的髒東西,菜市場的垃圾,裝桂圓的木頭箱子,裝生菜和蘋果的空盒子,廚房的剩菜,剩飯,剩湯和剩油,破櫃子,舊沙發和動物的排泄物全都堆在街邊上。你走在街上不但要躲行人,還要躲垃圾袋和垃圾袋裏面傳出來的臭味道。

    台北街上幾乎找不到垃圾桶。紐約街上,幾乎每一個十字路口都有四個垃圾桶。每個垃圾桶一到下午或晚上,垃圾桶裏的垃圾就堆積如山,滿到外面。垃圾,杯子,衛生紙,便當盒,外賣盒子,塑膠袋,pizza盒子,和吃剩的漢堡袋子和吃不完的pizza掉的滿地都是。行人和遊客來來往往,當做沒看到,可能是大家都習慣了。紐約就是這麽髒。這些垃圾桶也要等到半夜以後垃圾車來收。沒想到美國最有名的城市竟然如此的髒亂不堪。當然,不少垃圾是旅客丟的,不過

    Cafe Grazie, 林口三井 Outlet November 28, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, 台灣, 台北, 林口.
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    這是一家在林口三井 Outlet 裏的意大利餐廳。平日的生意在許多日本餐廳的圍繞之中依然好的很。

    據我的觀察,台灣不少外國 (一般指的是歐美餐廳。日本餐館除外) 餐館,只要它有點格調,菜做的可以,價錢公道,那它的生意就非常好。我們去過泰國餐館,意大利餐館,pizza店,漢堡店,個個生意都不錯,而絕大多數的客人都是二三十歲的年輕人。可見,並不是臺灣每個年輕人都是吃泡麪,臺鐵便當和滷肉飯過日子的。不知道這些人是崇洋還是吃膩了滷肉飯,燙青菜和日本壽司,想要換換口味。

    Cafe Grazie 是一個連鎖店。三井 Outlet 這一家生意也很好,年輕人多,老先生,老太太跟著兒子,女兒來的也不少。我們沒來過,看到它有減價的優待,過來試一試。

    Cafe Grazie 的大門。有模有樣的。排場不錯。

    餐廳大門

    減價活動

    不同的定食。

    菜單複雜的很。要研究半天。

    Chowder Soup, 巧達湯是也。不夠濃。

    玉米酥皮湯。皮夠酥。湯不夠濃。可以了。

    這個薄餅有水準。好吃。夠嚼的。

    羅勒鮮魚。本來我們不知道這個名字是什麼意思,問了小姐才知道,羅勒是 basil 也是台灣俗話的九層塔。

    燻鴨蘋果沙拉。還不錯。多幾片燻鴨更好。是不是有一點貪心不足?

    這一年多以來,喝酒少多了。肚子不爭氣,只有看別人喝。我們的定食裏有酒,叫了他們的 House Wine。還可以。

    烤了25分鐘。很香,很油,很嫩,很好吃。兩人分了半個。根本吃不完。

    Goes with the roast chicken.

    挑了半天選了這個圓頂蛋糕。看到隔壁的吃,好香。

    給了一張$100的餐劵。下次可以再來。

    這茶你敢喝嗎? November 27, 2017

    Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Restaurants, Taipei, Taiwan, Travel.
    Tags: , ,
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    這是什麽邏輯,我還真不懂。

    這個餐館的英文名字可以翻譯成:

    Poisoned Tea at Brand New Paradise.

    台北市大安區復興南路一段135巷

    喝了我們的毒茶,你就可以高高興興的去極樂世界?

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