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有模有樣,不簡單 April 20, 2019

Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, 林口.
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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.

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。





Chowder Soup, 巧達湯是也。不夠濃。



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。


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。


Goes with the roast chicken.



When Tai Power speaks April 25, 2017

Posted by hslu in Life in Taiwan, 林口.
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You better listen. And listen good.

Tai Power is 台灣電力公司 in Chinese or 台電 in short. It is the one and only electric company for Taiwan. It is owned by the government and manages three nuclear power plants, multiple oil and gas fired power plants through out the island and several hydraulic power plants in the mountains. It is also responsible for providing electric power to residents, businesses and industrial clients.

About 3 weeks ago, we saw a post at our apartment building informing the residents that there would be a power outage on a Tuesday for about three hours. I didn’t pay too much attention to the note because it wouldn’t be a big deal based on our experience back in VA. At most, it would only be a minor inconvenience at most. 

Well, was I wrong about not acting on the notice.

After power came back to the building, my refrigerator quit working, two 20A circuit breaker popped and had to be replaced and a surge protector was toasted. Six other refrigerators in the building also stopped working and one family’s A/C stopped working too. We called Hitachi and a service technician came to our rescue. I told him the problem. He said that he knew what the problem was. He replaced the faulty parts (two small fuses on a circuit board got burned), charged me $500 NTD ($16 US) and did the same for 2 other Hitachi refrigerators in the building. Other families had to call their refrigerator manufactures to fix their problems. 

    Our construction company agreed to call an electrician to change out the faulty circuit breakers and foot all repair bills because it appeared that something went wrong with building’s uninterrupt power supply system. The construction company also agreed to find out what the problem was and fix it to our satisfaction.

    People also told me that when Tai Power spoke, I better listen and be prepared to unplug appliances to guard against possible power surge. I decided to install surge protectors on important electric equipments to add a level of protection no matter who was at fault. Apparently similar situations had happened to other people before and by issuing the notice before power was cut off, Tai Power in essence forewarned its customers to do the necessary to avoid damages.

    If you don’t, Tai Power will not be held responsible in any shape and form.

    Definitely not on a weekend December 10, 2016

    Posted by hslu in Food, Restaurants, Taiwan.
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    25 minutes. I was told.

    That’s how long I had to wait to get my meal after I placed my order.

    The restaurant is called “金子半之助” located at the Food Court of the Mitsui Outlet Park (林口三井) in Linkou, Taiwan. 

    It sells tempura over rice and there are exactly 3 items on the menu:

    天丼:舞菇、大蝦、魷魚海鮮炸(小干貝+魷魚)、青龍、炸半熟玉子、炸海苔片。新臺幣 $330。

    上天丼:鱚魚、大蝦、魷魚海鮮炸(小干貝+魷魚)、青龍、炸半熟玉子、炸海苔片。新臺幣 $350。


    Don’t be surprised by the long wait time on a Wednesday night because it can and do stretch out to 1.5 hours if you come on a weekend.

    On weekends, line stretches out beyond this point. After you reach to the counter and place your order, you have to wait 40 minutes to get your meal. It is simply ridiculous if you ask me.

    I know because my wife tried it out a few months ago on a Saturday night and I had to wait for her meal long aftet I finished mine.

    Was it worth the 90 minute wait? Definitely not. 

    Since the restauran is so popular Both in Japan and Linkou, I Just have to try it someday.

    Well, last night was my lucky night because I was the only one in line at 6:15 pm. However, I still had to wait 25 minutes before I could eat. No kidding. In general, five, at most ten, minutes was the usual wait at other restaurans.

    The actual wait time was 23 minutes and 18 seconds. I believed that there were four or five orders before me.

    When I walked up to the counter, a young woman told me that my order would be out shortly and it would be placed on ‘this’ (pointing) tray soon. 

    That’s when I realized that 金子半之助 was so particular on providing the best dining experience to their guests that the restaurant summoned their guests over right before their meals were ready. All other restaurants called their guests over after their meals had already been placed on a tray.

    I waited for my meal patiently and, sure enough, it came out in about 20 seconds. The young woman called me over, pointed her finger to the middle of the rice bowl and told me to poke the egg york open after finishing half of my meal to enjoy it with the rice. 

    Well, here is what I got:上天丼, the miso soup didn’t come free with my 上天丼. It cost additional 新臺幣 $30。The sides were pickled ginger and something called 牛蒡 which customers can served themselves.

    Buried below the tempura is a deep fried egg york.

    My first impression was the rice bowl was too small for the 新臺幣 $350 price tag. I probably got spoiled by the low prices we’ve been paying for other meals at this and other food courts.

    I then tried the tempura. They were good and the outsider batter layer wasn’t very crispy like many other tempuras I have had before. Seasoning was adequate and the fish tempura was the best among the three: juicy, tender, fresh and not fishy. A few pieces of squid and scallop were deep fried in batter. The tempura veggie and battered corn patty weren’t extraordinary. The deep fried seaweed piece was thick and chewy but it tasted like others I’ve had before. The rice was firm but not starchy. It was added over a soy-based sweet sauce. The same sauce was poured over the rice befoe the egg york, three tempuras and deep fried patties were dressed later. I didn’t finish all the rice because it had too much sauce at the bottom of the bowl.

    I believe the egg york was covered with flour or corn starch before it was individuality deep fried. It should have been chilled (may have been slightly frozen) first to make it easier to handle and to end up with a running center after deep fried in 350 degrees F. By the time I started eating the egg york, the running center was still warm. 

    I believe the restaurant took pain to make sure that each  was as good as the one it served before. I appreciated the dedication 金子半之助 put in the they make. Maybe this is why it’s so popular in Japan and in Linkou, Taiwan.

    But, it will be a long while before I come back to try 金子半之助’s 丼 again. If you come, please do not come on a weekend unless you have nothing better to do and you like spending your time waiting in line watching other people enjoying their food.

    In the mean time, I’ll take two bowls of 牛肉麪 (usually 新臺幣 $120 to $150 each) and a couple of side dishes for a bowl of 新臺幣 $350 上天丼  anytime if you don’t mind. 

    Web image

    Side dishes from 點水樓, Linkou.

    By the way, pronounces ‘dong4.’ It generally means rice covered with something: beef, chicken or fish. For instance, 牛丼 might mean rice covered with sliced beef stirred fried with onions or some other vegetables.

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