Today, I would like to introduce the limited special menu from McDonald’s Japan.
McDonald’s Japan started a special campaign of Chicken sandwiches. Four types of Chicken sandwiches—Cheese Fondue, German Sausage, Diavolo and Carbonara—were prepared. Each sandwich was available for a few weeks. Although I stayed in Japan only for a week, I could try German Sausage and Diavolo. How lucky I am!
German Sausage was served with a slice of sausage, crispy tender chicken, mozzarella cheese, shredded cabbage with mustard sauce. First of all, their chicken was “real”. It was so juicy, and with a slight taste of lemon. It tasted like a big piece of Karaage (から揚げ). Sausage was a bit spicy, a style of bologna sausage. Gently steamed rye buns, dill and mustard, and German-style cabbage (Sauerkraut?) were perfectly matched together.
I am very satisfied with this burger, although a bit small. I added French fries and a cup of coffee. As for French fries, it was not salty enough for some reason. I like the states’ better.
I know McDonald’s serves junk food, but if you are in Japan and want to eat some fast foods, please check their items. Attractive menus are waiting for you!
Total: 660 yen (as a meal)
Sapporo Travel Guide
I went back to Sapporo in November!!! Yes!!! Although I mostly stayed home during the trip, I couldn’t resist going to Japanese BBQ. There are several good BBQ restaurants in my area, and this time I choose this restaurant. Their specialty was not only BBQ, but I thought their meat was not bad all. Amataro, 甘太郎, is a Izakaya-style Japanese restaurant. BBQ and Shabu Shabu are available for all-you-can-eat, and other various dishes. All-you-can-eat was a bit too much for us, so we ordered some BBQ and side dishes.
The décor was quite interesting. Once you entered the restaurant, I only saw dark brown partitions. They made small rooms for each table, instead of just setting tables on the floor. So customers have some privacy. We also took off our shoes.
The workers were friendly. They always smiled and energetic, but they occasionally served items slowly. We ordered Pork Skewer as an appetizer, but it came quite after the main dish… (^^;)
There was a small electric panel on the table to order dishes. Interesting!
Special Mixed Plate and Horumon
At First, Special Mixed Plate (特選盛り合わせ) was served, included Tender Beef Sirloin (やわらかサーロイン), Premium Kalbi (上カルビ), Geta Kalbi (ゲタカルビ), Beef Lion (牛ロース) and some veggies (1468 yen). Pork Horumon Intestine (豚ホルモン) (313 yen) was also served.
I haven’t eaten beef for more than six months, so I was hungry for steak! Their Tender Beef Sirloin was very juicy and tender. Special sauce was covered over the meat, but I could also enjoy it purely with salt. It was flavorful~!
Horumon Intestine was a bit hard than I expected, but still juicy enough. Yet, I ate better one before, so this was alright.
Kimchi came as Otoshi (お通し: Appetizer).
Pork & Negi
We ordered Pork and Onion Skewer (豚串: Butakushi) (??? yen) from their today’s special menu.
Fresh Kotchori Salad
Fresh Kotchori Salad (新鮮！チョレギサラダ) (418 yen) is supposed to be a Korean style salad, but it was only used Korean style dressing (sesame oil & soy sauce) on regular green salad. It was still tasty, but was a little bit salty for me. Negi on the top gave me a bit of bitter taste.
Don’t forget to order steamed rice! (208 yen)
Hmm… I needed to eat more beef! I ordered extra Tender Sirloin Steak (やわらかサーロイン) (523 yen). It was only $5. It was cheap, but the taste was much better than US beef. (I know Gyu-Kaku charges more…) The meat was melted once I put in my mouth, and it was appropriately oily. Delicious!
Some people might be surprised that some Japanese eat sliced liver. Sorry the picture would be a bit grotesque, but I like it! In Taiwan, people eat liver soup with noodle. (Well, they even eat blood jelly… Awww…) Some people eat liver sashimi (レバ刺し), which is also delicious. Anyway, this time my family member ate it. It was 313 yen.
Harami Skirt Steak
We ordered Chicken Harami Skirt Steak (鶏ハラミ) (313 yen). I ate Gyu Harami before, but it was first time to eat Tori Harami. Personally, I liked Harami better than Horumon intestine.
Premium Kalbi (上カルビ) (523 yen) is a popular item in most BBQ restaurants. No need to explain. Go for Kalbi!
Gyu-Tan (牛タン) is thin sliced beef tongue, which is also pretty popular in Japanese BBQ. Unfortunately, their Gyu-Tan was dry and didn’t have much oil. So it was overcooked easily… 523 yen. This was the only disappointment for that day.
Five different sausages were fun to eat, and one was extremely spicy!!! Japanese sausage is always flavorful. I once tried Taiwanese sausage, but it was sweet. If you like meat, please try some sausage dishes in Japan.
The last item that I ordered was Roasted Salmon with Salmon Roe (炙りサーモン いくら添え) (523 yen), which was in good price. Aburi (炙り) means roast, and it didn’t grilled completely. So the inside of sliced salmon was perfectly raw. Salmon didn’t have extra seasoning, so I tasted a bit too much of onion. You may like it, or maybe not.
Oh my... I ate too much! I was more than satisfied our meal and precious time with my family. BBQ is a great meal for a family. Eat, drink, talk and have fun together~! (^^)/
Total: 9080 yen (for 4 people, including some drinks)
Saizeriya (サイゼリヤ) is a Japanese chain of Italian family-style restaurants. Recently, they opened several branches in Taipei, so I went to the branch just opened at new 統一阪急百貨台北店. I actually tried their food in Japan, and didn’t like it. One of their sales points is that all items are in reasonable price. Yes, I agree. Their menu is economy-friendly, but the taste was so-so. Yet, sometimes those Japanese family restaurants become a good dating spot in other Asian country, so I expected the warm hospitality from them.
統一阪急百貨台北店 is a department store, just opened, located at City Hall MRT station. Easy to access, and I like their variety of restaurants. Saizeriya is one of their attractive restaurant collections. My friend and I got in right away at 6pm. The waitress led us to the table smoothly, and we were ready to order…. Yet, no one come back to take an order. Most of workers don’t look at our table for some reasons. 10 min later, finally I told a guy that we were ready. He said, “OK, wait for a moment,” then he never came back. I found another waitress, but they kept saying “wait for a moment.” We waited enough moments… Finally, one waitress noticed us and took an order another 15 min later. Wow it took us 30 minutes to order.
They have a serious management problem. While we were waiting for our dishes, we found a teenage group right next to us. They, five girls, actually came after us, but waitress took an order before us… When their dishes were served, one dish was slipped from the waiter’s hands. The food was spilled on the table. Oh my… The waiter told them sorry, and brought a towel. Some other waitresses brought extra towel, however, they were all laughing… Why? A few minutes later, a manager came to the table and talked to the waitresses, yet, this manager were again smiling and kept chatting with waitresses, never say sorry to the customer. I was surprised those girls didn’t say anything to such a poor service.
I almost couldn’t tolerate such a lousy service and behaviors, but then, our dishes were served. Oh well…
Spaghetti with Chicken & Genovese Sauce
Here is my friend’s choice, 青醬雞肉義大利麵 (TW$ 90). Most of Italian restaurants in Taiwan have this item, either with chicken or clam. Saizeriya use their original sauce, but it was much oilier than Japanese branch. The taste was no problem, but the quantity was a bit less compared with regular Taiwanese dish’s quantity.
Grilled Chicken with "Diavola Salsa"
This is my choice, 惡魔風莎莎醤雞排 (TW$ 110), and I added a steamed rice (TW$ 20). Chicken was TOO SMALL! (>o<) Garlic taste over the crispy chicken was good, but it was just too small. If you want your stomach full, you need to order one more dish.
The crispiness was appropriate, and the chicken was juicy enough.
Overall, I liked their dishes. I really hope they improve their service. I am sad that they represent “Japanese restaurant”, but the quality of the food and service was quite far from Japanese one. If they welcome the customer saying “Irasshaimase”, then PLEASE improve the service.
Total: TW$ 220 (for 2 people)
# Here is the Website for 統一阪急百貨台北店
After my friend and I had great lunch at DongMen Dumpling Restaurant, we found a small café on the way back to the school. The café is called “Kuroshio” (咖啡黑潮) (yes, Japanese)! It seems that they open from 1:30pm.
Inside, there were a few customers, and soft rock music was played. WiFi was available, so some customers brought their laptop and enjoyed the free internet. It was simple, but I liked quiet atmosphere. (It is very hard to find such a quiet café in Taipei city…!)
They offer coffee, tea, some juice, and sweet cakes. Their specialty seems coffee, so I ordered simple Café Latte.
My friend’s choice
At the patio, there are some tables. If you are a smoker, you can enjoy the quiet nice Taiwan atmosphere at the patio. :)
I definitely recommend this place to enjoy good coffee and free quiet time. All workers were friendly.
Café Kuroshio: 咖啡黑潮
No. 9-1, Ln. 141, HePing S. Rd, Da-an Dist.
It has been quite long time since I found a real good restaurant. DinTaiFung is too popular, and others are pretty good but have no service or have some hygiene problems. So, I went to the Japanese book store and read some guild book magazine. DongMen Dumpling Restaurant was on the magazine right next to DinTaiFung, most of magazine recommend their dumpling repertories. OK let’s try out!
A gorgeous big sign represent their name and pride.
The exterior is quite interesting. A big sign of the restaurant and KOI in an outdoor small koi pond welcome customers. Unfortunately, this restaurant is not barrier-free. At the entrance, we need to across the big stairs...
The interior was quite simple, but workers were friendly, and quickly guided us to the table. Table was clean as well as on the floor. It seems in good hygiene. :)
They offer steamed, boiled and fried dumplings as well as other popular Chinese dishes, including Hot Pot. We ordered Tofu with Shrimp (蝦仁豆腐), steamed pork dumpling (豬肉蒸餃), and steamed rice.
Tofu with Shrimp, Steamed Rice
Tofu dish had three kinds (with Shrimp, with Pork and Veggie, with Pork and spicy sauce). You were able to choose S/M/L size.
We ordered small one, but it was enough for two people. 蝦仁豆腐 (small) (TW$ 100) was served with tender tofu, middle-size shrimp, and green peas. It was a bit salty for me, but once I put steamed rice into my mouth, the taste was balanced.
Steamed Pork Dumplings
This steamed pork dumplings (豬肉蒸餃) (TW$ 90) was so delicious! So far the best steamed dumpling in Taipei! Once I put into my mouth, I became speechless! The tender pork was appropriately cooked, still in good temperature, and tasty juice spread in my mouth. It was not oily at all, and was not too much. Everything was perfectly balanced—not too much, not too less. 10 pcs only cost TW$90. I strongly recommend you to try this!!! It was amazing!!!
We went there at noon, and enjoyed our meal and time. They let us stay until 3pm~. I was satisfied with their hospitality and food. I definitely want to go back and try other dumplings soon.
Total: about $250 (for 2 people)
DongMen Dumpring Restaurant: 東門餃子館
No. 37, Lane 31 Sec. 2, JinShan S. Rd., Da-an Dist.,
YongKang Street has been a popular tourist area in Taiwan. Many good restaurants are waiting for you. The most famous dumpling restaurant, DinTaiFung, and mango shaved ice, YongKang 15 (originally known as Ice Monster), are the most well known shops in this area. From National Taiwan Normal University, it takes only five minutes to get to YongKang Street, so it is easy for me to try out all kinds of restaurants.
The 金鶏園 (JinJiYuan) has been popular for 小籠包 (steamed dumpling) lovers. Their dumpling is big and tasty. DinTaiFung is a competitive restaurant in this area, but many like to come to JinJiYuan because of the price. Of course, other menus are popular. I think their price is reasonable, and their service is not bad at all. Since it is close to the university, I see many students here coming for lunch.
First floor is a kitchen, so we go up to the second floor. All workers welcomed us. At the second floor, three waitresses were working, and immediately led us to the table. All workers didn’t smile, but worked quickly. I always go there for lunch by myself, but this time I invited my friend to join me. We ordered 排骨飯 (TW$ 80), 小籠包子 (TW$ 80), and 菜肉蒸餃 (TW$ 90).
Fried Pork Chop Rice
排骨飯 (Fried Pork Chop Rice) is a popular dish in Taiwan. I usually order fried chicken, so it was a first time to try pork chop. It was pretty good, but I have to tell you that their pork chop was nothing special. (^^;) Good part of ordering this for lunch is that it comes with three different side dishes (小菜)—seeweed wakame, green beans and bamboo shoots. You see some meats over the rice? That is called LuRouFan (魯肉飯), which is one of popular Taiwanese dishes. Minced, ground fatty pork stewed in special soy sauce and spices, and served on steamed rice.
It is easily prepared--but tasty--dish. If you prefer white rice, you can ask the waitress “no LuRou over rice”.
Pork Steamed Dumplings
This is their signature menu, 小籠包子!!! It is much bigger than the one in DinTaiFung, and also price is reasonable. It is only TW$ 80 for 8 pcs! It was served quick enough, and dumplings were hot! Once I bit, delicious soup was spread in my mouth. First dumpling was without any sauce, the second one was with a bit of soy sauce and sliced ginger, and the third one was with vinegar. All kinds of sauce you can enjoy.
Vegetable Steamed Dumplings
小籠包 is always my favorite, but don’t forget about 餃子. There are three types of dumplings—boiled, fried, and steamed. I love all those, especially fried dumplings (not deep fried, though). Recently, I discovered the vegetable steamed dumplings were healthy and tasty, so I tried theirs. Once I bit, the soup came out slightly; it was from the vegetable. After that, I felt some sweet taste. I am not sure if it is purely from veggie or MSG. This sweet taste stayed until the end of the lunch time, and personally I was not a huge fan of it. If I have a chance, I would like to try it again and want to figure out what this taste is.
Overall, I go to this restaurant very frequently, and I enjoy their food. It worth to try.
Total: TW$ 220 (for 2 people)
Jin Ji Yuan 金雞園永康店
No. 28-1, YongKang St., Daan Dist.,
09:00-21:00 (closed on Monday!?)
Finally, I found a reasonable, tasty spaghetti restaurant in my area! (It took me almost for a year to find.) I already wrote about Gino pasta, but this阿3的義大利麵 is much easier to access from MRT YongChun station. Their signature menu is cream mushroom pasta. It is not only tasty but also in reasonable price. If you have a chance, please visit them and try their food!
Going to 阿3的義大利麵, it only takes about 5 minutes from MRT YongChun station by walk. Dining area is in appropriate size, and take-out is also available. From kitchen area, an owner’s wife welcomed us. All workers are friendly, and lead us to the table. Décor was simple, or I should say typical Taiwanese restaurant style, but organized.
Cream Sauce with Mushroom & Bacon
Cream Sauce with Mushroom & Bacon (奶汁菌菇培根麵), NT$100, is a signature item. Their cream sauce is quite special, especially with some cheese powder. If you are a vegetarian, you can order it without bacon (NT$ 90). Tasty juice from mushroom (Shitake & Enoki, and might be also Eryngii) and creamy sauce really matched. Don’t forget to add some cheese powder~!
Every Italian restaurant serves Vongole, but their Vongole (白酒蛤蜊) was used fresh clams and taste good, and it costs only NT$ 90. I didn’t taste the butter, so I believe they sautéed minced onion with olive oil, then added a cup of white wine. Taiwanese basil doesn’t have strong flavor as much as I expected, but it kept the good balance of flavor and it matches with vongole. “Cream Sauce with fresh clam” is also available. I tried it but I prefer eating clam with white whine sauce.
Creamy Pesto Risotto with Chicken
Their risotto is… not a real risotto. lol What should I call it… soup rice?!? Well, they serve five kinds of “soup rice”. I tried Creamy Pesto Risotto with Chicken (奶油青醬雞肉燉飯) (NT$ 110). You can also choose this flavor with spaghetti. I tried the pasta later on, but the pasta didn’t make me full unless I add extra spaghetti, so I recommend it with rice. I was amazed how tender the chicken was, and pesto sauce came with shredded parmesan cheese.
Since then, I sometimes go there and try out different items; A3 became one of my favorite pasta restaurants in Taipei. All workers are friendly, especially the owner’s wife. I would recommend their cream sauce item and also pesto chicken risotto. I have never tried their tomato sauce, so I definitely want to eat it next time.
Total: NT$ 300 (for 3 people)
阿3的義大利麵: A3’s Pasta
California Grill serves, as you can tell, California-style big fat burgers! There were two branches in Taipei, but it seems one at Dun Hua (敦化) just closed. I hope Yong Kang street (永康街) branch is still okay. Anyway, near by National Taiwan Normal University have several burger stores. I already went to 1885 Burger Store, which was great. This California Grill is another one in this area.
I went to Dun Hua branch. Unfortunately, this branch was already closed, but you might try Yong Kang Jie branch. The décor was simple, but it gave the feeling of California. Some old Hollywood movie posters were displayed, and some chairs were American-style diner. They have open kitchen, so you can see how the workers take care of your food.
Their special menu is Tofu burger! It looked very healthy, but I wanted to eat something to make my stomach full! So I ordered Chicken Sandwich with French fries, and my friend ordered Western Burger with salad.
Hidden Valley Chicken
My choice was Hidden Valley Chicken (NT$ 195), and added Fries and drink (NT$ 50). Grilled breast, ranch, bacon, pepperjack cheese, sprouts, red onion… All on wheat bun! Their buns were a bit dry, but sprouts made me so happy! Chicken was juicy enough and extra accent with bacon. This was a great combination. A few things which I didn’t like were the freshness of tomatoes and French fries. Slices of tomatoes were too tiny, and French fries were ordinary. Yet, overall, I liked it!
Western Bacon Burger
My friend’s choice was Western Bacon Burger (NT$ 205), added salad and drink (NT$ 50). You can choose the meet among beef, breaded chicken, teriyaki chicken or tofu. She chose beef. Onion rings, BBQ sauce, bacon & cheese on white bun. It looked very tasty! It reminded me of western burger at Carl’s Jr., actually. Ha ha. She said the taste was okay, but I guess the quantity of salad was a bit less.
Overall, I liked the atmosphere and food was so far so good. I was surprised that all the waiters could speak American English perfectly! They told me that they’ve never been to America. It seems that the owner of this restaurant was from California, and he taught them English very well. Well done, owner! I definitely want to go back there, next time at Yong Kang Jie branch. Oh, let me note that they use USDA beef.
Total: NT$ 500 (for 2 people)
YongKang St. #53-1, Taipei City
It is good to be in Taipei if you love B級グルメ. B級グルメ means a cheap, casual but delicious food. Many food stalls and family-owned restaurants on the street of Taipei have tasty, tasty items, and when I find a new one, it feels that I finally find a treasure. This restaurant, Gino Pasta, was one of the restaurants which made me feel that way. It is a little bit far from MRT YongChun station, but this price and the atmosphere, it worth to go there.
Several things I liked about this restaurant. First, their signature menu was tasty with reasonable price. Second, the owner (I believe) was a single, handsome guy. J I went there twice so far, and tried different menus. I believe all the items are in good price and tasty.
The only thing I concern was the hygiene, which is the most important issue when I go to Taiwan’s restaurant. They cook the food in front of the restaurant, but they put the big refrigerator in a dining area. When you get into the store, you see some tables and chairs, and on the side, there is a big refrigerator and a big table. The workers sometimes organize pasta and ingredients on this table. All kinds of customers come to this store, and some might cough, some might have a cold… Those directly hit the food. Plus, some remains of the veggies and foods may attract small bugs...
We ordered a cup of pumpkin soup and a variety of pasta. Sorry I forgot to take a picture of pumpkin soup (NT$ 30), but it was delicious.
A lot of crams and quarter bunch of broccoli demonstrate the healthy color combination. Crams were fresh enough, but the taste of white wine was a bit strange. I don’t know how to describe… I am not sure it was white wine or their original sauce. If it was original, I guess I prefer a simple garlic white wine sauce. (NT$ 100)
Spicy Chicken Pasta
I believe this is their signature menu; Spicy Chicken Pasta (NT$ 90). This creamy pasta was special, I really liked it. Without red peppers, I believe the taste is a bit heavy. So spicy taste help us to keep eating and eating… Fresh broccoli and slices of mushroom give light accent in my mouth.
Spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino
Aww… I simply chose their cheapest menu, Spaghetti Aglio Olio e Peperoncino (NT$ 70). Peperoncino is my favorite, but it is difficult to find a good one. I only found it at one small pasta restaurant in Japan before. Here, this, unfortunately, was not my taste. They used the mixed herb powder with MSG. Well, the garlic was not fresh, so of course I don’t taste anything but MSG. I don’t recommend this item.
Cheese & Bacon Penne Gratin
A gratin is the most delicious food in the world! Most of gratins make me disappointed, but their gratin was not bad at all, and it costs only NT$ 100 (US$3 or so). As mentioned as menu, the ingredient was only bacon, which was a bit boring. If they put broccoli, mushroom and onion besides bacon, I don’t mind to pay NT$ 120. I definitely want to try their Tomato Gratin next time.
I would like to go back there again if they improve the hygiene issue. I recommend you to visit there before 8pm, because the dining area is still clean and all free drinks are still available.
Total: NT$ 390 (for 4 people)
Gino Pasta 吉諾義麵屋
1 F, No.1-1, 540 Lane, Song-Shan Rd.
Xingyi Dist., Taipei City