Restaurant #61: Shanghai Kitchen, Taipei

 (Visited in June, 2011)

Shang Hai Xing Cun, Shanghai Kitchen, is one of popular Chinese restaurants specialized in Shanghai-style food in Taipei. Their signature item, braised pork, has rich texture of taste, with high quality of pork. My friend invited me for lunch.

Stinky Tofu

When people visit Taiwan, they always wonder what Stinky Tofu is. As you can guess, it is tofu with VERY STRANGE smell. It is really strange… I usually cannot stand it. However, I was surprised when this item was served in front of us. There was no such a smell! My friend told me that that is just because we were the only table who ordered Stinky Tofu. Ha ha. I see. If many tables order it, then we could SMELL it.

This Stinky Tofu (清燉臭豆腐) was steamed one, with spicy soup. Once I put my nose closer to the dish, yeah I could slightly smell it. It is stinky tofu. As you can see, soup was made of spicy oil and red pepper. Surprisingly, it tasted good.

Braised Pork

Here is their signature item, Braised Pork (東坡肉) (NT$ 420). I forgot to take a picture, but it was served with white bun (割包). Take one piece of pork, put on top of white bun with shredded green onion then enjoy the richness taste of the pork. Wow! I know the similar taste of this sauce, because on Japanese food, we have similar item called Kakuni (角煮). However, this braised pork was quite different. Tenderness, sauce, texture… I have never tasted like this before, especially I was astonished by the tenderness of pork. The meat simply melted in my mouth, without biting. The fatty part was like pudding, and don’t even feel it would hurt my cholesterol number. Quantity was a lot, so just a two of us could not finish all. I brought it back to my home and ate with steamed rice the next day, which was also tasty.

Beancurd Preserved Vegetables with Soybean paste

雪菜百頁 (NT$ 420). This was interesting item. I am not quite sure what it was, but I believe it was something like Yuba (湯葉). Yuba was cooked with interesting vegetable, so-called 雪菜. I have tried雪菜 before, and I kinda like feeling in my mouth when I bite it.

Sour Fish

Last item is Sour Fish (醋溜魚片). To tell you the truth, it was okay taste among other items. I think it is just because of my taste. Of course, it was delicious, but I personally not a huge fun of sourness. Sweetness and sourness, for me, are a bit too strong taste for me. I like light taste, as close as raw or original taste. So this dish had heavy taste. I also thought their fish was not fresh enough, which was disappointing. Ironically, this was the most pricy dish in this lunch.

Their service was alright, but they could train workers more properly since their food is great. Sadly, the friendliest person was a guy in bullet parking. I would like to go back there again to enjoy their braised pork. Next time, I hope I get just a little bit better service.



Restaurant #60: Saboten, Taipei

(Visited in March, 2011)

Saboten is a Tonkatsu restaurant from Shinjuku, Tokyo. I haven’t heard of this restaurant until I saw in Taipei. In Taiwan, this tonkatsu restaurant (勝博殿) locates in some department stores; SOGO and Mitsukoshi. I tried “Anzu”, which is another Japanese Katsu restaurant in Taipei, and it was OK, so I was not sure if I should have tried this restaurant… Yet, my friend asked me to, so… let me report this.

I chose the branch in ZhongXiao SOGO. It was a long line, so we waited for 30 minutes or so. The waiter guided us to the comfortable table. Our seat was in good place, and I was quite happy about it. The décor was simple, but it looks old. Also, some families with kids and babies were eating dinner, so it was quite noisy.

The other waitress came to us and explained their menu and system since it was a first time for us to visit them. According to them, shredded cabbage, rice, miso soup and appetizer are all refill free. Yes! (^^) Their workers were well trained, and friendly.

Compared to Anzu, Saboten’s items are slightly expensive. I hoped that their katsu taste better. I ordered Negi Oroshi Rosu Katsu (ねぎおろしロースかつ) (NT$ 300), and my friend chose Tender Hire Katsu (やわらかヒレかつ御膳) (NT$300).


Their appetizer was black beans and Japanese radish pickles. This Daikon pickles reminded me of one Japanese restaurant my friend and I always went in the states. Good memories… Black beans were a bit sweet, tasted alright.

Shredded Cabbage

Shredded cabbage (キャベツの千切り) is always served with Katsu. I always eat a lot.


Same as Anzu, sesame was served.

Item was served in front of me.

Negi Oroshi Rosu Katsu

Negi Oroshi Rosu Katsu looked great! Katsu was politely laid on the plate, covered Daikon Oroshi. I thought their Oroshi was a bit dry, but it was still tasty. Katsu was juicy and chewy enough to enjoy the taste of pork. Unfortunately, my rice was already cold. What happened!?!?!? I asked Okawari, and the second bawl was warm enough.

Hire Katsu Set

My friend’s Hirekatsu was, to be honest, so disappointing. I don’t know what happened. Did they serve different item or what? This katsu was quite different than we expected. Meat was thinly sliced, and wrapped to make it katsu shape. I found the similar item on their menu, which was called “Kasane Katsu” (千層錦豬排). But… Hire is usually not Kasane Katsu, right? I really want to know if we ordered it wrong, or they served wrong item… Taste of meat was not bad at all, but still quite different than Hire. Sorry my friend…

Green Tea Ice Cream

Both katsu set included a small dessert. Both dessert items were good: Oshiruko and Green tea Ice cream. We enjoyed it.

Overall, I liked their appetizer and everything but Katsu, such an ironic. I believe Anzu’s Katsu matches more to my taste, and it is close to a real Japanese style, although their sauce and other appetizer are alright. As a Japanese, Katsu in here couldn’t satisfy me.

I would like to visit them again to confirm their Hire katsu... If that was all they have, then I’d rather cook it by myself. It is all about a quality of the meat. I hope I will be satisfied with their food next time.

Total: NT$ 660 (for 2 people + 10% service fee)

Saboten: Japanese Tonkatsu Restaurant


Going back to Taipei

Aww.. it is time to go to Taipei again…

In-flight Meal

This time, I tried salmon past. It was pretty good.

I am… coming back to Sapporo soon…!!! (This trip was in 2011, Feb..)


Cooking 03: Temakizushi 手巻き寿司

Temakizushi (手巻き寿司) is a hand rolled sushi, contains of rice and strips of ingredients wrapped in a half sheet of Nori. It is tasty and easy to make, and the most, it is purely fun to make it by yourself. I enjoyed Temakizushi for dinner, so I will teach you how to make it.

Sushi rice was prepared separately; mixed with sushi vinegar. Temperature of the rice must be cool down a bit, otherwise it does not match with sashimi’s warmness.


Hijiki is a healthy kind of seaweed. It looks strange if you have never seen it, but it is very healthy and good nutrition for your hair.


Osuimono is a Japanese soup, served with Shiitake, Fu and Mitsuba. Miso soup is also popular soup in Japanese food, but osuimono is match more with sushi.


Let’s take a look at ingredients. You can prepare all kinds of sashimi and veggie you like for Temakizushi, but this day, we ate Shrimp (Ebi: えび), crab meat (毛がに), salmon roe (いくら), and Yellowtail (ぶり). Don’t forget to add Shiso leaves (green perilla: シソ). Shrimp was simply boiled with water, no MSG or anything, but shrimp must be fresh.

Let’s make one with me.

Prepare a sheet of Nori, and add Shiso on the top of seaweed if you like.

Take a little bit of rice. Not too much.

Then, add ingredients you like. I sometimes dip into soy sauce first, but of course, you can wrap first then dip into soy sauce. If you go to sushi bar, you see more beautiful shaped hand roll sushi, but for us, simply wrap and eat it. Simple and easy, but the most importantly, all ingredients must be fresh. (^^)


Restaurant #59: Glass Seasons @ Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo, Sapporo

(Visited in February, 2011)

I went to eat Lunch All-You-Can-Eat Buffet at Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo. Hotel buffet is quite popular in Japan, and I tried several in Sapporo. Yet, I heard good review of Keio’s buffet. I wanted to try and see if reviews were accurate.

My friends and I arrived at the Hotel at around 11:30am. The restaurant is called “Glass Seasons”, and it seemed they were just opened for lunch. Fresh smell of chicken and pork rib made me feel hungry!

They prepared items of fifteen or so. It is not many compared with other hotel/restaurant buffet. However, the quality of each item was quite high, and you see how much chefs spent time for it. There were some items that chef directly served you, or cooked in front of you.

First Plate

From top left, clockwise, Braised Red Cabbage with Bacon (赤キャベツとベーコンの煮込み), Butter Rice (バターライス), Tomato Spaghetti (本日のパスタ), Chicken Thigh and Kita-akari Potato baked in foil (鶏モモ肉と北あかりのホイル包み焼き). Butter Rice was actually for curry, but I didn’t want to eat curry to make me full, so I just took rice. Among those items, I liked chicken and Kita-Akari the best. I thought a bit salty, but it was comfortable as long as I take small portion. Kita-akari potato was of course locally grown. Yummy!

Second Plate

From top left, clockwise, Roast Beef (牛肉の南蛮漬け), Marinated Salmon on Top of Pancake (サーモンマリネ パンケーキ添え), Fried Squid with Mayonnaise sauce flavored with capers (イカのフリット ケッパー入りマヨネーズソース), Roast Pork-Sparerib with Herbs (豚スペアリブ: 香草ロースト). All the items on this plate were delicious, and it made me satisfied, especially roast pork. A chef cut and placed on the plate for you. On that day, there were two ways to enjoy this rich pork-sparerib. One style is this roasted one with herbs. Two types of sauce you could choose—Onion sauce or Yakiniku sauce. I enjoyed purely without sauce, and smelled rosemary and other Italian herbs. Meat was perfectly tender.

Third Plate

Seasonal Fish in Acuq Pazza (白身魚のアクアパッツァ風)

Fourth Plate

I tried most of their items. From top left, Mashed Potatoes on top of Melba Toast (焼き上げマッシュポテトメルバトースト添え), Bagna Cauda (バーニャカウダ), Roast Pork-Rib with Onion sauce, Pizza with three kinds of cheese (3種のチーズのピッツァ), One more, Chicken and Kita-Akari baked in foil. Mashed potato was quite amusing, because it was mashed and baked, which gives it a roasted texture. Tiny pizza was unfortunately disappointing; I couldn’t enjoy taste of cheese.

Fifth Plate

Soup Risotto with Parmigiano Cheese and Mushroom (パルミジャーノときのこのリゾット スープ仕立て). This was not a real risotto, but I should say it was a creative item. Taste of soup was light, but could smell the pinch of Parmigiano.

Sixth Plate

I needed to eat more vegetables, so I got Bagna Cauda again.

Seventh Plate

Italian Ham on top of Tomato Gelee (イタリア産生ハムとトマトジュレ). It looked delicious, and I forgot that I did not like tomato…

Home-made Breads

Their collection of homemade breads was various. I wanted to try everything, but I was full already... I tried their Butter Roll (バターロール) and Brot with black sesame and soy beans (黒胡麻と大豆のブロート). Both were very tasty. Now I know that “brot” is a type of German bread.

Last Plate

Last plate was full of the items I liked on that day. From top left, Rillette de Pork-rib with Yam Steak (長いものステーキ添え 温製リエット), Mashed Potato, Pork-rib with Yakiniku sauce, and Fish in Acqua pazza. Pork-rib was their signature item of this day, and I enjoyed it two styles; roast pork with herbs, and warm rillette. As you can say, I was happy with their roast pork, especially with onion sauce.

After all those dishes, I went to dessert corner. Wow their dessert was beautifully decollated, and a chef was making some in front of you.

Gelee de Framboise

Gelee de Framboise (フランボワーズのジュレ). Framboise (French) means raspberry if I am correct. Looks cute!

Fraise Gâteau Rose and Vanilla Chiffon Cake

Gateau Chocolate with 2 kinds of sauces, pomme flambé au calvados

This cake (特製ガトーショコラと2種のソース 林檎のカルバドスフランベ) was made in front of you by a chef. You could see how the chef does “flambé” the sauce. It was so cool.

Sorbet of Lychee and Chocolate

Finally, I finished my lunch with a cup of coffee.

Overall, my friends and I had a great time. A good quality of food, service and warm hospitality made our lunch perfect. I strongly recommend you to visit and try their All-You-Can-Eat buffet. The menu for buffet changes every month.

Total: 5400 yen (for 3 people)

Glass Seasons @ Keio Plaza Hotel Sapporo


Restaurant #58: Tokuju, Sapporo

(Visited in February, 2011)

Tokuju (徳寿) is a Japanese Yakiniku (BBQ) restaurant based in Hokkaido. They serve high-quality Wagyu (Japanese beef) and delicious desserts. Their customer service is quite good. Near by my home, there is one branch of Tokuju, so my friend and I went there for Yakiniku lunch!

My friend ordered Yakiniku Sagari lunch (770 yen).

I ordered Manzoku Set A (1080 yen).

First, steamed rice, wakame soup, salad and kimchi were served. Soup was alright, but kimch was good. I believe that refill of rice was free.


Beef Sagari (サガリ: hanging tender) was so tender, slice of pumpkin and onion gave us small happiness.

Sagari, Jingisukan and Tontoro

It was quite long time ago since I ate Jingisukan (ジンギスカン: mutton barbecue) last time. Jingisukan is a Japanese grilled mutton, and it is very popular food in Hokkaido. Tontoro (トントロ: fatty pork) is one of my favorite Yakiniku item, but I usually eat with salt, not with sauce. In lunch time, it seems that all meats are served with sauce. It was tasty, but wanted more tender.

Their décor was simple and easy to use.

As a lunch, I thought their lunch menus were in reasonable price, and quality of meat was quite good. I would like to come back here again for dinner, and definitely want to try their Beef Tongue and other items.

Total: 1850 yen (for 2 people)

Tokuju: Japanese BBQ restaurant


Field Trip: Otaru

(Visited in February, 2011)

Sapporo is the capital city of Hokkaido Prefecture, and from here, it takes less than one hour to get to one of popular sight-seeing spots called Otaru (小樽). “Otaru” means “River running through the sandy beach”, in Ainu origin. (Most of city names in Hokkaido are from Ainu language.) This day, my friend and I took a train and went to Otaru, just hanging out.

Lunch at Very Very Strawberry

Otaru faces the Ishikari Bay, and people always enjoy fresh seafood. My friend took me one of popular Italian restaurant in Otaru, called Very Very Strawberry. This brick house restaurant has special atmosphere; once we entered the restaurant, warmness of the restaurant and good smell of pizza wrapped us.

Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita, 1180 yen, was a bit smaller than I expected, but it was delicious. It would have been better if there were a bit more basil on the pizza. Simple, but good.

Tagliatelle with Jumbo Fresh Shrimp and Tomato sauce

This Botan Ebi (ぼたんエビ) was from Mashike area. Tomato sauce was in perfect condition, but why they cut the shrimp in half? Sorry to say, but this costs 1680 yen. I was expected to eat a bit more shrimp… Can they use at least 3 or 4 shrimps?

I really liked this restaurant, but I thought it was a bit pricy. Did I expect too much for their fresh seafood?

Walking on a street

Main street. There are many souvenir shops, especially Otaru’s famous arts and crafts. Everytime I visit Otaru, I always go to this Otaru Orgel Doh (小樽オルゴール堂: Music Box Museum). Some historical music boxes are displayed, and workers sometimes explain the functions and history for us, if you are lucky, you can hear the music as well. This building looks small, but once you entered the building, you will surprise how many music box you can try and buy as a souvenir. Don’t forget to check out this building, which was built in 1912.

Otaru Orgel Doh

Some Yukidaruma (ゆきだるま: snowman) was displayed on the street. Cute!

Don’t forget to eat some seafood snack!

Besides music box, Otaru glass craft is also popular activity in Otaru. Taisho Glass House has several stores in this area, and my friend chose this Tombo Dama store to try out some small glass work. Yeah we made a bracelet with a glass ball~!

Taisho Glass House

Here is the bracelet I made. First, I chose one colored ball, which is sky blue. Then, choose two colors for added patterns. I chose green and pink. Under the instruction of a worker, I added 4 cute patterns on blue ball. My friend also made a same bracelet with different color patterns, and we chose small accessories to decorate besides the blue ball. We waited for a while to cool down, because we used a gas burner to heat up the glass ball. I am very satisfied this work. It was fun!!!

After all those, we stopped by at a small café and chatted for one hour. It was a nice weekend with my friend. If you have a chance to visit Sapporo, please don’t forget to stop by at Otaru.