Monday, December 31, 2012

Les Mis and Starbucks

Great movie that fills in the gaps for me even though I have watched the musical once and rehearsed and performed the songs plenty of times. Worth every dollar for the movie ticket. The movie is almost as long as the musical itself, and is a 'musical' as it plays out the entire repertoire with the actors and actresses singing.
Poster for the Les Mis movie.
The child actress (the young Cosette) looks alot like the image in the musical poster and novel
Elephant of the Bastille.
I got curious about this old monument that's now no more.
It was recreated for the Les Mis movie. Seen in the novel and also in the movie Moulin Rogue.
A midnight meal of beef goulash to warm the soul

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Tsuyu for udon

Tsuyu as soup base for udon

1 portion : 2 portion water

a gift of dried udon. Touted to be among the top 3 brands in Japan

Tsuyu, and instructions on usage

Tsuyu - soup base for udon and stew

Japanese meat stew
- meat (pork, beef or chicken)
- potato, carrot, onion
- oil for frying
- water
- beancurd (taukwa)
- 2 tbsp sugar + 2 tbsp mirin + 4 tbsp shoyu (alternatively, use 1 portion Tsuyu : 4 portion water)

  1. Fry meat.
  2. Add in potato/onion/carrot
  3. Add water to cover ingredients, boil on high fire
  4. Remove scum from surface
  5. Add seasoning
  6. Simmer till ingredients are tender.

Japanese beef stew

pork belly
Tsuyu, with instructions on usage

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Taiwan 2012 - Jiufen

Interesting eats at Jiufen.
Jiufen's downtown winding streets was used as the model for the Japanese anime Spirited Away.

賴阿婆芋圓 Grandma Lai’s Yuyuan (Taro Balls)
This is a unique dessert found in Jiufen, taro/yam balls in sweet soup. You can choose to have it hot or cold. There are several shops selling this dessert but Grandma Lai’s is said to be the original and best one.
地址: 新北市瑞芳區基山街143
Address: 143 Jishan St, Rueifang District, New Taipei City, Taiwan 224
Chewy bits
Quaint shop space, with assorted tables made of stone and wood
Li Yi Pineapple Tarts and SunCakes
You pay for your order, and they get it delivered to your hotel. Saved us the hassle of luggingthe boxes back

Almond Powder
We got this from oneof the first few stalls as we entered from where 7-11 is. They sell Gingko Nut powder too. We’re told that if you are having a cough, the almond powder drink should be drunk straight, without sugar added.
Dried Pi-pa
Not cheap, but this is really good for coughs and throats. You can eat it straight or boil the dried fruits with water and some salt.
Friendly seller
You can order by phone, without making a trip to Jiufen we were told
There's a very popular restaurant that sells fishballs and is terribly crowded.
Popiah skin filled with crushedpeanuts and icecream
Looked nice but we did not try it due to the cold and wet weather.

You can find this at a number of shops.
Other sights :
No room to move! Tourists came by the busloads
A pork seller

End of the street, or beginning, depending on which way you started
The tight winding streets open up to this view

Taiwan 2012 - Yehliu 野柳

Beautiful coastal rock formations in the geopark. A pity about the huge crowds and the rain. And we were disappointed that the famed queen's head rock was so tiny, and since it was perpetually surrounded by a long line of tourists waiting to be photographed with it, we decided not to make our way near it nor join the fray but only looked at it from a distance.
Beside the geopark is a sheltered street food / market area and we spent a nice half hour wandering around it. Offerings include ice-cream, seafood, crispy seaweed, oyster omellete, toys, souvenirs.

various kinds of seafood
crispy seaweed

Taiwan 2012 - Beitou


In Beitou which is famous for its hotsprings.

Comes well recommended. A good variety of pork-based dishes and the tender squid.

This article carries details and pictures :
pig's skin

Taiwan 2012 - Saizeriya

We wouldn't have tried this, if not for the kids. But we were not disappointed.
The food was much better than the Saizeriya in SG, and much cheaper too.
A full salad costs NT59 (about SGD2.50).
Dinner for our group of 5 was under SGD35!

Taiwan 2012 - Casa Della pasta

Trendy Italian joint near San Want Hotel in Taipei.
fried spiced chicken
spaghetti carbonara
trendy interior, great ambience
Hawaiian pizza for the kids

Taiwan 2012 - Shilin night market

We snuck off late in the night after the kids had gone to bed.

These we tried,

蚝仔煎Oyster omelette
豪大大雞排 (fried chicken cutlet)
Stinky tofu
Milk with grass jelly
outside Shilin Night Market
Outside Shilin Night Market.
 In the area, you can find food and games stalls, as well as clothing and souvenir shops.
Food stalls in the basement. This area was not a huge as I expected
where we sat down for stinky tofu and oh-ar-jian 蚝仔煎
confortable seating area
oh-ar-jian 蚝仔煎
stinky tofu with pao4 cai4
大餅包小餅 bun in a bun
There's a huge variety of flavours to choose from.
The flavours come from flavoured powder, so don't expect to find say, yam, in your bun
大餅包小餅 preparing the outer bun
大餅包小餅 the brown flaky pastries are the small buns