Taiwan 2012: Day 5 (Taipei! Studio, Tao Ban Wu, and meeting Dad's friend)

Today my sister and mommy were craving owamiswa (oyster noodles) again!  So Connie and I woke up early to get to the food stand before it opened, because the lines are apparently always really long.  We waited for a while until 10 minutes after opening time, but after the elderly couple also waiting adamantly said that the owners *always* come on this day of the week, we also decided to keep waiting.

Haii!  Owamiswa!  More about this random picture later XD

We were rewarded with the sight of a woman zooming up on a motorcycle with a huge pot of soup between her feet.  Some of the liquid inside the pot spilled over when the motorbike jolted to a stop, but the lady was wearing rubber rain boots.  The line grew instantly, and Connie had people cutting her until I could tell she became a little hot ball of fire, haha!  She later told me that after she had enough, she just shoved her way to the owner ladling out noodles and threw out her hand, yelling "FOUR BOWLS PLEASE!!"  XD

I watched her from a distance (I can't stand pushing and shoving / I wanted to watch what was going on behind the food stand) and observed the owners rush to set up the shop when some guy came up to me and began asking me something in Chinese.  I was kind of nervous that I wouldn't be able to understand, and that he would identify me as a Taiwanese-impostor (oh no's!) or that I wouldn't be able to understand / answer correctly. =_=

But then I realized he said, "不好意思,我可以要你的電話號碼嗎?"  Excuse me, can I have your phone number?  And I was like.. Huh?  ._.

I think my face just went blank and I looked at him like this:  .________________________.'''''''''''''''''''''

Haha!  I just went running around the public park for forty minuets in Taiwan's muggy and humid morning.  The sweat probably *just* evaporated from my skin, but my gray Hello Kitty t-shirt, black Soffee shorts, neon running shoes, and messed up pony-tail did not make me feel very attractive at all @_@  My hair was gross, my face was oily, and this guy wanted my phone number.  I instantly thought of Debra and her story XD

"Sorry, I don't have a phone," I started as I tried to inconspicuously tug my shirt over my Nokia that was resting near my hip.  (It *does* look like an iPod nano, since everyone else has massive smartphones!)  I glanced towards my sister who was still fuming and staring intently at the oyster noodles and then looked back to the dude who was slightly confused about why I didn't have a phone number.

"I, uh... am from the United States, so I don't have a cell phone while I'm here."  The guy seemed floored for a few seconds and then brightened up, "Ohh, so how about Facebook?"  He handed me his smart phone (Oh gawd, I am terrible at using smartphones @_@), and I typed some random letters in and furrowed my brows.  I told him I couldn't find myself, but that was probably because I am from the United States, so it didn't show up.  Haha!  I now realized that was such a bad lie, since names show up internationally XD  I handed the phone back to him, and saw my sister glance at us with a raised eyebrow.  I  gestured towards Connie, and said, "that's my sister."  Haha!  The look on the guy's face was funny, I don't know if he was shocked or afraid that the buff, tattooed, tough girl fighting to stay in line for oyster noodles was my sister.  "You guys are related?" he asked.  "Yep!" and I brightly restarted the conversation, unafraid that this guy was going to somehow end up stalking me with my buff sister beside me, haha~  :D

I asked him if he came to eat these oyster noodle a lot, and he said not often but he decided to come randomly today and "there you were."  o_o''  There I was?  Durr...  I found out that he wasn't a student (although he wasn't old looking or anything), and that he was 31 years old.  HAHAHA  Holy cow!  That's probably the oldest man to hit on me ever.  XD  

I was a bit amused, and then he also said I was beautiful.  There are only a few guys who have called me beautiful or pretty to my face, and I actually knew those people.  When a random guy calls me pretty, I am very flattered, but I get very nervous and super suspicious that I'm going to be kidnapped in the next five minutes D:  My eyes instantly sought out my sister who was glancing at us once in a while, so I inched closer to her while awkwardly thanking the guy for calling me pretty.  Haha!  Okay, if a guy calls you pretty, what *are* you supposed to do?  Say "thank you," right?  Please tell me, because I think it feels silly :P  Anyways, Connie got the noodles and started walking towards us with suspicion on her face, and I said goodbye to the man.  

"Who the #*@% was that?"  Connie asked.  I explained what had happened, and then we both started cracking jokes about men being so bold these days.  Then we finally got back to our place and sat at the table for breakfast, with oyster noodles for the parents, grandma, and Connie, while I fell upon a large bread from Yamazaki bakery and a cup of soymilk. 

Not toast, but Yamazaki's Danish pineapple bread!

It's so buttery inside, like a croissant but thick!  And pineapple bread does not have pineapple inside; it just looks like the skin of the pineapple on the outside :D  I actually don't like pineapple that much, because it's always really acidic.  Just thinking about pineapples makes me salivate a lot in preparing to protect my teeth from the acidity!  (haha, I'm pretty sure that's NOT why I start drooling in my mouth, but whatevaaa)

Anyhow, off to Taipei we go!~  We took the train from Taoyuan, hopped onto the MRT rails, and hailed a taxi.  Outside there were so many motorcyclists as usual :O

Vroom, vroom!

And the bikers on the sidewalks :P

Okay!  So Connie and I got our pictures taken.  Let's take a look :D

Connie being a Barbie doll

I look like I'm ready for a quinceanera, hahaha! :P

It's Connieeeee
She looks so... clean @_@  Not rubba dub dub clean, but like non-grunge/rocker/crazycool clean~

He he he!  Cutsie cutsie XD

Yes, I am in a fluffy dress.

:D  Why do I look sleepyyyyy *-*

Mmm, pondering...

What am I pondering about?  Probably wondering what we're eating for lunch, haha!  ;)  And the answer is Tao Ban Wu!  My mom really wanted to eat there; and I really wanted my sister to try it at least once, so we went to the location near the picture place :)

Mommmmmmy :D  Why does she have my hair tie? :O

Yesh, we're finally here :3

Connie is excited!

The atmosphere is pretty upscale

And the service here is phenomenal!  (Other than not refilling my water D:  but that's because Taiwanese people are usually like camels and don't have to drink water for 293829 years before getting a refill... but tea, they did refill my mom's cup quite often @_@'')  The waiters are very courteous and polite, presenting the food and quietly leaving with a small little bob~  I think that's the main reason my mom likes this restaurants ^^  They also have an English menu for people like my sister and me, in case we can't recognize all the Chinese characters :D

Tao Ban Wu serves multicourse pri fixe meals for 500 NT ($17 USD)!  Diners choose one appetizer, one soup, one entree, etc etc from the multiple options presented on the menu.  Fun fun :)  *feels powerful*  The choice is MINEEE... Mwahaha!  

We weren't really that hungry and were kind of sluggish (sitting around all day tends to do that for ya), so we decided to split 2 set meals among the three of us.

Salad:  Fresh Green Salad with Beef Tendon

Pretty presentation, very simple / not amazing taste, but the large plate came with some type of horseradish dressing on the side.  *dip dip*!  The little black beans were really sweet and had a lot of flavor too :3

Salad #2:  Seasonal Fruits Salad with Seafood

Seafood salad sounds weird to me, and I don't like my fruits mixed with mayonnaise, but both my sister and mom enjoyed it :D  They liked the passion fruit sauce on the side too :)

Antipasto:  Baked King Oyster Mushroom

Chewy and robust, well seasoned :D  Nom nom!

Soup:  Beef Soup with Lily Bulb

Very fresh and light, yet quite flavorful!  I like the beefiness and the fact that I could barely see *any* oil on the top!  They must have skimmed the surface quite a few times.  And the meat inside was so delish~  :)

Rice Roll:  Steamed Rice with Chicken in Pesto

Doesn't this look like a mini-canon?  Hehe!  The glutinous rice inside wasn't super sticky and was more defined.  I don't remember what the topping was, but I think it was shredded and dried/fried chicken strips.  Couldn't tell that there was pesto, but my one bite definitely told me that it was good.  The other two demolished the dish! ^_^

Rice Roll #2:  Mushroom Risotto Rice Ball

What to do when you can't bean Italy's risotto?  Roll it up in a ball and fry it!  ;)  Tee hee~  Nah, but this was quite interesting when it was placed on the table.  We didn't know how to split it and took 3 minutes just staring at it before cracking the ball open :P  Inside was white rice, which was moist and clumped together with herbs (green stuff?) and I'm guessing mushrooms, haha!  Very good, but I prefer my risotto as risotto!  *heart*

And open!

Palette cleanser:  Mulberry Vinegar Juice

This juice was soo yummy!  I could definitely taste the vinegar, but it wasn't overpowering.  There was a subtle sweetness too~  ^^  They refilled our tiny cup twice, and we weren't the only ones enjoying it-- the table next to us ordered a whole pitcher of it!

Mains:  Tokiya Set (Steak and Fish)

Mmm!  So good!  This is like the "surf n' turf" sets they have in America.  My steak was sooo nicely seasoned, and done just the way I like it-- medium rare (and more on the rare side)!  My sister and mom were a bit wary because it looked a little bloody / pink, but I was just NOM NOM NOMing, so they left me in peace ;)  Connie liked the steak flavor a lot too :D  The fish was tender and good-- what fried fish isn't good?  So yummy ^^  

Main #2:  Chuck Roast with Onion

The little chips are fried garlic slices!  I don't think any of the girls in the family eat garlic unless they know they're not going to be in contact with other human beings for a few days.  That or that they'll be fighting against vampires XD  But the pork itself was also nice:  salty and peppery :)  And it came with a side of pepper gravy sauce.  My sister doesn't like cooked carrots, so that went into my tummy in a flash :D  Yummeh!  Onto dessert!

Dessert:  Sweet Black Glutinous Congee
Hot Drink:  Espresso

Before you freak out at the word "glutinous" and "congee," I'll just say "glutinous" is basically another word for "sticky," and "congee" is like "porridge."  Capiche?  Good!  And another thing:  this dish is delicious!!  It's not overly sweet, and the purple/black rice makes you think you're eating something healthy, hehe~  The purple ball in the middle is a not-so-sweet taro paste, which adds more to the sweetness of the dish.  This dessert was deemed to healthy by my sister and mom, so I was in charge of finishing it... ohhh, such a hard task *wink wink*  ;)  And the latte (isn't espresso just a shot of black coffee?) was for my mom-- Coffee and I don't go so well together!

Dessert:  Red Bean Flan
Cold Drink:  Iced Fruit Tea

And flan!  With a green tea cream for more flavor drizzled across the plate.  The flan doesn't have any caramel notes, but was instead showcasing a milky flavor.  I think it's more like panna cotta, actually, but whatever, still really yummy!  The white cylinder is very soft and not too gelatin like.  And the red beans weren't that sweet.  :D

The only time I like "flan"-- when it tastes like panna cotta!  :P

Fruit tea was super fruity and pretty sweet too, sooo good!  (I'm not a tea drinker and must have 5 lbs of sugar in each cup XD)

We left Tao Ban Wu quite satisfied, even though we split 2 meals for 3 people.  It's a fun experience, getting to see all these different types of dishes :D  If you're reallllllly hungry, you could get a set meal for one, which is what I did last time I came to Taiwan, but I was in a major food coma for the rest of the day!  Tao Ban Wu has several branches in Taiwan, mostly in Taipei, but I saw one in Taoyuan too :)

Afterwards, we met up with my dad and aunt to go exploring!!~  Well, no.  But walking around Taipei is like exploring for me! :D  We were to check out my aunt's apartment, which was in a really nice location in Taipei.  You can see Taipei101's apex when you step out of the door, and there were restaurants right around her neighborhood.  In fact, there was one literally across from her door.  Like.. you open the door and bam!  Restaurant. @_@  FOOD.

La la la~  Adventure in Taipei... lots of trees here, pretty!

Also my aunt has a doggie called "Bao Bao," which can mean "Full full."  Kind of chubby~  ^^''

But super cute!

*pant pant*

We were to take her outside to potty, and I wondered where she was supposed to pee.  Apparently they usually just let her pee on the roadside =_=''  Durr..  "Near the plants of course."  Durr durr... I wonder where she's supposed to pooh, and do they pick up after her?!

Connie and I were so thirsty (our family thinks we're weird for drinking so much water), so when we found cups inside the kitchen and a bottle of water in the fridge, it was like finding an oasis!

Oh mah gawddd!  Wazzer!

After a nap, my family split up to do evening activities.  Which was... me going with Dad to eat with his college friend, and Connie waiting for our older cousins to get back from work and go out to eat with them.  Hey!  I wanna hang out with my cousins too :(  Boo hoo  *lonely lonely*

But meh, must be daddy's little girl, eh?  Speaking of little girls, I am very self-conscious when I walk with my dad now!  I like to hold my parents' hands, but now I'm a *wittle* afraid to do that with my dad in public now, haha!  We took a taxi to the restaurant, and I had a feeling the taxi driver had some strange thoughts, when I opened my mouth to say the only thing I said the whole ride, I bluntly told the driver that the man sitting beside him was my father.  XD  The taxi driver was really surprised that we were father and daughter, and I'm *pretty* sure he thought I was my dad's very young girl friend =_____________=  Durr.

To the restaurant!  Fancy fancy~

It's actually a restaurant at the University Center of the NTU.  Pretty cool~  Lots of the tables were filled, and it was pretty loud with rowdy college friends meeting up with another :P

All the waiters were young guys, probably students of the college, and they all kept sneaking looks at me  :/  The whole time I was just hoping they also didn't think I was my dad's very young girlfriend D: While the men were chit-chatting, I sat at the table and stared at the food, concentrating on the flavors of each bite.  Haha, and I did that for three and a half hours... who knew guys could talk that long??  XD

Hainese chicken

I really like this dish, even though it's a cold dish :)  The chicken is mildly flavored, kind of salty and ... dry?  No~~ not dry as in.. "Gahhh, why do I have to keep chewing?"-type of dry, but a wine-esque dry?  And I don't really know why I chose wine to describe, since I don't even drink alcohol XD  but I've had wine in sauces, reductions, and desserts, so I kind of might have an idea ;)  Anyways, it's a GOOD-type of dry! :D

Bitter melon

When I saw this dish, I thought it was fish!  But it's none other than the notorious bittermelon of everyone's FAVORITE childhood memories ;)  Actually, I like bittermelon now!  But mostly when it's grown from our backyard and stewed with lots of little fishies~  ^_^  (sounds... kind of weird when I type it out =_='')  This one was pretty good too, not too bitter, but I don't remember what the sauce tasted like~

The restaurant has won awards for two of its dishes: the soup dumplings with fuzzy squash filling and the green onion pancake.  When I eat a soup dumpling, I'm not going to rave about how the dumpling sags precariously from your quaking chopsticks and lands with a satisfied *plop* on your spoon before you lift it towards your mouth.  Nor am I going to sing about the warm juice bursting from the dumpling's delicate skin the moment your mouth closes down on it.  Nyuuu, I'm just going to say YUMMEH or it's good.  And this was good, haha~  I prefer my soup dumplings with meat because of the hearty chew and flavor!  This fuzzy squash filling was unique, but I was missing my meat, haha D:  It was simply like a bite of cooked dish of fuzzy squash~ ^^''

Bottom line:  nice to try?  Yes.  Award-winning quality?  Not so much.

And you thought I was too nice to be a food critic!  Hehe, I'm getting pickier as time goes by ;)

Soup dumplings with fuzzy squash filling

And I love lettuce wraps!  Something about the cool and watery, yet crisp, crunch of the lettuce with the warm chewy filling is niiice.  This time it was shrimp and almonds, which tasted good by itself too (although probably not photogenic!).  Yummy~  ^^

There was a beef dish with super tender (somewhat orange beef flavor) meat on top of some cooked greens which was flavored with wine.  So good!  I really liked the beef :3  Too bad I don't know the official names of these dishes, haha =_=

Shrimp lettuce wraps

Tender beef with veggies (thank gosh, green veggies!)

Also, I've never had a "golden bun," or pan fried mantou bread, and this was the first time I was going to experience it.  It came as an oblong oddity, where the outside was kind of a hard shell and the inside was fluffy and warm.  But I enjoyed the Green Onion Pancake the most!  It definitely deserved the award it brought to the restaurant.  Thick and soft, not too oily, and lots of green onion flavor :3  Mmm yummy!

Golden bun

Green onion pancake

Stewed stinky tofu

Okay, a lot of people don't like stinky tofu, and I always thought they were missing out on some of the best things in the world.  But after trying this dish, I totally understand why.  Haha!  I like my stinky tofu fried (so healthy!  ;D)  It also comes in grilled and stewed forms.  I had it stewed before, and it was pretty good.  But this dish was some SUPER stewed SUPER stinky TOFU!  Why did I put "tofu" in caps...?  It smelled atrocious.  When it arrived at the table, there was a pungent smell, mm, yummy?~  I like this type of texture, soft but not too silky, but it tasted like I was attempting to eat a crayon.  How do I know?  I've eaten a crayon before when I was small!  It was blue.  XD  Later my dad and I were talking about this tofu dish and how it was kind of scary, haha!

And finally, we finished off with a seafood soup.  It had shrimp, napa, mushrooms, tofu, and the usual seafood soup commodities.  Pretty good and light, nice way to warm up from the chilly air conditioned interior of the restaurant (and the 293892 glasses of water I was chugging down to pass the time, haha~)!

Seafood soup

Fathers catching up many, many years after graduation :)

We're all wearing blue!  O_O

Notice how a table is blocking the fire hydrant?  Super safe, right?  ;)

Anyhow, I forget what this restaurant called, other than it's located in the NTU campus somewhere!  Will update if I find out~

Afterwards, the boys had "man time."  Afterwards, my dad and his friend had "guy talk," so I trailed behind them like a stalker taking photos when we walked back to the MRT station.  My dad would glance back once in a while to make sure I wasn't kidnapped, and that made me appreciate how spoiled and treasured I am *pampered pampered*  :P

Night time walks on a busy street in Taipei

Street vendors!

We walked back to my aunt's apartment, and I remember my dad was really hot and sweaty because of his long pants.  I can't really imagine being that hot right now, since it's in the 30F's in St. Louis as I type this post up!  Cold weather is coming!  Taiwan seems like a long ago memory now~  ^^

sworly said...

hahahahaha you got hit on by a 31 year old...

i wonder who all have told you that you're pretty in our friend group... HMMMMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmmmm

Wendy said...

Haha! You make my predicament sound funny :P Now that I think about it, we're not that young anymore, so 31 isn't *that* far away @_@'' but still, seven years is my limit! haha ;)

HMMMMMMMMMMmmmmm... obviously just my dog. ^_^ What are you doing up so late before a Monday??