Jun 14, 2017

Taiwan Travelogue: Munching & Shopping Away in Ximending (14 Nov 2015)

A week had gone by. 1.5 days was what was left for us to shop away in the city of Taipei.

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Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店 @ Ximending
To kickstart our shopping day, we decided to splurge a little at Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店, which is located 500m away from King Lei-Lei Hotel.

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Interior @ Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店
Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店 was bustling with activities at lunch time. We waited for 5 minutes or so before we were seated.

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Braised Duck @ Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店
The highlight of Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店 was none other than this plate of braised duck leg, selling at TWD 300. Despite its expensive price tag, there was no regret. The duck flesh was silky smooth and perfectly balanced in flavours.

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Braised Tofu @ Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店
Braised tofu, on the other hand, was less spectacular but considerably better than most.

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Braised Tang Hun @ Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店
My mom opted for a bowl of braised tang hun with wantan and some shredded chicken to go with braised duck.

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Clear Soup Noodle @ Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店
I opted for the clear soup noodles with pork ball, which was mildly flavoured so as to accentuate the flavour profile of braised duck. Even on its own, this bowl of clear soup noodle was great, especially fitting on rainy day or feeling blue from sickness.

Total damage for 2 pax = TWD 460

After our satisfying breakfast, we went about the day exploring the malls and flea markets around Ximending. There were simply so much to see in this little city of Ximending. Oh, not forgetting the plethora of food here too!

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Bubble Milk Tea (TWD 45) @ COCO 都可茶飲
Yes, bubble milk tea was one of it. I must say the consistency of Taiwanese milk tea was prevalent - both Ochado's bubble milk tea and COCO 都可茶飲's bubble milk tea shared similar taste and texture that if I were blind folded, chances were I couldn't tell the difference!

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Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒  @ Ximending
6 hours went by burying our faces shopping the day away. Our tummies growled in retaliation. We headed out to the street, hunting for dinners. Looking at the grand crowd outside Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒, we were swayed. After all, this was the first fried chicken we had in Taiwan.

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Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒 (TWD 70) @ Ximending
I joined the queue to order my Shilin Hot-Star large fried chicken 豪大大雞扒. Luckily it was not a long wait to place my order. Few minutes later, a large piece of piping hot fried chicken was handed to me. Crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, caution must be taken when devouring this chunky piece of fried chicken. Dashes of chili powder on the outside did help with the spicy experience.

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休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House
Few doors away from Shilin Hot-Star large fried chicken 豪大大雞扒 was this 休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House, beckoning us while we were enjoying our fried chicken on a nearby bench.

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Bubble Milk Tea with Yam Balls (TWD 45) @ 休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House
We gave in, as expected. What we did not expect was 休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House did offer the option to change the usual bubbles to homemade yam balls. We were delighted, just by the prospect of yam balls. One thing to note was the texture of yam balls was a little too soft to my liking, to the extent it might threaten its very existence in this cup of bubble milk tea.

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Sweet Pancake (TWD 25) @ Random Street Stall in Ximending
Night scene in Ximending was equally dotted with push cart style vendors selling street foods. We grabbed ourselves some of these street foods on our way back to King Lei-Lei Hotel, namely this piece of sweet pancake with black sesame. Compared to Malaysian's pancake, Taiwanese pancake was chewier and sweeter along with the lack of crunchy peanut and corns.

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Onion Biscuits (TWD 30) @ Random Street Stall in Ximending

We also grabbed a few pieces of onion biscuits to try. These bite-size onion biscuits akin to fried banana balls, except it was loaded with chunks of minced onion.

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Close up of  Onion Biscuits
Excuse the oily fingers, I loved the minced onion and the thin layer of flour surrounding it. It was a delightful snack on its own.

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Extra Spicy Taiwanese Sausage @ Random Street Stall in Ximending

Apart from onion biscuits, we also grabbed this extra spicy Taiwanese sausage to share. Despite the familiarity to spiciness, this spiciness was not a joke. That aside, the chunky texture and the flavorful profile did make Taiwanese sausage irresistible.

IN SUMMARY,

My personal dining ranking (5 being the full score) based on following criteria are:
  • Ambiance
    • Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店 - 4/5
    • COCO 都可茶飲 -  5/5
    • Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒 - 4/5
    • 休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House - 4/5
    • Random Sweet Pancake Stall - 3/5
    • Random Onion Biscuit Stall - 3/5
    • Random Spicy Taiwanese Sausage Stall - 3/5 
  • Price
    • Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店 - 3/5
    • COCO 都可茶飲 -  4/5
    • Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒 - 4/5
    • 休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House - 4/5
    • Random Sweet Pancake Stall - 5/5
    • Random Onion Biscuit Stall - 4/5
    • Random Spicy Taiwanese Sausage Stall - 4/5 
  • Food
    • Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店 - 5/5
    • COCO 都可茶飲 -  5/5
    • Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒 - 5/5
    • 休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House - 4/5
    • Random Sweet Pancake Stall - 3/5
    • Random Onion Biscuit Stall - 5/5
    • Random Spicy Taiwanese Sausage Stall - 4/5 
  • Verdict
    • Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店 - Premium but delicious, try it if you are fan of duck/goose
    • COCO 都可茶飲 -  Not a big fan of bubble but milk tea was great
    • Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒 - Nailed it on the texture and flavor, I could eat as a meal
    • 休閒小棧 Bubble Tea House - Milk tea with yam balls was interesting. You can opt for other types of homemade balls too!
    • Random Sweet Pancake Stall - Plain gooey sweet and chewy, I still like Malaysian's style better
    • Random Onion Biscuit Stall - Oily but delicious snacks on the go
    • Random Spicy Taiwanese Sausage Stall - Always yes to Taiwanese sausage!

My personal hotel/attractions verdicts for:
  • King Lei-Lei Hotel: Strategic location, spacious room but looked draped and aged
  • Ximending: Happening place where food and shopping are interchangeable. We did contribute our fair share of consumer spending here too!

DINING INFO:

Ya Rou Bian 鴨肉扁・土鵝專賣店
108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, 中華路一段98之2號
Operation Hours: 10am - 10pm
Tel: +886 2 2371 3918
Credit Card: N/A (We paid cash)

COCO 都可茶飲
No. 4, Section 2, Wuchang St, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan 108
Operation Hours: 11am - 11pm
Tel: +886 2 2312 3789
Credit Card: N/A (We paid cash)

Shilin Hot-Star Large Fried Chicken 豪大大雞扒
108, Taiwan, Taipei City, Wanhua District, 漢中街36號
Operation Hours: N/A
Tel: N/A
Credit Card: N/A (We paid cash)

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