Focus in on the delights of the kitchen and the table with ...
Aug
11

One magnificently delicious bowl of niu roh mien, beef soup with hand-made noodles in spicy broth.

If it weren’t for “Eating Asia” the food words-and-photography genius-team of Robyn Eckhardt and David Hagerman, we would still have a grand and tasty time in Taiwan, but we would not feast in nearly the frequent, magnificient, knowledgable, and varied way we do thanks to their work. Not only can you click your way to Asian food heaven by reading their extraordinary and extensive blogposts; you can also find their words/pictures on Zester Daily. Check them out once, and you will go back for more.

Here are two places you can find their work online:

http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/

http://zesterdaily.com

This particular post led us to the amazing Taiwanese beef noodle soup master, whose small cafe is located back in a food-stall/market alley not far from Taipei’s main railroad station:

http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2009/08/a-reason-to-smile.html

This feature by “Eating Asia” in the Asian Wall Street Journal led us to Astoria Coffee Shop, also featured in this post.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB125739871992930337.html

To find the beef noodle master, we got out of a taxi, looking for the marketplace where the beef noodle shop is located. I noticed the pink tulip version of the painted electrical boxes found all around Taipei.

We headed into the market alleyways here. Whether you're hungry, thirsty, in search of shoes, motorcycle helmets, toys, or groceries, you'll find booming businesses to offer whatever you need.

Fruit stalls lined the passageways as we neared our noodle-destination.

This is the place, where big red bowls of beefy goodness await.

Did I devour this bowl of beef noodle soup on a steamy-hot July day? With relish, delight, pleasure, and even speed.

You'll also find plump pork dumplings, freshly rolled, on stacked up wooden trays, ready to be cooked.

Pork dumplings, thick, rustic and tasty, with a bowl of finely minced garlic, soy sauce and vinegar for dipping.

After this mighty fine meal, we headed back out to the main street, in search of a nearby pleasure shared by “Eating Asia”: Astoria Coffee Shop, a European-style coffee shop which serves up a proud pour of local culinary history along with the java and treats.

Back on the busy major street, we saw a beautiful Buddhist temple across the way, and then this green sign for Astoria Coffee.

Downstairs is Astoria Bakery, with great pineapple cakes, countless goodies, and their signature marshmallows with walnuts, which I adore. Upstairs, a fine spot for a Taiwan-style coffee-break. Leisurely, lovely, delicious coffee and atmosphere.

This was one perfectly delightful cup of Astoria's classic Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.

Astoria's history in Taipei dates back to 1949, but their original location, seen in this photo posted in the staircase taking us back down to the busy streets, dates back to Mainland China in the 1920's.

About the Author
Nancie McDermott is a food writer and cooking teacher, and the author of ten cookbooks. Her passion is researching and celebrating traditional food in its cultural context, and her beloved subjects are two seemingly different places with much in common: the cuisines of Asia and of the American South. Nancie gained her Southern kitchen wisdom as a Piedmont North Carolina native,and her Asian culinary research commenced soon after college, when she was sent to northeastern Thailand as a Peace Corps volunteer.
  1. christine Reply

    Hi Nancie, love your post! i will not forget how your replied immediately to my tweet. unfortunately i did not have much time on my own (with husband – conference) and we only stayed 2 full days. I still have to finish writing a post on the flatbread and deep fried bread stick I had at YongHe’s King of Soy Milk. I will visit and eat at Astoria next time I go to Taipei.
    Cheers

    • Nancie McDermott Reply

      Thanks, Chris; so glad to be in touch with you. Know what you mean about time — every minute we were in Taipei offered so many delights, some of the food-kind, but so many others in terms of people and places…It seems such a shame to have to sleep during our visits, but I reluctantly do so. I came home with lots to post, and I will look forward to visiting your blog and savoring your YongHe story in particular.

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