Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Noodles and Waffles

In celebration of August Moon Day (that's right, look up at the sky tonight, and you'll see the best moon of the year), I thought I'd post another food outing from my Taiwan trip last month. Both Shandong Noodle House (山東家常麵館) and La Cuisine (香料廚房) are located a block down my street in my hometown of Danshui.

Danshui used to be a really quiet fisherman's town, but in the last 15 years or so, it's blown up into a major tourist spot thanks to its sunset views over the ocean and - why I am the way I am - its deeeeeelicious foods. I don't mind the tourists though, because they also bring business - aka, more food! Both Shandong Noodle House and La Cuisine opened up a few years ago, and they are indeed a welcome addition.

First up, lunch at Shandong Noodle House. It specializes in dishes from the area of Shandong, a province in northeast China. Yeah, I had to look it up, too.

It's tiny and doesn't look like much, but that's the hallmark of a great meal in Taiwan.

We started with a couple of cold appetizers, like this stewed egg and seaweed.

My mom prefers harder seaweed, but this soft seaweed was right up my alley.

Cold appetizer #2: dried anchovies with green chili.

I can't get enough of dried anchovies in life.

We also ordered a beef wrap: beef, cucumber, green onion, and plum sauce, all wrapped in Chinese flatbread.

You know I don't eat much beef, but this beef wrap was so good, I couldn't resist.

My mom's entree: beef noodle soup, aka, my cousin Scott's stairway to heaven.

These homemade noodles were incredible. One bite, and you know you're not in America anymore. Perfectly chewy and wonderful and fresh. The soup, which is often the test of how good the dish is, was deep and flavorful. Scott could eat this three times a day, which I'm sure he has.

My entree: zhajiang noodles.

Oh my lord. I could eat this dish all day, too. I would have preferred more pork mixture, as the ratio was a bit noodle-heavy. The mixture could have also used more bean paste. Then again, I guess no one makes zhajiang mian like my grandma. *grin* All in all, very enjoyable.

After this very filling lunch, we still needed dessert. So we stepped outside, turned left, and immediately next door was La Cuisine. It's a western-style restaurant, with lots of different spaghettis and other western things that the people of Taiwan love. I'm going to say up front that the food isn't very good at all, especially if you're a westerner. It's also expensive. But for me, the restaurant's charm is not in its food, but in its quaint appearance and atmosphere, exhibit A:

Who doesn't love to people watch out floor to ceiling windows while sipping on a cup of coffee?

Two levels on the inside.

Gotta love the pretty napkins, too.

My mom and I settled on waffles and fruit tea.

The fruit tea was too sweet for my taste, and seemed to be mostly juice with some fruit added to make it look pretty. Which it did.

The waffles, though nicely decorated with chocolate drizzle and tiny things of whip cream and sprinkles, were too dense/hard for anyone's taste. And not hot.

I asked for syrup, and they had none. Ah, sucks to be a westerner!
So yes, the food is a little less than mediocre, and the prices are way too high for what you get. Nonetheless, that won't stop people from visiting and enjoying the prettiness and ambiance of it all. Oh, and the air conditioning.

Happy August Moon Day!

Shandong Noodle House (山東家常麵館)
Danshui Old Street
63 Chug Chen Rd.
Danshui, Taipei County, Taiwan

La Cuisine (香料廚房)
Danshui Old Street
332-1 Chung Chen Rd.
Danshui, Taipei County, Taiwan

1 comment:

  1. I was staring at the moon earlier during this client event!

    Love handmade noodles - the texture is complete perfection!!