Sunday, June 24, 2018

Koffee Art (Coffee Nowhere) @ West Coast Plaza

First time to this cafe. This is a self-service joint, so simply walk-in to the cafe, grab a menu and be seated. Once you've made up your mind, one has to order at the cashier, make payment and collect the drinks. Ice-water, cutlery and plates are self-service. There are some small steps from the cashier to the table, hence need to balance as not to topple any food or drinks.

If the shop is not busy, the staff will bring the hot food / waffles to your table.

smoked duck pasta with poached egg @$8.90

Ordered a savoury main of smoked duck pasta. The cream based sauce was a tad watery and overall, the pasta dish was a tad bland. Otherwise, there's a hint of truffle oil in this concoction.

close-up view of runny yolk

Ordered a lungo and an ondeh-ondeh cake to go along with it. A lungo coffee is basically hot water with espresso. Served with sugar gem biscuits.

lungo @$4.90

The cake was likeable and not too sweet. Goes well with the black coffee.

ondeh-ondeh cake @$4.50

The biggest disappointment was the waffles. The waffles itself was alright, just a tad sweeter than expected. But the berries that came with the waffles, especially the raspberry was actually bad. Soggy and not fresh. The pistachio ice-cream had a rather artificial taste. Our mistake as we did not try the ice-cream prior to ordering.

berries waffles with pistachio (premium) and strawberry @$17.50

Spent about $43 for 3 pax. The promo for students looked quite good. The savoury food seemed better than its dessert.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

[Taiwan] Daytime Exploration of Taichung - Colourful Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村, Miyahara 宮原眼科 and 福伯黃金雞 Fu Bo Golden Chicken

As we only had one night and half of the next day to explore Taichung, the areas of exploration were minimal. We did Fengjia Night Market on our first night in Taichung, and the next morning, we packed our bags and loaded into the van, and we were ready to explore some more of Taichung during the day time before spending the night at Sun Moon Lake.

Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村 for its colourful walls and was fortunate enough to meet with Grandpa Huang Yung-Fu (黃永阜), the creator of Rainbow Village. Thanks to him, a desolated area is now visited by many to enjoy the colourful murals. There is a small souvenir shop there for visitors to purchase a piece of the artwork of Huang Yung-Fu. The caps and umbrella are nice.

Rainbow Village
let's explore!
souvenir shop
the talented Mr Huang Yung-Fu

The rainbow village is quite small and easy to explore. Not many visitors before 10am. The temperature in Taichung was about 32 degrees celcius and the sun was starting to beat down on us, so we went in search of ice (cream).

Our guide, Sam said that Miyahara (宮原眼科) is a popular snack shop in Taichung. For me, am just puzzled why a name that sounded like eye specialist is a snack shop. Apparently, it was an opthalmology hospital previously. Oooh, I see.

Miyahara Building from across the street
at its entrance floor
felt like a step into history

Once you step into Miyahara, it has that grand majestic feel. High ceiling, sturdy furniture and knowledgeable staff at each turn. There are chocolate counters, cake counters, snacks/biscuits counters tea counters etc. Must say that their packaging for the biscuits are quite cool. They have a restaurant at the Miyahara Pavillion but it wasn't opened yet when we were there at about 10.40am.

to Miyahara Pavillion
Nevertheless, we were there for the ice-cream and that's a separate kiosk so out we went and towards the ice-cream take-away area.

Miyahara Milk Tea

The queue for the ice-cream was pretty long. The queue to order and to make payment was about half hour to 40 minutes and another 10 to 15 minutes before your number is called.

choose your toppings
Miyahara Ice-Cream
Many customers would eat their ice-cream just outside of the ice-cream parlour. No seats but one could squeeze butts near the plants. Lucky us, we have a van to squeeze into and to enjoy our ice-cream. 5 scoops of ice-cream with toppings for about NT$620. Two of it came in crispy cone bowl with free one scoop of yoghurt ice-cream. Yums!

Miyahara Ice-Cream bowl (recommended)
Thank you Ivan for helping us to queue for the ice-cream!

Final stop before heading to Sun Moon Lake was to have proper lunch. Well, the definition of 'proper' after all the ice-cream, was to have some meat. Haha!

Ok, so Sam (our guide) said that there is this area famous for chicken which happened to be on our way to the lake thus suggested that we stop there for food. Local rustic lunch of golden chicken.

Fu Bo Crispy Skin Golden Chicken
using wood to burn

It was a roadside restaurant and looks dingy. There were stacks of firewood outside the restaurant and they are using this method to cook the chicken in huge huge pots. Looks similar to how char siew is roasted.

The place uses disposable utensils, so things were flying away when the strong wind blew to our side or flies attempting to have a taste of our food.


The most expensive item on the menu is the whole chicken at NT$550 (SGD25) per chicken. The rest of the dishes are priced between NT$50 to NT$150.

The food is rustic and no-frills. For every order of the chicken, they will serve a bowl of 'soup' which are the drippings from the roasted chicken. Flavoured salt (with pepper) is served along with the chicken. Careful as these can fly away when the wind blows.

our unglam looking lunch

We ordered a few side dishes to go along with the chicken. Bamboo rice, stir-fried mountain vegetables, and deep fried intestines.

bamboo rice
stir-fried greens with anchovies and black bean
deep fried intestines

The bamboo rice has mild flavours and a tad dry for me. The deep fried intestines were good and sliced thinly. Loved the stir-fried vegetables as it had stronger flavours and a good refreshing crunch. The roasted chicken, remained the star. Chunky, moist and well-seasoned meat.

福伯黃金雞 Fu Bo Golden Chicken

The skin of the chicken was indeed an attractive golden brown hue and so thin! Was impressed. The meat was flavourful and good on its own. Best eaten while warm. Even its breast meat was so good and tender. This is as rustic as it gets. Recommended.

Rainbow Village 彩虹眷村

Address: No. 56巷, Chunan Road, Nantun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 408
Contact: +886 4 2380 2351
Business Hours:
Daily: 830am to 6pm


Address: No. 20號, Zhongshan Road, Central District, Taichung City, Taiwan 400
Contact: +886 4 2227 1927
Business Hours:
Daily: 10am to 10pm


Address: No. 1808, Section 1, Jishan Road, Zhushan Township, Nantou County, Taiwan 557
Contact: +886 4 9262 4767
Business Hours:
Daily 9am to 7pm

Friday, June 15, 2018

Anzu @ Japan Food Town Wisma Atria

Have I tried all the restaurants in Japan Food Town? Not yet, but have tried many. I've done Rang Mang Shokudo, Nabe Seizan, Yomoda Soba, Yakiniku Heijoen, Inaniwa Yosuke, Hokkaido Izakaya, Sabar, Kyoto Grill Taki and Bar Nippon.

Let's add one more and that's Anzu. Visited on a Thursday evening, and decided on Thick Katsu Pork Loin Set which was reasonably priced at $25 nett. Staff were non-Japanese but that's alright.

kitchen view
Hot green tea was served immediately upon seated. It is always nice to have complimentary green tea/water in a restaurant. For the set, there was a choice of miso or clam soup, and white rice/black glutinous rice. Though we didn't order any alcohol, there was a plate of appetiser served. Tasty, slightly sweet salty and would be a good accompaniment for the beer.

otoshi (お通し) appetiser (complimentary)

The first item served after one had ordered, was the salad. Sliced cabbage and some lettuce. Yuzu-soy dressing was provided and there is a white 'herb' dressing available on each table.

large salad (shared) with yuzu-soy dressing, toasted sesame and chawanmushi
'herb' dressing for salads
I actually liked the white 'herb' dressing which tasted of perilla leaves as compared to the yuzu-soy dressing which is slightly leaning towards the salty side.

grind the sesame

Chawanmushi was smooth and not too sweet. Pretty good with the shitake mushrooms. Was beginning to feel full after having just the salad and chawanmushi, haha! But, one must eat meat!

thick pork loin katsu set

Can't say I wasn't impressed when the thick pork loin katsu was served. Gorgeous golden brown battered meat cutlet, a small bowl of Japanese grains, clam miso soup (which tasted like regular miso btw) and small plate of pickles. There were two types of tonkatsu sauce. Existing on the table is the original version and the one that was brought to the table, is a sweeter version. I preferred the sweeter version as it was more flavourful.

'sweet' tonkatsu sauce
look at that thickness
Joshu pork from Gunma Prefecture is used for this set and the more premium version would be the Ginjo pork. Joshu pork has a rich taste and a gentle velvety texture especially if that part has some fats. The meat is predominantly lean and solid to bite but yet, tender. As advertised, it was a good thick cut of pork. Lovely! Drench it in tonkatsu sauce, add those fragrant toasted grounded sesame and a dab of yellow mustard for a satisfying taste.


Not sure why, but some of the meat was a tad bland, so the sauce became a necessity. The clam soup tasted like regular miso soup and mine only had a single clam shell in it. The pickled radish helped to refresh the tastebuds.

For JPassport users, one could redeem a free ice-cream during this promo period, so I did.

matcha ice-cream (redeemed via JPassport)

Overall, the meal was enjoyable and satisfying. Liked the nett pricing and quality obtained. Value for money.

Thank you Anzu. ごちそうさまでした!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

[Taiwan] One Night in Taichung @ Fengjia Night Market 逢甲夜市

This is my second trip to Taiwan and this time round, we (Tracy, Hence and Ivan) the 4 Makanteers decided to stay in Taichung for one night and we got to explore the famed Fengjia Night Market. We stayed at Hotel 7 Taichung, and Fengjia Night Market was only a short 5 minutes walk away. At least, to its entrance.

entering the night market from our hotel direction

But, I was a tad hungry as we only reached Taichung around 8+pm and by the time we walked to the night market, it was near to 9pm. Passed by a stall selling fried pork ribs 排骨酥 and just got to get myself a small pack. Small pack has about 6 to 8 small pieces of pork ribs. Most of it have bones. The meat itself was well marinated and served piping hot. Good enough to satiate the hunger while we source for other eats.

Wu Ji Pai Gu Su stall
吳記排骨酥 small for NT$50 (~SGD2.50)

As we walked around the night market, here are some of the sighted stalls. Many many stalls selling fried chicken, plenty of stalls selling seafood and clams seemed to be in-trend at this area! Was also excited to spot a Malay food restaurant in the vicinity.

seafood stall
Malay food!
Drunken Chicken stall
German Pork Knuckles stall
Our Taiwanese friend, Sam, shared that the one of the must-eat at Fengjia is the Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang (sausage wrapped glutinous rice). With that information, I needed to sample one. As there wasn't any queue, quickly ordered one and indicated mild spicy (小辣).

stall front
tattoo'ed guy preparing my order
Got my sausage pack in less than 10 minutes. It was piping hot! It was tightly wrapped and walked around with it before tucking in. To eat, just open the top and squeeze its bottom out. Twist, turn and bite. There's bamboo shoots in it, and that added extra flavours to the package. Pretty good and it filled up the tummy real-well. Mild spice was not spicy actually.

大肠包小肠 (sausage wrapped glutinous rice) - NT$50
Was feeling pretty full from that one sausage (must be due to the glutinous rice!) as no one wants to share with me.

Let's take a look at the other snacks we've tried:

suckling pig stall
suckling pig skin and meat - NT$200 (~SGD9+)
It was unfortunate that the suckling pig skin tasted like it was chao tar (burnt). Crackling yes, and even biscuit-like texture. Meat was a tad dry and the sauce did not help. Let's leave suckling pig to the restaurants.

Next up, we rested our feet at a dine-in stall with seats. Oden on a hot and humid night? Why not! The way they write oden in Chinese, literally translated to mean "black wheel".

Oden stall 黑轮店
Simple modus operandi. Observe what you want to order, pick up a bowl and start putting things on it. Much like how we do with our yong tau foo (酿豆腐).

oden 黑轮 - take your pick

The price of the ingredients are all displayed on the boards. Some of the pricing is meant for x3 of the item. That was how our bowls ballooned up with even more ingredients!

Guess what went into our bowls.

fried beancurd skin, crystal dumlings, taupok, blood sausage with glutinous rice, meat balls
showing more of the pig's blood curd

Since we don't get to eat pig's blood in Singapore anymore, that would be one of our must-order when in Taiwan. The soup of the oden from this stall was much less flavourful than expected as the 7-Eleven version had tastier soup. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the abundance of the ingredients and two bowls came up to about NT$250 in total. Loved the beancurd skin soaked in soup. The pig's blood curd (猪血) doesn't have any funky taste, so that was good. Much like an iron-laden tofu. Warm soup did wonders to comfort the tummy. The crystal dumplings were unusual as this version not only did not contain any meat, it was like-sweet? Meaning, it had the mung bean fillings so it tasted like ang ku kueh but less sweet and placed in soup. Hmmm.

We walked and documented our trip with a picture of the Fengjia University landmark. How come we don't have night markets like this near our Singapore universities? Hmmm.

Fengjia University landmark
stalls everywhere

There are many other non-food stalls selling clothes, shoes, bags etc. Stopped by a t-shirt stall and bought 3 t-shirts for NT$500. That's about less than SGD8 per piece.

Claw machines are all the craze in Taiwan and no exception at Fengjia with large brightly lit shops housing claw machines. Co-existing with these shops are also shops selling toys that you could find as prizes of the claw machines. Usually, the toys retails for between NT$100 to NT$290 each, depending on size and material.

claw machines shop
toys, toys, toys!

If you're thirsty, don't forget to stop by the tea shops. Sam brought us to one of his favourite ones in Fengjia and has tea from the tap! Pretty cool concept.

Sam (in grey polo) getting our tea

This tea shop uses fresh milk and added to about a quarter of the cup. Next, you'd have to pull the tap to get your favourite tea. There are 4 flavours, but I could only remember the original retro flavour (古早味), or winter-melon tea. One could also mix and match from all four taps. The boss said we can. Hahaha, but we didn't. I tried the original flavour red tea and the sweetness level was just nice. The tea mixed with the fresh milk has a pleasingly smooth taste. Not too overpowering and refreshing on a hot and humid night. Taichung's weather that night was about 30 degrees Celcius.

DIY - Pull the tap like beer
press the green button to seal the cup
enjoy a tall cup of 自己来红茶鲜乳 (Do it yourself red tea fresh milk)

We had walked from one end of the night market to the other. Overall, Fengjia Night Market is not too crowded, even on a weekend. Maybe because we were there a bit later. The crowds are pretty much younger crowds and seemed not too touristy yet.

the other end of the night market

We asked Sam, what is the best fried chicken in Taichung and he recommended Ji Guang. This brand is also available in Ximending. Tried it, and it was more of the popcorn chicken variant. I still prefer my favourite Monga fried chicken.

1973 Ji Guang Fried Chicken
that blue tako mascot looked so cute!
what the devil is this?!

That's our adventure for the first night of our Taiwan trip, where we made a pit-stop at Taichung. Thank you Sam Hong, our chauffeur and local guide for two days. Do stay tuned for the next post on our trip to Sun, Moon Lake! Of course, special thanks to Tracy, Hence and Ivan for making this trip possible.

Here's a list of shops in Fengjia that we visited:


No. 236, Fuxing Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407


 No. 55, Wenhua Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407

自己來紅茶鮮乳 台中逢甲店

No. 21, Fengjia Road, Xitun District, Taichung City, Taiwan 407
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