Tag Archives: taipei

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 6: Of Soup Dumplings And Steamy Seafood

Day 1 & 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6 * Day 7

Another beautiful day in Taiwan – again, really great weather which I thoroughly enjoyed to no end. Started things off by having some Din Tai Fung.

So we went to the Din Tai Fung in the Taipei 101 Mall. Was a cloudy day and as you can see, the 101 was socked in pretty well. It’s kind of hard to understand how tall that building is until you stand next to it. Long story short, it’s really, really, really tall. So yeah we have a Din Tai Fung near where I live but I definitely think it pales in comparison to the one here in Taipei.

So my Kyle had some business to attend to as did I. Back to the hotel for a bit to chill. My business involved getting my suitcase all ready for the voyage home tomorrow. I’d been kind of packing and repacking the whole time so as to not have a lot of stuff to do at the last minute. Later, it was time for dinner with Kyle and his family. This is a clip of the elevator at the hotel – I really liked how it was very talkative. I forgot to get some audio outside the elevator where I was on the 6th floor – they had this exceedingly sleepy and mellow music playing all the time. It’s these little things I find so enjoyable about Taiwan.

I went to dinner with Kyle and his wife and son at a restaurant called Seafood Steampo. To be honest, he’d mentioned steamed seafood and I thought bland at first. This wasn’t bland. This was amazingly good and definitely there should be places like this everywhere.

After dinner, we hit Carrefour for a final search for a particular Korean variety I’d seen last trip and been looking for this trip. No dice. Can’t complain though – I did bring home 45 new varieties!

While I didn’t find the noodles, I found this and was able to bring home a couple packs for my wife who is the consummate Hello Kitty fan. Went back to the hotel and passed out.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 5: Eating Out Of Toilets, Coffee & Pizza

Day 1 & 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6 * Day 7

So the title for the day’s travelogue is probably a little confusing – so let’s get right to it!

Taiwan 2017 Day 5: Eating Out Of Toilets, Coffee & Pizza

I saw a video about weird things to check out in Taipei and this caught my eye – Modern toilet Restaurant. The whole theme to the place is toilets, defecation; you get the picture. How odd, eh? Well, odd is definitely my wheelhouse – and the food is quite good as well!

Walked around the area after Modern Toilet – found some gifts too. This was when I got some footage inside a 7-Eleven. The clapping thing was pretty neat. Then we ended up back at the food expo and did some more samples.

Went and checked out the coffee, tea and machinery floor of the show next – this place is so huge. I mean, I swear you could park a jumbo jet on each floor.

Back to the hotel for more livestreaming and then off to… Pizza Hut?

I was really blown away by Pizza Hut. I’ve been to Asia now 4 times and always left thinking ‘man, I should have tried the fast food!’ Well, Pizza Hut here is a sit–down restaurant – buffet style. My favorite was the rice and saugage stuffed bread – oh man I feel like anything pizza related is junk compared to this stuff. I’m hooked. I think it’s completely insane that they don’t have it here in the States. Well, after this we hit Carrefour to look for a particular variety of noodles. No luck, but got some Hello Kitty bath tissue or the wife! She’s a Hello Kitty fan. Anyways, back to the hotel for some sleep.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel, Arrival & Exploration

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Day 1 & 2 * Day 3 * Day 4 * Day 5 * Day 6 * Day 7

Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Off I Go

On November 14th, 2017, my wife drove me to Seattle International Airport. My main impetus for the trip was to do an awards show at the Taiwan International Food Expo – the first food show I’d ever been invited to. They asked if I’d come and do a little awards ceremony for the top three from The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition list that came out in September. I was definitely all in for doing this for sure – after visiting Taiwan last year I was keen on visiting again. This time was different – it was my first time travelling alone. I was a little pensive about this (I’m legally blind) but I have flown to Taiwan 3 times previously and so thought hey – I can do this. Oh – and a week before I broke my pinky toe. That was really annoying but broken toe be damned – I was going! So I got to the airport around 11pm, went through security, grabbed some drinks and snacks and headed to my gate. Hopped on the plane just after midnight.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

So last time I flew, I didn’t walk around much during the flight. I had taken some sleep aids to get through the flight faster. Long story short, I got a blood clot in my lung. My doc said I really dodged a bullet and so I wanted to be safer this time. I got an aisle seat so I could get up and walk around more easily.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

The flight to Taiwan takes 13 hours. It’s a big chunk of time to sit. I watched some Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on my phone and took a couple cat naps. I got up and walked around every hour or two.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Almost there!

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

After a long flight, people are definitely eager to de-plane. It get s a little silly usually but yeah I got off the plane eventually. I was in row 71 – the next to last row and so I figured I’d get off when I got off. One thing I should mention – I think plane boarding is done completely wrong. They have people board in order from front to back. Why don’t they do back to front? Just seems like it would be so much more orderly. Anyways, I got off the plane, went through customs and was in Taiwan. Got my suitcase and met up with my friend Kyle from Howsler Foods. The Food Expo invited me, but they sponsored my trip – a big thank you for that!

Arrival & Exploration

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Kyle recommended we check out a breakfast place – my flight arrived at around 6am and so that sounded like a good plan. This is a popular and bustling place. There was a long line, but it didn’t bother me at all – was nice to be off the plane and I knew it certainly wouldn’t take 13 hours to get n!

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

So to the left of the pic above, you can see them working on the prep for food there.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Soy milk – served cold, is a popular breakfast item. It’s a little sweet and refreshing.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Okay, so why this isn’t here in the United States I don’t know but it should be. This is a big Chinese donut with fried egg in the middle. As I write this, it’s been a month since I returned and I sure could go for one of these right now! After breakfast, we headed over to the hotel. Got checked in and got to rest a while.

I stayed at the Green World Nangang hotel which was close to where the big Food Expo was held. Nice big room and bathroom – very comfy. Chilled for a while and got cleaned up to go out to go check out a couple places.

I had wanted to check this place out since I’d first heard about it. Love Instant Noodles is a restaurant that served instant noodles piping hot and garnished to perfection.

I had some Ottogi Jin Jjambbong and Kyle tried the Samyang Foods Buldak Bokkeummyun for the first time. Was impressed – he didn’t even think it was super spicy! Food was great – I gave my card to the man who served our food and he was stoked – I ended up doing selfies with Alan and Joyce – really nice people and a wonderful restaurant I definitely want to visit again.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Kyle recommended trying Taiwanese cold noodles a couple doors down.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Cold noodles were nice in the hot weather – they had a sesame and soy kind of taste to them. Afterwards, we hit RT Mart so I could get some things then back to my room at the hotel to relax before dinner. I really wish I had gotten some pics/video in RT Mart – I mean it’s pretty big and they had the tallest and longest noodle aisle I’ve ever seen.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

We hit up this place for pork rice.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

As you can see (click to enlarge), food is pretty inexpensive in Taiwan. Looks like the most expensive thing on the menu is 130NTD – which is just over $4USD.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

A nice pork chop over rice – very tasty!

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

Here’s the chicken version with a stewed egg as well.

Travels: Taiwan 2017 Day 1 & 2: Travel,. Arrival & Exploration

A big slab of tofu and… I can’t remember what was on the plate in the background – but it was good. Afterwards, back to the hotel to pass out until morning.

Yeah, I couldn’t just pass out. I was pretty stoked – I had scored a ton of noodles and things in RT Mart and so I did a YouTube live stream. The wifi at the hotel was very good and so had no problem doing so. Finally after talking to my wife and kids, I passed out.

The Ramen Rater Awards @ Taiwan International Food Expo

The Ramen Rater Awards @ Taiwan International Food Expo

I went to Taipei, Taiwan on November 15th, 2017 to take part in the Taiwan International Food Expo. I was invited to do a presentation of the first through third place winners in this year’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2016 Edition!

The Ramen Rater Awards @ Taiwan International Food Expo – Taiwan

The Ramen Rater Awards First Through Third Place At The 2017 International Food Expo

This was the first food expo I’ve been to – and it was huge. Before I came on to do my thing, they had dignitaries from Taiwanese government as well as other governments from around the world. It wasn’t only the food expo, but the coffee, tea, beer, wine, liquor, and machinery expo as well. It took place at the Nangang Exhibition Center station in Taipei – an enormous facility. I’d imagine you could drop three Costco store in there – and there were two floors! I met a lot of great people there and got asked to take pictures with them. I will be doing a day-by-day series of my recent trip to Taiwan (which will be found in the TRAVELS section soon)  but for now, I wanted to share the award show. It was a fascinating experience I will not soon forget! Hope you enjoy!

The Ramen Rater Appearing At The Taiwan International Food Expo

The Ramen Rater Appearing At The Taiwan International Food Expo

Hey Taiwan! I’m going to be at the Taiwan International Food Expo in Taipei! Check out the video for further details!

The Ramen Rater Appearing At The Taiwan International Food Expo – Taiwan

The Ramen Rater – Appearing In Taiwan

Hope to see you there!

Unboxing Time: Happy Noodle From Taiwan

Unboxing Time: Happy Noodle From Taiwan

Today, it’s another installment of Unboxing Time With The Ramen Rater. We have some interesting things from Taiwan to check out! I thought it would be fun to have a special guest on this unboxing, so my son Andy has joined me today. Impressively, he’s sampled some of the spiciest noodles in the world – the number one from my top ten spicy list – and handled it pretty well earlier this year! Well, let’s get to the unboxing – I’ve started a new video series called ‘Unboxing Time With The Ramen Rater’ – I hope you enjoy it!

Unboxing Time: Happy Noodle – Taiwan

Here’s the unboxing – joining me today is my son Andy!

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

It’s been quite a year of reviewing as far as Taiwan is concerned. I brought back a trove of varieties I’d never had the chance to try before. Really opened my eyes many varieties that people had recommended I try over the years. This is the top ten – the best Taiwanese varieties I’ve tried from the over 2,500+ reviews I’ve posted to date. As always, if I’ve not tried your noodles, please contact me! I’m interested! Let’s check it out!

The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

A special video presentation of The Ramen Rater’s Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition.

#10: Kiki Noodles Sichuan Spices Flavor Noodle

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

Noodles are thin with a great chew to them. The flavor is excellent – there’s a sweetness and a fire! I really like how the pepper is in a sachet – gives one the option for how hot they like their noodles. Original review

#9: Mom’s Dry Noodle Sichuan Spicy Flavor

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

The scalloped edges, the width, the chew are great and in fact, I could chew on these forever – not that they’re overly chewy and would require such. The spicy Sichuan pepper flavor coats and satisfies. Furthermore, it’s not a one trick pony and in the end, it’s spicy and very tasty as well. Original review

#8: Mom’s Dry Noodle Sour & Spicy Flavor

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

The noodles are flat and a little broader with a very serious chew to them. The flavor is very unique. It’s a kind of crisp black vinegar hit along with a spicy oil hit to it. It’s like ping pong; you notice the heat, then the vinegar, then the heat. Original review

#7: TTL Sesame Oil Chicken With Rice Wine Noodle

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

The noodles are soft and plentiful – very nice. A soft noodle works very well here in a sea of chicken flavored broth. The notes of ginger and sesame go well with the rice wine. Finally, the real chicken is really good. Original review

#6: Uni-President Man Han Feast Super Hot Pot Beef Flavor Instant Noodles

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

Here’s one I’d been hoping to try. Recommended to me quite a few times, this one features a soft noodle with a rich beef broth. The heat isn’t too much and the beef really adds a nice extra. Original review

#5: Kiki Noodles Scallion Oil & Soy Sauce Flavor Noodle

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

The noodles are thin and have a very agreeable mouthfeel. The flavor is a sweet kind of onion hit which is quite tasty. Original review

#4: Tseng Noodle Scallion With Sichuan Pepper Flavor

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

A wide noodle with scalloped edges. These have the bonus of a thin edge and thicker center, giving a delicate as well as hearty aspect. The flavor is very good – a soy bump, some onion hit, then the Sichuan pepper oil. It all works together magnificently. Original review

#3: Little Cook Thailand Green Curry Instant Noodle

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

This bowl, in fact, is two bowls. One you steep the noodles in. The second? Drain the broth from the first by poking holes in the lid and pour into it. The noodle is accompanied by a spicy green curry and chunks of vegetable and real chicken. The broth slurping soup worked well too. Original review

#2: Xiao Ban Mian Traditional Shallot & Onion Oil Noodle

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

Start with a thin kind of rectangular noodle with a strong chew. The flavor that comes with it is a sweet and savory shallot and scallion oil – and it works so well. Who would think something so simple could be so delightful. Original review

#1: Mom’s Dry Noodle Dan Dan Noodle

Taiwanese The Ramen Rater's Top Ten Taiwanese Instant Noodles Of All Time 2017 Edition

The noodles came out with a very nice chew. They aren’t mushy whatsoever and have a confident backbone. The flavor is very good as well. The notes of sesame, Sichuan pepper oil, Sichuan pepper in the dry mix, sesame sauce as well as soy sauce all work together and play well with each other; nobody’s feet get stepped on. Simple yet complex. Original review

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader In Taiwan

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader In Taiwan

About 3 weeks ago I got a message from a guy named Peter in Taiwan asking me if he could send me a sample of a new sauce he’s making there. I never would turn down a sauce to try, and after a couple weeks here it is! Let’s see what’s inside!

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader – Taiwan

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader In Taiwan

Mine, my son’s and daughters feet are all in this picture of the open box (click to enlarge)!

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader In Taiwan

Instructions on making the sauce for noodles (click to enlarge).

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader In Taiwan

Hey – noodles to go with the sauce!

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader In Taiwan

Here’s the sauce (click to enlarge).

Sauce & Noodles From A Reader In Taiwan

Here’s how it looks all made (click to enlarge)! The sauce is pretty complex – there’s oil and bits of all sorts of things going on in there. I liked it – had a very good taste. Thanks, Peter!

Meet The Manufacturer: Interview With Kiki Noodle

Interview With Kiki Noodle - Taiwan - The Ramen Rater - Meet The Manufacturer

Interview With Kiki Noodle * Product Samples From Kiki Noodle (1 of 3) * Product Samples From Kiki Noodle (2 of 3) * Product Samples From Kiki Noodle (3 of 3)Kiki Noodles Sichuan Spices Flavor NoodleKiki Noodles Scallion Oil & Soy Sauce Flavor Noodle

I got an email from someone at a company I’d never heard of with samples they wanted me to try. I love when this happens; happily,I get to try something new and learn some new things. In this case, a Taiwanese company called Kiki. Without further ado, let’s start things off with this interview with Chester Yeung of Kiki Noodle.

Interview With Kiki Noodle – Taiwan

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you for agreeing to this interview! To start, can you tell my readers about the history of Kiki Noodle?

KIKI> We have been running our restaurant for 26 years focusing mainly in Sichuan cuisine. Having said that we always put healthy, tasty together with safety as our objectives. We focus very much on noodle – as a main staple food for the Easterners. By using our knowledge and experience in making food, we aim to develop our own type of noodles with the best taste and texture, so as to provide a convenience but yet healthy choice to customers. 2015 marks the birth of pre- packed KiKi noodle, a head start after 26 years of experience accumulation.

TRR> What was the first product you made?

KIKI> Our first pre- packed noodle are Kiki Noodle mixed with Sichuan Spices and Kiki Noodle mixed with Scallion oil & soy sauce

TRR> Your company is located in Taiwan. Can you tell us a little about your country?

KIKI> Taiwan is a beautiful island that dwells 23 million people, with mild climate, our people are friendly and welcoming

TRR> Can you tell us about the varieties of instant noodles you make?

KIKI> We currently producing 2 flavors- Sichuan spices and Scallion oil with soy Sauce. Very soon we will launch new flavor with aged vinegar based sauce mixed noodle with spicy and non- spicy options too

TRR> Why the name Kiki?

KIKI> As we said, the name KiKi is to carry on the brand name of our restaurant

TRR> In what countries are your products available?

KIKI> Apart from Taiwan, currently our product are sold in Hong Kong, China, Korea, Singapore and Australia

TRR> How does your noodle making process differ from other instant noodle manufacturers?

KIKI> Unlike the ordinary deep- fried instant noodle; We adopt the traditional noodle making method – air drying by daylight for 48 hours with absolute zero preservative added. By this mean, the natural flavor of wheat flour is retained in our noodle.

TRR> Are instant noodles the only products you make?

KIKI> We will also launch readymade numb and spicy sauce, seasoning powder and instant Sichuan meal etc.

TRR> A lot of people are concerned with their sodium intake. How would you recommend people enjoy your product as part of a healthy meal?

KIKI> Making Healthy and tasty food is being our main objective, and hence we have spent a lot of time in developing KiKi Noodle, I can tell you that our seasoning has lower sodium content than the other instant noodle. Thanks to the special formula of spices mix that developed in our restaurant

TRR> Are you involved in in your local community or participate in charities?

KIKI> We always actively involved in community activities including donation to those charities that taking care of the Social vulnerable groups.

TRR> Are there any new products coming soon?

KIKI> Definitely, we are quite busy at the moment since we have a packed schedule rolling out our new products including 2 new flavor for KiKi Noodle, instant pack for Sichuan Seasoning, numb & spicy sauce as well as seasoning powder.

TRR> When you make noodles for yourself, what do you like to add to them to make them extra special?

KIKI> I personally would go for a soft boil egg with runny yolk, together with some veggie and slices of meat, if I am staving, I would go for luncheon meat wih sunny side up egg.

THE RAMEN RATER> Thank you very much for this opportunity to learn about Kiki Noodle and your products!

Alright – let’s have a look at their products!

#2273: Uni-President A Q Bucket Noodle Koream Kimchi Flavor

Here’s another one I found in Taipei – this one was the last instant noodle I bought there.

Here (click to enlarge) I am with the bowl in my backpack. I think I got just about every variety they had at this 7-Eleven, one of the over 2,000 7-Elevens in Taiwan. They’re everywhere – moreso than we have Starbucks in the USA (oh and they have Starbucks in Taiwan as well). Big shout out and thank you to James Lee for translating this one – I thought it might be a stewed pork variety but I was way off! Let’s crack it open and have a look!

Detail of the side panels (click to enlarge). Unsure whether it contains meat. To prepare, add in sachets and boiling water to fill line. Cover for 4 minutes. Stir and enjoy!

Detail of the lid (click to enlarge).

The noodle block.

A dry soup base sachet.

Has a kind of vinegarr scent.

The vegetables sachet.

Looks like kimchi!

Finished (click to enlarge). Added Salad Cosmo mung bean sprouts, fried tofu, beef, sweet onion, spring onion and chilli flake. The noodles came out very nice – a lot of them and they’ve got a flat and slightly broad characteristic. The broth was a little thinner than I’d expected, however it brings a nice pickled vegetable flavor to the table which works very well with the bits of kimchi which hydrated nicely. 4.25 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4710088414243.

Unif-100 Instant Noodles -Artificial Shallot Beef Flavor 3.80oz/108g

A TV spot for Uni-President AQ noodles.

#2260: Uni-President Science Noodle (X’Mas Edition)

Since Christmas is just around the corner, I thought I ought to review this one that I found in Taiwan during my visit to Mom’s Dry Noodle in mid-November! This usually has a different packaging actually – a wizard with a wand.

Here’s where I got these (click to enlarge). There are over 2,000 7-Eleven stores in Taiwan (hell, at a train station we saw at least three of them)! Unlike the ones here in the USA, a lot of stuff can be done there – pay your water bill for example. Your cellphone bill; get licenses I believe. Lots of tie-ins make it an indispensable kind of place. Like the one I visited in Thailand, I gave the people there a couple of my cards and told them how stoked I was to be in a foeign 7-Eleven. They thought it was funny and then I think they recognized me after reading the card. Well anyways, this is a snack noodle – crush it, sprinkle the stuff, shake it. Let’s take a look!

Here’s the back of the package (click to enlarge) Looks to be meat free but check for yourself. To prepare, crush noodles inside package. Open and add in seasoning sachet contents. Close up package and shake to distribute seasoning. Open and enjoy!

The whole noodle block before smashing.

The seasoning sachet.

I read that this is supposed to be a kind of black pepper flavor.

Finished (click to enlarge). I’ve been blinded by science noodle! Well actually I had really bad eyesight before I tried the science noodle.. So the noodles are crunchy and really tasty – very light and crisp. The taste has a nice pepper taste and I think maybe a hint of fish? It works and is a nice snack noodle for sure. For a snack noodle, it gets 5.0 out of 5.0 stars. EAN bar code 4710088410191.

Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir – Eddie grew up in theme-park America, on a could-be-anywhere cul-de-sac in suburban Orlando, raised by a wild family of FOB (“fresh off the boat”) hustlers and hysterics from Taiwan. While his father improbably launched a series of successful seafood and steak restaurants, Eddie burned his way through American culture, defying every “model minority” stereotype along the way. He obsessed over football, fought the all-American boys who called him a chink, partied like a gremlin, sold drugs with his crew, and idolized Tupac. His anchor through it all was food—from making Southern ribs with the Haitian cooks in his dad’s restaurant to preparing traditional meals in his mother’s kitchen to haunting the midnight markets of Taipei when he was shipped off to the homeland. After misadventures as an unlikely lawyer, street fashion renegade, and stand-up comic, Eddie finally threw everything he loved—past and present, family and food—into his own restaurant, bringing together a legacy stretching back to China and the shards of global culture he’d melded into his own identity.
Funny, raw, and moving, and told in an irrepressibly alive and original voice, Fresh Off the Boat recasts the immigrant’s story for the twenty-first century. It’s a story of food, family, and the forging of a new notion of what it means to be American.

So here’s a TV commercial for this one in it’s normal packaging. I found lots of others including this one which appears to be a girl group called the Uni Girls. I always find it interesting when instant noodle companies have their own music groups.

The Ramen Rater Visits Taiwan – Day 5: A Fond Farewell

Day 1 * Day 2 * Day 3 * Day 4  * Day 5

Our last day in Taipei greets us again with the Taipei 101 yet again; a constant companion during the trip. Definitely tired still after going so many places and seeing so many new things, we start the day that will end up with us coming home.

Had some breakfast buffet at the United Hotel. Have found I like baked sweet potato as well as baked pumpkin. Also has sliced pork in oyster sauce, taro buns and some noodles. We also stopped by the 7-Eleven one more time – I found a couple gifts to bring home and yet another bowl of noodles. To be honest, I didn’t know whether or not any of my noodles would end up making it home; so many contain meat and that generally gets a big no from the CBP/USDA, so my fingers are crossed! Kyle picked us up for lunch and we planned on going to a popular beef noodle soup place but the line was pretty crazy so we went to a place called Lao Zhang. We started with some steamed rice with pork which was really good – served in a little wooden pot and underneath was a little bit of yam. It was accompanied by some cucumber and eggplant. Next was the beef noodle soup which was out of this world good! Afterwards we wandered around the area to find some snow ice. I tried this the night before at Raohe night market. Basically imagine the fluffiest snow that tastes like vanilla ice cream topped with mango and mango syrup as well as some whipped cream and custard on top. Ended up sitting next to a nice family from Washington D.C. (the other Washington!) who had moved to Taiwanbn. I asked how they liked it and they were really happy there. We walked around a little more and found something interesting. A while back, I saw a video showing a place that was selling stuff from my top ten list – not only that, it was using signs that said The Raman Rater (sp) and even pictures of me. Well, they don’t have that anymore at this particular shop but I intrroduced myself and the lady working there knew who I was. Pretty neat – gotta go 6,000 miles from home to meet people who recognize me ha! I also took a second to marvel at an automated display of chopsticks and noodles in front of a Japanese ramen shop.

Next we visited the National Museum Of Taiwan. We drove up and up and up – it’s on the side of a mountain. So many people and lots of walking and stairs – I was going to have no problem sleeping on the flight home tonight! Saw lots of Taiwanese antiquities – lots of jade, calligraphy and statues. Very impressive – especially how ancient many of them were. One bowl in particular caught my eye – I guess when I’m a billionaire maybe I can start doing my reviews in 500+ year old bowls!

We ended up going to Back Garden restaurant overlooking Taipei. A neat place with a great view, and awesome food! Had some nice fried tofu, water spinach, and sweet and sour pork. Now what’s nice about the sweet and sour pork is that it wasn’t breaded and deep fried like they do here in the states; it was moist and tender with pineapple and a sweet and indeed slightly sour sauce. Finally, we had some crusted cod which was really good. A great way to cap off our trip. We headed back to the United Hotel to get our luggage and catch a cab to the airport. We bid Kyle a fond farewell and a big thanks for showing us a great time in Taiwan – he really went above and beyond.

We took a cab to the airport and I recorded the whole thing. As soon as I uploaded the video to YouTube, it told me that there was a copyright claim (the cabbie had music going) and the whole point of posting this super long video was that towards the end you can hear him singing along to the music. The singing cab driver was one of the last fond memories of Taiwan. Unfortunately, YouTube scrapped the audio so I put in some of my own, but here’s an audio clip of what I’m talking about.

Got through security and had a few minutes to chill before the next flight. Ate the first meal and then passed out, waking up about 1,000 miles from home which was nice. Got to Seatac Airport and went through the security/customs re-entry without a hitch and rolled my luggage full of meaty noodles, big hats from flipping noodles and plenty of other things. Met my wife and two sons at the airport arrivals gate and soon we were on our way home. I want to thank everyone at Mom’s Dry Noodle for making this trip happen. I also want to thank my sister Sue for coming with me and watching out for curbs and other easily tripped over things what with my poor vision. Finally, I want to thank my lovely wife Kit for letting me go while she stayed at home with our boy Miles, dog Otis, and our daughter who she will give birth to any day now. Good to be home again.