Greetings from Taiwan!

Arriving in Taiwan

This is the traditional 您好 post that I make each time I visit a new country. I arrived late at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei, Taiwan and all of us made the 1 1/2 hour drive down to Taichung. I was quite surprised to see that the airport had an excellent feature – video cameras pointing towards the people exiting (on both sides) so you have visuals of arrivals.

Taoyuan International Airport

I have been to quite a lot of countries and never seen this feature – Australia, New Zealand and Europe (from England to Georgia – the places I’ve been to anyway) don’t have this. It’s very nifty, you can see the faces of people coming out on a big screen on both flanks with overlapping coverage.

Taiwan Vending Machine

I tried to get something from the vending machine too. I like to check out the vending machines in places I go to, every country has something different. Unfortunately, all I had was notes (it’s coin/smartphone only) and I didn’t want to keep everyone waiting so we made the long drive down to Yamay for the night.

Fullon Hotel Yamay

I’m staying at Fullon Hotel Yamay in Taichung. It’s a good thing that everything has been arranged in this trip. I would have to book hotels otherwise, which is a constant source of stress, as my better half can tell you. I ponder excessively over what hotels to stay in. You can compare hotel rates and find cheaper deals though the HotelsCombined search engine before planning your holidays. I just found out about it and it automatically checks prices at several of the popular hotel booking sites to see which offers the best deal!

Fullon Hotel Taiwan

My room has an awesome view too!

Yamay Dinner

Next up was dinner – it was pretty awesome, first meal in Taiwan and we had a 12 course veritable feast. Delicious!

Taiwan Dinner

I’ll post more about the trip soon. Taiwan has great free WiFi coverage in most major cities and that’s how I’m able to post this. Check out my Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for live updates!

Posted: 12:01 am Taiwan time (GMT/UTC +8)

Fong Lye Taiwan Restaurant @ The Gardens, MidValley

fong lye

…a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away. I hooked up with Ringo, KY and Xin and arranged for dinner at Fong Lye Taiwan Restaurant. It’s been over a month and I realized I haven’t even blogged about it until I was browsing through my archives. I didn’t manage to get a shot of Fong Lye’s exterior too, coz the place was closing when we finally left. I have been meaning to reshoot the exterior without the shutters half closed, and went back last weekend.

fong lye interior

Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant is a franchise operation that is constantly packed, even late at night when we went. It’s pretty amazing how these Taiwan/HK/Chinese eating establishments can maintain such a high capacity in the current economic situation. The place is literally packed when we arrived. Fong Lye Taiwanese Restaurant has different seating arrangements to cater to different groups of people and we got seated at the corner before ordering our food.

fong lye pork

KY had the Pork Intestines Set Meal (RM 17.80) rated as spicy by Fong Lye. He was seated too far away for me to taste his meal but he thought it was pretty good. I can’t actually remember if I ate his pork or not, since we were staying at the Boulevard Studio Suite at that time and I took advantage of the free beer at the Executive Lounge.

fong lye dim sum

Ringo had the healthy sounding Hot & Spicy Dim Sum (RM 16.50) after most of what she ordered wasn’t available. I remember having some of her dish – it was pretty good, except for the tofu. I don’t like tofu. I’m more of a meat person but two pieces of something I had from her order was great.

fong lye beef

Xin, for some mysterious reason, did not order a main dish at all. She had the Beef Roll (RM 10.30), which we all had a piece so she was left with only two slices. It tasted pretty good though but a tad overpriced for what is tantamount to a souped up popiah.

fong lye beef noodle

Doris went for the Taiwan Braised Beef Noodle (RM 19.80). It is served with several side dishes, like most of the meals. The side dishes contain various snacks and vegetables and makes the presentation immaculate. The Taiwan Braised Beef Noodle is spicy and piping hot, with a rich broth that must have taken a herd of cows to make. 😉

fong lye chicken

I went for the Three Varieties of Supreme Diced Chicken (RM 19.80), which turned out to be the best dish of the night. The chicken is tender, and cooked to perfection. This dish is also amazingly spicy, something that always rates highly in my books. The chicken claypot is literally full of chillies!

fong lye chicken macro

I love this dish and would do a return visit to sample it again (despite it numbing my taste buds for a while). Those who tried it also agreed and pronounced it Good (TM).

fong lye dessert

Ringo also ordered this weird desert called Peanut Snow Mountain (RM 8.30) that we all shared. It tasted gooey and saccharine sweet and elicited quite a number of jokes related to scat (not skat, the card game, and certainly not scat as in “go away”). It was alright as a dessert though.

fong lye us

The total came up to a RM 151.35 for five people, inclusive of a beer on my end and drinks for everyone else. Fong Lye Restaurant is a great place that opens till (relatively) late so check it out at The Gardens @ Mid Valley if you’re into Taiwanese food. It’s definitely worth a try.

Taiwan Mei Shi restaurant review

taiwan mei shi

Taiwan Mei Shi is a restaurant that cooks authentic Taiwanese cuisine. It is located beside Mitsu Tea House, which creates massive competition for this eating establishment. It’s truly amazing that it has survived thus far with that kind of contention. I’ve never been here before but Amy suggested going to this outlet for lunch, mainly due to the air conditioning, and she was driving, so we conceded.

taiwan mei shi interior

The place does not have English signage so I got her to translate – Taiwan Mei Shi literally means “Taiwan Food” and it opens up to an al fresco seating area. The ambiance of the place feels very homely, with wood tones and handcrafts dominating the expanse.

taiwan mei shi aircond

The eating establishment is not as small as it looks – it actually takes up two shop lots, although the second one doesn’t carry the sign board. The sliding doors to the right leads to air conditioned comfort – a blessing in the heatwave that Sibu is experiencing right now.

taiwan mei shi net

There is a net inside the air conditioned compartment with photos of the clientèle in compromising positions…eating. I asked about the photos and the friendly proprietor told us it is their practice to take photographs of happy diners and clip it onto the net for your viewing pleasure. I like that concept and got her to pose for a photo in front of the netting.

taiwan mei shi drinks

Amy had hot Milo (a malt drink) which came in a squarish cup that I found interesting. The quirkiness of the angular drinking receptacle makes the presentation unique. I had the Super Greeny Jasmine Green Bubble Tea just coz I found the name amusing. 😉

taiwan mei shi waitress

This is the obligatory shot with the waitress. I noticed that she didn’t look at the digicam in each of the four shots that my colleague took…and we finally figured out the reason why. She didn’t look us straight in the eye while taking orders too! Some people shy, okay? 🙂

taiwan mei shi food

Back to the food, we ordered four dishes:
Taiwanese deep fried fish fillet in sweet and sour sauce
This is good, and the sweet and sour sauce is not heavily tomato influenced and tastes rather like a BBQ sauce instead.
Salted egg with bitter melon
Everyone liked this dish – bitter melon (bitter gourd) is supposed to have a slightly bitter tinge to it, but it was offset by the salted eggs. Nice.
Sautéed beef with Szechuan preserved vegetable
I love tender beef slices and the mixture with the Szechuan vegetables (which includes a healthy dose of dried chillis) and claypot style serving does wonders to the appetite (and palate).

taiwan mei shi signature

This is their signature dish – Taiwanese Three Flavor Chicken. It came in a small claypot with whole garlic, onion slices and spring onions. I’m not sure what the three flavors are supposed to be – I could taste sweet and salty tones but the third flavor eludes me.

taiwan mei shi dessert

The proprietor was kind enough to serve us dessert for free – this is a special cincau (black jelly) mixture that’s supposed to be “cooling”. It came in a traditional Taiwanese cup for (sweet) soups – literally dessert. The two jellies are both made by the proprietor and not bought off the shelves, as she stressed (repeatedly).

taiwan mei shi jelly

It has the consistency of jelly, and yet maintains enough slippery fluidity to be slurp-able. Better still, the dessert was chilled, so it countered the heat while the thirst absorbing qualities of the second substance (which for the life of me I can’t remember) counters the Chinese Restaurant Syndrome inflicted by the MSG laden food. 😉

Taiwan Mei Shi is not a bad place to eat – the food is good and the service is great. It’s a little overshadowed by the other titan eating establishments beside it, but it’s worth your time to check out the food. However, the bill came up to RM 44.40 for the three of us, which is a very inauspicious number in Chinese numerology. 😉

Jade Pot Tea House

jade pot tea house

I’ve often passed by this eating establishment, coz the place to pay
utility bills here is just beside it, but I’ve never been there for
lunch before. I went today with my coworker for lunch.

jade ambience

The ambience of the place is alright, it’s pretty crowded during
lunch hour and the popularity of this place surprised me. The cuisine
is self-dubbed Taiwanese.

jade counter bar

This is the main counter. I found the mix of ancient Chinese tea cups and wine glasses to be pretty odd…

jade drunken lady

I had a concoction called Drunken Lady for my drink. I can’t
establish what is inside i.e. what it’s made of, but Bernice says she
tasted Ribena, but I didn’t.

jade taiwan beef noodles

This is what I ordered for my main meal – Taiwanese Style beef
noodles. It was recommended by the waitress as being their flagship
dish and the most popular one. It was alright, but nothing to write
home about.

jade spicy noodles

This is what Bernice had – Spicy noodles. We both agreed that it
wasn’t spicy enough. It seems that we’re similar in this sense…we
like to eat ultra spicy food. Heh!

jade bernice me

Jade Pot Tea House. Pay your utility bills and eat at the same time!

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