Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Kaoshiung Kisetsu Ryori

We quickly settled in our room at Silks Club Kaoshiung before having lunch at Ukai-tei restaurant downstairs. While Teppanyaki is their specialty, either at this restaurant or their main branch in Ginza (the Kaoshiung one is their first overseas outpost), we were served a seasonal omakase menu prepared by Chef Shimpei Hirose and his team. 

Monday, November 27, 2023

A Few Things About Kaoshiung

The town of Kaoshiung caught me by surprise first by how nice our hotel was. Silks Club Kaoshiung was everything one want in a boutique designer hotel. With less than 150 suites right in the city center, an exclusive lounge on the top floor with food and drinks served all day, and top restaurant and bar and the infinity pool completed with full spa facilities, this is just what we wanted when we look for a quick weekend getaway. 

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Burgundy and Beef

This particular dinner hosted by a local wine merchant caught my attention because of their choice of bottles. While many wine-themed dinner focuses on certain vineyard or winemakers, this one featured bottles of Burgundy wines with a nice, “entry-level” selection from different winemakers and through this we could get a glimpse of various styles and characteristics in various recent vintages. And it was hosted in one of the top steakhouse in town, one that was bestowed a Michelin star for a few years already and one we didn’t visit often, so that gave us extra incentive to sign up and go. 

Thursday, November 23, 2023

Looking Back, and Looking Ahead

It's a pure coincidence that we dined at 3 Michelin 2-starred restaurants within the same week in early October, and Arbor was one of them during that crazy eating week. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

New Faces

Other than the new faces, with chefs Gaurav Kuthari and Dhiraj Kumar now taking charge of the kitchen, nothing much has changed at Chaat when we went for dinner a few weeks back. The place was still crowded as ever – many dubbed this the hardest restaurant to get a table at this side of the harbor. 

Monday, November 20, 2023

Mid Summer Sunday Brunch

We were surprised by how long the Sunday brunch was when we sat down at Grissini in August for their special menu celebrating the mid-summer Ferragosto Festival. We did try Chef Valerio Mandile's cooking a couple of times since he became Chef de Cuisine of this long standing Italian establishment at Grand Hyatt last year and enjoyed his food, and his Sunday brunch offering was equally impressive too. 

Saturday, November 18, 2023

Gone Crazy on Street Food

Street food culture is pretty much a mainstay in Tainan's daily life, especially at one of the dozen night markets around town which operates from dusk til late. Locals even had a widely circulated mnemonic to remember which markets are open on any given day of the week. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Royal Feast

We stayed in for dinner at Tainan Silks Place with a special tasting menu prepared by Chef Lo and his team. The menu was said to be inspired by the feast hosted in honor of then Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito (later Emperor) during the 12-day Royal Visit to Taiwan about 100 years ago featuring some of the finest ingredients one could source in town and prepared in the traditional style. Details of the feast were well-documented at that time so the hotel kitchen team were able to re-create many of the dishes served at the time. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Down South

Off we went from Taipei to Tainan via the High Speed Rail on our second day. The efficient 2-hour train ride moved us from the northern tip of the island to the south, arriving slightly after noon. Got to try the famous Taiwan Railway Bento on board too - the warm Yilan cherry duck bento was so neatly arranged and delicious with nice smoky flavor. Can definitely rival those ekiben so famous on trains in Japan. 

Sunday, November 12, 2023

Big Group Gathering

Our CHF big group gathering went upscale this time with dinner at Wing. Our friend G was bemoaning how difficult it is still to get a table at this restaurant so we made plan months in advance to eat in one of their private rooms on a weeknight.

Saturday, November 11, 2023

The Long Awaited

We finally managed to secure a booking at Mosu and went a couple of months ago. With only a handful tables available every night, it did take a bit of effort to get a reservation at this restaurant which opened about a year ago in West Kowloon. 

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Visitor from Saigon

The constant stream of incoming guest chef continued throughout the summer with Chef Matteo Fontana from Da Vittorio Saigon being one of them, doing a 2-day event at Testina with Chef Marco Xodo in August. And I was invited to check out the menu on their first day of service. 

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Museum and Museum-Inspired Dinner

I managed to check out a famous tourist attraction for the first time during my short stay in Taipei. The National Palace Museum is known for its extensive collection of artifacts from Beijing's Forbidden City from the Imperial era. This time, not only I got a chance to explore the museum with a guided tour, we got to try the special menu inspired by the museum collection afterwards. 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

How The Journey Began...

"We travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more". Somehow, spending a week in Taiwan gave me new perspective of this beautiful island close to home, and in the process, found the joy in travelling once again in the post-COVID era. 

Saturday, November 4, 2023

New Chef, New Era

There were plenty positive about the new Epure now under the helm of Chef Aven Lau as I found out after a recent dinner there. Chef Aven has quite a following since the days when he was the chef at Batard, and it’s been almost 6 months he moved to this side of the harbor in a restaurant which was somewhat different and this time, with a Michelin star he surely was tasked to keep. 

Thursday, November 2, 2023

New on the Block

We saw a series of sushi restaurant openings since COVID and that trend continues with Sushi Kanesaka being the latest entry. This Ginza-based Sushi-ya has grown into quite an empire now with multiple branches in Japan and elsewhere (some under the name Shinji by Kanesaka), and in Hong Kong, they have taken up the space that used to be Masa in CCB Tower.