|Types||Restaurant / Story||Hits|
Bolo King (菠羅旺)
Bolo King is another shop in Danshui that draws long lines of queuing customers who come to sample the pastry de resistance, the "ice-fire bolo".
Bolo pastries generally have a crispy golden outer layer and a soft, fairy-floss-style inside. They possess a rich, buttery flavor and melt soon after entering your mouth.
So why, you may be thinking, is it called the "ice-fire bolo"?
Simple. 'Fire' refers to the warm, freshly baked bolo bun, while 'ice' refers to the cold slice of butter that's wedged inside. The glorious contrast between hot and cold, sweet (bun) and salty (butter) is what makes this kilojoule-loaded sensation so good. Customers literally come from all across Taipei for a sample of the buttery bolo bun.
But remember: if you want the full "ice-fire" effect, eat the bolo straight away to prevent the 'ice' from melting.
Local Specialty Foods (淡水特產)
As one of Taiwan's earliest developed areas, Danshui possesses a variety of unique specialty foods, such as A-Gei and fried fish crackers. These local delicacies are described below.
A cube-shaped pocket of fried tofu stuffed with cellophane noodles and patched together with fish paste. The pocket is then steamed for 15 - 20 minutes and served in a unique A-Gei style sweet sauce. The name A-Gei derives from the Japanese word for "fried tofu".
2. Fried Fish Crackers:
This unique Taiwanese delicacy was invented in Tamsui (1963) as a creative way to use excess supplies of fish. Fried fish crackers are made from fresh fish, which are crushed and blended to form a paste, and then fried and re-fried. One of the more popular fish cracker shops in Tamsui is Hsu Yi, which is located on Tamsui's Old Street.
3. Iron Eggs:
One day, as a street vendor was preparing the common dish known as 'soy stewed egg', she forgot to turn off the stove. By the time she realized, the eggs had already shriveled up and become dry. She tasted the overcooked eggs and found that they were delicious. And thus the birth of iron eggs.
Stinky Tofu (碳烤臭豆腐)
Stinky tofu, along with pig's blood cake and chicken testicles, is one of those notorious dishes that is shunned by the overwhelming majority of Taiwan's foreign community. Its stench is so pungent, in fact, that it has been banned in a number of public places. But if you are a brave soul, or can somehow dull out the smell (try blocking your nose) for long enough to get it into your mouth, you may be pleasantly surprised.
Its unendearing odor owes to a brine - typically made from milk, vegetables, and meat - which is left to ferment for up to several months until it reaches an appropriate level of smelliness. At this point, fresh tofu is then placed into the fermented mix and left to sit for several hours until it molds over. It can then be eaten cold, steamed, stewed, or fried.
Charcoal Sticky Tofu is a small stall with a red sign located in Tamsui's Old Street. They take skewers of fried stinky tofu, coat them with a layer of Chinese-style sauce, barbecue them on a small grill - making sure to keep turning them from side to side - and then cover them in a thin layer of chilly powder and a row of pickled vegetables.
The tofu at Charcoal Stinky Tofu is tender and flavorsome and not as 'stinky' as at other such stalls. For this reason, it may be a good option for newbies. At just 30 NT per skewer, Charcoal Stinky Tofu is an inexpensive way to begin your journey into the world of stinky tofu.
Pasti Pasta (義式廚房)
Pasti Pasta is a small Italian restaurant located by the beautiful Danshui River. It offers scenic views, authentic Italian pasta sauces, and a warm but lively atmosphere.
As its name suggests, Pasti Pasta specializes in Pasta. From the restaurants' street entrance, you can peer into the open kitchen to see a row of chefs stirring vegetables, flipping saucepans, and sprinkling cheese. After taking your seat, you can look out over the picturesque Danshui River, to Kuan Yin Mountain (named due to its resemblance to the retorting figure of the Goddess of Mercy 'Guan Yin') on the opposite shore. Its ideal location by the river makes it a perfect choice for either a first date or a casual get-together with friends.
The most popular pasta dishes at Pasti include:
1. Spicy Seafood Cuttlefish
This dish combines cuttlefish noodles - made from cuttlefish sauce - with fresh seafood, imported grass shrimp, American scallops, Canadian Mussels, vibrant sea bream, and inshore squid. This mixture of seafood flavors creates a delicate, smooth consistency with a dash of spice that will leave you wanting more.
2. Mushrooms and Bacon in a White Sauce
This dish packs a potent punch to the taste buds. It couples a mildly sweet white creamy sauce with mushrooms and fried bacon to create a unique flavor that is a favorite among adults and children alike.
3. Spicy Tomato Chicken Capellini
This dish consists of a rich tomato sauce made of garlic, bolognese, dried chilli, thyme, and rosemary, which perfectly complements the stringy capelli pasta, otherwise known as "angel hair".
Tamkang Fried Rice (淡江炒飯)
When you think of Chinese food, one of the first few dishes that pops into mind is fried rice. But fried rice can vary from shop to shop. Some are too dry; some are too wet; some are too salty; some are too sweet.
Where can you go to find just the right consistency?
The answer is Tamkang Fried Rice, located near Shui Yuan St at the back entrance of Tamkang University. Tamkang Fried Rice offers just about every flavor of fried rice imaginable, from Goji berry, lamb and egg, all the way to pineapple, sultana, and egg. Its best selling dishes include: Guangzhou fried rice, Korean style pickled vegetable fried rice, and beef with pickled vegetable fried rice. In fact, all the dishes containing Korean style vegetables are popular.
So, next time you're in the mood for some tasty local food, don't forget Tamkang Fried Rice.
|North American cuisine||
When you walk into Kooks, you'll see surrealist paintings, English novels, and a cash register on a stomach-height, white brick wall. Not your average Taiwanese eatery, you may say.
That's because Kooks is a western-style restaurant owned by a Canadian ex-pat and his wife right here in Danshui. Kooks offers an extensive menu with a vast variety of burgers, wraps, pitas and salads, as well as sodas, beers, and wines. It's known for its large servings, its crispy fries, its big burgers (that send juices trickling down your hands), its well-seasoned sauces and its reasonable prices.
Although at peak times you may wait a little while for your meal, Kooks remains a favorite among locals and ex-pats alike. So, while studying at Tamkang, come give it a try!
|Chinese dumplings and meat wraps||
Yi Ding Xiang (溢鼎香)
If you walk past Yi Ding Xiang of an evening, you may have to veer slightly to your right to avoid the crowds of queuing customers that spill out onto the road.
Why the long lines, you may ask?
The answer is simple: succulent steamed dumplings, tender beef-flavored wraps, and delectable red bean dumplings. All the food at Yi Ding Xiang is made on the spot, right before your eyes.
Steamed Dumplings ('Xiaolongbao'):
Xiaolongbao are made from balls of finely minced pork and other meats, which are wrapped in dough and then steamed in little bamboo baskets. The local standards for 'great' xiaolongbao include: a thin outer layer or 'skin', plenty of meat filling and abundant juices; Yi Ding Xiang's xiaolongbao meet each of these criteria. But be careful, the juices in the xiaolongbao have been known to squirt out onto the hands and clothes of unsuspecting customers!
This is without doubt Yi Ding Xiang's signature dish. It consists of sliced cucumbers, spring onions, soft strips of beef, sweet bean sauce and a crisp pastry crust. One bite of the flavor filled wrap and you'll be hooked.
Red bean dumplings:
Yi Ding Xiang's red bean dumplings contain a unique mochi-style red bean filling wrapped in thin xiaolongbao pastry. This mixture of sweet red bean filling and savory dumpling skin is the perfect way to end an unforgettable culinary experience.
Yao Yao Noodles (窯窯拉麵)
Yao Yao (the pronunciation of "Yao" rhymes with "how") Ramen Noodles is somewhat of an institution among the clustering of shops and stalls that surround the TKU Tamsui Campus. Now in its ninth year of operation, Yao Yao is unique because of its noodles, its soups and sauces, and its amiable owner, Mr. Zhou, who can often be found sitting and chatting with the customers.
Unlike most ramen noodle shops in Taiwan, Yao Yao's food contains no MSG and not a drop of oil. Instead, the flavor comes from stewing vegetables, mushrooms or stockfish and kelp, which are used as bases for the soups and sauces. The sauces are made in-shop, almost daily, so they are fresh. And check out the size of their vegetarian 'dry noodles', which in fact aren't dry at all, but coated with trickles of hand-made soy sauce.
Mr. Zhou's insistence on serving high-quality, healthy meals has ensured a vast and loyal customer base. One of their regular customers commented that "Yao Yao was my first choice when I arrived in Danshui. The food is healthy and delicious. It's not salty or oily, and you always get a good range of vegetables. Most importantly, the owner is kind and friendly, and treats his customers like friends".
So for the best-tasting and most nutritious noodle soups in Danshui, come try Yao Yao.
We've all heard of bed and breakfast, but how about "bread and breakfast"?
MaiDeDuo is known for its variously flavored breads and western breakfasts. The breads, which come with the breakfasts, are unique by virtue of their colors. The pink bread is made from ground rose petals - it even smells like rose petals. The light green bread consists of crushed seaweed. In all, there are six different flavors: rose petal, seaweed, sesame, wholegrain, original, and cheese. The secret behind their tasty breads and pastries: an owner with 20 plus years of experience in baking.
Yet MaiDeDuo's real drawcard are its western breakfasts. Students' favorites include German sausage, chicken fillet marinated in orange sauce, crispy cod fillet, and crunchy fried chicken. These are served with fried eggs, cheese and salad if you order the set meal. Want something lighter? Try one of the delicious seasoned fillets on a freshly-baked bagel.
MaiDeDuo's unique flavor has ensured it is a favorite among students for breakfast, brunch, and even lunch. So make sure to put it on your list of places to eat while studying at TKU.
Dundas Street (登打士街)
Care for some hand-made bagels?
How about freshly-baked breads that crunch and then melt in your mouth?
Located a stone's throw away from the TKU Tamsui Campus, Dundas Street offers a range of high quality western foods: from tender fillets and al dente pasta, to wholesome salads and vegetable frittatas. What's more, the pastries and drinks (including coffee) are all you can eat and drink!
However, what sets Dundas Street apart is not its drinks but its pastries. The bagels are soft and warm, while the breads have a crispy outer layer and come in a variety of delicious flavors: onion, cheese, olive, cranberry, and chocolate.
This, coupled with the reasonable prices, is what draws students to Dundas Street in droves. Its popularity has grown to the point that diners regularly wait 2-3 hours for a much-cherished seat.
So when you come to study at Tamkang, be sure to get in early!