Baby Bro's Girlfriend had some more time to write some more about her trip to Taiwan. Now we are finally arriving at the food pictures, so I'm excited. Enjoy!
Day 1b: Jhubei
Lunch + School
For lunch on my
first day, my mom and I headed across the street to a semi-new restaurant that
opened up across the street from our condo.
Here are pictures
of the front and back of their business card and the store front and interior :
You can see their
kitchen in the third picture of the store, which I thought was pretty cool.
Everything they do is visible, if you went over there and watched — preparing
your dishes and peeling and making stuff. This is a really nice clean and
modern place for a small restaurant on the street. If you go to a random small
restaurant in an alley, you'll often only find cheap tables and stools.
As for what to do
when you enter one of these restaurants, you find your own seating, and if you
can't find any, tough luck. You would basically wait until someone left and
they cleaned up the table, or you could decide to get it take out. After you
find a seat (or not), they usually bring over the menu for you to fill out and
order. If they don't bring over a menu, you get up and get your own from the
I didn't realize
until I scanned it, but the back of the business card actually includes the
menu! Definitely a good business decision. Nonetheless, I still took pictures
of their menu/ordering sheets.
The pinkish one is for dine-in ordering and the white one with the
characters ?? in the top right corner is for
take-out. These ordering menus are common for Taiwanese restaurants. The
headings of the table are dish name, price, number of dishes, total. Down the
left side of the table are the different categories of their dishes: noodles [??], dumplings [??], soups [?], and rice [?] and appetizers [??]. In this instance, my mom filled out an order for ma-jiang dry
noodles [????] and boiled greens [???] for both dine-in and takeout. The takeout order was
for us to take to my brother at school for lunch.
In the corner,
they also had a little stand where you could get some more appetizers on your
own, not on the menu.
Not exactly sure
how it worked since I didn't really notice my mom getting stuff from it – I was
busy trying to take nice pictures – but my mom told me that you just select
however much you want on a plate, take it up the counter, and they would weigh
it and cook it for you (if it needed to be cooked).
What I also found
fascinating was that they dedicated a whole wall describing what I guess are
their most popular dishes.
The four listed on
the wall are
Soy-braised beef noodle soup [?????]
- Vinegar sauce
dry noodles [????]
dumplings with scallions [??????]
All the food took
maybe 5 minutes to come out — we didn't have to wait long.
This is the plate
of boiled greens.
They added a
little bit of meat sauce to it to give it a savory taste. The greens were very
crunchy with the right amount of saltiness from the sauce.
This is the
appetizer medley of tofu, seaweed, and I believe intestines with a bit of soy
sauce and green onions sprinkled on top.
Since I don't eat
intestines, I left all that to my mom and picked out the tofu and seaweed to
eat. Once again, the sauce was not overpowering, and the taste of everything
that I ate was pretty good. Nothing that spectacular and special.
Here is the bowl
of ma-jiang dry noodles that my mom and I shared after it was slightly mixed.
She doesn't eat that much, so she just took a small bowl of mine. And I say
slightly mixed because my mom stirred it before I could tell her I wanted to
take a picture.
Ma-jiang is a term
for a type of warm sesame-based sauce. However, this restaurant made it
different by adding some ground pork on the side in addition to also having
some boiled greens (same as appetizer) and sliced cucumbers. Even sharing a
bowl with my mom, the extra stuff definitely made this bowl very filling. I
could barely finish all the appetizers plus the noodles. As for the noodles
themselves, they were delicious! They tasted like they were hand-made, since
they were very "Q," or chewy. Hand-made noodles add so many points to
the satisfaction counter.
To pay for the
bill, my mom went up to the "kitchen" counter with the ordering form
they left on the table after they delivered the food. My mom had also brought a
lunch box and containers to put the food in for my brother, and she told them
to put our takeout food into those containers. I don't think I've ever seen
anything like that happen here in California, so I thought that was really nice
of them. I think they were a bit confused at first when my mom asked though.
Side note: Unlike
the US, you do not leave tips on the table after you finish. Usually they just
tack on a service charge on your receipt, if any. Much better than this US
tipping way where you have to decide how much to leave and hope you didn't
offend your waiter too much if you don't leave that much. However, service in
general in is pretty excellent, even in cheap restaurants. I don't think
I've ever seen a lazy waiter.
After we finished
eating, it was about 12:20pm and time for us to take my lunch to my brother. He
goes to a bilingual international school in Hsinchu only about 15 minutes away
from our condo. Here are a couple pictures of the building his class is in – or
actually, the whole bilingual section of the school.
section of the school for just the Chinese-speaking students. And I say that
this is the bilingual part of the school, because literally, from I believe
elementary to high school, all their classrooms are in that building. Students
in Taiwan actually stay in one classroom, and the teachers are the ones that go
in and out. I guess that's definitely a more efficient way to teach because the
students don't have to rush in and out to get to classes. My brother's
classroom was on the top floor – the floor for high school, grades 10-12 in
Taiwan, not 9-12. If I recall correctly, there's only 2 classes of about 20
students for each grade in the high school. With these small class sizes, I
guess you can call this a kind of private school, since my brother had to take
a test to get in, but I believe that this is still government funded. If anyone
is interested, I believe the school website is here.
Oh cool, I also found a Wikipedia
article on Google! Fascinating… If any of the above info conflicts with
Wikipedia, believe Wikipedia.
To be continued…Yum