One of the things Taiwan is most known for is Beef Noodle Soup (NRM). Taipei is saturated with places that offer it, many serving it with knife shaved or hand pulled noodles. You can find it at night markets, street vendors, and random restaurants as you walk around. There’s even an annual Beef Noodle Soup festival.

Actually in our previous visits, we’ve never been too interested in eating beef noodle soup. My mom makes it at home often and my aunt in Taiwan also makes a really good version which we usually eat when we visit.

This last year or so, we’ve become really interested in beef noodle soup when dining out and have tried a lot of places that serve it. So when we went to Taiwan, we were also curious to try out some of the more famous places. I’ve always found the beef noodle soup in the US to be a little on the pricey side. But I was surprised to find it almost equally as pricey in Taipei. Usually Taiwan food prices are a lot cheaper than US prices, but the beef noodle soup was about the same. I guess it’s become so popular outside of Taiwan that the restaurants have raised the prices knowing the tourists will still buy it.

Shan Xi Dao Xiao Mien

This place makes their own knife shaved noodles and is known for their tomato broth beef noodle soup. I liked the chew of the noodles. The broth is lighter than my personal preference, but overall, we enjoyed it.

Lao Shan Dong

This place has been around since 1949 and was recommended to me by KungFoodPanda. Unfortunately, my family chose to go without me during the day of my engagement pictures. So sad. My brother took pictures though:

Oreos, chocolate covered potato chips, caramel and vanilla ice cream. Okay, so this isn’t exactly a healthy after-school snack. But it does sound good doesn’t it?

“After School Special” is actually a flavor offered by Humphrey Slocombe, one of my favorite ice cream shops. DH had it a few months ago when we went to Bitter Sweet in the Bay Area. He really loved this sweet treat so I thought I’d surprised him with a homemade version.

When I looked online, the description was Chocolate-covered Ridge potato chips swirled with caramel in Tahitian Vanilla. I could have sworn I had tasted Oreos in it though. Maybe my memory is wrong. But I decided to add the Oreos anyway because it sounded so yummy.


Katsuya by Starck is a chain of upscale restaurants originally from LA, featuring Japanese food for the American palate. Located inside the Andaz hotel in downtown San Diego, this swanky restaurant space is massive for San Diego standards, though the hostess told me that she actually thought it was quite small.

Here is half of the space:

Katsuya has three kitchens serving raw, hot, and robata grill items.

We were actually invited by the restaurant so rather than only trying a few dishes, the chef prepared smaller sample portions of Katsuya’s more famous items. Chef Adam also took the time to come out personally and explain the dishes as well as get an idea of our preferences for the rest of the night.

Katsuya has an impressive sake selection and we chose to share a small bottle of Tomoju.

They also had some interesting cocktails and we tried a Kiwi Envy, which I really enjoyed. Light, refreshing, with a lot of kiwi pulp.

To my delight, the first thing we were served was an uni platter consisting of uni quail egg shooters with caviar, uni sushi, and fresh uni served in its shell.

Since this was basically uni straight up there’s not much to describe. If you enjoy uni like me, you’ll likely enjoy this sampler. If not, then probably not.

Crispy Rice with Spicy Tuna

This is Katsuya’s most famous dish, though I actually was not a fan. I loved how creamy the spicy tuna was, but found the crispy rice to be too hard. I’ve liked crispy rice sushi dishes before, but didn’t particularly like the crispy rice here.