Monday, March 29, 2010

I Want Hawaiian Shaved Iced & No One Is Gonna Stop Me

So what do you like to do for fun? Oh, well apparently I like to risk my life to chase down food trucks in the middle of L.A.! So there's been a big buzz about this amazing shaved ice that serves melt in your mouth shaved ice from a truck in the Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley area. Even though I've heard raving reviews from word of mouth as well as online, I have to admit I was very skeptical. Why? Because real amazing shaved ice is supposed to look like this...
Left is shaved ice from Hong Kong and right is from Singapore. It has been really hard trying to find shaved ice in the U.S. aside from at a few Taiwanese places that have even been able to come remotely close to the quality of shaved ice found in Asia. But being the foodie that I am, I had to go try it. I mean, what is Hawaiian Shaved Ice anyways? Okay so my friends were off school for Spring Break so it was perfect timing to have an adventure chasing down a truck. They change locations everyday so you have to check on their website to see what their destinations for the day are. You can visit them at:

So I checked their schedule and got my friends ready to chase them down. The website said there would be in Eagle Rock that day for the first 3 hours. Eagle Rock? Where the hell is that? It has a cool name so whatever right? So having the most awesome friends that will let me drag them into doing whatever I want food related, the Wehebs, bf & I crew went waiting for the truck to stop at Eagle Rock.

Are you seeing double? Don't worry your eyes are fine. Those are indeed 2 different times I chased after a shaved ice truck 1 day apart from each other. So obviously you can tell the shaved ice was really good! First picture is me with the Wehebs & 2nd is my cousins posing in front of the truck when it came to Chatsworth a day closer. On a side note, while we were in Eagle Rock we literally saw 8 or more cop cars light up. After Rna & Weheb got home to tell the story to Papa Weheb, apparently we shouldn't have been in Eagle Rock. Can you say Compton what what? But I'm happy to report we're all alive and will continue to follow the truck-just at other locations and not at Eagle Rock for safety reasons. No wonder why there were so many cop cars....So onto the ice!
Here are the most popular flavors at Get Shaved. I'd recommend trying these if you are gonna try them. Left is strawberry & Banana Shave Ice over Vanilla Ice Cream topped with Sweetened Condensed Milk. It's called Monkey Brains. It was delicious! Melted in your mouth! I really liked how they used condensed milk because a lot of non-asian desserts don't use it. Right is another delicious favorite. It's a Root Beer Float also topped with sweetened condensed milk. They have 4 different sizes and even the biggest size is under $4! What a steal. And it's even a show just watching the guy pack all the ice into the little cup. Trust me-you are getting a lot of ice in that thing! So as you can tell, I took my cousins back to Get Shaved a day later and we decided to try some other flavors. At first one of my cousins said she wouldn't eat any because she had just gotten her wisdom teeth taken out that morning and she still had cotton balls in her mouth. But one she took a bite of Get Shaved, she managed to eat it! It's a miracle!
Left is the Monkey Brains again, Center is the Island Breeze & Right is the Passion Nut. The Island Breeze is Mango flavored with Coconut & Guava Shaved Ice over Vanilla Ice Cream and the Passion Nut is Passion Fruit, Coconut and Melona over Vanilla Ice Cream. There's a bunch of other combination choices and if you can't find something you like, you can create it! My favorite is still the Monkey Brains though and Root Bear float. I think the condensed milk just does it for me. You can also add red beans and ling he mu powder to it! And here's the trick. Check their website and get to the location before they are supposed to be there. Or else, you'll be stuck in an hour long line!
And while we were getting shaved ice, my cousin mentioned she never had anything from the Kogi Taco Truck. So... of course we waited in line for food and left the swollen cousin in the car. We got Korean Tacos and Korean Sliders. I still think Kogi is overrated and they seriously need to do something about their lines. To see what I ate from them last time & an even better taco truck with no lines click here.
And then for the first day of truck chasing, we decided to celebrate our shaved ice victory by doing okonomiyaki at Gaja. Though my BFF Weheb looks pro here, we failed. We ended up ordering an monjayaki--essentially a liquid version of okonomiyaki and that was way too difficult to cook on our own. Click here to see my last visit here when we didn't fail. The pancake on the right looks so good because the kitchen made it for us.

I am so lucky to live in LA because there are a bunch of really popular food trucks. I have a list of 3 so far that I need to try so I'm hoping to be able to try those soon. As for now, I'm content in trying to chase down Get Shaved at least once a week. My advice is to skip the Kogi truck. There's a bunch of resturants that do the whole Korean taco thing so go to one of those instead-but GET SHAVED! Happy Eatings!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Hellllllooooooooooo L.A.!

(view from Neptune's Net)
Finally after a month of traveling throughout Hong Kong, Taiwan, & Singapore I was finally home, sweet home. My schedule was intense for the past few months. It looked something like this.

  • Early December-Early January=Hong Kong
  • Early January-Early February= L.A.
  • February-March= Back to Hong Kong, off to Taiwan, stop by Singapore, back to Taiwan & then back home.
So what was the first thing I had to eat?
First Lunch Back in the U.S.: Seafood in Mailbu!
Personally I don't really care for the beach because I don't like getting wet or dirty. Plus, my family yells at me each time I get tanner than my usual shade-but Neptune's Net is apparently the place to go. Someone in my group of friends reccomended it years ago and I just haven't ever made time to go try it. And how did they find out about this supposedly awesome place? From the horrifically craptastic movie-Fast & Furious.
Luckily the food was no where close to being as craptastic as the movie. Left was the bf's order of fried clams, shrimp, & fries and right was my fish & chips. Food was great but I don't like the beach or traffic so sitting in a car just to get food in an area where there's nothing aside from Pepperdine University & a bunch of surfers sounds pretty boring to me.

First Dinner Back In The U S of the A goes to: The Boiling Crab (Garden Grove location)
This is Boiling Crab. It's famous for Cajun Seafood. The original restaurant is actually in Texas, but the locations in California seem to have been taken over by Asians. The servers, hosts, are all Asian. It's like the new, hip place to go. The customers, though are really diverse because who doesn't love good food? If you live in CA and you've never been to BC, you've seriously been living under a box. Go, now! Oh and by the way the wait for them is typically 1 1/2 hours to 3 hours. Have fun with that. Why? Because their food is THAT good! Who doesn't want to look ridiculous in a bib? Now here's the thing, there one location in Alhambra and one opening soon on Main St. but that restaurant is really small. This was my first time going to the bigger location in Garden Grove and it was huge! Sure the line was still 1 1/2 hours not counting the 1 1/2 hour to drive there but I think from now on I would be willing to drive further to avoid waiting waiting for 3 hours at the Alhambra location. By the way, if anyone from BC reads this... I remember going to you back in the day where there were no lines and you were just a lonely seafood place with no customers. Now that you've blown up, I want a VIP card or something where I don't need to stand in a 2 hour line. Thanks.
Anyways, here is a typical before & after picture of my visits to BC. Left is what they are most famous for. You got their shrimp, clams, sausage, corn, etc. all marinated and set on your table in bags. Fancy, huh? BC also has crawfish, blue crab, regular crab, lobster, etc. Sometimes you can actually see runaway crawfish from the kitchen according to our waiter. Anyways so basically what makes BC so good is that they have a list of seasonings you can choose to have your seafood marinated in. Garlic butter, etc. The best seasoning is appropriately titled "The Whole ShaBang!" Then you choose how spicy you want your seafood. Yum!
Unfortunately, even for those that are regulars at BC, are so concentrated on the normal seafood that they forget about the other awesome parts of BC's menu like-their delicious raw oysters! They even got the sauces ready for you. Right is the gumbo. I was determined to try it after watching The Princess and the Frog (They talk about Gumbo throughout the whole movie), but it was just okay at BC. I've definitely had better. The oysters are a must though!
Here are their chicken wings, fried catfish with cajun fries, and fried calamari. I love their catfish!!! Wings aren't bad either, but the squid was just so so.

It's great to be home and getting McDonald's drive through 24/7 & In & Out Burgers again. Lots of food adventures back in the U.S. to come but don't worry if you're missing my Asia posts because Hong Kong & Beijing trip will be coming again in June. Toodles & Happy Eatings!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Good Bye Taiwan! The Last Supper(s)

Thanks to 888 reader M, I am happy to report that "frog eggs" are not actually frog eggs. After I read her helpful comment, I went to confront my mother on why she didn't correct me when I told her I was drinking frog eggs with boba, she just laughed. Turns out my whole family sucks and thinks it funny to toy with my emotions when it comes to frogs when they KNOW it's a senstive subject for me after my sister screwed me over many years ago. Asses. Props to me for actually trying it though. in my defense there were minuate things of frogs all over this place. I thought that the milk was made with frog eggs and they just added boba. Boba does NOT look like frog eggs, weirdos.
Yum... same rule of the night markets applied to random street carts. The longer the line means get in line! Quick! Here's some freshly steamed yummy pork and cabbage buns! I love street food! Too bad right after we got to the front of the line and finished eating our bun, it was already time for dinner. Wow, eating so much is really a hard job I tell you!
We went to Dou Xiang Cun for dinner, best known for their old school hot pots that still use coal. (It was super hot that night so we didn't get that though) Instead we got the cold noodles on the left and the beef pancake thing on the right.
Their ong choy was pretty good but their spicy pork was bleh. Pity cause that's one of my favorite dishes.
And we finished our last meal with real sweet & sour soup. Panda got nothing on this! One word- LEGIT.

This was our last meal in Taiwan, or so we thought. We were awakened really early the next morning by a phone call for us to grab lunch with a family friend. The mother and I weren't planning on eating that morning until we got to the airport since EVA Airline's lounge in Taipei has the best food. Freshly steamed yam, buns, cakes, etc. But... how could I turn down just one more meal right? I mean so what if I happened to miss our flight? Right?
This is the very well known Lao Deng. It may be a small shack with a very limited menu, but this place is delicious. You also have to be able to eat spicy to come here. The food is not for the weak! Even their side dishes were spicy!
2 different flavors of spicy rice baked to perfection and spicy enough to burn your tongue off! It was like a happy meal. There was surprise yam at the bottom!
Left is some spicy dan dan noodles, a Taiwan speciality and must try! Right is some hong you chao shou aka basically spicy wontons.
And for dessert, we had some doufu hua aka tofu pudding.
And with that our last supper finally came to an end. It was a nice time being back in Taiwan after so long. Can't wait to come back. If you are going to be in Taipei, I have a list of helpful tips you should look over to better allocate your time.

  • Skip the Ding Tai Fung craze and go for some place with better food and no waits. I recommend going with 點水樓 or with or Kao Chi.
  • Make sure to go to at least 2 different night markets to check out what each place sells. Every night market is different. I liked shilin and Tongyuan.
  • Do make sure to allocate at least one entire meal to eating on the street. That's where the best food is.
  • Do go visit Dongque fenyuan for their amazing boba and go 3 doors down to check out the most amazing buns you will ever have. See this post for details.
  • Do try real Taiwanese fruit tea. It's amazing.
  • Do try Two Peck and the most amazing crispy chicken you will ever have. Here
  • Skip Mr. Donut. I don't care how famous it is.
  • Do try Taiwan's famous pepper pork buns and their shallot drabing aka just go eat in the street and you will find a stand.
  • Do try real Stinky Tofu, fried or steamed!
  • Skip the malls. The brand names are all the same and just head to the street!
  • And last tip, try to take EVA Air. They have this class called Deluxe class where you get more space and leg room than economy. You also get to go into their amazing VIP lounge area! It's a Taiwanese airline so they are really good especially in Taiwan.

Oh yeah so I did not take pictures of the VIP room food I stuffed down my stomach because I didn't have time since we were way behind and late since we decided to grab lunch before we left. But!!!! Good news is that we got upgraded to Business Class on the ride back to L.A. which meant... MORE FOOD!

Pate, salad, Ding Tai Fung's Beef Noodle Soup, Steak, etc. They even had abalone! Not bad as a return to the States present to me!

Happy Eatings! See you again soon Taiwan!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back To Taiwan. The Best Food is From a Dirty Cart!

So once we touched down to Taipei, the mother and I were ready to make the most of our time remaining since no we didn't have to censor our eating habits with Grandma gone! Whoot! By the way, I can't wait til my recaps in Taipei are over so I can get onto the adventures I've been having back in L.A.! Don't want to ruin it for you-but my friends and I got the most amazing Hawaiian shaved ice last night from a... TRUCK! Awesome.
We literally just got off the plane and headed to this place. That is all tea that you see. This place specializes in flower tea! I bought so much to bring home. So far, I've tried blueberry, strawberry, & apple tea!

Night 1: Shilin Night Market!!! Night market=Food!!!! The rule of the night was to look for whatever cart had the most lines and just get in line! Doesn't matter what it is!
Check out our Shallot drabing! However, while some things looked super delicious...
Others did not. Wow, frog eggs. (see sign above) Wow, indeed. Plus, there was no line in front of them but I don't think I would have tried them anyways even if they did due to my fear of frogs.
But some things did look deliciously intriguing like the man making squid hot dogs. Sure it was kinda weird that the sausage was black, but that was the fun of it!
Ooh but look! A humungous line and even a newspaper article on them? Get in line!!! Baked/Fried Chicken! It was delicious. The batter was so good you could eat it by yourself! Apparently my mom hates stinky tofu so she wasn't willing to share one with me. =[
Left is sugar cane being grilled on a stove and right is the boba I got. Rainbow colored boba! It was calling to me. I had to get it! By the way, I wish they had tables or something at the night markets. It's really hard to eat and hold onto a gazillion things at one time. Plus, Taiwan literally has like one trash can every 3 streets. Stupid idea. Where the hell are people supposed to put their trash?
Here's our order of pepper buns! Delicious! Freshly made pork buns filled with loads of cabbage and pepper! Yum! Wish they had that in the U.S.!

Day 2: More food! So apparently my mom went to the "IT" high school. All her ex-classmates are all now rich and famous. I really don't get why she doesn't try and get some freebies or nice hookups from them. It's getting ridiculous! Grrr Mother! So anyways my mom, mom's friend, and I went to get lunch at Shanghai Shanghai in Sogo aka 紅豆府. This place is like THE place to go in Taiwan. You're typical overpriced Chinese food that you treat people out to. So apparently my mom's classmate's sister open it. WTH? Why are we standing in line? Why are we paying?
Left is our order of scallion panckes. Right is our river shrimp stir fried. It may look like Mac & Cheese but this baby was delish! Mini little shrimps!
Here is our red kernels with cubed chinese ham and our crab sauteed with fermented soy beann paste with rice cakes. Basically the first is an order of mini peas. So small and tasty. Imagine your usual pea size and divide that by 1/2 or more!
Red dates stuffed with sticky rice! Yummy yummy!

And of course in typical fashion, my mother decided to use none of her connections to get our bill paid. Not even try for 10% off. She seriously sucks. But at least it was then time for more food in Sogo!
So this is Mr. Donut. They are the shit in Taiwan. It's actually a Japanese company but you know them Taiwanese love anything Japanese. Their most popular donut is the one we bought on the right. They changed your typical chewy donut recipe to fit for Asian taste buds that don't want a heart attack. I thought they would just add less sugar but no... their donuts tasted like mochi. NOT COOL. Please don't ruin my donut experience. But at least I can say I tried it. So yeah I tried it.
My mom's friend wanted to take us to a historical place while we were in Taiwan. *Yawn* Seriously do people not get that we don't care about history? I want food! The white building in the first picture was taken at the Sun Yat Sen Music Hall. So yay cool... let's move on. So the most historically important place that I had to hit while I was in Taiwan, was the original 85C! Duh! Not as amazing as Irvine it pains me to admit- but they have better fruit tea than we do!

My Taiwan adventures will commence in my next post. How exciting! See how I ended my trip next time! Happy Eatings! Here's a spoiler.... it is entirely possible that during my last day in Taiwan I had some bizarre foods. *Gasps* Possibly something I have a fear of...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Singapore Days 2 & 3... Time Is Running Out! Eat!!!

Me at Blue Ginger! Very yummy restaurant.

Before we were able to enjoy Blue Ginger (that delicious picture of me above), we had to hang out with family friends that haven't seen us in awhile. They took us to the very snazzy Fullerton Hotel for a all you can eat buffet. Blah... I only took 2 pictures of my meal because I was so bummed that this food was wasting my stomach space. Nothing wrong with the food, it's just that I'd much rather be eating stingray and tiger prawns all day!
At least the hotel had some Chendol dessert.
We then got a tour of Santosa. Santosa used to be super far from the city. You had to take a tram/cable car to get there. Now it's only a 10 minute drive. They built mansions next to the casinos and over water so they'd have more space. Snazzy... but seriously where's the food??? We finally got a chance to go back to our hotel and prepare for our amazing dinner. My mom found Blue Ginger through Chinese Newspapers in Hong Kong that said it was amazing, but a tad expensive. I was super excited.
We stepped into the nice, but super tiny Blue Ginger. All the tables were full. We had to wait a bit, but once we got in... we were presented with this chili and cabbage. There's the little orange thing to squeeze into the chili as well.
Let's start off with my order of fresh Sugarcane Juice mixed with their orange thingys. The official name is calamansi.
Left was our order of stir fried prawns in hot & spicy chili paste and right was our tofu in spicy gravy sauce.
Left was our shredded bamboo shoots and turnips garnished in pie tee cups. Right is ong choy and sweet potato cooked in cocounut milk with shrimp and chili paste. The little tarts melt in your mouth. They were so good!
We were stuffed but wow the dessert menu looked so good! Momma got  the Durian Chendol on the left and I got the Red beans and pandan jelly in coconut milk on the right. After momma finished her shaved ice, she was "curious" on how good my dessert was so she ordered another one for herself. This place was seriously so good! I'm definitely bringing my sister back here next time she goes to Singapore. BOMB! And yes it was a tad pricy. The bill came out to around $55 US for us. 

DAY 3: Schedule-Get the hell up! 
We need to eat before we hop on the plane back to Taipei!!! The food courts didn't open until 10:30 and we had to leave the hotel by 11. 
The mother and I were on a mad dash to eat as much as we could in the little time that we had. Left is the cake menu we got to choose from and right is the blueberry cake we usually buy.
And of course the mother couldn't resist stopping by her Durian stand again for fresh durian pancakes.
I knew I had to try Kaya Toast since I was in Singapore. Too bad I was disappointed. Boo. Til this day the best Kaya Butter Toast I've had was in Thailand. 
Here's my order of pandan cakes. They were smoking hot when I got them! Yum!
And last but not least, momma was still on her journey to try every single bok bia place she could find.

So with that, my trip in Singapore quickly came to an end and we were going back to Taipei, Taiwan for a few more days before returning back to SoCal. Bye bye Singapore! See you soon!
Happy Eatings!