|Enjoying a private hot spring room at the|
Grand View Resort in the Beitou District of Taipei, Taiwan
Tina, of Taipei Eats, had brought us to Bear Cuisine for Taiwan's famous soup dumplings rather than the Michelin starred chef's Din Tai Fung, which has now become sort of a chain. She had asked if we would do a taste test. Why yes! Yes I will; especially so because we are meeting Tina later that evening to try out another night market, Ningxia, which is smaller, but known for the best "old school" offerings.
|They must of thought I was a rookie at Din Tai Fung: |
They gave us Soup Dumpling Eating Instructions.
The next day we decided to take it slow (OK, I had to catch up on work) and then headed out to have my daughter's nails done. One problem: There was a bit of "Lost in Translation" for in Taipei "extensions" are for eye lashes, not nails. So when we walked into the recommended salon, as arranged by the hotel, they were puzzled. Why would my daughter need eyelash extensions? So off we went...and then the skies opened and it was pouring rain.
|Hello Kitty Restaurant, Taipei, Taiwan|
|The Perfect Hello Kitty Milkshake|
|Hello Kitty bun aside, a pretty good soft shell crab sandwich|
The reporter mentioned that they were going to be Modern Toilet that evening. I instantly recalled that it was mentioned by Anthony Bourdain in his Taiwan episode. I was going to give that a miss, but when I mentioned it to my 19 year old son he said it was world famous and I had to go. So to speak, "When you gotta go, you gotta go".
While the concept of dining on toilets and eating food out of a toilet or shaped like poop is not my idea of adventurous dining, I took one for the family team.
|I didn't have it in me to lift the toilet seat!|
|Modern Toilet's table. What can I say?|
|Modern Toilet's take on a hot pot: Toilet Bowl Dining. |
Note the urinal: You get it to drink your soda out of.
The next day was another fashion show at Taipei in Style, this time focused on Japanese and Taiwanese designers. Sitting in the front row was a blast!
And then it was time. Time for one of my Top 5 dining experiences. Tucked down a backstreet near the Regent Taipei is a restaurant Tina, of Taipei Eats, says is her father's favorite restaurant for authentic Taiwanese cuisine: Mountain and Sea House.
The restaurant is low key with three large, family style, tables and three small tables for up to four people. No tablecloths. No fancy waiters. No wine list. Oh, but the food. My biggest problem was that its best sounding soups were only prepared for those large tables.
We started with a sashimi platter that words and photographs just don't do justice. The blending of flavors, the marinated hard claims, abalone, prawns and variety of fish was simply amazing.
|Mountain and Sea House's sashimi platter |
was the best variety, blending of flavors and quality I have ever enjoyed.
|Mountain and Sea House fish: Amazing|
The next day, our last day, we arranged for a second hot spring private bath at the Grand View Resort. We didn't really know what to expect, but Villa 32 (which was our first experience) was shutdown not only for corruption charges, but being involved with a spy ring and illegally tapping into the hot springs and more, so it was not an option. We were not disappointed!
We arrived and were taken to a beautiful, very Zen, two room suite with a tea room and a bath. And the volcanic spring water was totally different; this having a more sulfur smell and was milky white while our first experience was a high iron content experience.
After two hours of bliss it was time to return to the Regent Taipei and then head off to the airport for our China Airlines non-stop flight back to New York.
What can I say? From street food to high fashion, incredible luxury to unusual and cheap dining experiences, Taipei offered up a very friendly, diverse and enjoyable experience.
But most of all, it offered up a great Father-Daughter Experience. Who knew?