Your Shakshuka Fix – Café Méricourt

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They say Café Méricourt has the best shakshuka in town and it shows: the line was a good 20-30 minutes long on that Sunday morning. However, as I approached the café, I saw a queue that was shorter than I had imagined. Little did I know, it had ‘potential’. Wink*

It was freezing and the sudden drop in temperature had taken us all by surprise. We were shivering and shaking as we greeted each other and quickly caught up over the events of the past week.

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Finally we were ushered in and shown to a table for three. The ambiance was warm and cosy, the slightly rustic but also bright and simple décor contributing to the overall feel of the restaurant. The menus were placed in front of us and we were given ample time before the waiter came around to take our orders.

Truth be told, the service was rather slow and not particularly friendly but as it was a busy morning, I can understand. However, in my mind, no matter how slow you are in serving the coffee, they should all be served at the same time. Not two first and the last ten minutes later but perhaps that’s just me being picky. The food was served at the same time though.

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We had all ordered the small shakshuka which was more than sufficient. The dish was served in a mini pan with a portion of yoghurt littered with nuts that was a delicious and light counterpart to the shakshuka that was heavy in spices and flavour. In addition, the bread was EXCEPTIONALLY good and this deserves a special mention of its own.

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In conclusion, does Café Méricourt deserve its title as one of the best brunches in Paris? I would say yes! For the ridiculously affordable price point (10 euros for a shakshuka + 4 euros for the coffee), it makes my list and I will definitely be returning to try its other equally well-known dish: the breakfast roll at only 8,50 euros!

See you soon~!

Address: 22 Rue de la Folie Méricourt, 75011 Paris
To learn more about Café Méricourt:
Official Website (check out the menu here!)
’21 Totally Unmissable Brunches in Paris’ – Timeout Paris

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Street Bangkok Local Food – Imaginez…Bangkok…Ses rues électriques…

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Paris has never experienced a shortage of exotic cuisines and flavours and Street Bangkok is a perfect example of why.

Its simple, trendy and hip decor topped off with the typical tables, chairs and utensils that one would usually find at a food stand in Thailand complete the whole vibe.

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However, what truly brings the place together is still, of course, the food.

The richness of the spicy curry sauce, the aroma of the white rice with its condiments of coriander and cucumber, the affordable price point and its generous portions.

Sadly, they no longer offer khao man gai which is the most common street food one could have in the alleys of Bangkok. Another point worth noting is that the poulet grill on their “hot” menu is not a typical Thai dish and is never served with rice. Instead it is a BBQ starter (chicken satay with peanut sauce) to be enjoyed with a cold beer. Regardless, this momentary lapse of authenticity doesn’t take away from the taste.

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If you have a moment and a craving for Thai food, and if you are conveniently around Canal St. Martin, Bastille or metro Etienne Marcel, make sure you go in for a tasty experience that will transport you to the tropics of Thailand.

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Street Bangkok Local Food
Official website: www.streetbangkok.fr
Canal St. Martin address: 3 Rue Eugène Varlin, 75010 Paris
Bastille address: 13 Rue de la Roquette, 75011 Paris
Etienne address: 112 Rue Saint-Denis, 75002 Paris

Developing My Aquatic Addiction At Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產

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One of the things that I missed the most while in Paris was good, affordable, fresh sushi. Unfortunately, you have one of three options: 1) pseudo-Japanese restaurants 2) chain store sushi places and 3) super expensive Japanese owned sushi restaurants that will easily cost you over 100 euros for two.
Luckily, France is well-known for some of the world’s best seafood so I was able to quench my cravings at places like Bar à iode.

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However, nothing beats Taipei’s Fish Market in terms of affordability and taste. As a veteran, I have tried all four restaurants and feel sufficiently informed to give an opinion.
Legend has it that they were going to demolish the building when it was bought and turned into the seafood paradise we have now; a bit like La Felicità in Paris. The entire space has been divided into the Supermarket, the Sushi Bar, the Seafood Bar, the Charcoal Grilled, the Hot Pot and Trésors de la Mer.

Now, there are a few ways you could go about eating your seafood. You could simply grab a couple goodies from the supermarket where they provide everything from miso soup, salmon rice, mentaiko grilled salmon, nigiri, sashimi and grilled meats – which is what I did today as I was short on time – or you could sit yourself down at one of the many restaurants in the Fish Market, except for the Seafood and Sushi Bar where they were going for more of a standing sushi bar/sushi on the go concept.

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Trésors de la Mer has got to be my favourite as they do everything from seafood platters to hot pot. It is a three floor restaurant on the far end of the Fish Market that overlooks the Charcoal Grilled. The Charcoal Grilled comes in at a close second because having a mini barbecue on your table in an open space amidst all the fairy lights with a huge screen showing old, black and white movies makes for a beautiful summer moment and scores high on the originality scale but lacks the appeal of raw seafood. The Hot Pot rates even lower on my list because hot pot places in Taipei are as numerous as the stars in the sky. However, it needs to be said that both the Hot Pot and the Charcoal Grilled provide quality ingredients and excellent service.

Regardless of whether you end up munching on a skewer stick or swallowing French imported Gillardeau oysters whole, a trip to Taipei is not complete without visiting its Fish Market.

Aquatic Addiction Development 三井 上引水產
Address: No. 18, Alley 2, Lane 410, Minzu East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 10491
Official Website: http://www.addiction.com.tw/

Recommended by CNN – Smoothie House

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This is SO three years ago and I know I’m late to the party but adverts for the best shaved ice in Taipei are still up in Dongmen MRT station. They stretch for metres along the escalators and they all say one thing, “Recommended by CNN“. Smoothie House is also referred to by locals as “the famous shaved ice place” and rightly so as it was packed with tourists and the staff are trained to speak English.

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Taiwan has always been the stuff of tropical fruit dreams so it wasn’t a surprise that their Super Mango Snowflake Ice is highly recommended. We took one of those and a Yoghurt Berry Snowflake Ice, both around 220NTD.


Smoothie House definitely lives up to expectations with flavours that are natural and fruits that are freshly bought from local farms. You don’t feel an overload of sugar when you finish the bowl but sharing is advised as portions are quite large. Shaved ice is a must for anyone visiting Taiwan!

Address: No.15, Yongkang St., Da’an Dist., Taipei City 10650, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Telephone: +886-2-2341-6161
Opening hours: AM 9:30 ~ PM 11:00

The Epitome of Instagram-worthy: Drunk Café

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After a meticulous search across the worldwide web, Wendy came up with this gorgeous location. My phone vibrated continuously as the pictures came in; it looked perfect!
“Wonderful! See you on Sunday!!” I typed back.

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Sunday night and I was the first to arrive. The café was gorgeous with its fairy lights hanging from the black ceiling like a thousand stars, throw pillows adorning every sofa and armchair. The feathered ceiling lamps were like something from an interior design magazine and the whole effect was completed with neon signs.

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I was rather surprised that the place seemed much smaller than in the pictures but it turned out that half the café was closed due to renovations…

The food is standard with prices that are quite affordable (NT$320 for the spaghetti, NT$200 for a glass of white wine) but I’m sure the majority of clients come back mainly for the decor and perhaps the cocktails on their lengthy and impressive list but I have yet to try those.

All in all, it is the perfect place to catch up with the girls over a drink and to take a few (or a couple) Instagram photos. Wink*
Sadly, I wouldn’t recommend Drunk Café for dinner as the tables are quite low which makes it impractical for eating but mainly because it really is more of a beverages and snacks establishment than a proper, full-on restaurant.

Regardless, it is definitely worth a visit.

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Drunk Café
Address: No. 9, Lane 116, Guangfu South Road, Da’an District, Taipei City, 106
Telephone: 02 2731 8787

 

A Michelin Star Experience in Taipei – Longtail

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Quite frankly, many people would be surprised to know we have a couple Michelin star restaurants in this island city. After all, we’re not as renowned as the French for our cuisine, neither are we as international as other cities, like Hong Kong, for example.

This year, Longtail was awarded one Michelin star along with 17 other restaurants in Taipei so imagine my excitement after a year abroad! Sadly, I was too busy catching up and focusing on the food to take photos of the decor which was simple, chic and straightforward. Nothing too fancy or fussy.

So why is it called Longtail?

When I was asking for the WIFI password which was “blue magpie”, I misheard it as “blue may pie” at first and had asked the waitress in a joking manner, “Why blue may pie? Does the owner like to eat it?”
She smiled and responded professionally, “I have no idea but I will ask for you.” And off she went.
A few minutes later she explained that as the national bird of Taiwan is the blue magpie and due to the length of its tail, the restaurant was therefore named: LONGTAIL. I thought it was an adorable detail so I thought I might add it in here.

Walking into the restaurant, you are met with the bar which looks refined and upscale with its standard wall of whiskeys, gins, liqueurs and bartenders in uniform. Longtail has a lovely selection of wine from almost everywhere, not just France, which often tends to be the case in Taipei. I was pleased to see they had a lovely, affordable bottle of Nero d’Avola from Sicily as well.

The meal consisted of six starters due to my friend’s suggestion; he’d been here a couple times so I thought it wise to just follow his advice. Apparently their starters are far more superior to their mains…

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We started with the kanpachi sashimi whose light, fresh flavours made it the perfect début and a beautiful introduction for the stronger flavours of the uni and crispy nori rice entrée which were pungent and present.

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Next was the fig toast with ricotta cheese. This was the dish that introduced me to ‘lemon balm’. How did it take me 24 years of life to discover this gorgeous grass?!

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Then came a delicate plate of charred foie gras dumplings with sweet corn sauce which was definitely an interesting pairing and a memorable dish! Who would’ve thought?! Foie gras, a Christmas favourite and a fairly expensive, luxury food item with everyday, ordinary sweet corn. Genius.

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After that innovative piece were the shrimp sliders. This is probably the most sophisticated burger I have ever eaten in my life. So much hard work and care had been put into every layer that it was almost a pity to finish it off!

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Last but not least, the crunchy soft shell crab with its spectacular salted egg yolk sauce. What a twist the sauce was! It certainly brought the dish together and was definitely something I had never tried before. I particularly appreciated the greens that accompanied the crab bringing with it a lightness that counteracted the greasiness often associated with anything fried.

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Conclusion: divine; both the service and the food.
I read someone else’s blog post about their experience at Longtail and they had complained about the service, but apparently that was when the restaurant had first opened so perhaps there was some tweaking to be done. I can testify that the service is currently top notch! What a wonderful re-introduction to the gastronomic scene of Taipei!

Click here to check out the Longtail menu
For reservations: +886 2 2732 6616
Address: No. 174, Sec. 2, Dunhua S. Road, Da’an District, Taipei

 

 

 

A Little Slice of Italy at La Felicita

Prepare to feast your eyes on the biggest restaurant in Europe~

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La Felicita, from the successful restaurant group Big Mamma, is a DIY, self-service, food market type restaurant in the 13th arrondissement. This huge space is creatively decorated with greenery, fairy lights and food stands. You can find seats everywhere, even in the library area on the second floor which gives you a gorgeous view of the entire space and is the perfect spot for a cosy cocktail.

While queuing up outside, the staff will hand out menus for you to browse as well as a map. You see, the thing is, every food stand offers something different. It might sound like a hassle but the food hunt if actually quite fun! Be weary of going during the weekend as the line was around 30-35 minutes long and would be rather tedious without friends to chat with.

Once the three of us had found a table, we sat down to ponder over the menu. It was decided that we would be having the BBQ ribs (12 euros), the truffle pasta (16 euros), a starter consisting of burrata and fennel saucisson (12 euros – 6 euros for each ingredient) as well as one bottle of white wine (which later became two bottles! – 19 euros for rosé and 21 for white). This added up to approximately 21 euros per person! Not bad especially for the quality of the food: fresh and delicious!

Also, the bar is probably one of the most impressive I’ve seen with hundreds of bottles of alcohol beautifully displayed on its shelves. The toilets are no exception – say hello to your childhood friends, ‘Ken and Barbie’ who will greet you at the door.

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Frankly, 5 out of 5 for this establishment! I will definitely be going back!

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