Bled Castle Restaurant – A magical meal in a fairytale-like setting

Food is such an integral part of our travel experience. We’ve noticed that taste is usually sub par when it comes to restaurants with a view, but this is not the case at Bled Castle Restaurant. Whether it’s the food, service, or the ambiance, it is without a doubt the best restaurant in Slovenia.

Read more: The best rated hotel in Slovenia

Imagine indulging in delicious food and drinks in a real castle overlooking a gorgeous lake as the sun sets. I’m being dead serious when I say ourculinary experience at Bled Castle Restaurant was far superior than some of the Michelin starred restaurants we’ve dined at. There’s really nothing to fault!

The Best Restaurant in Slovenia – Bled Castle Restaurant

Space & Ambiance

Located in Bled Castle, the restaurant has an indoor space seating 96 guests, with an additional outdoor terrace that can accommodate up to 100 guests. The window and terrace seats offer an unbeatable view of the turquoise Bled Lake.

Note: If you book your lunch or dinner in advance, you receive a free entrance to Bled Castle.

Tip: Book faaaar in advance if you want the best table in the house- the corner table right on the edge of the castle wall.

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 30
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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 20
Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 21

Read more: Day trip to Predjama Castle and Postojna Cave

Food

Led by a team of culinary professionals from Jezeršek catering, Bled Castle Restaurant offers traditional Slovene dishes with an innovative and sophisticated twist. The menu changes every season using only fresh ingredients. Flavours are bold and you can taste each ingredient for what they really are.

Staff & Service

One word: top-notch; the entire team is extremely kind and professional. We were greeted with a warm welcome the moment we set foot in the restaurant. An added bonus? Every single staff is eye candy (even AS thinks so).

Our lovely waiter for the night was Matic who took great care of us, making our evening truly unforgettable. He’s knowledgeable not only in wines, but also the ingredients used in each dish. Timing is everything when it comes to fine-dining. Our guy knew exactly when to take away an empty plate and when to introduce the next course.

Tasting Menu

After a glass of sparkling wine and amuse bouche, we were whisked away to an evening of culinary delights: the tasting menu with wine pairings. We found the portions to be very generous; neither quality nor quantity was compromised. Each dish was beautifully presented with flavour profiles that complement one another.

– Amuse Bouche and Soup –

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 9
  • Deep fried meatball: Bite-sized meaty goodness with just the right amount of seasoning.
  • Carrot soup with scallop: Scallop is firm on the exterior and soft on the inside, with an explosion of flavour as you bite into it. Soup is creamy and light. The parsley oil drizzle is genius!

– Cold Starters –

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 6
  • Marinated red trout fillet in yogurt mousse with horseradish, green apple and radish: Fresh, tangy, and slightly spicy with a nice kick.
  • Smoked beef tongue with crispy courgettes, sour red onion and mustard dressing: Who can say no to melt-in-your-mouth beef? The courgette complemented the smokiness of the meat and added a nice crunch.

 – Main Course –

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  • Angler’s tail on mashed vegetables, saffron sauce and green bean salad: Perfectly cooked fish that has a lobster-like texture. If you like monkfish you’ll love this.
  • Slow cooked beef cheeks with spring vegetables and parmesan croquettes: So, so tender. Our teeth sunk into it as if it were butter.

– Dessert – 

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia 13
  • Strawberry trifle with panna cotta and tarragon macaron: We usually aren’t big fans of panna cotta or macarons but we wanted more of this! Who knew tarragon could work so well in a dessert?
  • Chocolate mousse with forest fruit ice cream: Rich in cocoa yet light in texture. Chocolately sweet with a balanced nicely with tartness from the berries.

Read more: Where to stay in Ljubljana, Slovenia

Bled Castle Restaurant – The Best restaurant in Slovenia

  • Hours of operation: Daily from 11am-10pm
  • Reservations: Email meta@jezersek.si or call +386 (0)4 620 34 44. They do not take same-day reservations.
  • Location: In Bled Castle! If you’re walking from the lake keep in mind the uphill trail has lots of stairs.
  • For more information and current menus, please visit Jezeršek Catering’s official website, Instagram, and Facebook pages.

Disclaimer: Many thanks to Jezeršek Catering for hosting our meal at Bled Castle Restaurant, hands down the best restaurant in Slovenia we’ve dined at during our time there. As always, our opinions and experiences are honest and our own- we wouldn’t recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves!

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Kollecting Koordinates - best restaurant in Slovenia

Fly away to Neverland! The most whimsical afternoon tea in VancouverKollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

“All you need is faith and trust, and a little bit of pixie dust!”… Except you don’t need pixie dust to find this particular Neverland! Inspired by Parisian salons from the 18th century, Neverland Tea Salon is the brainchild of owners Teri and Renee. Treat yo’self and don’t miss this themed tea house when you’re in Vancouver.

Living up to its name, Neverland is the most whimsical tea house in town. We had high expectations after hearing about our friends’ experiences and surely enough, it didn’t disappoint! Even Peter Pan himself would approve.

Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

Neverland Tea Salon – high tea in Vancouver

AMBIANCE & SPACE

Much like Sir J. M. Barrie’s Neverland, the decor here is as nonsensical as it gets- in a good way, of course.

There’s something spellbinding about this tea house, from the vintage furniture to the quirky chandeliers, to the teacups hanging from the ceiling. Perhaps the magic is cast by pretty scribbles on the walls; quotes from the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up. You’ll notice that no two chairs or teacups are alike. Nothing matches and yet somehow, everything works!

Whether you’re riding solo or with your crew, there are tables for parties of all sizes. I can’t think of a venue more fun in Vancouver to celebrate a special occasion. I wish I had known about Neverland Tea Salon when I had my bridal shower!

Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

READ MORE: Where to stay in Vancouver

FOOD – NEVERLAND GRANDE HIGH TEA

We each ordered the Neverland Grande High Tea: 5 savoury and 5 sweet courses. All their delicious finger sandwiches and pastries are made in-house. I gotta say, the quality of afternoon tea at Neverland Tea Salon is definitely one of the best in Vancouver.

The savoury sandwiches are tasty with a novel twist, like the egg salad combo with Thai red curry and mango chutney. AS really enjoyed the truffled croissant-wich; it was flavourful and flaky without being greasy. I loved their scones with house-made strawberry jam… so much so I ate AS’s share too.

There was so much food we had to pack a few pieces to go. Can’t eat too much in one sitting? Try the Demi-Tea option. Vegetarian and gluten-/dairy-free menus are also available if you have dietary restrictions. 

Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

TEA SELECTION

The Neverland Grande High Tea menu comes with never-ending pots of teas. The teas are bottomless, which means you can try as many as you like from over 60 teas! You can also purchase packs of loose leaf tea to enjoy at home.

We sampled 4 different teas: Almond Joy, Pixie Dust, Peter’s Promise, and our personal favourite- Take Me to Neverland. Each had a distinct flavour without being overwhelming. The teas are steeped at the main counter so let your server know about your preferences in advance.

Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

Neverland Tea Salon

LOCATION

Situated in Kitsilano, Neverland Tea Salon is easily accessible by public transit (buses 009, 014, B-99). Those with a car can find plenty of metered parking on the streets. If you don’t mind walking a few blocks there’s free parking on West 10th.

Address: 3066 West Broadway, Vancouver

HOURS OF OPERATION

Monday-Friday: 11AM-6PM, Saturday: 9AM-7PM, Sunday: 9AM-6PM

Reservations are highly recommended, especially if you want to be seated in the comfy pink couches! To see their full menus and for more information, visit their official website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

Disclaimer: We received complimentary tasting at Neverland Tea Salon. However, these honest opinions are our own and we would never recommend something if we didn’t love it ourselves! 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Neverland Tea Salon

 

Recipe: Homemade 32-layer Uji matcha mille crêpeKollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

Why spend money on Lady M when you can make your own mille crepe at home? 20 layers? Pft, check out this 32-layer homemade matcha mille crepe recipe. It’s SUPER easy, but also super time consuming.

This recipe makes a 6″ cake with 32 layers. Put your own spin on it; use this base recipe to make any flavour you fancy (i.e. chocolate, earl grey, matcha, original + fruit, etc).

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

Mille crepe recipe

Ingredients

BATTER

  • 45g unsalted butter
  • 350g milk (almond or soy milk also works)
  • 3 eggs
  • 110g flour (I used 50g cake flour and 60g bread flour because I don’t have AP flour)
  • 50g sugar
  • pinch of salt

For this matcha mille crepe recipe I added 3 heaping spoons of Uji matcha we brought back from Kyoto.

FILLING

  • 400ml whipping cream
  • As much/little icing sugar depending on your sweetness preference
  • Matcha powder to taste (substitute for cocoa powder, vanilla, or whatever flavour you like)

Read more: How to see Kyoto in 2 days

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

Uji matcha from Kyoto Japan

Prep work

BATTER

  1. Melt butter on the stove top in a small saucepan over medium heat, remove from heat once it turns slightly brown
  2. Heat milk in microwave on high for 1-2min
  3. Whisk eggs, flour, sugar, salt, and matcha powder in a big bowl
  4. Add butter and milk to mixture, whisk until smooth
  5. Chill batter in the fridge for at least 2 hours

Note: Chilling lets the gluten relax which improves the flavor and texture of your crepes. I’ve made batter before without letting it chill and the texture was slightly rubbery… so be patient and allow the gluten work its magic!

FILLING

  1. Chill mixer bowl and whisks in fridge for at least 20 minutes
  2. Whisk whipping cream, sugar and matcha powder in cold bowl on high speed until stiff peaks form

Directions

  1. Remove batter from fridge and stir thoroughly (always stir before making the next crêpe)
  2. Heat a 6″ non-stick pan on low heat, brush pan with a very thin layer of oil
  3. Scoop batter with a small ladle into the pan and swirl it around to coat entire surface (it’s all in the wrist!)
  4. Loosen the sides with chopsticks and flip the crêpe after 45 seconds or so, until the top dries
  5. Cook for another 30 seconds and remove crêpe from pan
  6. Repeat until all layers are done! You should be able to make 32 layers with this recipe
  7. Assemble; spread a thin layer of cream on crêpe. Repeat
  8. Chill cake in fridge for 2+ hours. Dust with icing sugar and matcha powder before serving!

Tip: Remove pan from heat when you add and swirl the batter. This will prevent your crêpe from cooking too quickly.

Tip: Make sure you cook the crêpes on low heat, otherwise the crêpe won’t cook evenly.

Tip: Remove pan from heat when you flip. The easiest way is to loosen the edges with chopsticks, gently pick up the crêpe with your fingertips and flip, and smooth it out with a spatula.

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

a small ladle of batter for each crêpe

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

use chopsticks to lift the sides, gently pick crêpe up with finger tips and flip, even out with a spatula

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

suuuuuuper thin crepes!

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

spread a thin layer of cream in between each crêpe

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

dust with matcha powder and ta-da! Youre done!

Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

cross-section of this 32-layer baby

Make sure you let the batter chill in the fridge! I made this strawberry and kiwi mille crepe without chilling and while it was good, it was on the rubbery side. Look at the difference in the texture and thickness.Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

The finished product: super soft, melt in your mouth homemade matcha mille crepe!Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

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Kollecting Koordinates - mille crepe recipe

Eating like a local in Belize – cheap eats and where to find them!Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize

wPigging out is a huge part of traveling for us. I’m a picky eater so I was worried I’d only be eating rice and beans in Belize, but boy was I wrong! Because of the blend of ethnic groups in Belize, Belizean cuisine features the same mix of flavours and ingredients. A sprinkle of Mexico, a dash of El Savador, a tablespoon of Guatemala, and a few drops of the Caribbeans. Heck, they even had bubble tea! We’ve put together a list of things to eat in Belize without breaking your wallet, and where to find everything.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize

Know before you go:

  • Both Belizean Dollars (BZD) and US Dollars are accepted; the currency conversion is 2BZD = 1USD
  • Menus are in BZD; tipping is not mandatory but it’s nice to round up
  • Seafood and chicken are a lot more common than beef and pork
  • San Pedro = Ambergris Caye
  • Caye is pronounced ‘key’, not ‘kay’
  • Lobster fest takes places every July
  • Rum & coke and Belikin beer are the cheapest boozie options

Cheap local things to eat in Belize

Chocolate. Chocolate everything

We all know that Guatemala produces some of the world’s best chocolates, but did you know Belize’s chocolates are just as good as its neighbour’s? Chocolate was invented by the ancient Maya, who ruled the lands of Guatemala and Belize thousands of years ago. Belizean cacao, or raw chocolate seeds, are of superior quality as most of the cocoa trees here are grown organically.

AJAW Chocolate & Crafts in San Ignacio and Belize Chocolate Company in San Pedro both offer chocolate-making classes and a bunch of legit chocolate goodies. It’s pretty much chocolate heaven for those who love dark chocolate- the real deal. Stock up on cocoa nibs, raw chocolate bars, chocolate teas, and chocolate treats.

Tostada

These are crunchy open-faced tacos. Do not miss the shrimp tostadas at Pupuseria Salvadoreno in San Pedro. Each order costs 20BZD and comes with 4 delicious tostadas.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize - Tostada

shrimp tostadas from Pupuseria Salvadoreno

Pupusas

One of the most common things to eat in Belize is actually a traditional Salvadoran dish. These are handmade corn tortilla cooked on the grill; with or without beans, meats, and cheese. Load it up with some pickled slaw and hot sauce and you’ve got yourself a delicious quick bite.

The pupusas at Pupuseria Salvadoreno are 2.50BZD each and you can choose from a wide selection of fillings. Another place for pupusas is in San Ignacio at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. For 2BZD each, you can find them at all the food stands.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize - Pupusa

pupusa (left) and quesdilla (right) at Pupuseria Salvadoreno

Quesadilla

Lots of restaurants in Vancouver serve chicken quesadillas with sour cream and salsa, but nothing compares to the quesadillas we tasted at the San Ignacio Farmer’s Market. It was so simple- no sour cream, no salsa, no fillings. Just straight up cheese and tortilla, grilled to perfection. We got 2 huge pieces for just 3BZD!

Ceviche

Ceviche with conch, shrimp, or lobster? The choice is yours. Seafood is Belize’s forte, especially on the Cayes. You can find ceviche everywhere but prices vary quite a bit depending on where you go.

The best bang for the buck ceviche is at a beach-front restaurant in San Pedro called ‘Nook’. They have happy hour every day from 5-6:30pm with 50% off cocktails and appies. For 10BZD, their yummy ceviche comes in a huge bowl with freshly fried chips… if you’re lucky, that is. We had fresh chips the first time but they use prepackaged chips on our second visit.

Jerk Chicken

Belize ain’t Jamaica, but Robin’s Kitchen in San Pedro is bomb dot com. I don’t know if Robin’s actually his name but he’s a funny, chatty dude who makes chicken that’s out of this world. There’s no menu- it’s either jerk chicken/fish or curry chicken/fish served with rice and beans, plantains, and coleslaw. Prices are very fair at 14BZD a plate. If there’s smoke from the grill, it’s open. They get super busy, so go early before everything sells out!

Burrito

The burritos in Belize are massive! Stuffed with beans, rice, and your choice of protein, they’re bigger than your average dinner plate. Our favourite spot is Waruguma in San Pedro, where lobster burritos are 27BZD.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize

Taco

They’re not the big tacos North Americans are accustomed to. Tacos in Belize are more like taquitos. Neri’s Tacos is where all the locals go, and there’s always a line. For 1BZD you get 3 tacos; yes, that cheap! You’ll see locals with stacks of tacos on their plates. Despite it being so busy and a hole-in-the-wall kinda place, the service here is fantastic.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize

Fry Jacks

One of the best things to eat in Belize! You can’t leave without trying one. These puffy, deep-fried dough triangles or semi-circles are a Belizean breakfast staple. Some are bite-sized with scrambled eggs on the side; others are as big as your face, stuffed with your choice of fillings.

The best place is a little hut on Caye Caulker: Errolyn’s House of Fry JacksFillings include refried beans, ham, cheese, chicken, and eggs. Prices vary from 1.50BZD to 5.00BZD depending on what you add.

Marie Sharp’s Hot Sauce

Of all the things to eat in Belize, this habanero sauce is the best. You can get it in the States but if you’re not American, you need to bring some home! They come in a variety of flavours and in all sorts of sizes. We’re carry-on travelers, which means we had to make room for the hot sauce in our liquids bags. The mini bottles are 1.69oz and we were able to Tetris 9 into a quart-sized Ziploc bag. The cheapest place to get these are at the Chinese grocery markets for 2BZD each.

Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize

Marie Sharp’s with a fry jack!

These are our favourite things to eat in Belize! How many have you tried or would like to try?

 

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Kollecting Koordinates - Things to eat in Belize

Recipe: Taiwanese three cup chicken

Ginger, basil, chicken… A yummy staple dish in every Taiwanese household. This three cup chicken recipe is super easy to master. The “three-cup” in its name refers to the ratio of the 3 main ingredients: 1 portion of black sesame oil to 1 soy sauce to 1 rice wine.  DSC02805

three cup chicken recipe

ingredients

  • 6-8 pieces of boneless chicken thigh
  • 1 whole garlic
  • ginger; the size of 2 fingers (unless you have huge hands)
  • 3 tablespoons of rice wine
  • 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of black sesame oil (since chicken thigh itself is pretty fatty, you really don’t need the same ratio of oil)
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 big bunch of basil
  • a teaspoon of chili sauce (or more if you like it spicy, or none at all)

prep work

  1. Peel garlic and crush each individual clove to release its oils
  2. Cut ginger into thin slices
  3. Remove basil leaves from stem

directions

  1. Heat pan on medium. Without adding any oil, place the thighs in the pan and cook each side for about 2 minutes. Your chicken is still uncooked at this point, this is just to give it a slight crisp.
  2. Remove thighs and wipe the excess oil from the pan. Cut each piece into about 5 chunks (not too small!).
  3. On medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of black sesame oil and ginger slices. Make sure your ginger slices don’t have any moisture on them otherwise the oil will splatter.
  4. When the ginger slices turn brown and shrivel up, add the crushed garlic cloves and stir until you can smell the garlic-y goodness.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and quickly stir until it starts melting and caramelizing.
  6. Add the chunks of chicken thigh and stir.
  7. On medium-high, add 3 tablespoons of soy sauce and coat each piece of chicken evenly, stir.
  8. Add 3 table spoons of rice wine, stir. Also add however much of chili sauce you want.
  9. Put a lid on and let it simmer until the chicken fully absorbs the sauce. It will look thick and pasty at this point.
  10. Add the basil leaves and remove pan from heat. Stir and infuse the basil with the residual heat.
  11. Serve!

Read more: The ultimate taiwan food guide

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Kollecting Koordinates - three cup chicken recipe

The Ultimate Food Guide to TaiwanKollecting Koordinates - Taiwan Food Guide

Born in Taiwan, I revisit my motherland every few years since my parents still live there. Taiwanese food is probably the biggest thing that gets me excited about visiting! These flavours are exclusive to Taiwan (as well as my mom’s cooking, and now my own!) and they signify home. We’ve created a Taiwan food guide featuring our favourite dishes and where to find them.

Taiwan food guide

1. taiwanese beef noodle soup

The beef is braised for hours until it melts right in your mouth, with broth so good you’ll want to slurp the whole bowl. Topped off with some chopped pickled cabbage and green onion, this bowl is heavenly. You can customize your bowl; from the thickness of the noodles, to the meat to tendon ratio, to the level of spiciness. To complete your meal, order some side dishes to share among your table. You can’t go wrong with marinated beef tripe and pork intestine.

My family lives in Hsinchu City; our go-to place is called 段純貞 or duan chun zhen. Without fail, there’s always a massive line in front of the restaurant. I love the texture of their hand-cut noodles, the tenderness of their beef, and the flavour of their broth.

Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan food guide

2. Da Chang Bao Xiao Chang

This literally translates to small intestine in large intestine, but it’s really just char-grilled sausage. It’s usually served like a hot dog, with sticky rice sausage instead of the bun, and a huge piece of Taiwanese sausage instead of the hot dog. You can find this at street-side vendors or night markets.

Our go-to place has been around since I was little! My mom used to be a highschool math teacher and she taught the owner’s daughter. They serve this dish chopped up in a bento box drizzled with their house special sauce, with pickled vegetables on the side.

Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan food guide

3. chiayi turkey rice

Yes, the real deal has to be from Chiayi. My mom’s side of the family is from this city in mid-southern Taiwan and this is the dish they’re famous for. Our go-to place is called 噴水火雞肉飯 or pen shui huo ji rou fan; it’s so good that people living in other parts of Taiwan would make a trip out here just to eat it! Unlike other restaurants where they serve you shredded chicken, these guys are very generous with their portions and the turkey is served in juicy slices. They have other things on the menu too but their signature turkey rice is the best. Don’t forget to order bamboo shoots on the side- they complement the rice so well!

Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan food guide

4. rou yuan (bawan)

More commonly referred to as Bawan (in the Taiwanese dialect), this is AS’s favourite dish. This is a translucent, gelatinous disc that’s filled with braised pork, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and herbs. They are deep fried to give the exterior a slight crunch and drenched in a delicious sauce. There are 2 kinds of bawan: the ones you find in northern Taiwan are usually red, smaller, and resembles more of a ball (right). The ones in the south (left) are flatter, more transparent, with a different kind of sauce. Both are very yummy!

My favourite bawan stand is in Chiayi, just a few blocks from my grandpa’s old house. This stand has been around for longer than I’ve been alive!

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5. rou geng

You can eat this with or without noodles (image above on the right). Growing up, my brother and I ate rou geng mian for breakfast every weekend. This is a thick soup containing pork and fish paste nuggets, bamboo shoots, and shitake mushrooms. The broth is loaded with black vinegar, white pepper, and lots of cilantro. A hearty meal that warms you right up!

6. traditional taiwanese breakfast

Speaking of breakfast…! The combination of dan bing (egg crepe), you tiao (Chinese donut), and dou jiang (soy milk) brings back sweet childhood memories. Some places wrap dan bing over you tiao, but I prefer to have them separately so that the you tiao stays crisp. Part of the breakfast ritual is dunking you tiao into soy milk before you take a bite. What’s even tastier than soy milk is mi jiang (rice milk), made from peanuts and rice.

Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan food guide

7. qing wa xia dan

The direct translation doesn’t sound very appealing (frog lays eggs), but this drink is so damn good when they make it right. They have this on the menu at most bubble tea joints but it ain’t the same as this stand in Hsinchu City. I’m not a big fan of bubble teas but this stand is something else. These guys make their drinks with real lime and lemon, tapioca, and aiyu jelly (made from fig seeds).

Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan food guide

8. stinky tofu

Found in night markets and street side vendors, a lot of foreigners are afraid of this dish because of the strong odor from the fermented brine that’s used to make these tofus. I don’t think it stinks at all- it smells great! Just a whiff of it makes me salivate! These tofus are deep fried and served with lots of garlic paste, chili, and a side of pickled cabbage. I like to shove everything into the center of the tofu with my chopsticks and eat it in one big bite.

Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan food guide

9. da chang mian xian

Mian xian (or mi sua in the Taiwanese dialect), is a tan-brown vermicelli made from wheat. The thick soup is made from pork bone stock, containing either pork intestines or oysters. A Taiwanese soup noodle dish wouldn’t be complete without loading it with garlic paste, black vinegar, and lots of cilantro!

10. deep fried chicken cutlets

This baby right here is so simple, but so good. It’s just a piece of chicken hammered down to make a patty, marinated for a few hours, and dipped in batter before deep frying. There’s a lot of hype about this place in Shilin night market that sells them as big as your face. I think it’s a tourist trap as the flavors aren’t great and it can sometimes be quite dry. Quality over quantity, people!

I like the place my mom always gets it from. The meat is ridiculously tender, juicy, and flavorful! The cherry on top is the plum seasoning they sprinkle over the deep fried patty. YUM.

Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan food guide

11. tofu pudding dessert

Douhua is my all-time favourite dessert. I eat this all day, every day when I’m in Taiwan. There are 2 kinds: one with a pudding-like texture that come in original, egg, and chocolate flavors (left), and another kind made from real soybean, topped off with mung beans, barley, and soft peanuts. When it’s cold out, you can also have it hot with ginger sugar syrup. It’ll warm you right up!

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12. 鼎泰豐 or din tai fung

This is a restaurant that was founded in Taiwan in 1958. Today, it has chains worldwide but nothing can compare to the real deal in Taiwan. This restaurant is famous for their xiao long bao (steamed pork buns), but what I like the most is their spicy chili wontons. Everything on the menu is to die for, and you really can’t go wrong with any dish!

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How dishes in this Taiwan food guide have you checked off?

Read more : Taiwanese three cup chicken recipe

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Kollecting Koordinates - Taiwan Food Guide

5 things to eat in Hanoi’s Old QuarterKollecting Koordinates - Hanoi Food Guide

We made a short stop in Hanoi before our cruise around Ha Long Bay and Bai Tu Long Bay. What did we do in the short time frame we were there? Eat, of course! Actually, that was pretty much all we did. There are plenty of Vietnamese joints in Vancouver and pho is considered the norm, so we were stoked to taste authentic Vietnamese food.

1. pho

The obvious choice when in Vietnam.

While most North Americans eat pho after a night of hardcore partying, the locals eat it for breakfast. Pho in Hanoi tastes completely different than the ones in Vancouver. A mutual friend, who is Vietnamese herself, says that apparently most Vietnamese restaurants in Vancouver serve southern cuisine, with very few serving northern cuisine. Northern Vietnamese food is on the savoury or saltier side, while the southern flavors are on the sweeter side. So if you think you’ve already tried pho in North America, give it another shot in Hanoi because it’ll be something new! I found that the pho in Hanoi tasted much better and I wasn’t dying of thirst afterwards (result from the MSG-loaded pho back home).

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2. bun bo nam bo

It’s kind of like beef pho, but only with a teeny tiny bit of broth- lettuce, bean sprouts, garlic, fried scallions and some pickled fruit on vermicelli, topped off with some grilled beef.

The go-to place in Hanoi is called,  you guessed it- Bún Bò Nam Bộ, on 67 Hang Dieu. It’s a small hole-in-the-wall place and you’ll have to squeeze in with the locals for a seat at the long table. They serve only ONE dish; so you bet they’re good at what they do. The price for a meal is very cheap at 2.50USD a bowl.

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3. banh mi

Banh mis. Banh mis everywhere. There’s a banh mi stand literally every corner you turn. We lost count of how many places we tried but our favourite was from a stand called BomBop. Their bread was very crunchy with a soft center, and they didn’t cheap out on toppings. Cleanliness and hygiene isn’t the greatest as with most Southeast Asian places, so it’s not uncommon to see vendors wrapping banh mis without using gloves. We also saw a HUGE beetle (or cockroach lookalike? not sure what that was) crawling by the veggie toppings at one of the more popular stands. We didn’t get sick in Hanoi though!

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4. mexican coffee buns

If you’re a pastry addict like me, you’ll thank me for this one. Mexican coffee buns or Rotiboys, actually have nothing to do with Mexico as they originated from Malaysia! Topped with coffee streusel, these are around the size of your palm with a buttery filling. After going days without pastries, I was so excited to see a Papparoti stand! For less than a dollar each, they are served hot from a giant oven with different flavors to choose from. Not gonna lie, but this was my favourite part about Hanoi. I ate 2-3 chocolate rotiboys everyday!

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5. egg coffee or cà phê trứng

I hate coffee. I never drink coffee and I’ve never liked it. But this egg coffee is something else! The birthplace (and the go-to place) of Hanoi’s very own cà phê trứng is called Cafe Giang on 39 Nguyen Huu Huan. These guys blend in sugar, eggs, cheese, and condensed milk among other ingredients into brewed Vietnamese coffee to create this little cup of delight. It’s probably not the healthiest but as a coffee hater, I loved it!

There’s also Cafe Pho Co where you can sip on your egg coffee with a view of Hoan Kiem Lake. You’ll have to climb up a few flights of stairs but it’s a very relaxing place to chill out.

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Kollecting Koordinates - Hanoi Food Guide