Red Bean Bread (@ Ellie la Pâtisserie)

When I was growing up in Taiwan, traditional Chinese bakeries are dime a dozen. But now, there are few and far between.  Taking over are "fancy" bakeries that boast foreign-trained pastry chefs.  

Ellie la Pâtisserie bills itself as a French bakery.  The website even suggests that there are branches in Paris, Osaka, and Taipei.  I am pretty sure I have not come across Ellie la Pâtisserie in Paris… just saying.  Yes, the store do sell a few traditional french pastries, but what it really excels at are traditional, local offerings.  

The best item in the bakery is the red (Azuki) bean bread, which is to die for!!  Fresh loaves of these red bean bread are made twice daily (once in the morning and once in mid-afternoon).  I time my visits accordingly.  I can easily polish off a loaf of these warm, soft, sweet Azuki beans filled bread all by myself. 

Red Bean Loaf

Red Bean Loaf

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Since the bakery does make the best loaf of red bean bread that I have ever tasted, I'll overlook its "wannabe" marketing strategy. Go for this local favorite. If it's french patisseries that you crave, this place is not it.  

Ellie la Pâtisserie
仁愛路 4 段 300 巷 22 號
No.22, Lane 300, Section 4, Ren'ai Road, Taipei
http://www.ellie.com.tw

Taiwanese Shaved Ice (@ 東區粉圓 Eastern Ice Store)

This is my go-to place for traditional, Taiwanese shaved ice.  For $60NT ($2 USD), you get a big bowl of shaved ice with 4 toppings of your choosing.  The place is quite popular and is pretty much bustling at all hours of the day. 

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10-12 Toppings to choose from

10-12 Toppings to choose from

I got my order to go.

I got my order to go.

Eastern Ice Store (東區粉圓)
忠孝東路四段216巷38號
No. 38, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Rd, Taipei
http://efy.com.tw

Beef Noodle Soup (@ 清真中國牛肉館)

While I am still in search of the best Beef Noodle Soup in Taipei, this one is pretty darn good!  The freshly made noodles are topped with lean, yet tender beef chunks served in a spicy broth. 

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What I love about this eatery is that it's not a one trick pony.  Aside from the yummy beef noodle soups, it also makes one of the best Chinese pancakes, from scratch! One can take in all the action from the large storefront window.  

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These warm, soft, chewy pancakes are the best!  If I didn't already have a big bowl of beef noodle soup, I would have ordered a few more servings of these. 

東北斤餅

東北斤餅

清真中國牛肉館
台北市延吉街137巷7弄1號
No. 1, Alley 7, Lane 137, Yanji Street, Taipei
Tel:  (02) 2721-4771

Dan Dan noodles (@ 度小月)

This casual restaurant is the place to go for Dan Dan noodles. The restaurant has been selling dan dan noodles since 1895!  Initially, as a street vendor in Tainan.

To pay homage to the restaurant's humble beginning (or maybe just to give tourists some good photo ops), there's a traditional noodle stand set up at the front of the restaurant.  

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How I love a simple bowl of Dan Dan Noodles with minced, braised pork sauce!  I topped mine with a soy sauce egg (another Taiwanese specialty) and a Taiwanese pork ball (貢丸). Aside from Dan Dan Noodles, the restaurant also offers small dishes of Taiwanese specialties, such as fried oysters and braised pork rice. 

DAN DAN NOODLES WITH BRAISED MINCED PORK, TOPPED WITH A SOY SAUCE EGG.

DAN DAN NOODLES WITH BRAISED MINCED PORK, TOPPED WITH A SOY SAUCE EGG.

The restaurant is firmly on the tourist path, so it is not surprising to see half of the restaurant being taken over by a bus load of Japanese tourists. 

度小月 (Du Hsiao Yueh)
No.12, Alley 8, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhong-Xiao East Road
台北市忠孝東路四段216巷8弄12號