Tuesday, November 9, 2010

day 54_set menus

Tonight after work, as I was headed towards my -staple- beef noodle shop near my apartment... it suddenly occurred to me that I have never explored the dinner places on the other end of the same street. When I first moved here, I was intimidated by the all-Chinese text menus, and was certain I would have difficulty on this block, so I'd been avoiding it... but it is so unlike me to frequent a place rather than trying new places on a daily basis! (even though I still do plenty of that) Tonight, for the first time, I took a left instead of a right at the familiar intersection.

I was just reading a Chinese menu at a small shop and noticing their special was beef noodles... which almost made me turn to head towards my usual shop (I'm a sucker for independent, hard-working shopkeepers. :/ Once they are kind to me, I always feel like I'm cheating on them to not give them my business!... My weekly visits to the donut shop in Dallas owned by the sweet Korean couple, even when I knew I might not finish my whole donut or I was on a diet = proof), but suddenly I had the bright idea to look behind me. And there it was! A fair sized -but very local- Italian restaurant with bilingual menus. How have I never realized this exists less than a block from my home?

Restaurant name was in Chinese... the room was also not as bright as my camera made it look...

I was very pleased to find a cozy interior with dim lighting, and -bonus!- Christmas decorations :) Which is mostly just amusing, but I wonder how many of those I will see in Taipei? The menu was very fairly priced, but more than the average noodle shop.

Set Menu Options A + B
In Taiwan, it is extremely common to be handed a "set" menu, which includes the appetizer, entree, sides, and a drink... if you're lucky, even dessert! This menu had options "A" and "B" (see above). Typically the portion sizes here are smaller than the US, but I find it ideal. This way you can actually enjoy an appetizer, entree, and dessert, without having eaten 3 full meals (the way it might be if you ate 3 of those on your own at Chili's, for example (Mmmm...Chili's...). I don't understand why this concept isn't popular worldwide??? [Of course, anyone can order the regular entrees without the full "set" if desired, so the system is still flexible]. Oh and the best part? This set cost about $9.00 US including soup, salad, entree, drink, and tip - good deal! [In Dallas it would be double that...]

My salad & soup - Yum!

Seafood pasta, and Coke Zero from a glass bottle - impressive.
New restaurant near my house to add to my possible dinner locations list? Me waking up and finally venturing to the left? I'd say it was a successful day :)

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