Taiwanese Beef Noodles – a first attempt

Übermannt von der Sehnsucht nach Taiwan habe ich bereits ein paar Tage nach unserer Rückkehr den nächsten Asien-Supermarkt geplündert und mich ans Kochen gemacht, hier das Ergebnis:


Und so geht’s:



Suppenfleisch und -knochen, Pak Choi, Udon Nudeln, Ingwer, Knoblauch, Wasser, Salz, Sternanis, Zimtstangen, chinesische Bohnenpaste


Wichtigste Zutaten sind natürlich Suppenfleisch (sehnig) und Rinderknochen.

Ich habe 500g Fleisch und 1kg Knochen auf ca. 2,5l Wasser verkocht, für noch intensiveren Geschmack der Suppe hätten es ruhig noch mehr Knochen sein dürfen.

Zu Beginn wird beides kurz (ca. 1 Minute) in einen Topf mit kochendem Wasser gegeben, um Blutreste und andere Verschmutzungen abzulösen. Danach Wasser wegschütten, Fleisch und Knochen beiseite stellen und frisches, kaltes Wasser in den Topf geben. Das Wasser wird erneut zum Kochen gebracht, dann kommen folgende Gewürze dazu:

Sternanis, Zimtstange(n), Knoblauch, frischer Ingwer (Menge nach Belieben), Salz, Sojasoße, Zucker und Bohnenpaste (豆瓣醬). Statt einzelner Gewürze kann man auch einen kräftigen Schuss asiatisches Fünf-Gewürze-Pulver (五香粉) nehmen.

Fleisch und Knochen wieder hinzufügen und das Ganze mindestens 2 Stunden köcheln lassen. Den Deckel habe ich nur schräg aufgelegt, damit Flüssigkeit verdampfen und die Suppe schön reduziert werden konnte.

Wenn das Fleisch weichgekocht ist, kann man in einem weiteren Topf die Nudeln und den Pak Choi kochen. Abtropfen und in eine vorgewärmte Schüssel geben, dann mit Brühe und Fleisch auffüllen. Das Ganze kann nach Wunsch noch mit eingelegtem Gemüse oder gehackten Frühlingszwiebeln garniert werden.

Nachtrag vom zweiten Versuch: noch geschmacksintensiver wird die Suppe, wenn man gewürfelte Fleischtomaten mitkocht= 红烧牛肉麵 .


Back in sunny Berlin

Just a quick hello from Berlin. Discovered a cute little Japanese/Korean restaurant in Schöneberg (with four tables indoors and about three outside) and was pleasantly surprised.
Macha (Akazienstraße 28, 10823 Berlin) offers Sushi platters and some Korean dishes for 6-8€. I tried Bulgogi pork with rice, a spicy-sweet delicacy!


Accompanied by sweet date tea, this was a light but delicious Asian lunch that helped ease me back into Berlin Alltag, check it out if you’re anywhere near.

Maokong and Bitan

Time to say 再見, our holidays in Taiwan are coming to an end *sadface*
And just to make parting even harder, our last day turned out to be just wonderful…
We decided to take the Maokong Gondola up to the tea mountains South of Taipei. Turned out we weren’t alone, despite the heat (33.5 deg) the queues outside the entrance were rather impressive! After about half an hour, we got onto one of the little gondolas and off we went.


The ride across and up the mountain is really nice, the further up you get, the more you see of the city and the surrounding landscape, a truly fabulous view!


Yet, this time we also saw the path of destruction typhoon Soudelor left in its wake, there were a lot of broken trees, demolisded tin-sheet huts and debris everywhere.

We got off at the second last stop, 指南宮, where various temples and pavilions are picturesquely scattered


across the hills. The hordes of people traveling up with us mysteriously dispersed and disappeared, and it seemed we were almost alone now, wandering from one temple to the next, taking in the incredible scenery.

One of the vendors in the main temple gave J a necklace with a Guanyin Buddha on it and he loved it so much I had to buy it off her. Quite a ripoff but he insists it protects him and hasn’t taken it off since,  so I guess it was worth the investment 🙂


There was a resting area next to one of the temples, where a kind old lady offered us tea, peanuts, lychees and eggs boiled in tea. Thus refreshed, we started the descent through the lush green, almost tropical flora, past derelict buildings and little shops offering all kinds of devotional objects.

Maokong is a perfect escape from the city. The air in the mountains is a lot cooler and fresher and the whole place oozes serenity and tranquillity.

Once back in the heat of Taipei, we took a cab to Bitan 碧潭, the area where the Xindian Creek, a branch of Danshui River, widens to form a lake.
This place is a favourite spot for both locals and tourists, with pedal boats for rent, a cycling trail along the water and  a nice boardwalk of restaurants and cafes overlooking the lake/river


and the suspension bridge across it.

After a tea break with a view, we proceeded to the little night market in the alley just off the bridge and had a wonderful array of 麻醬面 (sesame noodles), 炸醬面 (more delicious noodles), 魷魚 (octopus) and chicken skewers, rounded off with lemon jelly and 冬瓜茶.
For a more detailed report on Bitan, I  recommend this fellow blogger’s description:


For us, the time has come to pack our bags. Au revoir Taipei!


Sleepless in the tropics of Kenting, so might as well continue with the blog.

Time to regale you with a few d’oh moments from Kaohsiung to Kenting.
No.1 happened in the breakfast room of aforementioned hotel, where this guy put his heavily nutella-ed piece of bread into the conveyor toaster. The one that flips the toast over at the end? We know cats always land on their feet but toast? Let’s say it was a messy affair and the poor waitress had to put the machine out of operation temporarily. And no, there was no trilingual sign on both sides of the toaster, asking people politely to butter their bread AFTER toasting…

We then hopped on a bus that took us further South, towards the tropics. This was not some touristy bus but rather the regular connection between Kaohsiung and Kenting, stopping at most villages in between. Upon entering the bus, the lady in front of us hastily clambered onto the prime seat behind the driver, only to block her (and everyone else’s) view with a massive pack of diapers placed on the little table in front of her…

The ride down South is quite impressive. To the left, huge mountains rise and disappear beyond the clouds. To the right, the blue sea contrasts with the black lava flow rocks.
In between, palm trees as far as the eye can see, with the occasional temple popping up here and there.
Vendors sell fresh coconut juice from little stalls along the main road.
Even more ubiquitous are 檳榔​shops that sell betel nuts aka Taiwanese chewing gum. Unbeknownst to many in the West, the betel nut is a very common drug in Asia (a detailed report about this can be found here:
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-31921207). People chew the quid that consists of the areca nut, tobacco, and lime wrapped in the leaf of the betel vine. You recognise the addicts by the red colour of their mouth and teeth, because chewing this stuff stimulates the production of saliva and colors it blood-red. Hence, chewers will spit frequently, leaving rather disgusting red stains on the pavement or street. Most definitely one of the less attractive sights!

But back to more pleasant things.
We arrived at our hotel, YoHe Beach Resort just after mid-day and spent the rest of the day in and around the various swimming pools.



YoHo is located on the coast West of Hengchun City. The resort is somewhat past its heydays but has a certain shabby charm. Its best features include a sea view poolimage

and restaurant as well as access to a semi-sandy beach, perfect for sunset-watching and stargazing (the night sky last night was amazing! I even saw a falling star!)


The much busier Kenting Town with its famous beach is a 20min shuttle ride away. In the evening, the famous night market there attracts lots of visitors, offering a multitude of snacks like fried octopus, chicken butt (I kid you not!) skewers, stinky tofu, deep-fried icecream and other delicacies, but also t-shirts and tacky souvenirs. It does get rather crowded there so we didn’t stay too long. Kenting is a popular destination for surfing and snorkelling, but there are also quite a lot of cyclists exploring the no – doubt gorgeous – hinterland. As we had opted for a lazy time-out, we didn’t do any of the above but are definitely planning to come back for a more active holiday 🙂

完美的早餐! And here she goes, droning on about breakfast yet again…

So I am having it after all, my perfect breakfast:


Gone are the days of pudding toasties, here come stir-fried vegetables, soft buns with black sesame seeds and deliciously sweet red bean paste, congee, fresh bamboo shoots, fried lightly with some meat, the juciest fruits, hot soybean milk, dim sum…fainted and gone to foodie coma.



All this is part of the hotel breakfast at 御宿商旅Hotel in Kaohsiung, where we found refuge yesterday after the typhoon. Now, I am aware this kind of breakfast buffet is probably nothing exceptional but it offers everything I have craved for since I got to Taiwan, therefore I thought it deserved a special mention in this blog.



Oh what a day!  Typhoon Soudelor has finally left the island after wreaking havoc for more than 12 hours.
As reported, we had left Taipei early to flee the worst of the storm, but the wind and rain we experienced down here in the countryside near Kaohsiung were more than enough of a “my first typhoon experience”.
We woke around 4am to the sound of rattling windows and howling winds to find that, not only had the storm hit the west coast, it had also caused a power cut for the entire region. About 2million households were cut off, according to TV news that is.
Now, I can do without light and internet at 4am in the morning, but no air con and about 30 deg outside are not a good combination, I tell you!
What followed was a very wet and sweaty day.
Around midday we realized there was water leaking dripping down through the ceiling of our bedroom. Four buckets and a few wet cleaning rags later, things were somewhat under control. Luckily, our hosts had a gas stove that still worked despite the power cut and managed to rustle up some very nice lunch for us. Never thought I’d need the torch function of my smartphone to check if a steak was done 🙂
Later on, more water appeared in other rooms, through the walls and from below.
At some point, we all decided to flee to the city where there was light, internet and air conditioning available. Before we left, we were fed by our hosts’ parents (had I mentioned just how friendly and hospitable the Taiwanese are?) and are now safe and dry in a hotel in town, watching TV. Seems we were lucky, things were much worse elsewhere with landslides and even stronger winds.


Right, must admit I am rather glad I have somewhere dry and comfy to sleep tonight, so a good night to you all.

Pre-Typhoon Baozi Bliss

Now THIS is the life! Classes are over and I am celebrating the beginning of the holidays sitting underneath gently swaying palm trees, enjoying some truly delicious breakfast.
On the menu today: freshly squeezed Papaya milk, iced latte (no sugar thanks), a proper Charhsiu Baozi and a peanut-filled mochi.

Gotta love the red colourimage


And then for pudding image

Whilst we’re on the topic of eating, let me tell you about yesterday’s dinner at 巧味餐廳near東門MRT.
Thanks again to lovely Christina for taking us there, we had the most fabulous seafood ever!
We started off with some cold octopus and BBQ style sauce, then had fresh bamboo salad, some incredibly tasty 石斑魚 (according to pleco, this fish is called grouper in English), image

soup made from the fish head and a huge plate of mussels:

Everything tasted wonderfully fresh and well seasoned, a total feast!
For more pictures and detailed review see this blog:

The heat is a lot more bearable today as the winds announcing the arrival of typhoon Soudelor are steadily picking up force. The storm is said to hit the east coast some time tonight, so everyone its making preparations. In our case this means we have rebooked the train tickets we had for tomorrow and are instead heading South to Kaohsiung this afternoon.


This is the building on NTNU campus where we had class and where I held a two-day interpreting workshop yesterday and the day before. Nice workplace methinks! It was a great experience and I am proud to say that not only was I inadvertently made professor for the day,

I also had more than 30 people who seemed to have.nothing better to do in their holidays than to come and listen to my class 🙂

Not bad, eh?