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Taiwan Breakfast and Markets

We are back! So it is time to get back into the blogging mojo. Basically, we have spent over a month around Asia so the next few posts will be dedicated to giving a recap about some of the culinary adventures we had there – really just a self indulgent way for us to relive our holiday. First up is Taiwan, a small island off China which we spent 8 days travelling along the coast of. I was warned that the street food here is excellent, so I should always leave room for “after dinner snacks”.  In addition to all the night market adventures, I actually did something new this time around and decided to film everything – I did a series called ‘Hotel Edits’ in which I tried to edit my days video footage each night. Without getting into the nitty gritty, it was chaos! Needless to say, I did not get a good night’s rest for the duration of our time in Taiwan. So for the first time with commentary, I would like to present to you – “Taiwan – Day 1*”.

After getting off the 9-hour plane ride behind two crying babies. They were twins. I know. The last thing on my mind was breakfast. It was 6am in the morning, raining and freezing cold when we arrived at this tiny restaurant in Taipei. People often say that the dingiest restaurants in Asia have the best food, this place was no exception. Their specialty is “Savoury Soy Bean Soup”, which is a traditional Taiwanese breakfast food consisting of unsweetened soy bean milk (dou jiang) soaked with deep fried bread (you tiao) and other condiments. If anything were to brighten up my morning, it was this. My mum makes this at home, so the appearance of goop is not new to me. If you haven’t tried this, just know that looks are deceiving – add some vinegar and this is the breakfast of champions.

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The restaurant also had a variety of other deep fried pastry. They make their own deep fried bread which was just as fun to watch as it was to eat (see the video at 0:37). Had we not been so full, I would have gladly tried that duck pancake – how sinful does it look?

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Look at the lines, and it’s 7am on a rainy morning. Unfortunately, this leg of my adventure was part of a tour, and the itinerary is all in Chinese, so I have no idea the name of this place or the prices. Googling ‘Taipei Soy Bean Restaurant with Green Tree Logo’ has proved fruitless thus far. Anyhow, you will definitely find this everywhere – food in Asia is always abundant!

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We then went up to Jiufen, which is a mountain district in Taipei. The photo above is the middle of the winding market place – basically an entire street of side-by-side food stalls. If you couldn’t already tell by everyone’s attire – it was pretty cold up here so the first thing we tried was taro and sweet potato ball in ginger soup (2:05). I would like to compare it to the one’s back at home (Meet Fresh), but that would be doing it an injustice. The glutinous balls were so generous and made so that they were the perfect type of chewy, the ginger soup melted my insides and I became a Kinder Surprise left in a kid’s back pocket. Would have loved to stay and eat my way out of here!

P.S. Hope you enjoyed the video – sorry, there are not too many photos of our trip.

*Unfortunately I did not upload all 8 videos onto Vimeo, so only the select few will be shared.

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Chur Burger – Sydney

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Burger hunter. Is that a job? People should pay me to eat burgers. That would be pretty sweet. Whenever someone mentions that a place is the best place in Sydney, my senses immediately start tingling … not really,  but a $10 burger joint that was crowned ‘Best Burger in Sydney’ by SMH is sure to send your heart racing. After a long day of video editing at uni last semester (trust me, this takes a toll on your life), I met up with a friend to try it out. The restaurant is cute and very brightly lit, which is lovely compared to most of the dingy places I go to for burgers.

We ordered a Salted Caramel Milkshake $8 to share, made with Heilala vanilla, this drink was packed full of flavour. The caramel to me tasted more burnt than salted, and made me think of eating sticky toffee. We also had the Chips with Chilli Salt $5 to share, good chips but nothing to swoon over. They also had sweet potato chips, but they didn’t look too crisp so I erred on the side of caution.

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After a long deliberation over which burger to choose, and I really do mean long, as we actually talked online the night before and pondered over the menu in anticipation of the next day’s lunch. Do you guys do that? My friends and I seem to have a habit of looking through menus in advance and mulling over, Googling and debating which items to get on a menu. Our lives are exciting. Anyways, we ended up choosing the Grilled beef, cheese, tomato jam, mustard mayo, pickle $10 and the Pulled pork, Chur BBQ sauce, red slaw, fennel mayo $10. Giving up the Grilled Chicken with Hot Mayo Sauce was like severing a limb. Everything sounded so darn good.

When the burgers first came out, I was torn between being pleased at the serving sizes and scared that I was going to have to flatten this burger in order to fit it in my mouth. I don’t have the coordination prowess to eat burgers. If I had a dollar for every time my bun and patty disjoin and I end up holding a lone patty, I would have enough money to buy another Chur Burger.

The Pork Burger did not live up to my expectations. I had read some raving reviews about it, so I was very surprised when my face reflexively scrunched up after the first bite. It was the sweetest burger I had ever bit into and I think that was largely due to the Chur BBQ sauce, sorry, but not sorry – definitely not my thing. The Beef Burger, thankfully, worthy of it’s hype. Good old classic beef burger that wasn’t trying to be  something it’s not. The mustard mayo and tomato jam was a winning combination!

Interestingly, Edwina went to visit Chur Burger as well and contested the tastiness of the Beef Burger, insisting that the Grilled lamb, mint sauce, feta, red onion, aioli trumped it by a million miles. I guess I am going to have to return and give that one a try.

Chur Burger – Surry Hills
48 Albion St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
Phone: (02) 9212 3602

Open Monday – Saturday
11:30am – 10:00pm

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Christmas Cookies

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We are celebrating our first Christmas here at Basil and Lamb! It has been a great year documenting and sharing our dining and kitchen adventures with you. We aim to be a bit less sporadic with our posting schedule for the new year and wish everyone a safe and happy holiday. As a gift to some family and friends, we turned our kitchen into a cookie factory and made edible Christmas presents. Arnotts is now looking to buy us out as well. Not really. Now I’ve discredited my entire blog. One lie too far.

We did a little something different and combined some images with text. Really ground breaking stuff. I made them in really swirly font in the hopes that you can’t read what they say. There is some seriously poetic stuff hidden here.

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cherrychocolaterecipe These ones were my personal favourite, we actually intended to buy mint flavoured candy canes but accidentally purchased some cherry flavoured ones. Still tasted good though! Also, now that the holiday period had started we can both resume our addiction to Candy Crush – if you don’t know what Candy Crush is, consider it a blessing. I am too far behind to try to catch up, but watching Edwina slave over it is pretty amusing.

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We also made some Peanut Butter “Gingerbread” Men! Hold the ginger. Don’t they look handsome with their little hearts in their chest? We gave them jam-filled hearts so they would be ‘Peanut Butter Jelly’ flavoured. As a kid, I have always thought that Americans literally put “jelly”, the equivalent of our aeroplane jelly into their sandwiches. This thought both had me confused and envious. It was only later that I realised what we call ‘jam’, they refer to as ‘jelly’, which kinda makes sense, considering it does wobble and all that jazz.

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The wheelies on the right are Earl Grey and Lemon cookies – the recipe for those will be posted up soon, so keep your eyes peeled if you are a fan of tea infused desserts!

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These ornament cookies were fun to make, but you would be hard pressed to find me hanging them on any tree. They are lemon flavoured, like the Christmas Trees, and were shaped by using a smaller cookie cutter to cut within a larger cookie cutter.

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When I lifted the biscuit, this creepy smiley face appeared. Hold me. And on that unsettling note – Have a Merry Christmas!

P.S. Just a small note to let you know, we will be going overseas for a while – look out Asia, we are taking you one meal at a time – prepare for an onslaught of photos when we return.