Friday, 22 June 2012

Restaurant Review -- Dragon Boat zongzi (Shimen)

Dragon Boat Festival starts tomorrow, and with it (or indeed before), starts the mass consumption of zongzi (粽子; sticky-rice tamales).

Also traditional around this time are health warnings from government health departments against over-indulgence in these high-calorie, fat-and-salt laden items.

Finding non-meat versions can be quite tricky (though many vegetarian restaurants produce them at this time of year). The most famous zongzi manufacturer in northern Taiwan, the Liu Family (劉家) in Shimen District (石門) of New Taipei City, for example, has no meat-free zongzi despite producing around a dozen different flavours.

One hundred meters past Liu's there is a vegetarian outlet, however, which has been in operation for more than two decades.Previously NT$20 for each bamboo-leaf-wrapped snack, the price had risen to NT$25 by NOMM's visit last week.

To NOMM's taste, they are not that exciting (zongzi are judged by the quality of their fillings), but at least vegetarians can join in the culinary part of this weekend's activities.

Text copyright Jiyue Publications 2012

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Restaurant Review -- Buxiban zone (part II)

Following last week's review, Shad reports that there are a number of cheap vegetarian eats at No. 72, Zhongxiao West Road Sec. 1. And she is correct.

There are four restaurants on this single block: two selling a variety of dumplings, one selling rice, noodle and soup dishes, and one with a vegetarian buffet.

NOMM chose this last one, and enjoyed a nice meal even though it was almost closing time. NT$75 bought a mixed plate of vegetables and the house-special of "lion head" (獅子頭; a kind of meatball), with a bowl of rice and bottomless soup.

Text and photos copyright Jiyue Publications
(apologies, Blogspot is still not uploading photos)

Thursday, 7 June 2012

News Brief -- Disney bans junk food except in its parks

Walt Disney Co, said Tuesday it would ban junk-food advertising on its TV channels and Web sites from 2015 to help fight obesity among US children, Taipei Times reports today, c/o AFP (full article here).

“The nutrition guidelines are aligned to federal standards, promote fruit and vegetable consumption, and call for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium and sugar,” it said.

Disney also said it would roll out a “Mickey Check” check-mark icon this year to identify nutritious food and menu items at its retail shops and theme parks.
[In other words, it does not ONLY sell nutritious foods at its venues.]

Seventeen percent of US children are obese, a figure that has tripled in 30 years, according to a report last month from the Institute of Medicine.

However, others expressed skepticism.
“Kids aren’t obese because they are watching fast-food commercials on the Disney Channel,” wrote a Virginia resident. “They are obese because instead of being active, they are sitting in front of a TV ... How about creating TV shows that challenge kids to be active while watching?”

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

News Brief -- staff/camera in kitchen expose food recycling (Kaohsiung)

The well known Big Cow Beef Noodles (大牛牛肉麵) located on Zhongzheng Road (中正路) in Kaohsiung City has been exposed as recycling customers’ leftovers and selling them to other customers, the Broadcasting Corporation of China reported yesterday (full Chinese-language article here)

That restaurant has now closed its doors before the city’s Department of Health could investigate and impose fines, but another restaurant of the same name located on Kaohsiung’s Siwei Road (四維路), although completely unconnected, claims its business has fallen by between 10 percent and 20 percent.

Translation copyright Jiyue Publications 2012

Monday, 4 June 2012

Restaurant Review -- Buxiban Zone (Taipei)

Many Taipei students get out of school and go straight to cram schools for several hours trying to fill what should be an already full head with more information, and in the process further destroying any chance of a wholesome childhood with a balance of learning and play.

Often students have time just to grab a bite between classes, as do teachers, and with mostly snack food available, this is rarely vegetarian and is rarely nutritious. 

So it is good that 5 years ago the Vegi Garden (植善蔬食多國料理) opened on Kaifeng Street offering meals in Eastern and Western styles that are “pure veg, low sugar, low salt, low oil”. 

The menu sounds exotic, ranging from Japanese wild mushroom hand-made noodles (NT$180) and Thai sweet and sour hot pot (NT$260), to Spanish golden stewed rice (NT$190) and pumpkin mushroom baked penne pasta (NT$210). For an additional NT$80, all become set meals with a soup, side dish and drink.

NOMM found the soup good, and the side dish (soft white tofu) excellent. The main dishes of Italian wild mushroom rice (NT$190) and Thai coconut milk curry hot pot (NT$260) were disappointing, however. The latter’s soup was so weak it was unidentifiable as having been made with either curry or coconut milk. 

Address: No.47, Kaifeng St. Sec. 1 (開封街一段47)
Telephone: 02-23118198
Hours: 11:00~14:00 & 17:00~21:00
NOMM processed food index: 1 (low)

Text and photos © Jiyue Publications 2012