Taco 101

Quirky and cute! That basically sums up this taco joint, located near Yonge-Dundas Square. And today was the perfect day to enjoy a variety of tacos while looking out at the not-so-busy Dundas St East.

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It was just my mom and I, so we decided to order three different types of tacos and a side of beans and chips. From top right and going clockwise: fish, chicken adobado and nopal.  I really enjoyed the chicken, it was nicely marinated and moist. I wasn’t crazy about the fish, although I could taste the freshness. The nopal (vegetarian) was marinated pickled green beans, not bad too. I originally wanted to order the al pastor (pork) but it wasn’t ready.  We almost couldn’t finish the beans and chips. I was slightly disappointed as the beans were black beans, not pinto beans (as stated on the website’s menu). We also had a bottle of cold lime soda. Refreshing! Everything was cheap, totaling to $20$.

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I love the seating view, as you can look out to the street and strangers crossing. It wasn’t a hot day so it was just perfect for a spot of lunch.

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Click here for Taco 101’s website.

Pai Toronto

PAI PAI PAI! FINALLY! I’ve heard so many good things about Pai, a Thai restaurant located near the financial district.  I took my mom here on Saturday around 3pm and it was quite busy. We both didn’t have a proper lunch, so it was lunch and dinner combined (we had a shopping date planned for later on), it was dunch or linner for us.

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We hardly have fancy meals together, so I kinda treated myself to a lemongrass tea. The lemongrass flavour was subtle and definitely too much simple syrup.

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We couldn’t decide what to order and I didn’t do research before arriving, so we asked our waiter what the popular dishes were. We got Grabong (fried strips of squash), Pad Thai (stir fried noodles) and Khao Soi (curry noodles).

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Grabong: it was too much for two people. Lots of squash fritters with a sweet tamarind dipping sauce…I was bored of eating it when we devoured half.

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The Khao Soi was the most disappointing. There were lots of beef in the curry and little noodles and they anything special. It was just wide wonton (egg) noodles and very salty. The curry did have coconut flavour, but I don’t remember any other flavours that stood out.

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The Pad Thai was ok. The presentation was nice, everything seems to be served on a banana (?) leaf.  The lime helped bring out the flavour and cut some of the spiciness (we got medium).  The Pad Thai was salty.

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The atmosphere here is lit. The restaurant is located downstairs,  having minimum natural light from windows, it was a low lit restaurant, with lots of banners and flags hanging in the dining area. Along the wallk, at the bar, it reminds me of my dad’s workshelf in the garage, just filled with bottles and whatnot. Friendly vibe and surprisingly, many young families too. 

Looking in to the restaurant…

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You can opt to sit on the floor.  I wish I’d seen that when we walked in.

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So what’s the big deal? I don’t even know myself, but I’m guessing that people like the vibe and of course the food. What a perfect match!
Click here for Pai’s website.

Raohe Night Market (饒河街觀光夜市) – Taipei Part 8

To be (very) honest, I thought all of Taipei’s markets were the same (at least, from the ones that I’ve been to). With all that being said, I really enjoyed my last night market, and that was on the very last day before going home.

This particular market, Raohe Night Market, greeted us with a bright sign… I knew this would be one of the best memories I will have from Taipei.

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Within one meter of entering the market’s invisible ‘gates’ there was already a line lineup, and yes of course, we had to peep our heads to find out what on earth was going on. And it was a line for Taiwan’s famous pepper buns.

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We went on Thursday night, which was disappointing because there weren’t as many people as I thought there would be, but every night’s the same, so I guess people are bored of hanging out at the same place?

This market is one of the bigger markets, in terms of area. There were so many food choices to choose from; the typical Asian food market staples (fresh juices and fruit, grilled corn, grilled seafood, skewers, etc).

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These potato balls are bomb! We bought a bag and instantly ate it all. So we HAD to go get another one. The potato balls are light, fluffy and sweet. It’s like snacking on potato chips, but 100 times better! (I found a video that is similar to the potato balls).  Anyone know what the official name is for this unbelievable snack?

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But Raohe does have its distinctiveness, which was a first for me. There were caucasians selling tarts and desserts. But what a bummer, their stalls weren’t busy and hardly anyone glanced over to see what they had to offer. The tarts and desserts sure looked delicious!  One stall was even selling macarons!

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One of my favourite parts of this night market is enjoying the music. Even though some stores had music blasting from their speakers, nothing soothes the soul by listening to a harp . What surprised me more, was that people actually stopped to enjoy an old man playing, the harp is so unappreciated.

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But the main purpose for visiting this night market is to try  Ay Chung Flour Rice Noodle.  At first, I wasn’t keen on trying the noodles, but there’s a ‘crunch’ to the noodles that I find very interesting and I never had anything like it. 

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Click here for more information for Taiwan’s Raohe Night Market.