Jan 31, 2019

Sweet Fermented Flour Paste Ground Pork Stir-Fry 甜麵醬炒豬絞肉

Sidetracked. Netflix recently released a Korean mini zombie series called "Kingdom." Several friends already recommended me to watch it. I'll try my best to finish the whole thing at once during Chinese New Year. But, do I look like a big fan of zombie movies? I thought I've been hiding that dark side of mine very well..

Sweet fermented flour paste ground pork stir-fry 甜麵醬炒豬絞肉 -


  • 250 grams coarse ground pork
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed wild rice stem (or other type of bamboo shoot)
  • 2 cups cubed king oyster mushroom
  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon sweet fermented flour paste
  • 1 tablespoon spicy fermented bean paste
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Peel and finely chop the garlic cloves. Destem and chop the scallion. Peel and cube the onion. Peel and grate the ginger.

Cube the king oyster mushrooms. Trim and cube the wild rice stems. If can't find such ingredient, other type of bamboo shoot works too.

Drizzle enough olive oil in the pan and turn to medium high heat. Add in onion along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper. Cook till the onion turns translucent.

Add in garlic and grated ginger, cook till aromatic.

Transfer the pork to the pan, give it a quick stir and wait till about 70% cooked through.

Add in wild rice stem or bamboo shoots, king oyster mushroom, sweet fermented flour paste, spicy fermented bean paste, oyster sauce, and Sriracha. Mix till incorporated, and cook till nearly dried up and the sauce has been reduced.

Mix in half of the chopped scallion and give it a quick stir.

Plate and garnish with the other half of chopped scallion. Preferably serve with steamy hot rice.

Back to that zombie series, I checked on IMDb, 8.5, such high rating! It's time to stick my butt back to the sofa with crispy chicken on one hand and boba milk tea on the other.

Other recipe using sweet fermented flour paste/tien mien jiang:

Jan 28, 2019

Brioche Shrimp Rolls with Thai Sweet Chili Chips

Not the fancy, hyped lobster rolls, but using more approachable shrimps instead. Still keeping it fancy though, by using buttery brioche and top with crumbles of Thai sweet chili chips. Without lobster, we can still eat like kings and queens.

Brioche shrimp rolls with Thai sweet chili chips -

Ingredients (about 3 portions)?

  • 12 medium shrimps
  • 3 small medium brioche rolls
  • 3 lemon wedges
  • 1 pack Thai sweet chili chips (or other spicy chips)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery stalk
  • 4 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Some unsalted butter


It's not necessary to use Thai sweet chili chips, other type of spicy chips work too, or even better, use spicy Cheetos.

Slice an opening on top of brioche rolls for the shrimp filling. Spread some unsalted butter on the sides of brioche rolls. Take a non-stick pan, sear the bread till slightly browned and that buttery aroma comes out.

Peel and devein the shrimps. Blanch the shrimps, drain and pat dry with kitchen towel. Cut into two to three smaller chunks. Mix the shrimps with chopped celery stalk, mayonnaise, lemon juice, Sriracha, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. Taste and adjust with more seasonings if needed.

Now just need to assemble the rolls. Stuff the shrimp filling into brioche rolls. Crumble some spicy chips on top, also serve some whole chips on the side, along with lemon wedges.

I got the idea of using crumbled chips as topping from a popular restaurant in downtown LA. Can't recall the name of the place now, but such idea has been imprinted in my head for years. Finally, it's my term to translate that inspiration into an actual dish. 

As for the filling, since Sriracha was used as one of the seasonings, I think Thai sweet chili chips work really well here. Some similarities can be found in both ingredients. 

Put that aside, we can't find spicy Cheetos here in Taiwan, what's up with that!?

Other shrimp related recipes:

Jan 22, 2019

Thai Flavored Steamed Tilapia Fillets. This Time Using Dried Herbs

I'm sure I'm not the only one left with tons of leftover dried herbs in the pantry, especially the case for not so frequently used exotic dried herbs. Per my case, I use more western spices than Southeast Asian varieties like galangal and kaffir lime leaves. These herbs are usually purchased for one particular dish and they'll be sitting in the corner of the cabinet for a long long time before seeing daylight again. It's time to rescue these lonely herbs.

Thai flavored steamed tilapia fillets using dried herbs -


  • 0.75 lb/about 2 tilapia fillets
  • 2 slices dried galangal
  • 1 small handful dried lemon grass
  • 6 dried kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 stalk scallion
  • 1 red chili
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Some fish sauce
  • Some salt


Season both sides of the fish fillets with some salt.

Put one tilapia fillets on the bottom of the plate. Top with 2 slices of galangal, some kaffir lime leaves, then arrange dried lemon grass throughout. Squeeze half of the lemon juice over, also add a few dashes of fish sauce. Top these dried herbs with the other piece of fish fillet, somewhat like making a sandwich.

Flip the whole thing over so the other fillet can get some seasonings too.

Cover the plate with cling foil. Use a steamer, steam the fish for 7 to 10 minutes. Flip the fish and put the lid back on. The power should be off by now, just gently cook the fillets using residual heat for another 3 minutes, then remove from the steamer. Once cool enough, remove dried herbs.

Destem and finely chop the red chili. Destem and slice the scallion into thin strips. Transfer these two over cooked fish. Meanwhile, prepare a small pot and drizzle some olive oil over. Turn to high heat and make sure the oil gets really hot. Drizzle that over red chili and scallion, it should make a sizzling sound when the oil touches the chili and scallion. Serve immediately. 

Instead of adding an exotic touch to the tilapia fillets, these dried herbs actually boost up that refreshing, umami-loaded scents. The outcome was such a surprise to me, in a pleasant and delicious way.

Other fish recipes:

Jan 14, 2019

Swapping Out Some Meat with Tofu - Chicken Tofu and Spinach Patties

Instead of full-on ground chicken, this time some tofu was also blended into the mixture. On top of that, even though the title only says spinach, but actually I used a special kind of mountain spinach from Taiwan, which carries stronger grassy aroma. So to counter such flavor profile, I've also swapped out the usual olive oil and changed to Taiwanese tea oil this time for searing. The result? Patties filled with wild plants scent, like eating a delicate yet rustic countryside dish.

Chicken tofu and spinach patties -

Ingredients (makes about 8 patties)?

  • 190 grams ground chicken
  • 250 grams Taiwanese mountain spinach (regular spinach will do)
  • 150 grams semi-firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons Taiwanese tea oil
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Some black pepper (optional)
  • Some toasted white sesame seeds (optional)


Peel and grate the ginger, then add that to a big mixing bowl. Blanch the spinach and dry really well, perhaps squeeze out the water first then dry again with cloth or kitchen towel. 

Chop the spinach into small bits then transfer to the mixing bowl. Wrap the tofu with cloth, or many layers of kitchen towel. Again, squeeze and draw out any liquid. Crumble the tofu and transfer to the bowl too.

In that bowl, also add in ground chicken, 2 tablespoons corn starch, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mix well and separate into 8 equal parts.

Shape them into thick and oval-shaped patties.

Take another bowl, mix in 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon mirin, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Make sure the sugar is fully dissolved.

Drizzle some tea oil to the pan and turn to medium high heat. Once warmed up, transfer the patties over one by one. Don't move them around too soon, since the patties might still stick to the surface or can fall apart. Wait till semi-cooked and the patties start to turn slightly browned, then it'll be safer to move them around.

Flip and sear the other side till slightly browned.

Pour the sauce mixture into the pan and flip the patties around so all sides are coated with the seasonings. Cool till all the sauce has been reduced, and the patties got that darkened color. Transfer the patties to serving plate and sprinkle with some toasted white sesame seeds and freshly ground pepper if desired.

Tea oil and mountain spinach, these patties carry the scent similar to the usual dish from a rustic countryside restaurant. Distinct but not too outrageous, just a brush of that wild plant vibe. 

Other recipes using tofu: 

Jan 8, 2019

RAW X'mas & New Year Special Menu - It's About Time

Ever since RAW opened back in 2014, it's been one of the toughest places to get a table in Taipei. Years later, the hype finally died down a little, just a wee bit. And it just happened that I got a table for their X'mas and new year special meal. It's about time.

In fact, I was reading an article about RAW, so decided to check out RAW's website to try my luck, see if any seats are available. Perhaps the restaurant just released their special meal dining plan, all the time slots during Christmas and new year were all available.

Of course I had to press that button and confirmed my reservation. 

By the way, after dining at RAW, I checked out their online booking system again just to see if it's still quite a challenge to get a table there. Well, it's not mission impossible anymore, but still highly recommended to book one or two months in advance.

So the staffs were already waiting by the door for the guests to arrive. It was a warm welcome. 

Long story short, there's always various voices regarding the meals at RAW. I guess it varies widely depending on which seasonal or special menu being tried. 

My opinion? There's another Michelin starred restaurant upstairs, Taïrroirserving somewhat similar style dishes. Where western and Taiwanese elements intertwined together. For sure the service is much more friendly and closer to heart at RAW. However, food-wise, I was more impressed with the delicate aromas showcased by Taïrroir. Some of the dishes I had at RAW was too salty, overpowering the other elements on the plate. Either way, it was only based on my first visits of these two places though.

Wine pairing -

Bring it on, get the complete wine pairing, and RAW will serve one more bonus dish. The one that pushed Chef Andre Chiang to a whole different realm, foie gras jelly and black truffle coulis. How can you say no?

(Drink responsibly, don't drink and drive)

Need utensils? Just open the drawer on the side and everything you need are right there.

Two starters to begin the meal. Looks like coral to me but should be mimicking the scenery of woods and grass, since there it set two nests holding two quail eggs -

The flavor of the eggs are similar to Taiwanese tea egg, on top of that, the semi-cooked yolk inside was luscious and velvety. 

The other starter, onion soup with imported caviar -

As comforting as it can be, when that creamy and oniony soup slid from its crunchy shell, embraced by its warmth, finally shook away that tingling sensation from the cold breeze outside.

Uni/kohlrabi/porridge -

Reminiscing the porridge and array of little savory dishes that Taiwanese love to eat, either for breakfast or late night meal. 

Thick and almost roux-like rice drink serving in a cup, slightly sweet to taste. Above the rice crisp, lays uni and fermented tofu sauce. Beneath that, pickled kohlrabi. Old school comfort food got its new face lift.

First wine pairing, Méthod Traditionelle Brut, Cuvée Classique N°15 Blanc de Blancs/ Weightstone -

Wine from Taiwan, that's right, check out their official website for more information regarding Weightstone winery. This one was made with 100% golden muscat. Tropical fruit notes such as lychee and passion fruit, said so on the wine menu. To me, more of hawthorn, and even a hint of savory note similar to fermented black beans, which matches so well with the country bread coming up shortly.

Prawn/pea/myoga -

Also a small plate of quinoa in the back if a crunchier bite is preferred. 

Country bread with cocoa quinoa butter -

It can definitely win the best supporting role in this whole dining experience. The more you chew, a kind of rustic aroma keeps emerging. The bread was elastic but not rubbery, that thin outer layer also got a wee bit of crunchiness. 

Once putting on some buttery spread, it further smoothen out any rugged edge with an extra bonus of cocoa's dense, almost to a point leaning towards bitter fragrance, even more comforting that way. I can eat this every day. 

Don't forget to take a sip of that sparkling wine.

Second wine pairing, Sancerre Auksinis/Sébastien Riffault 2013 -

100% Sauvignon Blanc. The description says that this winery is famous for its late harvest grapes, in order to obtain ripe fruit characteristics. Probably not the most easily accepting kind of wine, especially when our waitress was double checking how was the wine. 

In fact, to a point I thought it got some traits of fino sherry, and it sure can pair well with that fermented tofu sauce earlier. But I haven't had sherry for quite some time, so don't take my words for granted. I'm guessing that the restaurant was going bold with this one, either way, I enjoyed it a lot.

Watermelon/buri/pink guava -

Ok, it tricked me. At first I thought I have to drink from that straw.

Ended up it was not a straw for boba, but a test tube filled with two color dressing. And the watermelon was more of a lid. Opened it up revealing the true dish hidden underneath.

Buri, pink guava, sea grapes from Penghu (islands near Taiwan), katsuo stock jelly. The pale yellow greenish slice on top was pickled watermelon, using the usually discarded white section. Refreshing it was, but also too salty and overly sourish. In the end it was packed with all so strong seasonings, not that refreshing anymore.

Giant clam/lardo/chowder -

Inside that shell, one giant clam and one mussel to strengthened the flavor. Bacon bits was supposed to sprinkle on top of the chowder we're used to, but here, substituted with bacon foam. 

Put all that aside, the truly special part, to me at least, was the lardo. Not the regular lardo, but the one made with sword fish, velvety in a dense way, a fun dish to try.

You can also wipe out the sauce with lardo and bread, enjoying these two in one bite.

Asparagus/organic egg/white truffle -

Whole Alba white truffle was only for presentation, so that we can smell first. Savor after.

Nothing can ever go wrong with potato and white truffle.

Third wine pairing, Vin de France Initials BB/AGNÈS & RENÉ MOSSE 2015 -

100% Chenin Blanc this time. I love that half way through a distinct hay or straw type of aroma slowing coming to the surface. Gotta love Loire wine. 

Corn/gnocchi/bottarga - 

Flavors are not hard to predict with such ingredients combination.

Cobia/eggplant/burnt miso -

Not written on the menu, but what might took the most of the effort is that purple sugar paper-looking thing. 

Eggplant was used in this dish, but it was peeled so only revealing the white section. To compensate that color loss, the chef took purple yam, perhaps going through dried, fried, powered, many processes in order to get that thin and crunchy, almost a piece art on the plate.

And to serve along the fish, what sprinkled on the side was crunchy sacha bits, the sauce we Taiwanese love to use while enjoying hot pot, or added as stir-fry dish seasoning. By the way, the caviar used here was not the imported version, it's from local sturgeon near the central Taiwan.

4th wine pairing, Sauternes Orthopraxie, Domaine Rousset Peyrageuy 2001 -

A much more refreshing type of sauternes, elegant indeed.

One of the element from Chef Andre Chiang's octaphilosophy, memory, carved on the spoon -

Such special spoon for our bonus dish, foie gras jelly and black truffle coulis -

Each element, especially the foie and black truffle, standing strong and obvious, but in a way seamlessly intertwined together. To a point it's like all these tiny pores are filled with foie gras and black truffle, making one felt that they were grown that way.

Smooth like a dense tiramisu, and not to forget it worked so well with our sauternes pairing. Pushing that rounded texture to greater heights.

Fifth wine pairing, Saint-Chinian L'Engoulevent/Yannick Pelletier 2014 -

The only red wine, and not the heavy kind too, had a clean finish. Mainly grenache and carignan blend.

Winter truffle/coffee/chestnut -

The creation between Chef Andre Chiang and...one other famed chef, pardon my fading memory. Pretty strong dish, perhaps too powerful. It was hard to finish the whole plate, definitely need to seek help from the wine. 

That crunchy looking thing is fried beef tendon, and circular one was made with kohlrabi and truffle. The main ingredient here is Australian wagyu beef, served with cappuccino sauce.

Sixth wine pairing, Pinot Gris Vandange Tardive, Christian Binner 2003 -

This time, 100% Pinot Gris.

"Rhubarb" -

Think twice? It's actually a faux rhubarb made with celery, decorated with raspberry sauce. It's not easy to source rhubarb in Taiwan, so RAW came up with such dish, a fun twist before full-on dessert.

Little present to take home with, flavored salt for four seasons -

Spring: sakura/umebushi/pink pepper
Summer: scallion/sesame/anis
Fall: ebi/piment d'espelete/magao
Winter: vegetable ash/hay smoked/cep

Red bean/almond/rice crisps/pearl barley/hibiscus powder -

Moving on to 2019.

Oolong tea -

Walnuts dessert, pick the two that have been opened from the bunch -

It can be a hard task after our complete wine pairing. Oh my blurry eyes.

Porcini chocolate cookies -

Since it's new year special menu, spare me on my new year's resolution. Nothing much, just two simple words "thankful" and "grateful." Easy to say but sometimes we tend to forget such basic things in life. 2019 and so forth, hope these two traits can stick with me. Even if hard time arises, I can still carry on with thankful and grateful thoughts in mind.

Happy new year!

RAW currently holds one Michelin star status.

No.301, Le Qun 3rd Road
Taipei City, Taiwan 
Official website: https://www.raw.com.tw/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rawtaipei/
*Reservation needs to be made through online booking system

Opening hours:

Wednesday - Sunday 
Lunch from 11:30 a.m. ~ 2:30 p.m. 
Dinner from 6:00 p.m. ~ 10:00 p.m.
Closed on Monday and Tuesday

Other Michelin starred restaurants nearby: