Nov 27, 2021

Easy Prep Ahead Recipe - Grilled Pork Shoulder with Citrusy Juice Marinade

The marinade is similar to Creole seasoning, but not quite as pungent. The pork become very tender thanks to the help of ponkan orange (mandarin orange) juice. The best part about this recipe is that you can prep ahead of time, perhaps the night before or even couple days early. Works great if you're planning to have a barbecue feast. Simply pop out the meat 30 minutes before the actual grilling time, which can definitely save you a lot of hassles when the party starts.

Grilled pork shoulder with Citrusy juice marinade - 

Grilled pork shoulder with citrusy juice marinade

Ingredients (about 4 medium large pieces)?

  • 500 grams pork shoulder (try to get 4 medium large pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • Some olive oil


  • 4 tablespoons orange juice (I used ponkan orange)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup loosely packed chopped cilantro (including the stem part)


Try to marinate the pork overnight, or up to two days. 

Pork shoulder

Use a large Ziploc bag, add in the pork along with all the ingredients under the "marinade" section. For the chopped cilantro, try to use all the chopped stem section first, since the leafy part can be saved for garnish when serving.

Pork shoulder and citrusy marinade

Seal the Ziploc then massage the marinade into the meat by pressing and rotating the bag. Into the fridge during the marinating time. Remember to massage the meat once a while, at least couple times throughout the process.

When it's about time to grill the meat, remove the bag from the fridge and let it sit under room temperature for about 15 to 30 minutes.

Prepare a grill pan and turn to medium high heat. Wait till the pan turns hot. There is no need to brush any oil since we already added olive oil to the marinade.

Once the grill pan is hot enough, transfer the pork shoulder over and leave it untouched for the first couple minutes. Moving it too fast might result in the meat sticking onto the pan, or you won't get nice grill marks in the end. However, peeking is ok, just lift up the edge of the pork and see if the meat has gotten that browned marks. 

Pan-grilling pork shoulder

Once the meat gets a nice browning color, flip and continue to sear the other side. The meat should be just about fully cooked through with grill marks present on both sides.

Grilled pork shoulder with citrusy juice marinade

Plate the meat and garnish with some chopped cilantro leaves. Also drizzle some more olive oil over if preferred.

Grilled pork shoulder with citrusy juice marinade

I'd like to serve it with some hot sauce on the side, perhaps Tabasco since for its extra tang. If you don't mind too much cilantro, perhaps considering serving this grilled pork shoulder with cilantro and lime basmati rice

Extended reading:

Nov 21, 2021

Ground Chicken and Shiitake Mushroom Congee 香菇雞肉粥

The weather outside might be frightful, since we are about to enter the winter season in the northern hemisphere. But worry not, as long as we got this congee made with chicken stock at home, which will help keeping our body and mind cozy and warm.

Ground chicken and shiitake mushroom congee 香菇雞肉粥 - 

Ground chicken and shiitake mushroom congee

Ingredients (about 4 portions)?

  • 6 fresh shiitake mushroom
  • 6 dried shiitake mushroom
  • 1 cup cold water
  • 1 cup short grain white rice
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon grated young ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 dashes white pepper powder
  • Some chopped scallion
  • 1 to 2 salted duck eggs (optional)

Chicken marinade:

  • 170 grams ground chicken
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil


Dried shiitake mushroom can add much more flavor to the congee. The texture actually stays plump and juicy once cooked due to all the liquid present in the congee. However, if you can't find it, use more fresh shiitake mushroom instead.

Dried shiitake mushroom

Rinse the dried shiitake mushroom then soak with 1 cup of cold water for at least 30 minutes. After that, take out the mushroom and remove the tougher stems. Slice the caps and put aside for later use. Save the mushroom soaking water.

Soaking dried shiitake mushroom

For the fresh shiitake mushroom, remove the stems and slice the caps. Destem and chop the scallion. Scrape the skin and grate the young ginger.

Mix together 1/2 teaspoon of soy sauce and 1/2 teaspoon of sesame oil with ground chicken. Let it marinate for about 10 minutes.

Marinating ground chicken

Wash the rice a couple times and change water. Lastly, drain and set aside for later use.

Bring a big pot, add in sliced soaked shiitake mushroom along with its soaking water. Also pour in extra 8 cups of chicken stock. Bring the entire thing to a boil.

Add in the rice and grated ginger. 

Making chicken and mushroom congee

Bring to a boil again, which can take some time since we are working with a big pot of liquid here. Once boiling, lower the heat to keep it at a light bubbling. There's no need to cover the pot with a lid, but do remember to stir the grains once a while, which can prevent sticking on the bottom.

After 10 minutes, add in ground chicken, fresh shiitake mushroom, and couple dashes of white pepper powder. Stir while breaking the chicken into smaller chunks. Uneven chunks are fine, I actually like it that way instead of fine bits of ground chicken. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

Making ground chicken and mushroom congee

Taste and season with some salt, I used about 1 teaspoon here. 

Scoop the congee to serving bowls and garnish with some chopped scallion. I also peeled an salted duck egg and halved it, served together with my congee. Half the egg per serving should be enough, since the egg can be quite salty itself, like its name implies.

Ground chicken and shiitake mushroom congee

If you're looking for a lighter taste, swap out some chicken stock with plain water. However, the congee can be much more flavorful and heart-warming with chicken stock. Here in Taiwan, we also like to serve this congee to someone who's not feeling well or having a flu, it's that comforting. 

Ground chicken and shiitake mushroom congee

I like to eat it with extra white pepper powder, its gentle heats can actually add more warmth to the congee.

Other congee recipes:

Nov 15, 2021

Soft Scrambled Eggs with Black Truffle Shavings on Brioche Toast

Frankly speaking, I was going to buy white truffle since it's in season right now. However, the hefty price tag did put a halt on my shopping urge. But worry not, I settled for my second best also a much wallet-friendly option - black truffle. 

Soft scrambled eggs with black truffle shavings on brioche toast - 

Soft scrambled eggs with black truffle shavings on brioche toast

Ingredients (makes about 6 square servings)?

  • 2 thick slices brioche toast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unsalted butter
  • Some salt
  • Small pinch black pepper
  • Some fresh black truffle shavings


Slice and trim the brioche toast into bite size squares, need about 6 here.

Brioche squares

Break 2 eggs to a bowl, also add in 1 tablespoon of whole milk, pinch of salt, and pinch of black pepper. Whisk till blended.

Soft scrambled eggs mixture

Take a non-stick pan, melt 1 1/2 teaspoons of unsalted butter using medium heat. Use more butter if needed, at least enough to coat the surface of the pan once melted.

Pour in the egg mixture and soft scramble it. Don't over-mixing the egg, more like a gentle push around to prevent any side from over-cooking. Remove the eggs from heat when it still look slightly undone.

Soft scrambled eggs with black truffle shavings on brioche toast

Scoop some soft scrambled eggs on top of brioche squares. Add some salt flakes on top for that extra savory pop. Shave fresh black truffles and arrange over the eggs. Serve immediately.

Soft scrambled eggs with black truffle shavings on brioche toast

What a fancy snack. It's like buttery and earthy at the same time. If you like the scent and taste of fresh black truffle, stay tuned for my future post, which I'll use my remaining black truffle for a pasta dish.


Nov 10, 2021

Pidan/Century Egg Noodles for One 皮蛋拌麵

It might sound absurd at first, but my mom actually taught me to add century egg to instant noodles, the Asian soupy kind, saying that it'll significantly boost up the flavors. I had my hesitations at first, but it's already been proven that this unlikely combo did work like magic. Give it a try if you feel brave enough one day.

So from there, I was thinking if pidan/century egg works with instant noodles, why not use it in Asian style dry noodles? It's like magic all over again, my pidan noodles was more than I can hoped for. If you like the taste of pidan, you'll love this one.

Pidan/Century Egg Noodles for One 皮蛋拌麵 - 

Pidan (century egg) noodles for one

Ingredients (one portion)?

  • 2 pidan/century eggs
  • 1 string (not stalk) scallion
  • 1 red chili
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 portion thin Asian noodles


  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons black vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili sauce of your liking
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil


Remove the pidan shells and slice the egg in half. Only save half of the century egg for final topping. Chop the rest into smaller cubes and transfer to serving bowl.

Pidan also known as century egg

Destem the red chili, roll out the seeds and cut the chili into rings, set aside for final garnish. Finely chop the cilantro. Remove the stem from the scallion and finely chop it. There is no need to use the entire stalk of scallion, just one string should be enough. Transfer all the scallion and about 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro to the serving bowl.

Also add all the ingredients under the "sauce" section to the serving bowl.

Ingredients for Asian dry noodles

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil and cook the thin Asian noodles till desired texture. 

Cooking Asian thin noodles

Drain out about 90% of liquid, while still trapping some water in between. Transfer noodles to serving bowl and mix together with the sauce. Garnish with half century egg, chili rings, and the remaining chopped cilantro on top. Please enjoy right away, otherwise the noodles can start to stick together and it'll be harder to separate them as time passes by. 

Pidan (century egg) egg noodles for one

About the draining part, if unsure, do it like cooking Italian pasta. You can scoop out some cooking water on the side first, that way you can drain out all the water once the noodles are done. Simply add some water to the bowl later on when blending the noodles with the sauce mix. Perhaps easier to measure the amount of water that way.

If you can work your way around the kitchen efficiently, per my case, usually I'll start out with cooking the noodles. While the noodles are boiling, I'll prep other ingredients at the same time. Ideally the noodles are done when I'm just about finish prepping all the side ingredients. So the drained noodles can go straight to the serving bowl, zero idle time.

Pidan (century egg) noodles for one

After blending in the noodles, the cubed century egg actually falls apart to the creamy yolk and jelly-like egg white. So when you eat the noodles, the yolk has already oozing in and became part of the sauce, making it a denser, creamier sauce base. Meanwhile, you can still feel the jelly-like chunks throughout.

I'm pretty confident that century egg lovers will fall for this recipe. It was very satisfying to have the entire noodles for myself (Mister at home not quite a fan of century eggs). 

Another pidan/century egg recipe:

Nov 3, 2021

Preserved Mustard Tuber and Taiwan Free Range Chicken - See How Forchetta Transforms Local Ingredients to a Pasta Course

If you ever or going to visit Taiwan sometime, for the city part, on top of the capital city Taipei, maybe you can also spend a day or two at the central Taichung city. At the moment we have Michelin-rated restaurants in Taipei, and Taichung was also included to the Michelin Guide starting 2020.

Taichung Forchetta's handmade pasta

Indeed, Taichung is a city mixed with old and new, including the local food scene. Forchetta, the one I visited was famed one Michelin star. Located in possibly the most well-planned area in Taichung, there you'll find Forchetta situated in the heart of many fancy tall household buildings in the 7th Redevelopment Zone.

Taichung Forchetta

Unlike its neighbors, the restaurant building is rather petite, only two or three floors, where the main dining scene happened on the 2nd floor. 

Taichung Forchetta dining area

It has a balcony with plants throughout, so even the restaurant sits few steps away from the main greenery park in the area, dining there still make customers feel like surrounded by the trees, an easy relaxing vibe so to speak.

Taichung Forchetta dining area

Forchetta's lunch menu and dinner menu look similar, with only main course options listed. The slightly more expensive price for dinner is mostly due to more dishes offered on top of the main.

Taichung Forchetta's lunch menu

All you have to do is simply pick out the entrée of your liking. Drink-wise, talking about water, Forchetta only offers mineral or sparkling water, no tap water available. Since it's bottle service, I went with my mom's preference - sparkling water, and we picked out the fancy bottled rain water from Australia Cape Grim. 

Taichung Forchetta's drink menu

I've also added a simple three-glass wine pairing. Don't drink and drive. Since I brought that up, me and my mom actually took the Taiwan high speed rail from Taipei to Taichung, which only took around one hour. Also from the station to restaurant, if taking taxi, that's extra 15 minutes ride, pretty easy to get around the area.

Black olive country bread - 

Black olive country bread by Forchetta

The texture is close to slightly denser focaccia, dry but not tough. In fact, the bread was rather soft, with a simple tear and it'll break apart easily. 

Tomato salsa and garlic aioli by Forchetta

I can see the black olive bits, but can't really taste it. Worry not, both the garlic aioli and tomato salsa were there to boost up the flavors. The waitress recommended us to use both, one provides more moisture with a refreshing touch, and the other adds a kick to it.

Black olive country bread with salsa and garlic aioli by Forchetta

Taro winter melon soup, a gentle warmth to slowly awaken the senses -

Taro winter melon soup by Forchetta

Think of it as winter melon soup, but the winter melon used was a specific variety that carries the scent of taro, that's why the name "taro winter melon." We sat by the entrance, but with a glass in between, where you can see that the restaurant actually arranged some fresh taro winter melons outside - 

Taro winter melon at Forchetta

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granita - 

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granita course by Forchetta

To name it Peruvian, not because the granita was originated in Peru, but chef's interpretation of the Peruvian flavors he tasted. Similar to ceviche, with a punch of citrusy acidity yet a slight sweetness in the seasoning.

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granite by Forchetta

First wine pairing came just in time, Greek aióra white -

Greek aiora white at Forchetta

This wine has a bright acidity, to match the granita and thinly sliced pickled lotus root.

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granita by Forchetta

Local deep sea fish -

Deep sea fish with kale crisps and green chili foam by Forchetta

Didn't get the exact name, but I think it should be some kind of deep sea catfish. The fish texture is quite bouncy, almost chewy, just a tiny bit. Taste-wise, the fish itself didn't carry much distinctive flavor, the main character lies on the hearty bite instead.  

Local deep sea fish with kale crisps and green chili foam by Forchetta

To counter-balance such full body of the fish, chef used kale crisps, green chili foam, and soybean sprout to go along. The green chili foam especially, like a light brush of minty and bell peppery note, attaching more characters to the fish.

Deep sea fish with kale crisps and green chili foam by Forchetta

Giant button mushroom -

Giant button mushroom by Forchetta

Considered one of the signature dishes of Forchetta, but the preparation and presentation vary from time to time.

Juicy giant button mushroom by Forchetta

You'll find silky smooth truffle mashed potato poured on top and flew all the way to the bottom. It's like a mushroom on top of mushroom, earthy and packed with umami power. But what wowed me the most was how juicy the button mushroom was.

Right after I made a slit on the mushroom, just a little pressure, the juice kept flowing out, just like pressing down a well-soaked sponge. In the end, it almost felt like a soup course (in a good way) with all that moisture released from the mushroom.

California centra coast Calera chardonnay at Forchetta

Second wine paring came along to go with that velvety mashed potato, California central coast Calera chardonnay.

While my mom was praising how homey the service is at Forchetta, the waitress brought over the handmade pasta for the upcoming course -

Handmade pasta by Forchetta

Basically the service should be up to par for a Michelin-rated restaurant, but the reason why I pointed out is because that my mom isn't a person easy to please. So be able to win her over, it takes more than just professional and courteous performance. She especially said that all the servers that day made her felt welcomed, like really caring and chatting with someone they know, instead of a stranger customer.

Handmade pasta by Forchetta

I did notice that during half of our meal, my mom was trying to move the heavy chair to get to the restroom. Well, she mentioned that the chair was heavy when we first sat in. The waitress must aware of that, so once my mom made a tiny movement, the waitress quickly came over and helped her with the chair.

Handmade pasta with preserved mustard tuber and Taiwan free range chicken by Forchetta

The service was great, so was this handmade pasta with Taiwanese preserved mustard tuber, white beech mushroom, and local free range chicken. The preserved mustard tuber can be quite salty sometime, but that strong flavor was much needed here, to act like a backbone for the entire dish. On top of that, unlike plain salt or anchovies, it's Taiwanese' take on how to incorporate other salty element to a dish.

Bird's eye chili oil from Forchetta

But not just the salty part, a hint of sweetness also surfaced from the preserved mustard tuber, creating layers of flavor to the pasta. Even though its seasoning was already spicy, if you'd like, asked the server for extra chili oil made with bird's eye chili. The spiciness won't kill you if you can normally take on some heat, it'll further bring out that hidden sweetness from the preserved mustard tuber.

Handmade pasta with preserved mustard tuber and Taiwan free range chicken by Forchetta

One element that I enjoyed a lot is the use of local free range chicken. It felt like the essence, more so the fine oil from the chicken was released and clung on every single pasta. When you took a bite, you can actually felt something slightly sticky that was packed with umami covering the pasta, and it's very addicting. The chicken itself was bouncy and tender at the same time. Look closer, you can almost see some chicken fat leaking through every fine grains of meat, no wonder why it tasted so good. Definitely my favorite course of the day.

Third, also my last wine pairing Vivaldi Valpolicella Ripasso, which will go with the main course coming up -

Vivaldi Valpolicella Ripasso from Forchetta

We picked US SRF rib eye steak and Australia wagyu hanger steak as our main. The red wine actually worked better with hanger steak, with its meatier and fuller taste.

Hanger steak by Forchetta

Both steak came with the same sides. Let's look at the chicharrones fritos-looking thing first. It's actually beef tendon that's been stewed for one day, then fried just when the main course is about to be served. Interestingly, it doesn't taste like beef anymore, more like a Thai shrimp cracker instead.

Fried beef tendon by Forchetta

The black sauce in the center was made with local fermented garlic, also known as black garlic. Imagine garlicky aroma being condensed at least tenfold, with molasses-like dense sweetness to it. There're also grilled okra, eggplant, and baby corn. The dark mass on top of baby corn is Taiwanese "sacha" sauce. If you ever had Taiwanese hot pot before, you'll find sacha sauce served in most of the hot pot places, think of it as Taiwan's version of barbecue sauce.

US SRF ribeye steak by Forchetta

That marked the end of our savory dishes, here's a little in-between before the actual dessert course -

Mulberry white boba and red heart guava sorbet by Forchetta

Mulberry white boba and red heart guava sorbet.

Single espresso by Forchetta

Our meal also came with coffee or tea in the end. Mom asked for single espresso. Tea-wise, there're iced or hot hibiscus tea, or no-caffeine hot tea flavored with cocoa shell. Sounds interesting, of course I'm opting for the cocoa shell tea.

Cocoa shell tea by Forchetta

The tea strainer reminds me of Pikmin.

Cocoa shell tea from Forchetta

If blind-folded, judging by the scent, I bet most people would guess it's really a cup of cocoa, the unsweetened kind because that chocolaty aroma was more like an airy brush to the nose. Such a heart-warming tea, especially the comfort associated from all the past chocolate-related memories. 

The finale dessert was also chocolate themed -

Grating 100% chocolate over dessert served by Forchetta

The server helped grating some 100% chocolate that's located grown and made in Nantou, Taiwan. Yes, we have our own local chocolate too. In fact, there's this Fu Wan Chocolate, a local bean-to-bar chocolate maker that have won many International chocolate awards.

Chocolate dessert by Forchetta

The main part of the dessert used 70% chocolate, served with sabayon. Inside you'll find semi-translucent filling, that's jelly made with cocoa pulp, I think it tasted similar to rambutan.

Jelly made with cocoa pulp at Forchetta

We had a wonderful time at Forchetta. To me, the pasta was definitely the highlight of the meal. It incorporated many local ingredients and perfectly showcased Taiwanese flavors. Not just a mix between the west and the east, but the one that truly turned the pasta like a finely crafted local dish.

One extra side benefit about Forchetta is that it's within 5 minutes walking distance to National Taichung Theater. The theater was designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito in collaboration with Cecil Balmond at Arup AGU. Once walking towards that direction, the sight is hard to miss. 

I would suggest you to spare some time and take a walk after Forchetta. Since you're already there, go to the roof top garden in National Taichung Theater to take in the view of the surrounded 7th Redevelopment Zone. City-wise, in a more modern approach, I think that's the best part of Taichung City. 


Forchetta currently holds one Michelin star status. 


2F, No. 36, Huizhong 7th St, Xitun Dist, 

Taichung City, Taiwan

+886 4-2255-8111

Restaurant website:


Opening hours:

Daily lunch  12:00 noon ~ 2:30 p.m.

Daily dinner 6:00 p.m. ~ 9:30 p.m.