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eG Foodblog: fengyi - Win(e)ing and Dining in Beijing


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Hooters in Beijing?  I don't believe it.  Please provide photographic evidence. :smile:

I forgot to answer this most pressing demand..... :biggrin:

HOOTERS - yes, the first in Beijing just opened last year. I haven't any pictures (not really the sort of place I would go -though I've been dragged to the one in Shanghai....) but Google will prove its existence :biggrin:

Yes! We need those pictures!

Remember, it's in the interest of science!

Peter

P.S. - I was looking at those tomatoes and thinking of "tomatoes in snow" buried under confectioner's sugar...... :smile:

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Egg Burritos! (that's what we called them....) I'm from California, and I lived in Beijing studying my 4th year of Mandarin in '87-'88. I've not been back since; and I was obsessed with food then(as I am now. hence the egullet lurking).

We ate these every day. I'm really enjoying this blog. I know Beijing has changed dramatically, it's fun for me to see a few of the things that haven't changed. Crowded buses, noodle shops, etc. happy blogging.

Here it is being eaten on the way home in the taxi:

gallery_28661_5821_77438.jpg

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Zhacai! My husband is looking out his passport :biggrin: - you can buy it in Japan, but in small, expensive packets only.

However, I had to laugh at the jaiozi section - at present, several cases of food poisoning mean that imported frozen jiaozi are heavily discounted, but you can barely give them away...has there been any debate about the safety of frozen jiaozi in China itself?

Those breads lookg really great.

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Hi! There haven't been any real scares about jiaozi here in Beijing - but I suspect that one wouldn't hear about them anyway!

They're pretty much a staple here - as many people don't have the time to make jiaozi from scratch and most of them are pretty tasty!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Egg Burritos! (that's what we called them....) I'm from California, and I lived in Beijing studying my 4th year of Mandarin in '87-'88. I've not been back since; and I was obsessed with food then(as I am now. hence the egullet lurking).

We ate these every day. I'm really enjoying this blog. I know Beijing has changed dramatically, it's fun for me to see a few of the things that haven't changed. Crowded buses, noodle shops, etc. happy blogging.

Egg Burritos :biggrin: I love that! They really are a good way to start the day. Did you also eat 'Beancurd brains' (doufunao)? we really like those but they're harder to find around here whereas we have at least three stands for jianbing sellers.

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Just for Peter and Laksa, here is the photographic evidence for Hooters - taken from inside a cab last night on my way home.

(The taxi driver thought I was demented...)

Sorry for the quality - it was taken at the traffic lights on the junction of Gongtibeilu and Gongtidonglu (where Hooters is located...)

gallery_28661_5821_45667.jpg

I have actually seen Miss Hooters China in person - she works at the Shanghai branch near Hongqiao.

It's absolutely mortifyingly embarrassing to say that.....!

Edited by Fengyi (log)

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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On Friday, we decided to go to Dai Tai Feng because we had a coupon for it... also, it's the best xiaolongbao in town, and it's just across the street from where I work.

It was a surprise to me when I saw pictures of the original Dai Tai Feng in Taipei (in the Chinese food forum on eGullet). The ones in Beijing offer quite up-scale dining as you can see:

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and it's not a particularly cheap place to eat (but it is GOOD).

We got some appetizer dishes to start:

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From top left going clockwise, we have shredded mixed doufu shreds, cold spicy beef-tendon (my favourite!), "sugar-vinegar" pork riblets (sweet and sour taste - but not the SS pork that is common around the world), and stir fried Youmaicai.

Then the first basket of xiaolongbao came:

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These are just heavenly! Wonderful taste and texture. Seriously good!

But, even further up on my scale of delight is the so-called xiaolongtangbao (xiaolong soup dumplings) and what I called the mini xiaolongbao:

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I hope that the chopsticks can show the scale. They are the cutest little xiaolongbao I have ever seen! They are delicious - we ordered two baskets in the end!!!

And we also had some lovely shrimp wonton:

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In case you are interested, dinner for 3 came to about 360RMB (with free coupon of xiaolongbao worth about 45RMB). It's a relatively expensive meal for here (I reckon under 100RMB for two as cheap, 100-200RMB as reasonable and 200RMB+ for two as quite a lot!).

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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As it's a lazy Sunday for me, I decided to add some pictures of around Beijing as some people expressed an interest.

Of course, there's the modern buildings that are going up for the Olympics, like the water cube:

gallery_28661_5821_196.jpg

That is a very cool building! It looks completely unreal! I just heard that in a few weeks, the Canadian syncro swim team is coming and they want Beijing-based Canadians to cheer them on. I am tempted just to go to see the inside of the thing!!!

and there's the CTV Tower:

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Which looks very scary. Lots of people are saying they don't dare to go in it. It does look very precarious - especially when they hadn't yet connected the towers!

We live in a modern building too - and to our eternal shame, we live right next to a 24 hour McDonalds!!!

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Here's a view along the street we live. As you can see, construction sites are everywhere. I cannot wait until this city has finished building itself!!!

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But there are also more peaceful places! Here's winter picture of people on the lake at the summer place:

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and the mountains that the Great Wall is built over:

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in contrast, here's a picture of the valleys of Shanxi province (where the vineyard picture came from). We're standing with our backs to the vineyards looking over the gorge:

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I think Shanxi food is just wonderful! It's based on noodles and vinegar. They have more types of noodles than I ever thought possible!

Some of them don't even look like noodles:

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These are sort of tubules made from buckwheat and placed in a steamer. To eat them, you pull them out and dip them in a sauce of your choosing. They've got a really cute name - kao-lao-lao!

We even went to a "showcase of noodles" (which was in a fancy restaurant in Taiyuan) to see a whole noodle display including such things as these cute things

gallery_28661_5821_55535.jpg

Anyway, I seem to have gotten diverted here - but I hope you liked the pictures anyway!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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ON Saturday, we were busy with a wine tasting during the day. It was about Blind Wine Tasting techniques, and you can see that we aim for a pretty serious-type of set-up:

gallery_28661_5821_35231.jpg

But because of this, we were famished by dinner time, and so we went for what I call 'comfort food' which is HK dinner-style food. This type of food is VERY hard to find in Beijing. Most Cantonese restaurants here are firmly in the seafood/abalone/sharkfin luxury dining mode.

But in our mall, we're lucky to have a 'Station K' - which although not 100% authentic, it's close enough!

We got some chaoniuhe (炒牛河) fried beef flat noodles which had a special touch this week of fried crab bits on top:

gallery_28661_5821_40337.jpg

And we got some more youmaicai (which looks just like the other picture I've posted of youmaicai) - there seems to be a run on this vegetable recently!

Then we saw on the special menu a very NON-HK dish, but it appealed to us. It was pickled peppers stir-fried with bullfrog (泡椒牛蛙) and it was very nice (albeit so totally not Cantonese)

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But we returned to the Cantonese theme with chasiu and roast goose plate:

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and some jiaoyan (salt and pepper) pork ribs

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It's very hard to get Cantonese BBQ here - in fact, Station K is the only place I know that does it!

It's easier to get a pizza :biggrin:

Generally speaking, the most popular Chinese food schools here (outside of Beijing style food) are Cantonese (up-scale) and Sichuan. The latter has really taken off in Beijing.

If I'm allowed to continue...I would love to post some pictures of food at the Sichuan Governmental Canteen Restaurant. Hands down the best place in town for amazing Sichuan food....

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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What's the difference between DTF's xiaolongtangbao and regular xiaolongbao? I've always thought that xiaolongtangbao is just another term for the same thing.

That is quite expensive for xiaolongbao. I wonder if there aren't more good and cheap xiaolongbao restaurants in Beijing? Shanghai of course is full of them.

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What's the difference between DTF's xiaolongtangbao and regular xiaolongbao? I've always thought that xiaolongtangbao is just another term for the same thing.

That is quite expensive for xiaolongbao. I wonder if there aren't more good and cheap xiaolongbao restaurants in Beijing? Shanghai of course is full of them.

What they call xiaolongtangbao are miniature xiaolongbao. Less than half the size of a regular xlb. Next time, a ruler is needed in the photo to show the scale of the things!

Shanghai-style Xiaolongbao are very exotic here. Something that has to be actively sought out for its rarity. There are northern-style xlb, but they are totally different beasts to Shanghai xlb, being more akid to baozi.

Rarity has its price! But then again, try getting decent xianr bing in Shanghai - totally different to BJ style! :biggrin:

[a small aside of reflection]

Thinking about how different things are between regions in China: it's strange for me to hear friends saying 'Oh China - it's all one country and ergo one culture, one food, one attitude'.

Whereas, it's much more like a mass of countries like Europe: a common underlying cultural background with big differences between north and south, east and west. or I guess how the West coast vs East coast is for NAs.

For instance, I would never choose to live in Shanghai... I have been there a lot, but I just don't feel comfortable there. I don't like the food, for one thing! :raz: And the people are far, far too sophisticated and business orientated for me! And the politeness of the service staff unnerves me.... :laugh:

Whereas, the minute I landed first in BJ, I felt at home here. The people can be terrifyingly rude, crude and direct; the food is stodgey, *full* of garlic, and relatively unsophisticated and the climate sucks, etc.... but I really like the BJ culture and mindset, for all its downpoints.

Just compare taxi drivers in Shanghai and Beijing- it doesn't get more obvious than that!!! :biggrin:

Edited by Fengyi (log)

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Whereas, the minute I landed first in BJ, I felt at home here. The people can be terrifyingly rude, crude and direct; the food is stodgey, *full* of garlic, and relatively unsophisticated and the climate sucks, etc.... but I really like the BJ culture and mindset, for all its downpoints.

the quote above is hilarious! One of my vivid memories is of cranky young women in all white cotton uniforms yelling "Mei You!" ("not available!; Not here!; We don't have it! Go Away!": these are a few of the translations that I remember. exact = "not have").

Re: bean curd brains: I still don't like the dried tofu dishes I'm served over here, so I was strictly an egg burrito/yogurt girl. The closest I've found to the great Beijing suan nai (yogurt) is Straus whole milk yogurt here in California.

Thanks for all the photos!!!

-julia

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ok, I know the rules of these delightful food blogs, so I'll try not to hijack for long, but here's a photo of me circa 1987 in Beijing making jiaozi with one of my friends. I was all about the food then, instead of memorizing all the characters. No internet or digital cameras, though. (I was 22, aka a few lifetimes ago!)

Again to Fengyi: thanks for all the photos and postings. I find the high end dining somewhat fascinating, even if it was there in 1987 I wouldn't have been able to eat at those places. The first KFC arrived during my year there, so I saw the tip of the iceberg on the fast food.

We used to haunt the 'Friendship Store' for cheese, salami, chocolate syrup, etc. But now you have Walmart! Yikes. Is there still a Friendship Store or is that now not relevant?

-chardgirl

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ok, I know the rules of these delightful food blogs, so I'll try not to hijack for long, but here's a photo of me circa 1987 in Beijing making jiaozi with one of my friends. I was all about the food then, instead of memorizing all the characters. No internet or digital cameras, though. (I was 22, aka a few lifetimes ago!)

Again to Fengyi: thanks for all the photos and postings. I find the high end dining somewhat fascinating, even if it was there in 1987 I wouldn't have been able to eat at those places. The first KFC arrived during my year there, so I saw the tip of the iceberg on the fast food.

We used to haunt the 'Friendship Store' for cheese, salami, chocolate syrup, etc. But now you have Walmart! Yikes. Is there still a Friendship Store or is that now not relevant?

-chardgirl

If you would like to see more contemporary postings of jiaozi photos - I took some in January which you can see on This thread

Was even Frank's Place going when you were there? Frank is still here and still runs two cafes!

The Friendship Store is very run-down and overpriced and rather a hold over from that time. I have heard that it is being renovated, but it's almost impossible for it to compete with the likes of Parkson, Sogo, etc...

BTW, I still got the 'meiyou' response from waiters and waitresses in the 1990s but it has been disappearing slowly. Wow! they could bring surliness to a whole new level, couldn't they?!?!?! :biggrin:

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Thank you for the delicious tour---our son was in Beijing for several weeks last year, working with a church group, and I was glad to be able to share all the pictures with him this week during his visit here.

In his own pictures he showed us over the weekend were several of his group taken at a restaurant there, as guests of the parents of one of the students. He was amazed at the hospitality, as the host had already ordered the meal, which included a $100 serving of uni for each of the thirty people at the table. (I have no idea how the discussion of prices came about, and hope they were not discussed in the hearing of his host).

Quite a few of the dinner guests were unfamiliar with the delicacy, and some of it was passed on to several who really appreciated the dish. He had trouble getting his mind around such lavish generosity for so many strangers, with course after course of so many delicious dishes----as he explained, from a seminary student's point of view: "That meal cost a CAR!!!"

I'm glad for this further glimpse into his future---he's busy learning Mandarin, as he'll be posted to China simetime in the next few months.

ETA---I think I gained some "Mom" points when he mentioned the uni---he could not remember the name, just that it was kind of like caviar in a shell, and his face lit up when I said, "Was it uni?" and described it. He said "Wow! You know about that?"

Edited by racheld (log)
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Don't worry about the discussing of prices - it's perfectly acceptable in China to ask someone how much they earn, how much their rent is, how much their car, and many people will volunteer the information. Price and wages are perfectly suitable conversations (as are personal appearance - I just *love* hearing 'oh my goodness, you're so fat/tired looking/spotty' :sad: )

Take Western taboo about price and personal appearance and just apply it to politics here - :smile:

I've just come back from being stuffed more full of food than I can cope with - I went to my Great Auntie's house and have rolled back here....with plastic bags full of leftovers.

I will post the pictures as a fitting end to the blog just to prove how OTT guest-host relationships can be here!!! (if you're interested!).

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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I will post the pictures as a fitting end to the blog just to prove how OTT guest-host relationships can be here!!! (if you're interested!).

I'm interested!

Is this really almost the end? I feel like I've missed most of it! :sad: Must catch up somehow...

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Just for Peter and Laksa, here is the photographic evidence for Hooters - taken from inside a cab last night on my way home.

(The taxi driver thought I was demented...)

Hey, thanks for taking the trouble! Did you think I was hoping to see the waitresses?

Sorry for not being clear earlier, but I'd just assumed you knew that I was asking for photos of the food. :smile: (Must be the difference between our cultures. LOL!)

Edited by Laksa (log)
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Hi! I really don't find that there is any Western food that I can't get here.... (excepting the few above- mango chutney!). But to answer you fully:

Wine: there is a surprisingly wide range here. I've got a nice Saumur on my desk (albeit corked) at the moment. There's hundreds of companies importing wine into China into what is NOT a big market. From these I can find just about anything - not stuff like really old Madeiras and the sherry selection is shocking, some gaps in stuff like Jurancon sec but then, those sorts of wines are harder to find anywhere in the world (except London, New York, etc...)

Beer: The local pizza place has several dozen types of Belgium beers - as does the Carrefour. I can buy Abbot Ale here *cheaper* than I can in the UK! and it's delivered to my door for free! For brewhouses, there's quite a few in Beijing. There's also a HUGE supply of Baltika  :smile:  for those who like the Russian experience...

Liquor - the rarer brands are harder to get but then again, you can always find something if you look hard enough - and my supermarket locally stocks my favourite Russian vodka - which was tough to get in the UK!

Cheeses: Fauchon has all those cheeses (I don't buy them often myself, but they are there) as do several other shops (like Cheese and Fizz in Shanghai). Of course french cheeses are best represented! Supplies and ripeness are variable but no one I know buys that stuff regularly! There's adequate Chinese cheeses too... our locally-made mozzarella is quite good in fact!

Charcuterie: Have to be careful here as meat imports into China are restricted. However, there are some good local products made in the style - like Sefter's White Munich sausages and their porchetta. Both good. There are laws afoot to allow imports of raw ham (I sat next to a Spanish Chamber of Commerce guy last week at dinner and we discussed the implications for pata negra!).

The rule in China is - if you see it, buy it!

Importation companies are VERY hard to set up here. I know of one specialist Italian food and wine company that were hoping to set up operations by Nov last year.... they'll be delayed over a year. That's typical here. 

Bribery helps, I've heard.

Really! It is much less hassle to get Western stuff here than Chinese stuff outside of China. I love being here because I grew up fairly internationally and there are all the brands here from every continent I've been to  :biggrin:

You can even get Betty Crocker frosting in a can at my local "foreigners" supermarket  :blink:

The biggest supply shortage here is for other Asian cuisines - particularly Indian and South-east asian.

If you've any more questions, please PM me before I bore everyone to death!!!!!!! :raz:

I hardly think you're boring anyone, and certainly not me!

I'm loving this blog, and I'm glad to catch it while it's still active.

I'll tell a little story about the last trip I took to China (Beijing, Changchun, Shanghai). Some of you know that I lived in Malaysia for two years as a child and went back for a wonderful 4 1/2-week visit in 2003. Malaysian rambutan are wonderful when you buy them in markets in Terengganu, a state where it's grown, but it can be hard to find really good rambutan at markets in Kuala Lumpur. In New York, forget about it! However, my brother and I bought terrific rambutan on the street in Beijing.

The one thing I really liked and had trouble finding was sweetened, preserved yellow haws. We were staying near Wangfujing and went to the Wangfujing Shopping Centre several times. The boxes of sweetened, preserved red haws were always more plentiful than the boxes of mixed red and yellow haws. And I can't find those in New York at all. I just loved the yellow haws!

I look forward to catching up with the rest of this blog.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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Laksa - sorry about the lack of Hooter's food pictures - I've never eaten there, but people say it's pretty much standard Hooter's fare (whatever that means!)

Pan - "snap" to a Malaysian childhood! My malay birth certificate causes no end of trouble but it's pretty cool to try and read it! :biggrin: I haven't seen many of the yellow haw about - they *are* difficult to get, aren't they?

Well, I'm supposed to wrap this up but I've have two more meals that I think may be of interest.

They're a contrast of extremes: the first is the dinner from last night with my Yilao (my maternal grandmother's cousin) in a fairly typical Beijing apartment and the 2nd is lunch today at the glamorous Whampoa Club with a bunch of high officials.

Both truly beijing food - but at pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum.

I'm afraid I won't be able to post the photos today (a combination of time-crunch and a very bad-tempered internet) but will post first thing tomorrow. I hope that's OK!

<a href='http://www.longfengwines.com' target='_blank'>Wine Tasting in the Big Beige of Beijing</a>

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Laksa - sorry about the lack of Hooter's food pictures - I've never eaten there, but people say it's pretty much standard Hooter's fare (whatever that means!)

Pan - "snap" to a Malaysian childhood! My malay birth certificate causes no end of trouble but it's pretty cool to try and read it!  :biggrin: I haven't seen many of the yellow haw about - they *are* difficult to get, aren't they?

Well, I'm supposed to wrap this up but I've have two more meals that I think may be of interest.

They're a contrast of extremes: the first is the dinner from last night with my Yilao (my maternal grandmother's cousin) in a fairly typical Beijing apartment and the 2nd is lunch today at the glamorous Whampoa Club with a bunch of high officials.

Both truly beijing food - but at pretty much opposite ends of the spectrum.

I'm afraid I won't be able to post the photos today (a combination of time-crunch and a very bad-tempered internet) but will post first thing tomorrow. I hope that's OK!

you'll be going out on a high!! looking forward very much to the reports and the pix...I'm dying to hear what the Whampoa Club is like (have you been to the one in Shanghai to compare?...actually in retrospect I'm now guessing you haven't :smile: )

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I've finally had time to catch up on your blog - it's really interesting! That lamb meal would have to be my favorite, but the noodle shop photos are right up there too.

Would you say more about wine pairings with Chinese food? I'm taking a wine pairing class here in France, where it's generally thought that wine and Chinese food are really hard to pair.

The "fake food" thing scares me. Do you just ignore it, after taking reasonable precautions, or do you stress over it?

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      Happy New Year!  I'm sitting at the gate waiting for my flight from Saigon to NYC connecting through Taipei so I figured this would be a good opportunity to get started... But this is just the intro- the rest will gave to wait until I land about 22 hours from now, sleep for about 12 hours, then get my photos in order! We had a great week enjoying beautiful weather, taking in the frenetic yet relaxed street life and eating some amazing local food...
      Our flight here was on EVA Airline and was very pleasant and uneventful. Our flight from Nyc to Taipei left around 12:20 AM on the 24th. I love those night flights since it makes it very easy to get a decent amount of sleep, even in coach. EVAs food is quite good eith both Chinese and western choices for dinner and breakfast, and they came through several times with snacks such as a fried chicken sandwich with some kind of mustard. I think I had 4 of them!
      Once I get home, I'll continue posting with pics from our feast in the Taipei airport.... Spoiler: those who have read my Singapore foodblog from July may see a slight trend...

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