Ring of Fire


Skip the two-a-penny crap in the background. This shit is Da Bomb!

I loves my shit hot, so when the boss of a local Chao Fan (fried rice) place saw me loading up with the lightweight salty red chilli sauce that you find in most places and not looking particularly impressed, he whipped this fucker out. Now my Yankish friends are always telling me how Canadians don’t do hot. I’ve always suspected that was bollocks as I have a couple of Canuck pals with a penchant for the fiery side of things.

The laoban (boss) had spent a bit of time in Vancouver (like, apparently, half of Taiwan) chasing after some bird and, when it went pear-shaped, he shuffled back to Formosa with nothing but this savagely hot sauce in his possession. He planted it and up sprung a fully-fledged fried rice shop.

Anyway, I had to give it a try as there were some local tuffs egging me on. Naturally, I maintained the habitual Brit stiff upper lip and tried my damnedest to ensure no tears came to my eyes. My composure (known in the trade as “styling it out”) ensured the locals were suitably impressed.

It was no mean feat as this was most certainly was among the hottest sauces I’ve ever come across and not actually particularly nice (not so much cos of the burn your sphincter off your arse power but more the stale, musty taste). Still, we only live once and “Da Bomb” should be sampled by any self-respecting capsicum freak!


Sad Super Hot Noodles

There'll be no smiling in this restaurant, my son!

I don’t care if you reckon you’re ‘super hot’! There’ll be no smiling in this restaurant, missy!

This place on Yongji Road always seems to be jam-packed. Has to rank as one of the silliest names ever though. Not like they’ve made a mistake either as the little munter in the logo is looking all glum. Didn’t see any ‘super hotties’ in there but the noodles looked and smelled half decent.

Fry Up

If you pop into any Burger King in Taipei (and Taiwan?) at the moment, chances are it’ll be mobbed with hordes of clamoring schoolkids. That’s cos they’re doing some deal on limitless fries – well, all you can eat in an hour. You basically take up your receipt every time you want another portion.  Not sure how long it lasts but swathes of spotty teens are descending on every available branch to work on that acne. Get down to your local if you want to stuff you pie-hole on the cheap and can handle the din.

Would you like a burger with those fries?

Would you like a burger with those fries?

If You Need to Find Me …

“What’s that ossiffer? You’ve heard reports of illegal deep-fried-pancake vending opposite the 7-11, you say? Wouldn’t know anything about that. Card, you say? Ohhh, THAT card …”

There’s nothing I like more to eat in Taiwan than fried filth. My new favorite place is stall in a lane off Dunhua South. They serve scallion pancake positively oozing in trans-fats filled oil  that has been swilling around in the grimy pan for days. I don’t think they ever clean that thing. It’s great. They also always leave the egg runny. FTNM is drooling over the keyboard as types, thinking about his next coronary-inducing indulgence.

What I love even more than what they served up is the couple who (wo)man the stall. As with most of the stalls and clothing racks on wheels in those alleys and lanes of an evening, they are one hundred percent illegal. The missus is constantly keeping a beady eye out for Old Bill and, on several occasions, I have seen them fleeing their normal spot, part of a back alley Serengeti migration in miniature, when the cops show up to do their routine wildebeest scattering (they never seem to want to catch these langers, rather just make a show of enforcing the law).

So when they handed me their business card the other day I had to guffaw heartily. I think they understood why, despite my poor Chinese skills, and joined me for a chuckle.

Name, address of their little corner and even a phone number, just in case you need to get hold of them for some preorders. Brilliant.



Beastly Meat

Vile Vegetables is the stall next door …

Been up partying all night with a buddy in Songshan District. Staggering home, I saw this most appetizing-looking street vendor’s stall. Wasn’t open, so I didn’t get to sample the wares. This is just the “demo” stand …

A Dog’s Dinner

Are you comfortable Fifi or do you need another stool to stretch yourself across?

Sometimes I have to wonder about people in this country. This odious trollop made my girlfriend and I stand for 15 minutes at a beef noodle gaff because her oh-so-precious rat-dogs had to occupy the only available stools. Worse, there was a family with their two sons who were subjected to the same treatment because it didn’t occur to Lady Fucking Muck that she was being a selfish bint,

Actually, it blatantly did occur to her, as she furtively glanced over a couple of times before sheepishly turning away, much like the pretend sleepers on the MRT, who peep to see if see if their shabby conduct is being observed. It is. And she was. This despicable old shrew definitely knew what she was about.

She was well aware, too, that my muttered cursing was aimed at her. The only reason I didn’t call her out was because my gf begged me not to make a scene.  I had a good mind to boot her fluff-ball canines to kingdom come but I guess it’s not their fault their owner is such a fuckwit.

Note, also, the strategically-placed bag, so that – even if someone were to sit on the one available stool – (the hag is obscuring it as well as her other dog, but it was in the corner) they couldn’t put their bowl down. After five minutes of standing around while she picked over her meal at a snail’s pace, I grabbed some of the stacked up stools for the missus and me and the family with kids. At least we could sit down and wait for an available table.

As the icing on the cake, check this: When the crone finished up, she carefully put on a pair of cotton gloves before lifting her dogs off the seats. She was clearly one of these OCD clean freaks that are quite common here and doesn’t handle her pooches without the proper protection. This courtesy apparently doesn’t extend to anyone who is not her. The pea-brained animals had their paws up on the table and were slobbering all over the place in a restaurant for fuck’s sake.

I’m thinking of doing a version of Viz’ Celebrity Cunt on this blog, entitled Civilian Cunt. I think we’re starting off with an outstanding candidate who has set the bar pretty damn high. What an utterly selfish fathead.


A Tale of Two Eateries

Sometimes I really wonder what is going through people’s heads. How can some people be so cool and with-it while others are thick as pigshit and unable to think outside the box.  I’m showcasing these two joints for absolutely polar opposite reasons in terms of service and mentality. They are in a lane behind Bade Rd, Section 3. I forget the exact address but it’s on a corner in a market area, pretty much opposite the Taipei Stadium and Sports Centre.

If there’s a better liang mien deal this side of the Formosa Strait, my name ain’t FTNM.

Case 1: The Perfect Example of How to Run a Small Restaurant in Taiwan  

I’ve been to this place quite a few times and I can’t think of many better places to eat for the price. It’s a cold noodle store, liang mien they call it in Chinese. You get a load of noodles, a kind of sesame sauce, cabbage, shredded cucumber and chicken and it really fills you up for just 50NT! Not only is the grub good and excellent value – I once realised I didn’t have a penny to my name after the boss lady handed me my noodles and sheepishly told her I would try and go to the bank. She raised her arms in protest and refused to hear of it. She was basically saying next time without batting an eyelid.  Another time, she forgot to add the sesame sauce for my take-out. When I mentioned it the next time, she looked mortified and gave me a free dish of veg (which I don’t even think is on the menu) on the house. As well as the food being good and dirt cheap, this is why I keep coming back here.

This poor young hussy got caught in the crossfire. To her I offer half-sincere apologies. Still: If you’re standing outside a bona fide dufus-owned establishment, you can’t expect to roll around with pigs and not get mucky. The offender can be seen peeping out from behind the pillar btw. Probably dropping the exact amount of coriander leaves allowed into a bowl of soup. Cos that’s OK.

Case Two: The Clueless Dickhead Next Door

This place is next a couple of doors down, right on the corner. I’d been there a few times before. The guy remembered me but apparently that counted for nothing. I was buying a 35NT portion of rice and fatty pork lurou fan and asked the guy to sling a couple of sprigs of coriander on top. My Chinese is pretty basic but I know that word because I love coriander. I’ve made this request at many places before with no problem. But Mr Man here says “Sorry, that’s not for rice.”  I was with a Taiwanese girlfriend and so made sure I understood right. Even she was amazed by this idiot’s refusal to give me a couple of leaves but, in true Taiwanese non-confrontational fashion, she turned away and gave me a helpless look.

I wasn’t giving up that easily. “You don’t want to give me a little bit of coriander?” I asked.

“It’s for the soup, not rice.”

“But I come here quite often. I just want a little bit.”

“Sorry, there’s nothing I can do.”

This last phrase I know because I’ve heard it too many times. It’s: “Mayo banfa”, which means something like “There’s nothing I can do”. With the help of my reluctant female friend, I told him I wouldn’t come back to his place. He shrugged and turned away. What a fool.

Conclusion: I have had experiences similar to both Case 1 and 2 over the last couple of years but far too many like the second. OK, people have their silly little rules but surely it’s just common sense to break them for a regular customer. Why would you not do something so small and insignificant? Answer: Because you are a moron who sees rules as more important than customer service.  I only give peabrains like this one chance (in fact this guy got a couple) before I blacklist them.