Sugared & Spiced

pâtissière in paris, now shanghai

[Taipei] Plants

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Plants

Add: 1F, No 10, Ln 253, Sec 1, Fuxing S. Rd., Da-an Dist., Taipei / 台北市大安區復興南路一段253巷10號1樓
Tel: (02) 2784-5677
Hours: [Tue-Fri] 11:30am-9:30pm [Sat-Sun] 10am-9:30pm
Price: 500-800 TWD/person
Visited: Jun 2016

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I’m far from being a vegetarian – as a food blogger, I pretty much eat everything and anything the restaurants serve. When on my own, however, I rare order or cook any meat, preferring light meals filled with lots of veggies. So when my friends in Taipei took me to Plants, a recently opened vegan/gluten-free/whole foods cafe, I was immediately charmed by it.

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Plants prepares their food based on three principles: “plants-based” – their food is free from eggs, dairy, honey and all other animal products; “gluten-free” – they do not use any wheat, barley, rye nor any grains with gluten, and instead use certified gluten-free oats, carefully choosing their sources to avoid cross-contaminated with gluten; “whole foods” – they use whole ingredients, unrefined sugars, and no overly processed food nor funny additives.

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“Count nutrients, not calories”. Word.

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July 26th, 2016 at 7:30 am

[Taipei] Shoun Ryugin 祥雲龍吟

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Shoun Ryugin 祥雲龍吟

Add: 5F, No.301, Le Qun 3rd Road, Taipei / 臺北市樂群三路301號5樓
Tel: (02) 8501 5808
Hours: [Tue-Sun] 6-9:30pm (last order), closed on Mon
Website: www.nihonryori-ryugin.com.tw
Price: 6500 TWD + 10%
Visited on: Jun 2016

Please note that this was an invited tasting.

One of the meals I most looked forward to on this trip to Taipei was dinner at Shoun Ryugin, the sister restaurant of three Michelin star Ryugin in Tokyo. I visited Ryugin five years ago and was quite blown away by Chef Seiji Yamamoto’s impeccable cuisine, so naturally I was excited to try his Taipei establishment, which features the richness of Taiwan’s local ingredients while striving for the same memorable dining experience.

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Upon entering, I was first served a cup of cold brew tea at the reception area (godsend on this hot hot summer day in Taipei), and once our entire dinner party has arrived, we were led into the elegant dining room via a stone path.

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July 26th, 2016 at 4:15 am

[Taipei] RAW

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RAW

Add: No.301, Le Qun 3rd Road, Taipei / 臺北市樂群三路301號
Tel: (02) 8501 5800
Hours: [Wed-Sun] 11:30am-2:30pm, 6-10pm (closed on Mon & Tue)
Website: www.raw.com.tw
Price: 1850 TWD + 10%
Visited: Jun 2016

Please note that this was an invited tasting.

My friends’ first reaction to me going to RAW was uniformly – “How did you get a reservation?!”…and immediately after: “Can I come with you?” It’s no surprise they are so shocked – since opening in 2014, seats at RAW get snatched up literally seconds after being released, everyday – even many of my friends living in Taipei haven’t had a chance to go yet. What’s the big deal?

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The reason why RAW is so wildly popular, other than the fact that it’s conceptualized by André Chiang (of the Restaurant André fame), is also because it consistently offers delicious and creative cuisine at a reasonable price of 1850 TWD+10%. RAW positions itself as “bistronomy” – the combination of bistro and gastronomy – meaning that it’s not as uptight as fine dining restaurants, but is more refined than the typical bistro both in terms of decor and cuisine. I’m quite familiar with this style as I frequented many neobistros in Paris, and was curious to see the Taiwanese version at RAW.

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July 22nd, 2016 at 3:51 am

[Taipei] W Hotel

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W Hotel Taipei

Add: 10 Zhongxiao East Road Sec. 5, Taipei, Taiwan 台北市信義區忠孝東路五段10號
Tel: (02) 7703 8888
Website: www.wtaipei.com
Visited: Jun 2016

Please note that this was a complimentary stay arranged by the hotel.

From Taipei Songshan Airport, it was an easy 20 minutes on the taxi to W Taipei. The stylish vibe was immediately contagious, and I couldn’t help but get a little excited about checking-in – despite the fact that I’ve been here for drinks on previous visits to Taipei, I had never stayed at the hotel…until this time around.

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Designed by G.A. Design International of London with the theme of “Nature Electrified”, W Taipei features a meticulously curated collection of contemporary art throughout the hotel, starting at the first floor reception area. Hanging from the ceiling is “Reflective Cloud” by Hirotoshi Sawada, an installation of mirrored plastic and bamboo, with blue dots on the floor as “raindrops”, inspired by the rainy weather in Taipei.

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On the wall is “To Light You Fade”, an interactive installation created by rAndom International, lighting up according to your movements in front of it.

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July 21st, 2016 at 12:44 pm

Posted in taipei

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[Taipei] Quelques Pâtisseries 某某。甜点

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Quelques Pâtisseries 某某。甜点

Add: 34, Lane 102, Section 1, Anhe Road, Taipei / 台北市安和路一段102巷23號
Tel: (02) 2755 4097
Hours: Wed-Sun 1-7pm (closed Mon & Tue)
Price: [pastries] 160-200 TWD [tea] 110-120 TWD
Visited: Jun 2016

There has been a burst in growth of French-style pastry shops in Taipei during the past few years, and actually, quite a few of them were opened by fellow alums from Ferrandi, where I had completed my professional pastry training. On this recent trip back to Taipei, I visited one of them called Quelques Pâtisseries, which literally means “a few pastries” in French. Cute, no?

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The shop was started by two girls – Lai, who is in charge of the kitchen, and Jiou Jiou (the cutiepie below), who takes care of everything front of house. I met both of them at Ferrandi, and knowing that they are two perfectionists, it’s no surprise that Quelques Pâtisseries is lovely from head to toe – the interior design, decoration, furniture, and of course, the pastries themselves.

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I mean, just look at these…beautiful like jewelry pieces, quietly sitting in the display window. I was so close to getting one of each.

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July 15th, 2016 at 12:29 pm

[Tainan] Old House Inn 謝宅

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Old House Inn 謝宅

Add: Tainan city center
Tel: +886 0922-852-280
Price: 7000-8000 TWD/night
Visited: Jun 2016

Luxury hotels are nice, but especially for an old city like Tainan, staying in a historical house seems like a much more attractive option. For our two-day trip, we checked in at Old House Inn 謝宅 (literally Hsieh’s House), a charming space renovated from owner Kyle’s old family house. He currently has 6 properties dispersed across the city, the one we stayed at is “Inn #4”, a small house of two stories, tugged away inside a hidden alley located in the center of Tainan. For privacy concerns, the address isn’t publicized, and there’s no sign at the door – the staff will personally lead you here when you arrive in Tainan.

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Since 2008, Kyle has been refurbishing his family properties while preserving their nostalgic charm.The door, for example, is pieced together using old woods recycled from temples, a material which we will see over and over again inside the house. Side note: the house we stayed in originally belonged to Kyle’s grandma, and became the dowry of his mother when she got married.

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Upon entering, we were greeted by a small patio with a pond. It’s a such a lovely set up with the chairs and trees and fish and turtle, and if Tainan weren’t so hot and humid in June, I could really sit here all afternoon.

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July 7th, 2016 at 4:01 am

[Tainan] In Two Days

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During my week-long trip to Taipei last week, I decided to take a two-day trip down to Tainan (Southern Taiwan). Two friends and I headed down without much planning, so it was very much a go-with-the-flow type of trip – we even followed a local friend to visit a chiropractor…how very random to have my first ever chiropractic session in Tainan. Anyway, I’ve selected 25 photos from my Instagram to show you some lovely bits of this city, all addresses are at the end of this post for your information.

1. From Taipei to Tainan via high speed train is just under 2 hours for a price of around 1380TWD, very convenient. It does take another 20-30 minutes to get to the city center via a free transport shuttle, but it’s pretty easy breezy.

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2. We had booked 謝宅 Old House Inn as our lodging, and as one of my travel mates is a regular customer, the owner personally came to pick us up and took us to lunch. His vintage Mercedes is super stylish despite the half broken door and air-conditioning…

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3. We went to a noodle shop called “吃麵吧” (Jai Mi Ba), owned by a young chef who previously worked at Robuchon Taipei. His dishes are an interesting fusion of Chinese noodles with western cooking techniques – we tried “檳榔花烤雞醋拌麵” (dry noodle with betel palm flowers, roasted chicken, and vinegar), “海藻透抽乾拌麵” (dry noodle with seaweed and squid),“蛤蜊豆漿湯麵” (soup noodle with clams and soy milk), all excellent. We were also treated to a serving of “黑橄欖甜餡餅”, a black olive dessert which delicious as well…must order.

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4. After lunch, we dropped by “清吉” for some fresh fruit juices. The lady in charge was very friendly and gave me some tips as I was hesitating between different choices…eventually I went for coconut juice + pear, perfecting refreshing on this hot hot Tainan summer day.

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July 3rd, 2016 at 4:13 am

Posted in taipei

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[Shanghai] Pierre Marcolini

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Pierre Marcolini

Add: 206, K11 Shopping Mall, 300 Middle Huaihai Road / 淮海中路300号K11购物艺术中心206
Tel: 6333 7318
Hours: 10am-10pm
Price: [chocolate] 20-22 RMB/ea [macaron] 250 RMB/ea (pre-packaged boxes available)
Visited: Jun 2016

I passed by a Pierre Marcolini boutique five years ago in Brussels by chance, and, without knowing anything about this brand, bought two boxes of chocolates just because the shop was pretty. Some post hoc research told me that Pierre Marcolini won the title of World Champion of Pastry in 1995, and has shops not only in Brussels, but also in Paris, London, Tokyo, Monaco, Luxembourg etc. In fact, he is kind of a big deal.

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But it wasn’t until moving to Paris that I got to know a bit more about this chocolatier, mostly through a French TV show I used to follow called “Qui Sera Le Prochain Grand Pâtissier” (Who Will be the Next Big Pastry Chef”), in which Pierre Marcolini was one of the four judges.

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And just last week, his boutique opened in Shanghai. So far it’s a temporary pop-up on the second floor of K11 shopping mall, though a tea salon is scheduled open in October – something to look forward to. On an unrelated note, even the doorknobs are in the shape of Marcolini’s signature chocolate squares…how cute!

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Et voilà voilà, les chocolats.

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June 8th, 2016 at 1:44 pm

[Shanghai] Garden Terrace at Le Baron

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Garden Terrace at Le Baron

Add: 7F 20 Donghu Road / 东湖路20号7楼
Tel: 5424 5181
Hours: Tue-Sat 5-11pm (closed on Sun-Mon)
Price: [alcohol] 70-100 RMB [oysters] 98-256 RMB/dozen from 5-8pm, 198-456 RMB/dozen after 8pm
Visited: May 2016

Shanghai has been raining nonstop lately, so I’m going to tell you about a good place to go when it finally turns sunny and we’ll all have something to look forward to. You might have heard of Le Baron, or are even a frequent patron of this ever-so-popular night club, but you probably didn’t know that it has a lovely garden terrace up on its rooftop. There’s sun, cool breeze, music, alcohol, and the best part is that it’s not so crowded…well, at least for now.

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For those who haven’t been, this is what Le Baron looks like. These two photos were taken in the afternoon before the club opens, hence the lack of people. It’s indeed a bit eerie to see the space this empty, given how happening it is during night time.

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June 2nd, 2016 at 9:18 am

Posted in shanghai

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[Shanghai] Cafe 385

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Cafe 385

Add: Huashan Road (please contact below wechat for details)
Wechat: andrew_wu_china
Hours: reservation only
Price: hand drip coffee 50-65 RMB
Visited: May 2016

The other day at Moon Coffee I casually asked their barista A-Tang where he goes for coffee in Shanghai. After some thoughts, he told me about this “coffee bar inside an apartment building”, and without quite explaining what it is, he gave me the barista contact. Always curious about these hidden places, I made a reservation right away for a visit.

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The space is located on the 2nd floor of an apartment building on Huashan Road, and only upon entering did I find out its name –  “Cafe 385”.  It’s a charming place with soft natural light, antique-looking furniture, and chairs that fit just right.

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Behind the coffee bar is Andrew from Taiwan, who is still very fresh to Shanghai. Before this coffee venture, he was working in Sony Taiwan doing photography tutorials and sales training for DSLRs. As for coffee, he started drinking it at the age of 17, and since then has met quite a few coffee experts and afficionados. He came to China for the first time last March to attend a coffee expo, fell in love with the Former French Concession area, and decided to stay for a while.

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Written by sugarednspiced

May 19th, 2016 at 9:55 am