Fear Not Food Lovers

When I talk to people about life in Taiwan I am often bombarded with questions about food.

“But…. what’s the food like over there?”

“What do you eat everyday?!” 

“Is it mainly just rice??”

It’s true that I eat a lot of rice and noodle based dishes, (which I am more than okay with because frankly they are delicious) but I have also found plenty of alternative meal options, that are healthy, scrumptious, and most importantly, diverse!

Taipei is a city with a population of 2.7 million people, so naturally there are restaurants of almost any cuisine one could possibly desire! I’m talking Spanish, Italian, Indian, Thai, Mediterranean, Vietnamese you name it, this city has it.

Recently I decided to try a German restaurant called Oma Ursel’s and it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time!

Oma Ursel’s German Restaurant and Bakery has operated in Taipei since 2004. It’s safe to say they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to serving freshly cooked food.

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The exterior of the building has an old fairy-tale feel to it and the outdoor patio is extremely quaint and makes you feel as if you are visiting your grandmother’s home. Waitresses dressed in traditional German outfits add to the cultural experience.

Their menu is filled with authentic dishes, with lunch and dinner specials ranging from approximately $300-600 NTD ($13-$25 CAD). Oma Ursel’s offers great value for the freshness, high quality, and accompaniments of their dishes see for yourself and check out their menu here!

When I visited I had fresh fish and spaetzle noodles for dinner; it was delectable.

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The restaurant has homemade vegetable and chicken soups, in addition to fresh salads for appetizers.

For myself, and my fellow dessert lovers out there, the real winner is their dessert selection.

With fresh pastries and pies made each day, your choice of dessert is included in most lunch/ dinner specials and they are all to die for. Don’t forget tea or coffee is also included!

Apple pie and caramel ice coffee. Is there a better way to end a meal? Maybe. But this way is pretty darn good. 

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Coming from an Italian background, most of my family and even many of my friends always have food on the brain. Some firmly believe that they could not survive over here because they believe the food is so “different.”

What they have yet to see is that there are SO many fantastic food options to choose from, even for the pickiest of eaters. So to help debunk this myth I’m going to start writing more about the meals I have and the new foods I indulge in.

Hopefully I’ll provide some knowledge about how delicious authentic Taiwanese cuisine can be while showcasing how diverse the restaurants of Taipei are!

Stay tuned for updates on traditional Taiwanese restaurants, and look out (be glad you are nowhere near my kitchen) for a personal attempt at making a few authentic recipes!

Until then, stay hungry friends!

Oma Ursel’s Restaurant and Bakery Taipei

Menu

Facebook Page

Review by The Taipei Times

 

 

 

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A Pokara Kind of Paradise

Because I only have a couple months in Taiwan, I have been making the most of my time in this beautiful country. This means traveling and trying new activities, almost every weekend (life is really tough for me right now, I know).

After a day of relaxing by the beach and exploring the province of Yilan I spent one peaceful night, sleeping under the stars, at Pokara Resort.

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Located in a rural area amongst rice fields, this place truly feels like an oasis. When I walked into the lobby I instantly felt relaxed, and it wasn’t just from the air conditioning, but rather a combination of the calming music playing and the friendly staff waiting to greet me.

I found the lobby beautifully decorated, with elaborate vases and comfortable couches to sit on while the staff processed my passport and checked me into my room.

As I checked in around 4:30 PM there was a selection of tea, coffee, fruit, and treats waiting for me, because I arrived perfectly on time for the afternoon tea hours.

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The interior design at Pokara Resort is extremely well done. Besides the lobby, I especially loved the look of my room. I had a very unique hotel stay experience because my room was actually an outdoor cabin, which I paid a little extra for, but found it to be totally worth it.

The surrounding scenery is gorgeous and the room is equally as stunning! With wooden walls, and flower accents, a nice area to sit by the window, this was definitely no regular hotel room. The room came with all the comforts of a usual indoor hotel room but it’s unique setting really set it apart for me, I had never experienced a room like this before! Another bonus was the extra privacy it provided.

To get to the outdoor cabins you walk through a lovely garden area with comfortable chairs and tables to sit at. One is actually made out of marble and would be great for playing a round of afternoon Euchre, if you’re into card games.

Because the resort was in a rural area I had no problems with sleeping at night. There was no noise coming from the streets, just the faint sound of crickets at night and birds in the morning. It was nice to feel the morning sun and take a quick walk through the garden before eating breakfast.

img_6339Leading me to my next topic of breakfast. To some, this might not be so important, but to a food lover such as I, a hotel with good food is a prerequisite. At Pokara Resort I was definitely pleased with their morning food offering!

Besides scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and toast with their homemade garlic butter (essentially garlic bread minus the cheese) they also have some true Taiwanese dishes that I thoroughly enjoyed. These range from Taiwanese braised pork rice, boiled sweet potato leaves, and rice porridge, if you’re into foreign cuisine you won’t wanna miss out. They also had fresh tea and most importantly to me, a coffee machine that used fresh beans to make the delicious (and necessary) beverage.

Pokara Resort offers free bicycle rentals to their guests and I really appreciated this feature as I biked to the nearby beach! These vessels gave me a more authentic experience as they allowed me to explore the nearby town and countryside on my own time.

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Besides this, the staff service really blew me away. They spoke limited English but tried their best to communicate, using Google translate so that I could understand what they were trying to tell me. They were extremely friendly, helped me with my luggage and even wrote out the names of local restaurants in English for me. They effort was extraordinary and they also escorted me by shuttle to the bus station on the morning of my check out!

If you find yourself in the North of Taiwan, you should make the province of Yilan a priority to get to, but more importantly, staying at Pokara Resort should be at the top of your list: http://www.pokara.com.tw/en/index.php