Monthly Archives: January 2012

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The One With 33 Rooms – Japanese Private Kitchen in Taipei

What makes a private kitchen? I pondered over this question as I took in the scene that was 33 Rooms for an elaborate new year celebration dinner in Taipei recently.

Colours of Taiwan

If a private kitchen is defined by its interior design and ambiance, then 33 Rooms do seem to fit the bill. Housed in a nondescript shop lot in Ximending area, the authentically Japanese exterior (complete with a confusing sliding door and obligatory lanterns) give way to a cozy restaurant which has been in existence for more than thirty years.

Colours of Taiwan

The restaurant were sectioned into the way you would like to be seated; be it tatami, stools, benches, or private rooms. Each layout was characterised differently; our tatami seat were comfortable – i.e. never once I complained of backache sitting through the almost 3-hour meal – and appropriately decked with warm lighting, which made me hunker down contentedly to ponder over what food would be ahead of me.

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The One With Tung Po – Local Chinese Hawker Experience

Few dining experience can be compared to one in a Hong Kong’s local hawker centre.

Imagine endless Chinese hawker stalls lining up the upper floor of a wet market (the smell itself is enough to make one gag – of the wet market, not the hawkers!), throngs of sedated diners observed jealously by patrons waiting to be seated, and dish after steaming dish seemingly conjured effortlessly from the kitchens.

Tung Po Chinese Hawker Centre

Tung Po (東寶小館) is one of those famous hawker stalls come highly recommended by my local friends. Since some of my best buddies from Singapore were in town, it seemed only fitting that we had a dinner right in the midst of a decidedly local experience.

But first, I must mention the unique way beer is consumed on this premise.

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The One With Swiss Chalet – Smelly Cheese House

Tucked along the bustling Hart Avenue in Tsim Sha Tsui is a neat cottage-like restaurant called the Swiss Chalet. I was having some time off a conference at a nearby hotel and my colleagues brought me to this restaurant.

Swiss Chalet @ Tsim Sha Tsui

Such attention to details, no?

The first thing that hit you when you enter the restaurant is its smell. Goodness, I had never ever been into a place that smelled so cheesy yet so good! Apparently Swiss Chalet is famous for its cheese fondue, but since it was a working day, it is not good to tuck into such, well, cheesiness. The food comma that is surely to follow will be too much to bear.

But nothing stopped us from having a (German) pint. Heh.

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