Tasting Taipei: Sakura Machi, Brothers Hotel Onigiri, Cafe Dog & Cats and Shilin Night Market (Part 3 of a Series)


As long as my feet are itching to explore, there will always be something new to eat and enjoy. Even if we opt for something familiar at times. That was the case when we were looking for someplace to eat lunch during our third day out in Taipei.

Sakura Machi - Furai Set

Sakura Machi Furai Lunch Set

Sakura Machi

After the katsu fail the previous day at Taipei 101, we decided to have lunch at Sakura Machi, a small Japanese restaurant we encountered at K Entertainment Mall near Taipei Main Station. Admittedly, I was tempted to eat at the Good Smile Cafe located on the same floor, but Pad wanted to eat at a real restaurant, so Sakura Machi it was.

Sakura Machi - Lunch Set

Sakura Machi Steak Lunch Set

Turns out it was a good choice because Sakura Machi was pretty good. The food was delicious, the ambiance cozy and relaxing, and the prices reasonable. And the bonus? An English-speaking waitress! Like a lot of Japanese restaurants, Sakura Machi offers set meals during lunch. Pad and I both had set meals. An assorted furai set for him, and a sizzling beef platter for me. I don’t know their official names; we ended up pointing out photos on the menu, but hey, it worked!

Sakura Machi - Grilled Meat

Meat! Meat!

Sakura Machi’s set meals are composed of your main dish, rice, miso soup, salad and a side dish, plus dessert and a drink. My beef dish was nicely seasoned with a slightly sweetened soy flavor. The meat wasn’t the best. I’ve had better cuts, but it was nicely seared and cooked just to medium, and it offered good value for the price. I mean, I know better than to expect wagyu, right?

Sakura Machi - Curry Sauce

Curry fondue?

Pad’s mixed furai was also pretty satisfying, even if the omurice was fake. Instead of the usual fried rice enrobed in an omelette, theirs was just a scoop of rice topped with a sheet of omelette then drizzled with catsup. Still, he was pretty happy with the dish, especially since it came with a curry sauce “fondue” of sorts on the side.

Salad

A small side salad

Sakura Machi - Agedashi Tofu

Agedashi Tofu magically showed up on our table. I don’t know whose it’s supposed to be

The meal was capped off with dessert and a fruit juice (they served the fruit juice last, serving the meal with hot tea instead). While the dessert wasn’t anything to write home about, it was still a pleasantly sweet end to the meal.

Sakura Machi - Dessert

Milk Pudding and Green Tea Jelly with Red Bean Paste

Brother Hotel Sushi-Riceball Specialty

Notice how I seemed to be eating onigiri on a daily basis? It’s just that onigiri shops littered the streets of Taipei and it was hard to resist them, seeing the attractive displays with onigiri that seemed to have everything on it.

Brother Hotel Sushi & Onigiri

Afternoon onigiri run

So, after the long walk from IKEA to the train station, I had to make a pitstop at the Brother Hotel Sushi-Riceball Specialty store. Quite a mouthful, huh? But who cares! Just gazing through the windows where people pored over the endless selections had me drooling and wanting some of my own.

Brother Hotel Onigiri

Onigiri party!

I grabbed a chicken teriyaki and a salmon one, which were demolished in record time as soon as we got back to our hotel. Their salmon was better than Nakayoshi’s of the day before. The rice was too, since it seemed to be seasoned lightly instead of being all plain.

Onigiri

Chicken Teriyaki & Salmon Onigiri

Cafe Dog & Cats

Seeing cat cafes featured on TV and the internet has always fascinated me. So when the opportunity to visit one arose, we gamely trooped there, even if we were still pretty full from an afternoon snack.

Taipei Travel Diary: Cafe Dog & Cats

Kitteh Cafe!

I’ll be the first to admit that food wasn’t really important to us when we visited Cafe Dog & Cats. It was just something we had to order to meet the purchase requirement so we can hang out and play with the kitties. Thankfully, it wasn’t a let down. Visiting Cafe Dog & Cats is just like having tea at a regular cafe. The prices are comparable to eating at, say Starbucks, with the added bonus of a gajillion kitties!

Taipei Travel Diary: Cafe Dog & Cats

I forgot to take a photo after I poured the tea. I was too distracted by the cats.

I enjoyed a pot of chrysanthemum tea with honey, while Pad had a cup of coffee. He also had some garlic toast while I had a nice, spongy chocolate cake layered with cream and a blueberry glaze on top. Unfortunately, the pastry and cake selection was pretty lean, but they had other heavier offerings too, like pasta and sandwiches.

Taipei Travel Diary: Cafe Dog & Cats

Cake and Toast

Truthfully, Cafe Dog & Cats is a place you visit for the cats. Not to worry about sanitation though. Unlike other Taiwanese cat cafes I’ve stumbled upon online, Cafe Dog & Cats is quite clean and brightly lit. There weren’t any foul smells and the restroom was clean and well-maintained. There were no cats on the counters where food is handled, and they pretty much have their own assigned chairs and tables.

Cafe Dog & Cats

Kitteh Denizens of this Taiwan Cat Cafe

If you’re more curious about the cat part of my Cafe Dog & Cats experience, head on to my Taiwan Travel: Cat Cafe entry on Kingdom Cow.

Shilin Night Market

One of Taiwan’s largest night markets, Shilin isn’t just a great place to shop. It’s also a wonderful place to snack on street food! Choose from carts upon carts of food on sticks, food in bowls, fizzy and bubbly drinks — there’s really a wide assortment to choose from. And the best thing is, you can get them in small bites, letting you taste and enjoy more.

Taipei Travel Diary: Shilin Night Market

Shilin Night Market

Among the interesting things I ate at Shilin is Fried Milk — a sweet, custardy dollop of milk that’s lightly battered before being fried. It’s like crusty pudding on a stick. I admit, it was a surprise when I bit into it. I was expecting something cheesy.

Taipei Travel Diary: Shilin Night Market

Fried Milk (!)

Another thing on a stick I enjoyed (but was unable to photograph) was a pork and green onion roll on a stick. Imagine lean pork, marinated then grilled, wrapped around a bunch of green onions. Savory with a hint of sweetness from the marinade, then a strong yet refreshing kick from the grilled green onions. I’d have eaten more if only we didn’t have to backtrack a lot to get back to the stall.

Potato Prince

Everything on it potatoes!

You’d think I’d be full from eating all sorts of things already, but I still ended up bringing home a cheesy potato croquette stuffed with all things evil. Called Potato Prince, this fried potato croquette was split open then stuffed with bacon, chives, hardboiled eggs, pineapple chunks, corn, broccoli, and frankly, I don’t know what else, before being slathered with gooey cheese. Truth be told, I should’ve opted for something simpler, like just bacon, or just corn, but with the language barrier, I ended up pointing to the photo with everything on it. Really, all it had missing was the kitchen sink.

With all that eating, you’d think I’ve had enough, right? Of course not! There’s still day four to look forward to, so stay tuned for the last installment of my Taiwanese Eats series.

h3>Want more?

Tasting Taipei Part 1: Danshui Old Street
Tasting Taipei Part 2: MOS Burger, Taipei 101 & Saizeriya
Tasting Taipei Part 4: Sushi Take-out, Pon de Ring, Din Tai Fung & Bigtoms

Interested in our itinerary? Take a peek at our Taipei Travel Diaries on Kingdom Cow.
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2 Responses to Tasting Taipei: Sakura Machi, Brothers Hotel Onigiri, Cafe Dog & Cats and Shilin Night Market (Part 3 of a Series)

  1. witsandnuts says:

    Na curious ako sa fried milk. Nakakaaliw yung Cafe Dogs and Cats, sana meron din nya dito. :)

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