Xin Fu Sweet's Delicious Almond Milk／杏福巷子的招牌杏仁茶
Xin Fu Sweet's Delicious Almond Milk
◎English translation: Wendy Wei Chang
Xin Fu Sweet is famous for its delicious almond milk. This all natural drink is derived from the nut of an apricot, which is shredded into kernels and then soaked in water for three to five days in order to produce the most delicious almond flavor. The shop has gained many loyal customers since it opened over 10 years ago. The owner, Mr. Chen Guo-ming, explains one of the reasons for its great popularity is that he takes a longer time to slowly brew his almond milk, producing a more sophisticated and distinct flavor. Each glass of almond milk requires more than 10 hours of brewing. Cold milk will get a layer of natural oil floating on top, whereas when the milk is served hot, there will only be a thin layer of oil, with a smooth and mild almond flavor.
When Mr. Chen started his business, he recalled the wonderful almond milk made by his grandmother; therefore, he decided to adopt his grandmother's method of making it. Mr. Chen then decided to use the highest quality of sweet apricot kernels, to produce a more unique flavor. Each 70 500cc glass will need three kilograms of sweet apricot kernels and although this creates a higher cost, Mr. Chen is adamant that his customers enjoy all natural flavors and therefore he does not include any artificial flavoring or preservatives.
The process of making almond milk is time-consuming and complex. After the sweet apricot kernels are soaked for several days, they are ground into a liquid and brought to boil over high heat. When boiling the liquid requires constant stirring, so the apricot kernels will not burn at the bottom of the pot. After the liquid comes to a boil, it is left to simmer over low heat for approximately 8 to 9 hours in order to bring out the flavor. The kernels are then filtered out, by which time only 2/3s of the liquid can be used to make almond milk. The remaining grinds are used to make cookies.
When it was first introduced to the market, Xin Fu Sweet's products took many years to gain the popularity it enjoys today. However, as Taiwanese people gradually realized the importance of food safety, Mr. Chen has found more and more customers are willing to learn about their products and the natural production processes he undergoes in producing them. Today, his uncompromising quality almond milk continues to gain support and attract more customers.
Everyday Comfort Food at Riceman's Fried Rice
◎English translation: Peng Hsin-yi
Riceman's Fried Rice has been serving up the same piping hot fried rice for over 27 years. Dishes are piled high and the restaurant is always busy during lunch and dinner. Although fried rice is considered a simple dish, it is prepared with a high level of expertise. At Riceman's ordinary comfort food is served in an extraordinary way.
Riceman's head chef is second generation manager, Mr. Ciao Jie. Over the years, he has added to the menu over ten different fried rice dishes and instant noodles served in homemade beef soup. Mr. Ciao claims his secret to delicious fried rice is the all-important stir-fried ingredients Until they release the aroma within !
The restaurant is constantly working to maintain the great reputation it has enjoyed. Only the finest ingredients are used. He only uses rice freshly made that day. The popular beef shank is cooked slowly in a delicious broth. The shrimps in the shrimp fried rice are bought fresh, shelled and cleaned one by one at the restaurant. Another reason for the restaurant's success lies in the chef's experience. Mr. Ciao maintains strict control over temperature and timing of the preparation of his delicious fried rice. He cooks with rhythmic movements. He systematically pours in the oil, then the eggs and simultaneously stirs them together. The rice is then measured to the perfect amount, allowing the rice to release its natural fragrance, mixing it in with the remaining ingredients. The dishes are always masterpieces that come together with skillful manipulation.
Each plate is made to order, as dishes must be served at a specific temperature. After years of practice, Mr. Ciao is able to fill each order in just three minutes. With a deep commitment to freshness, when the rice is sold out, he simply closes his restaurant for the rest of the day. However, years of hard work has left Mr. Ciao with chronic pain, yet when a customer tells him how much they enjoyed his food, it gives him the encouragement he needs to carry on.