Sunday, June 12, 2011

We Love Cookies and Dai's House of Stink


We Love Cookies
Roosevelt Road Section 3 Lane 283 #17
(next to Sai Baba Pita Bar)
2369-5555
羅斯福路3段283巷17號
MRT Gongguan (捷運公館站)

We found this place while hunting for a place to have dessert and beer - we'd just come from a stinkytofustravaganza at Dai's House of Stink (which has moved, by the way, to Yongji Street - 永吉街 - Lane 120 and can be seen clearly from the multi-road intersection) and after all that stankerific tofu (the raw tofu was actually more rank, vile and, *ahem*, piquant than the last time) we wanted something sweet.

First we tried Crown Fancy on Zhongxiao E. Road across from Songren Road, which was packed. So we walked to Gordon Biersch in Shinkong Mitsukoshi A-11, which was packed. We then split two taxis to My Sweetie Pie, which was likewise packed. We then walked to Cafe Goethe past Insomnia (packed), Salty Peanuts (packed) and Prague Bookstore (packed) before arriving at Cafe Goethe, which was not packed, but was also closing in 20 minutes.

Along the way we'd passed a new and clearly unfinished setup next to Sai Baba with gorgeous looking soft cookies on display. We decided "what the heck, the inside is a bit rustic but it's dessert and maybe Sai Baba will sell us beer if they don't have any".

It turns out that they do have beer - San Miguel - and coffee, but the real deal here are the cookies. They have vegan coffee and oatmeal cookies, peanut butter, chocolate brownie, brown sugar, Bailey's and other flavors, not to mention red velvet macaron-style cookies, but soft and filled with cream cheese frosting. They also have carrot cake and chocolate mint cupcakes.

As we sat in the not-really-ready-for-customers-to-sit-here-yet "seating area" someone showed up with a guitar and there was an impromptu bit of live music. It was very chill, or as one person put it, "like being back at the co-op".

But the cookies. Oh, the cookies. I need to go back and put this place on the "Best Desserts in Taipei" list. They're perfect. They're soft and heavenly (I don't really go for crunchy cookies except for Milanos). I intend to get some for the next time we have guests.

I'd say "try this" or "try that" but...try all of them. Just do it. They're SO GOOD.

Cookies are five for NT100, cupcakes are separate and a little bit more expensive.

So back to Dai's. We had the raw stinky tofu there before - the stuff that "defeated" Andrew Zimmern. It was pretty vile, but still something we could eat. This time...we really couldn't stomach more than a bite, and Joseph didn't even take that bite (but he did gamely try the other forms of tofu we ordered).

Just so you can see how fantastically dire the raw stinky tofu at Dai's is - it's seriously horrific. They ferment the stuff for two weeks in noxious black rotted vegetable slurry...no, I am not making this up.

Here are some photos.

After the photos, I will post a description of what I think it tasted like. It will be a very, ahem, ripe description. If you have any inclination towards a weak stomach, I suggest that you take great pains not to read it.

It translates roughly into "of all the things under heaven, I am the most stinky".


Sandra couldn't take it.


Cathy was thoroughly disgusted by it (her boyfriend's reaction was "Wow...that was something that...was in my mouth").


Joseph wisely refused to go near the stuff.

...


So.

When I was in China, I took a minibus through the winding hills of Guizhou in Miao territory (the Miao are a minority who live mostly in Guizhou) and had to go to the bathroom. I was having digestive issues and everything, ahem, issuing forth was...err...quite violently dire and in some cases painful. The driver, who probably would not have stopped for a local, stopped for me and I was ushered to the town's only real bathroom, which was up rickety old stairs to a hut suspended over an overhang.

"Why is it over this overhang? Did they not want to dig a hole?" I wondered.

The smell was virulently bad - the only word I can think of for it was coined by the Simpsons: it was truly crapulent. It smelled of a the excretion of a hundred different digestive organs convened over a mess of unclean pigs rutting around in a slimy pit of rotted vegetables.

As I entered and stood on the ancient, slimy wooden planks over the expanse of ground below, I heard a snort.

And I found out that it smelled so bad because that was exactly what it was - the village latrine hanging over a hair-raisingly smelly pigsty. I added my own deposit to the Bank of Hell and went on my way.

The smell that emanated forth, redolent of everything that my intestines had rebelled against in China commingled with the smell of the excretory functions of every other villager in that town, perfumed with the stench of giant hogs.

Dai's raw stinky tofu, in my mouth, brought back memories of that day. That horrible, nadir-of-all-that-is-unholy day.

But do go eat the cookies.


6 comments:

catherine_sr. said...

All I can say after reading your post is...

... holy shit.

(As in, holy shit, there are red velvet cupcakes in Taipei? Woohoo!)

Expat in Taiwan said...

I first saw Dai's House of Stink on Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods. After that, I had to try it.

I've been there twice, talked with the owner, and tried just about everything on the menu and I just don't get it - what the hell are you people smelling?

When I was there, there was no "stink" per se. There was a certain aroma, but because Dai doesn't use chemicals to ferment her tofu, it's actually somewhat pleasant. As for the taste, I'd take the stinky tofu burger or any shitty Taiwanese "burger" anyday.

Maybe I'm a freak and we were there on a good day - both my Taiwanese wife and I loved it and look forward to going back again.

Kathmeista said...

My desire for cookies is so great that despite the descriptions of Dai's, I still want one.

Brendan said...

Expat in Taiwan: Well, I can say that the first time we went to Dai's we found the raw tofu perfectly edible. It wasn't something we'd want to eat every day, but the three of us (Jenna, me, and another foreigner) could easily polish off one serving between us.

What they served us yesterday was a whole order of magnitude fouler. (Or more mouth-wateringly fragrant, I suppose, depending on your point of view.) So yeah, there's some variation from day to day.

Jenna said...

Catherine - they're cookies, not cupcakes, but still. Good!

Expat in Taiwan - I found every other thing at Dai's to be perfectly edible. The Six Wives mushroom tofu soup was fine. The fried tofu and spicy tofu were fine. The hongshao tofu was a bit rank but generally fine. Really it was just the raw stuff I couldn't handle, and as Brendan mentioned, the first time we went we could also handle that. This time whatever she put in her cesspit of black rotted vegetable gloop made it ever so much more...fetid.

Anonymous said...

Re the eight characters (天下皆香 唯我獨臭) in the first photo. A more accurate literal translation would be “Everything is fragrant under heaven. Only I am stinky.” Or “The world is all fragrant. I am the only stinky one.”