Photos by MJ Klein & Hui-chen, including FOOD PHOTOS!
UPDATE: The show is now available for viewing online here (not every country is served, unfortunately).
Recently Hui-chen and I were invited by a television production company to participate in a new show they were shooting in Taiwan. The show stars Bob Blumer and will air in Taiwan on a yet-to-be-determined network. It’s called “World’s Weirdest Restaurants” and it sounds like a fun show! The show has been confirmed for the Food Network Canada. Be sure to look for it!
Hui-chen with host Bob Blumer
The shoot took place at the famous Five Dime restaurant in Taipei. HC and I had gone there before with our camera to take some photos for the blog, so we’ll show you what it looks like and then tell you about meeting Bob and doing the TV show. It was a blast!
This overview shot of the outside of Five Dime tells the story. Diners are in for a new experience here. This article is geotagged with the location of the Five Dime so you can find it on our Geotagged Articles Map. By the way, if you call them to make a reservation, you must speak Chinese. The staff doesn’t speak English on the phone. Their phone number is: 02 8501 1472
Detail of the upper portion of the building (with the Chinese name of the restaurant: 伍角船板).
The first time Hui-chen and I went there, we had no idea what to expect.
The entrance is in the front on the right side.
One has to go up a ramp….
…. and through a short tunnel.
This is the entrance to the restaurant.
Once inside, it’s a bit dark, but after your eyes get accustomed to the ambient light you will find yourself in an amazing space. Five Dime has 3 floors, with a very interesting staircase.
We were seated at one of their large tables. Five Dime is a great place for group dining. The menu features a fusion cuisine (more on that later) that has elements from other Asian influences.
Although somewhat difficult to photograph due to the low light, you should bring your camera anyway, as the place certainly is interesting. The decor is somewhat of an input overload!
This dish is a soft shell crab roll. This dish reminded me of Vietnamese fresh spring rolls (as opposed to the deep fried kind). The flavor wasn’t specifically Vietnamese however. I would call this a fusion dish because this type of roll wouldn’t ordinarily use deep fried soft shell crab.
I ordered a banana shake, and I never expected it to arrive in a chilled stone mug! The small bowl on the right contains a locally made Taiwanese dessert using sticky rice powder. The English name is “mochi” (麻糬).
The view behind our table
One of my all-time favorite dishes in Asia, sweet potato greens (炒地瓜葉). I’ve had this dish many times in Taiwan and this was one of the nicest versions I’d experienced. The burnt garlic added a sweet flavor.
Hui-chen’s drink, kiwi juice, with the local dessert in the small bowl (麻糬).
The Five Dime menu lists dishes in Chinese, with English underneath. I found a few of the dishes said they were Thai style in Chinese (泰式) but not mentioned in English. It seems that Thai is a big influence in Five Dime and Hui-chen and I have a great deal of experience in Thailand and with Thai food. This is sliced Thai style chicken (泰式椒麻雞). The dish was great, but it wasn’t totally Thai style. We’ve had grilled sliced chicken in Thailand, but not deep fried as is this dish. The treatment of the chicken was more like a Japanese pork tonkatsu don. So again we see the fusion theme in this dish.
Korean style pickled vegetable with “New Year cake” (韓式泡菜炒年糕). This dish was hard to place, as it was totally unlike anything I’ve had before. Even the picked vegetables were unique. It was good!
After dinner Hui-chen and I walked around to take some photographs for the blog.
This is the main section of the restaurant, right next to the staircase.
I went up to the top of the staircase and took this photo looking down. It’s much more impressive in person.
The detail is mind-boggling. There isn’t any comment I can make that adequately describes the decor.
One final shot of the lobby.
Outside at night, the Five Dime takes on an entirely different look with the yellow sodium vapor lamps illuminating it.
The TV Show Shoot
The big question that everyone wants to know is: “What’s it like to meet Bob Blumer?” The answer is just what one would expect from watching Bob on TV. Bob is very polite and personable, and super-professional. Bob was busy of course, so we didn’t have time to chit-chat. Hui-chen and I sat at our table and watched him work.
Here we see the crew scoping things out. That’s Bob in the red shirt, with producer Vera in the blue shirt.
If you’ve ever wondered how they get those overhead shots, now you know.
This is the cameraman (unfortunately I did not get his name). He explained what was going to happen and how he would be shooting the scene. Bob would be sitting in the seat on the left, next to where I was sitting (I took this shot). Hui-chen was a bit nervous because she’s never been on television before, and she told me she would rather not do any speaking, which is understandable. Frequent readers of this blog know that television isn’t my usual performance gig, but I’ve been interviewed for news stories before, and I wasn’t apprehensive about being on camera.
After the cameraman explained what was going to happen, Bob sat down next to me and we went to work. I did not take any photos during this time because we were too busy. Bob was very easy to work with, and quite patient with me. We talked about the restaurant, the decor, the ambiance, and also the food. Later on I’ll show you some food photos and tell you what we talked about. It seemed like we were shooting for about 15 minutes. It will be interesting to see the edited final version.
After we were finished, Hui-chen and I continued eating and watching the crew work.
Now, for the dishes. This is sliced roast pork (香烤豬里肌肉) and as I told Bob, it tasted like dishes we’ve had in Hong Kong. We liked this dish very much.
This is water lotus (清炒水蓮). Normally in local restaurants, it’s cut a bit shorter and it normally does not contain mushrooms or carrots. So they added their own flair to the dish. A good dish.
Chopped garlic greens (蒼蠅頭), also known as “Fly Heads” because of the fermented soy beans that look like fly heads. Notice the concentration of hot red peppers. This felt like a Thai dish to me. It was very good but almost too spicy.
This dish looks like some kind of fried tofu, but it is mushrooms (幸鮑菇燴鹹蛋), made with a salty egg yoke on the outside. A very Taiwanese treatment, this dish was quite good.
Before we left, we got a few more daylight shots of the exterior of Five Dime:
This is the view just outside the main entrance door.
Another shot of the tunnel.
Thanks for reading! We hope you enjoyed this article about our experience with Bob Blumer’s new TV show. We’d like to thank Bob, Vera, Leanne, Stephanie and the crew for making it possible for us to be on the show!
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