Five Dime & Bob Blumer

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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!

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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!

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Detail of the upper portion of the building (with the Chinese name of the restaurant: 伍角船板).

Five Dime & A Little TLC

The first time Hui-chen and I went there, we had no idea what to expect.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

The entrance is in the front on the right side.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

One has to go up a ramp….

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

…. and through a short tunnel.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

This is the entrance to the restaurant.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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!

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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).

Five Dime & A Little TLC

The view behind our table

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Hui-chen’s drink, kiwi juice, with the local dessert in the small bowl (麻糬).

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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!

Five Dime & A Little TLC

After dinner Hui-chen and I walked around to take some photographs for the blog.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

This is the main section of the restaurant, right next to the staircase.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

I went up to the top of the staircase and took this photo looking down.  It’s much more impressive in person.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

The detail is mind-boggling.  There isn’t any comment I can make that adequately describes the decor.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

One final shot of the lobby.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Outside at night, the Five Dime takes on an entirely different look with the yellow sodium vapor lamps illuminating it.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

 

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Here we see the crew scoping things out.  That’s Bob in the red shirt, with producer Vera in the blue shirt.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

If you’ve ever wondered how they get those overhead shots, now you know.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

After we were finished, Hui-chen and I continued eating and watching the crew work.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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:

Five Dime & A Little TLC

This is the view just outside the main entrance door.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Another shot of the tunnel.

Five Dime & A Little TLC

Five Dime & A Little TLC

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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16 comments

  1. I have never seen a restaurant that looks like that. Even looking at the large pictures, the amount of detail would need to be seen in person to appreciate.

    It looks like a good range of food, so there should be a dish to suit anyone.

    MJ, do you know who actually come up with the restaurant design/plan idea? What a whacky and creative mind 🙂

    Wish i could see the show, maybe it will make its way onto the WWW anyway.

    Thanks for sharing mate and I hope your readers in Taiwan get to experince the place in person.
    Brunty´s last post ..Spago Italian Restaurant Ubon Ratchathani Thailand.

    1. hi Brunty. yes you’re right. photos don’t convey the sense of being there; it’s just too detailed. the woman who owns it is a designer and she built the place herself. we’re going to get a copy of the segment from the production company and then we’ll put it on Youtube for all to see! take care Brunty.

  2. Now… I don’t watch TLC… but is this the same TLC channel in the USA or is this like an international version of the channel??? Don’t know if this show would air in the USA or not.

    1. hi Mike. it’s the same TLC channel that you have there, but there are some difference in the shows that are offered. for example, you don’t get Fun Taiwan in the US, but you really should!

  3. Bob Blumer was mainly on the food network, mostly in Canada. He did an episode from Taiwan where he broke the guinness world record for taking out individual grains of cooked rice from a bowl.

    I think the show should air in the US. Usually post production puts a show to air from 6 months to a year after taping.

    1. hi BB. oh, we don’t get the Food Network in Taiwan (on regular cable). Bob’s shows are on TLC here, so maybe they will air on the Food Network in North America. the producer told us it would air in about 4 months in Canada first, then the USA, and then finally, about 2 years later in Taiwan! btw, i never did see that show on the rice grains! i’m sorry that i missed it! thanks for the info.

      UPDATE: the show’s production company has confirmed that this new show will air on Food Network, Canada! as for Taiwan, that’s yet to be determined.

    1. hey Todd. yeah it really is a cool looking place. the food is great too, which sometimes isn’t the case in theme restaurants. we had a blast and being on TV was a lot of fun too. Bob is cool. take care Todd.

  4. Great article about an interesting restaurant! It reminded me of a multilevel bar I once drank at in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo, only the floors there were all underground, and it felt like descending into Dante’s circles of hell. If you should find out when the episode of Blumer’s show will air in Taiwan, please let us know!

    Hate to nitpick, but mochi is actually a traditional Japanese food, one of many that the Taiwanese have adopted as their own (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mochi).

    1. hi Jim, thanks. that multilevel bar sounds very interesting! the producer told me that it would take about 2 years for that episode to make it here to Taiwan. they’re going to send us a DVD though, so maybe we can post it on Youtube in the meantime. thanks for the point about Mochi. i’d never heard of it until we ate one of those donuts while back: http://www.thenhbushman.com/2010/10/01/dunkin-donuts-in-taiwan/ but after i read about it, i knew it came from Japan. it’s not become “traditional” here, you know, like everything else we’ve imported from Japan! take care, Jim.

    1. hi Stefan. i thought i linked to their site, but maybe i forgot! thanks for posting that. let us know what you think of the place once you’ve visited. take care.

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