Monday, January 03, 2011

GIVEAWAY: Six Taste Food Tours

This Giveaway is Now Closed! Congratulations to zzzTimbo!

 In August 2009, two enterprising USC Grads, Jeff Okita and Alex Tao, launched one of Los Angeles' premiere food tour companies, Six Taste. Six Taste is so called because it hints at the possible discovery of a new taste beyond sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory through one of their many weekly tours. Tour destinations include a Downtown LA Food Tour, Hollywood Food Tour, New Chinatown Food Tour and much more. Click here to see all their available tours.

Last November, I took the Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour in Arcadia, CA. The focus of the tour was on Taiwanese food and apparently, Arcadia has become quite a mecca for this type of cuisine. Led by our knowledgeable guide, Michael Lin, a Taiwanese-American born and raised in Arcadia, we tasted our way through 5 delicious destinations.

More ...


Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J&J Bakery

Our first stop was J.J Bakery, a Taiwanese bakery. One thing Michael mentioned about Taiwanese pastries and desserts in general is that they don't tend to be extremely sweet.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery

In fact, when it comes to pastries, you'll find both sweet and savory versions like the Sweet Coconut Cream Bun and Green Onion Bun below. When a sweetening agent is used, brown sugar is a popular ingredient for Taiwanese foods as a whole.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery

More unique offerings that we saw included a French Toast Ham Sandwich and what our guide referred to as a Taiwanese Sushi Roll with ingredients like bread, green onions, pork sung (dried shredded pork), ham, tamago-style egg and more all wrapped inside nori.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery

Also in their shelves were beautifully decorated cakes and other desserts.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  J.J. Bakery

Our second stop was the infamous Din Tai Fung. I've been to Din Tai Fung quite a few times, but it wasn't until I went with Six Taste that I learned a few new things. One thing I knew for sure was that Din Tai Fung was known for their xiao long baos, also known as soup dumplings.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung

What I didn't know was that the XLBs at Din Tai Fung are done in the Taiwanese-style, which makes sense considering that the owners are Taiwanese and the first DTF originated in Taiwan. Those were two pieces of information I didn't know before either.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung

All this time I thought DTF was a Shanghainese restaurant. According to our guide, Taiwanese XLBs are smaller with a thinner, more elastic dumpling skin and the filling is firmer with less oil. Shanghainese XLBs are bigger with a softer dumpling skin and the filling is a little oilier with a softer texture.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung

Specific to Din Tai Fung is the fact that all their soup dumplings have 18 folds because 18 folds equate to the perfect dumpling. Can you count them below?

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung

Along with both Pork and Crab and Pork Dumplings, we also enjoyed Fried Rice, Rice Cakes and for dessert, the Taro Dumpling below.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Din Tai Fung

From Din Tai Fung, we made our way to SinBala where our group enjoyed trying out Taiwanese Night Market Street Food. To find those specific foods, be sure to look for the Snacks Section on their menu.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala

At SinBala, we tried 6 different items. The first to arrive was the Taiwanese Sausage with Raw Garlic. By itself, the sausage was good, but it's best enjoyed with the garlic for a nice little spice kick. If you're looking for something a little different, try the Taiwanese Sausage with chocolate sauce or passion fruit sauce or even strawberry jam. I actually went back to SinBala a month later and thought the Taiwanese sausage with passion fruit was awesome.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala

The Popcorn Chicken on the menu may not seem very interesting, but you'd be wrong. With a batter that has salt, white pepper and five spice, this chicken was, excuse my pun, poppin' with flavor.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala

My least favorite item was the Oyster Pancake with a Sweet Garlic Chili Sauce. The pancake itself was made with a sweet potato starch and there was just something about the texture that I didn't find too appealing.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala

Fourth to arrive was the Chicken Roll and there's actually an interesting story behind it. First, you should know that chicken isn't one of the ingredients for this dish. Our guide mentioned that three of the main foods you would bring to your ancestors are fish, pork and chicken. If chicken wasn't available, they'd fake it by stuffing pork sausage into a tofu skin to make it look like a chicken neck; hence, this Chicken Roll is actually made with pork.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala

My favorite dish at SinBala were the Spicy Won Tons. They come in a bowl with red chili oil, garlic, ginger, green onions, Sichuan peppercorns and more and as you mixed it, those aromatics released a wonderful smell. Then of course, the plump won tons took on the flavors of all the delicious ingredients that they were mixed with.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala

Our final dish was what our guide referred to as a Taiwanese Tamale although I think it's called Taiwanese Gluten Rice on the menu. It was basically sticky rice with pork belly and whole chestnuts wrapped in bamboo leaves and was also a tasty addition to our meal at SinBala.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  SinBala

After being satiated at SinBala, we took a walk to Hanny Snack House, which shares a space with LolliCup. By the way, before I talk about Hanny, I have to share an amusing story told to us by our guide, appropriately enough, in front of Lollicup. "Boba", if you didn't know, is the Taiwanese word for the "T" in "T&A". Apparently, the word "Boba" is very LA-centric because out of LA, the term "Boba Tea" is replaced by "Pearl Tea" or "Bubble Tea." So now you know.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop

Okay, back to Hanny. Hanny is Taiwanese dried goods shop where the dried goods were everything from jerky to dried fruits and vegetables to dried fish and other seafood.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop

The first thing we tasted at Hanny was a variety of jerky. We tried a Honey and Brown Sugar Glazed Pork Jerky, Fruit Juice Beef Jerky and a Five Spice Beef Jerky.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop

Then we sampled the Taiwanese Dried Mango. I really enjoyed the Taiwanese Dried Mango a lot because it's not as sweet as Filipino Dried Mango, which is always too sugary for my taste.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop

After the jerky and mango, we were told that we could go ahead and sample anything else that we wanted. Some of my favorites included these light and crispy mushroom "chips" as well as squash chips.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop

Other things that hit my taste buds included Dried Guava, Thai Sesame Yellow Fish and BBQ Sesame Fish. Hanny's was definitely a find and I've actually been multiple times since my first visit there with Six Taste.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop
Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Hanny's Snack Shop

Our last stop was at Bin Bin Konjac for dessert, specifically Taiwanese Shaved Ice.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Bin Bin Konjac

What we got was Eight Treasure Shaved Ice, so called because of its eight ingredients: konjac, almond jelly, red beans, green mung beans, stewed peanuts, mochi balls and barley grain. I was actually surprised when I got my first taste of this dessert. It was very icy, starchy and not very sweet.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Bin Bin Konjac

My only other experience with Taiwanese Shaved Ice was the kind where the ice was sweet, silky and was topped with fresh fruit. When I asked our guide about it, he replied that what we were having at Bin Bin Konjac is more traditional while what I had was a more modern take on shaved ice. The main difference is that the newer-style of shaved ice is basically condensed milk frozen with water; hence, the sweeter, creamier texture.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour:  Bin Bin Konjac

In the end, I really enjoyed my Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour. Our guide, Michael, was very knowledgeable about the food and was patient with all our questions. What I really loved was that I was introduced to food destinations in Arcadia that I've simply walked by in the past, but am now going to visit on a more regular basis. I also left the tour knowing more than when I went into it. How fantastic was that.

Six Taste Delicious Dumpling Tour

Along with the Delicious Dumpling Tour, I also took the Thai Town Food Tour and below you can see some photo highlights from that tour.

Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour
Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour
Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour
Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour
Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour
Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour
Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour
Six Taste Thai Town Food Tour

Overall, what is so wonderful about the Six Taste Tours is that they're great for both Angelenos and Out-of-Towners. The tours are a way to explore neighborhoods that are unfamiliar to you and to also learn more about the cultural diversity that exists in Los Angeles through food. What better way to discover LA than one bite at a time.

Click here to see all the photos from my Delicious Dumpling Tour.
Click here to see all the photos from my Thai Town Food Tour.
Click here to read a blog post by tiffin unboxed on Six Taste.

Visit the Six Taste website here!

PRIZE GIVEAWAY!

Now that you've learned a little more about Six Taste, it's time to enter for a chance to win a FREE Six Taste Tour for Two!

Here are the ways to enter!

Mandatory 1: First, check out the tours at Six Taste. Then leave a comment and tell me what tour you'd take if you won and why. (Please leave your email or some kind of information on how I can contact you. Spell your email address like abby at pleasurepalate dot com). If I can't find a way to get a hold of you, I'll choose another winner.

Optional 2: Tweet: Win a Free @Sixtaste Tour for Two via @pleasurepalate at http://bit.ly/fPdjuX

Optional 3: Follow Six Taste on Twitter

Optional 4: Join Six Taste on Facebook

You can have up to 4 total entries each; however, please note that you have to comment back and let me know which of the actions you took, so that I can keep track of them. This is especially true for 2 through 4. If you don’t let me know which actions you took, then I won’t count them as entries.

Contest ends Monday, January 10 at 11:59 AM, PST and one winner will be randomly chosen from all entries. Good Luck!

^

55 comments:

Michelle Woo said...

I'd like to go on the delicious dumpling tour because I must try those spicy wontons! Also, I've been to Din Tai Fungs in Taiwan and Shanghai but not the Arcadia one. I'd like to see how it compares.

michellewoo at gmail dot com

Tara said...

Hey, Abby

I would like to enter the giveaway for six taste food tours. If I won, I would like to try the Little Tokyo Tour because I've been to the area but need someone to show me the hidden gems that I've missed. I love Japanese food and would like to learn more about the food.
Please contact me if I win at Tara at tlee90@hotmail.com
Tanks.
Tara

girlrobot said...

I would love to take the Little Tokyo Food Tour just because Japanese is my favorite cuisine and I would love to know more about the history and culture behind it.

Michelle Woo said...

Tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/michellewoo/status/22179851137982464

michellewoo at gmail dot com

Michelle Woo said...

Followed you on Twitter!

Michelle Woo said...

Liked you on FB! :)

michellewoo at gmail dot come

Catty Critic said...

I'd like to take the Little Tokyo tour as that's an area of town I haven't gotten to explore much of. I love the Japanese food I've had so far and would love to learn more about it beyond sushi and ramen.

cattycritic at gmail dot com

Paula's Ponderings said...

Hi Abby. This is Paula (pvf1977@gmail.com). I would love to win the Delicious Dumpling tour in Arcadia. To date, I have only visited a handful of Taiwanese places here in LA, and this would be a great opportunity to further explore the offerings.

Catty Critic said...

Oh and I did all the optional entries as well.

-Catty Critic

dki said...

I recently moved to downtown LA with my wife. The Downtown Los Angeles Food Tour has been bookmarked on my Yelp as a "to do" item. It would be great to win the tour and actually explore the restaurants in downtown. supawako at gmail dot com

Wasima said...

Thanks for reminding me the chicken roll story! Was trying to remember it for my write-up but could not. Fun tours and fun recap!

Wasima said...

Thanks for reminding me the chicken roll story! Was trying to remember it for my write-up but could not. Fun tours and fun recap!

Anonymous said...

I would like Delicious Dumpling Food Tour. email is ilikerbkfury at hotmail dot com

Anonymous said...

dumpling tour, ilikerbkfury at hotmail dot com, I also just did option 2 to 4 as well. Thanks

Kristina said...

I did the Arcadia tour with my husband - I gave it to him for a birthday gift and we had a great time. The next tour I would like to do (the one I would do if I win) would be either the Thai town tour or the Little Tokyo tour - haven't decided which to do first, but I definitely want to do both! I hope I win this one :-) kmfukuda at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Abby,
I would love love love to go on the Delicious Dumpling Six Taste Food Tour for many reasons: I live to eat and while reading about the tour on your blog I started salivating! Plus, I think Six Taste came up with a great concept and I have yet to experience it and hope that I might win this contest so that I may start the New Year with a great food tour.
Hope to see you soon! Email: nancy at dslextreme dot com

Andi? said...

Hi Abby! I'd take the Thai Town tour or the Little Tokyo tour as I don't know much about either Thai or Japanese food.

Also did 2-4.

abbui at caltech dot edu

d said...

Ooh ooh ooh, pick me!! I'm drooling over the pix on the delicious dumpling tour! Even if you don't pick me, I know what I want to do for my birthday! ;p Great idea.

littlemisslate at gmail dot com

Shooting Stars Mag said...

I'd love to win this for a family member, and I'd pick the Hollywood Food Tour because if you're visiting, it would be such a fun place to visit while eating. :)

-Lauren
lauren51990 AT aol DOT com

jennalee said...

I've always wanted to do one of these food tours! In fact, the dumpling one is very high on my list as well as the Little Toyko tour!
I also tweeted (@_jennalee)
added on FB (jennalee infanto)
commented
and my email is
jennaleeinfanto at gmail dot com (jennaleeinfanto@gmail.com)

Anonymous said...

I'd love to do the Delicious Dumpling tour! I dont know anything about Taiwanese food and I love trying new foods!
Rhonda
retreux
at gmail

Anonymous said...

i joined your facebook page!
rhonda
retreux at gmail

Katy said...

I'm not the most adventurous eater, so I think I'd be most interested in the Santa Monica tour. I rarely get out that way and I hear there's good food to be had ;-)

katy @ http://successforsolopreneurs.com

Katy said...

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/katytafoya/status/22391077268881408

katy @ http://successforsoloprenurs.com

Katy said...

I tweeted here too: http://twitter.com/#!/kat_taf/status/22391082637590528

katy @ http://successforsolopreneurs.com

Katy said...

I followed @sixtaste

katy @ http://successforsolopreneurs.com

And I cracked up at the boba story. Leave it to LA to go all T&A on bubble tea ;-)

Hae Jung said...

Happy New Year, Abby!

I would love to take the delicious dumpling tour. I LOVE dumplings! And even though I've been to Din Tai Fung many times, it seems there is always more to learn (and taste)!

Hae Jung
hjc90026 at yahoo dot com

Adam said...

I would love to enter for a chance to win a food tour with six taste food tours. If I won I would like to take the dumpling tour. I have actually heard of this tour before and the way it was explained to me sounded awesome. My wife and I would definately make a whole day of the affair.
You can reach me at apisz at aol dot com.

The Minty said...

I would love to do the Thai Town tour! I believe you already have my email but it's mintygirl at gmail

sue said...

would love to go on a tour with you guys. i was supposed to go on a tour with your competitor, but my leg was giving me problems and i couldnt walk. i like most any foods and enjoy trying new things.

Anonymous said...

I would choose the Hollywood tour because though I am from the LA area, I associate Hollywood with tourists aimlessly walking the streets taking pictures and causing traffic, and the usual touristy attractions that I've seen many times over.

I saw the tour on Six Taste's site and instantly became curious about this culinary hot bed that I've never seen or experienced. Yes it's Hollywood, so there are bound to be some good places, but what's good and what isn't is a beast I have yet to tackle. Also, not listing the stops on the tour has piqued my curiosity even further. I'd love for Six Taste to be the one to show me around a foodie's Hollywood.

lovey0107 at gmail dot com

Lynda said...

i guess i would pick the Hollywood Food Tour because i don't go there very often. lyndagp at gmail dot com

Lynda said...

i tweeted http://twitter.com/#!/oshkoshbgosh123/status/22545483679399936

zzzTimbo said...

I'm considering moving to DTLA and would choose the Downtown Tour.

zzztimbo at gmail dot com

zzzTimbo said...

I followed @sixtaste on twitter and Liked them on Facebook.

zzztimbo at gmail dot com

Annalise said...

I would love to try out Thai tour because I love Thai food but have limited exposure to it. Sounds like this is a great place to broaden my horizons! annaliserose at gmail dot com

Annalise said...

I tweeted that I entered the contest. annaliserose at gmail dot come

Annalise said...

I followed SixTaste on twitter annaliserose at gmail dot com

Annalise said...

I liked SixTaste on facebook
annaliserose at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

OOoooh Abby! After reading about the Dumpling Tour, I just couldn't even focus on any of the other Six Taste Tour information! An hour ago, if someone said "Dumpling Tour", I'd have thought, "Meh! How different can one dumpling be from another?" Now I'm probably going to dream of dumplings tonite! So yeah, I'll START with that tour... s(~_~)s Eileen, aka Rollerblur at aol dot com

sophia said...

I would love the dumpling or the downtown tour! I live at downtown LA, and dumpings are my favorite food ever.

sophia said...

I TWEETED!

sophia said...

I follow on Twitter...

sophia said...

I like them on Facebook, too!

L said...

Hi, I'd like to go on the Santa Monica tour because I have a vast hole in my LA knowledge. I've really never spent a substantial amount of time on the Westside and I'd love an opportunity to get an insider's perspective of it. I also tweeted @ lestlequiks and am following Six Tastes on Twitter.

Anonymous said...

Hey Abby. They all sound great, but if I have to choose one, I think it would be the downtown LA. I haven't spent much time in downtown, and the idea of finding unknown hidden hole-in-the-wall gems appeals to me. Downtown is the most likely candidate for that...Mark Drabkin...rbmd at redondobeachla dot net. I don't tweet (yet) so I entered via Facebook (joining Six Taste).

Laura T said...

Hi there! I would really love to go on the Santa Monica tour! I'll be in LA in February, and this seems like a really awesome way to explore the area with the friends I'll be visiting. I never seem to win anything, but thought this would be the best thing ever to win! I also followed six taste on twitter, joined them on facebook, and retweeted your giveaway tweet! my email is laura dot e dot tedesco at gmail dot com (laura.e.tedesco@gmail.com)

Jasmin said...

Hi Abby,
My first choice for a Six Taste Food's Tour would be the Delicious Dumpling Tour. The reasons being; I am not familiar with either Arcadia or Taiwanese cuisine. In addition, your blog makes it so much more tempting. Having taken the Thai Town Tour I am aware of the high quality tours offered along with vastly knowledgeable tour guides. I have checked out their other tours and have signed up for them. Little Tokyo Tour is my next choice.

jacn at hotmail dot com

Thanks
Jas

Margaret said...

The Thai Town Taste Tour would be terrific because as I of late I have been disappointed with the Thai restaurants here in the LBC. contact me at cherryswam at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I would love to try the Little Tokyo Tour as I would like to learn more about that neighborhood. Please contact me if I win at christine.chao at gmail dot com. I joined via facebook.

FoodieNewbie said...

Hi Abby,
I've done #2-4 and if chosen would love to take the tour for Little Tokyo. I was torn between this one and the Dumpling Tour thanks to your article and photos but decided on the other, since I have recently had dim sum and Chinese food (including dumplings) but no Japanese food.

There is so much to try and do in LA and I'm only sad that I started so late on this journey!

kimchee underscore 69 at hotmail dot com (kimchee_69@hotmail.com)

Anonymous said...

hi abby
i did all four things
would love to try the new chinatown because i always stop at the one north of the downtown slot.
sixtaste seems great!
dh at lavotefire.org

Anonymous said...

Hi Abby,

If given the chance, I would like to go on the Downtown LA food tour because as much as I drive past the area on the 101fwy, I never get the opportunity to stop and see/taste what it has to offer in between all those high-rise buildings! Thanks!

orangedictionary at yahoo dot com

Anonymous said...

Hi Abby,

option2: tweeted (@jetstopinas)
option3: now following sixtaste on twitter (@jetstopinas)
option4: joined/liked sixtaste on facebook


orangedictionary at yahoo dot com

languichatte said...

i'd take the Hollywood Food Tour. i live in the neighborhood, but never eat here.
There's just too many restaurants coming & going to try and keep up with.
kathleen
ccrashcup at mad dot scientist dot com
i joined 6 Taste on FB, too