I am not one who trawls the internet space to check out what’s happening and where you must eat at. Sure, I google for food types but not the places. I rely on the good ol’ kaypoh (curious cat) method- ask around and poke you nose all over. Just like how we researched our Makansutra guides pre-google days. Walk aimlessly, ask shamelessly and see where smoke takes you. I rely on friends and trusted foodies’ good advice, even if it’s already recommended online. If you are planning on a Taiwan trip to Taipei. I have some great bites to tell you about.
Farmosa Taiwan Porridge, Basement Howard Plaza Hotel, 160, Section 3, Ren’ai Rd, Da’an District. 1130am-230pm, 530pm-9.30pm, tel: +8862 23267433
One can’t expect much from a hotel owned banquet restaurant. But this one has grand old reputation. The items are hearty and not commonly found even in Singapore Taiwan porridge places. I adore the cold clams in soy wine sauce- the clams were sweet and the good grade of soy sauce punctured with hints of rice wine was so comforting over the hot sweet potato porridge. The platter of stir fried oysters in spring onions went in so easily and they use the little local oysters which did not overwhelm the overall flavour. The stir fried eel with basil, spring onions and chilli made me want to devour it with another bowl of porridge. I adore their puffy chai po (preserved radish) omelette. The trick is to spin the omelette in the wok of oil and they stuffed it with little chunks the of chai po and chives- absolutely adorable.
Ah Jiao Roast Pork, No 2, Lane 247, Section 2, Yanping North Road, Datong District, 8am-2pm closed on Monday.
You may miss this stall as the crowds throng around them at peak hours, blocking your view of them. The de facto signature dish is the fried pork. They use belly and collar meat and it comes unforgivingly fresh. There is a calm sweet and savoury feel in the marinate and I can polish off at least three plates before I get sick. Their noodles, I think is intentionally made bland so it does not clash with their other dishes like a steamed cuttlefish and chitterlings. Go early to get seats and before they sell out (which they do, every day).
Lu Sang Restaurant, No 12-5, Yongkang Street, Da’an District, 1130am-2pm/ 5pm-9pm daily tel: +886223513323.
They have been offering mainly Yilan (north eastern county) cuisine since 1999. Their friendly picture wall menu will give you an idea the kind of dishes on offer. The smoked shark’s meat is do-not-miss. It comes sans the fishy pong and the wasabi soy dip takes this smooth flesh to another dimension. The kao cha (or fried kway) is essentially a deep fried thick starchy blob of chicken stock and it melts in the mouth when you bite through the crispy batter. Another not to miss item is the braised pork in red wine lees, very Hakka in so many ways. The meat is tender soft and the lees has a sweet wine aroma. Bite in a bit of the provided pickle and this becomes addictive. The definitive must order, in my book, is the stir fried glutinous rice with crispy krills atop. This one will make you forget your ketogenic diet.