Taiwan is famous for its night markets and the amazing variety of food and beverages found in these markets. A visit to Taiwan without visiting any of the over 100 night markets mean one hasn’t really experienced Taiwan at all.
As legendary as its night markets’ street food is, I will not write about them as the subject has been extensively covered. Instead, I am going to share my experience dining in two of Taiwan’s long established restaurants, Kao Chi (高記) and Du Hsiao Yueh (度小月).
Kao Chi Restaurant (高記)
This restaurant established more than 60 years ago specialises in Shanghainese dishes and xiaolongbao (小龙包). Their offerings are similar to the more well known Din Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) but apparently at a much cheaper price.
We visited the Zhongshan outlet for lunch on a weekday, hence the restaurant wasn’t very busy. As there were only two of us, we ordered only three dishes.
The braised seafood noodles contained a lot of vegetables, shrimps, cuttlefish and fish slices. The gravy soaked noodles was tasty and yet maintained its chewy texture.
The signature pan fried pork buns or better known as sheng jian bao (生煎包) came in a covered cast iron pan. The buns are steamed and fried on the bottom surface till brown and crisp at the same time.
The dough is thicker than the steamed dumpling yet juicy and tender inside. Definitely a must try dish.
To balance out the meal, we had a simple stir-fry cabbage dish. The cabbage was sweet and fried with just the right amount of oil.
The meal cost NTD748, including a pot of Chinese tea.
Du Xiao Yueh Restaurant (度小月)
This over 100 year old establishment is a popular chain restaurant that has its humble beginnings in Tainan. Du Xiao Yueh is most well-known for its danzi noodles (担仔面) or peddler’s pole noodles. You can read about the origin of the noodles here.
We visited the outlet in Yongkang Street for dinner. At the entrance, a guy sitting on low stool was busy dishing out bowls of the signature dish. We were quickly ushered to a table upstairs and given the menu and order chit.
The small bowl of noodle was served with bean sprouts, shrimp, a special stewed meat sauce and prawn based broth. The combination gave the noodles a very rich and flavourful taste. A bowl cost NTD50 but the portion is really small as it’s meant to be eaten as a snack.
We ordered four other Taiwanese dishes in addition to the signature danzi noodles. The braised pork rice (祖传肉燥饭 – NTD35) was well cooked and braised meat made it extra yummy. The stir-fry peas shoot (清炒大豆苗 – NTD280) was crunchy.
The golden shrimp roll (黄金虾卷 – NTD200) was another winner. It was crispy and the shrimps were fresh and juicy.
The grilled pepper pork (烤胡椒肉 – NTD200) was well marinated and not too peppery. Best of all it has the right balance between lean and fatty layers giving it a tender and melt-in-the mouth sensation.
Cost for the meal including a 10% service charge was NTD842 and tea was complimentary.