This restaurant is a firm favourite of mine to get my fill of pig’s blood soup (豬血湯 zhu1xie3tang1) and gravy rice (滷肉飯 lu3rou4fan4). When I say ‘gravy’, its not like those Northerners drinking it by the cup full, its a Taiwanese ‘gravy’ that is basically stewed salty meats. If you haven’t had it, you need to, now!
We were pretty hungry…
1. Pig’s blood soup
2. Pigs blood soup with curry
3. Gravy rice (L)
4. Gravy rice (S)
5. Stewed Bamboo
7. Cold Intestines
Let’s set the record straight: Pig’s blood soup doesn’t just mean a soup made of the blood, where when you finish your bowl you’re already well on your way to being Dracula’s number one fan, no. We are talking about semi-solidified chunks of pigs blood, in a soup broth. The plain one has intestines in, and the curry one has a curry sauce put into it.
1. Pig’s blood soup 豬血湯
It’s a firm favourite of mine. There isn’t a strong taste of blood, but the taste is there. The soup is light, and if you order the less oily version, then it can be quite healthy and filling! You get a very large amount of the pig’s blood in these soups, so I would suggest not ordering as many plates as we did…
2. Pig’s blood soup with curry sauce 咖哩豬血湯 ka1lizhu1xie3tang1
I probably won’t order this again, as for my taste it was a little greasy. The taste was good, it wasn’t necessarily a spicy curry, but it had a good curry flavour.
3 + 4. Gravy Rice 滷肉飯
This is a weekend staple (only on the weekend, as it is salty and fatty, but too good to resist). Usually the gravy will be cooked for hours and hours, using a variety of different meats. The fat within the meat renders down to almost nothing but a silky texture of loveliness. Usually just a spoonful of this over your rice is ample! Almost all of the 小吃店 (small plate) restaurants that you will find in Taipei, will have this. It really is an indulgent addition to the normal white rice you find everywhere.
5. Stewed Bamboo 魯筍干 lu3sun3gan1
Who doesn’t like a healthy plate of stewed, air dried bamboo to accompany their salty rice? I find bamboo to have a nice crunch, yet still be nice and soft. The taste is a little earthy, but also a little sweet, too, which can counteract the saltiness of the ‘gravy’ on the rice – Its a winner!
6. Tofu 油豆腐 you2dou4fu3 Oily tofu (literal translation – don’t let it put you off! Please read)
OK, so it may be called Oily Tofu, but it isn’t really THAT oily. Tofu is a staple in Asian cuisine, and can be prepared in a multitude of differing ways. This is just one of those different ways. The outside skin of the tofu is slightly resistant, and covers the spongy inside of the tofu. It is often braised, and can be a little watery if not cooked properly. However, if cooked properly (as this one is), it can be delicious. Have it with some thick soy sauce, and you’re loving life.
7. Cold Intestines 涼板脆腸 liang2ban4cui4chang2
Looks nasty, sounds nasty, tastes good. Cold intestines aren’t something I’m usually first in line for, but these ones are actually pretty damn good. The intestines themselves are a little hard, and a little chewy, but they have a nice intestine flavour, yet are not overpowering. They sit within a slightly aniseed based sauce, with scallions. As it was a scorching day outside, this dish was actually remarkably refreshing.
Best dish: Toss up between 1 and 3/4.
Won’t order again: 2 (too oily)
Overall, really good. I’ve been here a bunch of times now, and I definitely will call back if I am ever in the area again. It is a short walk from YuanShan MRT station, which holds a farmers market on the weekends (don’t know if it is every weekend, but worth going for a look).