New Taipei City – ZhuLin Chicken 竹林雞肉

YongHe is a maze of alleys and side streets, and has been my home for the last 6 years. However, we stumbled across this place by accident en-route to snaffle down some Soy Milk Breakfast one lunch time.

Just a short walk from DingXi MRT Exit 1, this place does get pretty busy at lunchtime. We waited around 20 mins for a table, which I don’t really mind too much now.

The kitchen was alive with activity, but everything seemed seamless. It’s quite incredible how something that looks so unorganised from the outside can work so well on the inside. For example, the heat under that pan is turned up so high that it takes the cook a mere 10 seconds (I counted) to create the perfect soft yolk fried egg, whilst simultaneously preparing other elements of other dishes.

It also amazes me how I would be outraged by seeing this in the UK – why is it not in the fridge?! But here, I lap it up, willingly! Strange, right?

So, it’d be rude to not get a bit of everything, wouldn’t it?

雞油飯 $15

This rice was great, with the chicken juices/gravy/oil/drippings spooned over it was even better. The soup in the background – I wouldn’t bother. 下水湯 is an offal soup, here being chicken offal. The soup didn’t have much taste, and the offal itself was nothing to write home about.

竹林雞肉(小份) $70

If you go to a self-proclaimed chicken restaurant, then you can’t not order some chicken. So, we took a small plate of the chicken It was pretty good, but it is still taking me time to get used to eating fridge-like cold chicken. The layer separating the skin from the meat becomes jellied which is a rather unique texture in meat, and the skin is soggy and chewy. The meat itself is delicious, but coupled with these other textures it can take some time to adjust, I have found.

荷包蛋 $10

-cue egg pun.
Seriously, though, how good does that cluck?

竹林雞肉飯 $80

Probably my pick of the bunch. It’s essentially a bowl of chicken, rice, ginger, gravy/oil/chicken dripping, and a sunny side up fried egg on top. Proceed to mix it all together, and dig in with your shovel/spoon.

This place isn’t going to win awards for refined dining, or even for subtle flavours. But, if you want something damn tasty that isn’t going to break the bank and you live in the area, then it is worth a shot, that’s for sure.

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