New Taipei City – 中山五十六 ZhongShan 56

⭐⭐⭐

You may be up in DanShui searching for that good A-Gei or you might be there looking to catch sundown at Fishermans Wharf (highly recommend). Either way, you’re going to want to eat. If you have a car/can be bothered walking, then I would recommend checking out Kooks 2 out near the incredible TianYuan Temple.
But, if you’re around the ‘old street’ of DanShui, then something other than street food can sometimes feel difficult to come by. Until now!

Mind Blowing, isn’t it? Don’t worry, I got you.
Specialities are on the 1st menu picture, but this one has the same, and some more extensive selections.
古早湯麵 gǔ zǎo tāng miàn
Old School soup noodles
$85

I hate soup, truth be told. But nonetheless you gotta try a bit of everything haven’t you? Basically, the soup had a fairly neutral flavour with plenty of shallots flavouring it. The ingredients atop the soup were plentiful and tasty: fried pork, braised pork, fish balls, and beansprouts.
The noodles were cooked perfectly, and I really have nothing negative to say about this dish, especially for $85…

古早乾麵 gǔ zǎo gān miàn
Old school (dried) noodles
$85

This was more like it. So, when places say ‘dried’ noodles, instead of ‘soup’ noodles, there is still a little bit of soup/juice left in the bottom of the bowl – more than enough for my personal liking. The dish was similar to that of the above ‘souped’ dish, but I much preferred it as I didn’t splash any of my clothes, nor did I continuously scold my lips/tongue…

古早飯 gǔ zǎo fàn
Old School speciality with rice
$85
&
苦盡甘來 Kǔ jìn gān lái
Bitter Melon side dish
$60

Rice. That’s my gig. Give me a bowl of rice, some veggies, some meat, and I am a happy lad.
Rice at the bottom, fried pork cutlet on top, accompanied by stewed bamboo, and an egg – win. Spot on flavours, and a steal at $85.

Now, that bitter melon side dish (literally translated from Chinese as – as bitterness ends, sweetness begins) was an absolute winner. Earthy green bitterness gives way to sour and sweet plum flavours, and it’s just a great marriage – strongly recommend.

南瓜沙拉 nán guā shā lā
Pumpkin ‘salad’
$60

油豆腐 yóu dòu fu
‘oily’ tofu
$50

Pumpkin – win.
Sesame sauce – win.
Bonito flakes – win.
All 3 in one dish – triple win.
Soft, sweet, earthy pumpkin laced with a moreish sesame sauce and spiked with smokey bonito flakes. It really was great.

(right foreground)
甜不辣 tián bù là
Fried fish paste
$55

(left foreground)
燙手山芋 tàng shǒu shān yù
Fried taro balls
$60

How good does that 甜不辣 look? I mean, really.
I love the stuff. Can’t get enough. It’s not unheard of to find us on a bus over to Keelung at the weekends to hit up our favourite spot at this market, just for the 甜不辣. Yeh, it’s just THAT good.
I digress, this 甜不辣 was pretty damn good. Good enough for me to want to order it next time I go.

The taro balls were pretty good, and not too dissimilar in flavour to those infamous ones over at NingXia Nightmarket. But, I can do without them if it means I could order another portion of the 甜不辣…

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