So right here we are talking about one of my favourite places to get some delicious Japanese food in the city. ZhongShan District is essentially (excluding XiMen, but perhaps XiMen more for the look than anything else) the more heavily Japanese influenced part of Taipei city.
Walking around ZhongShan N Rd, LinSen N Rd, ZhongShan MRT, ShuangLian MRT you’re going to be stumbling across a whole host of delicious Japanese food. This is my little secret spot, in the incredible area around ShuangLian MRT.
Now, important to note is that this place is closed on Sunday and Monday. Similarly, opening times are only 17:00-21:00 Tuesday – Saturday.
So, if you’re thinking about lunch – think again. I would strongly recommend you getting here before 17:00 if you want to eat before 18:00, as I would say 9 times out of 10, you’re going to be lining up for either the 2nd or the 3rd round. I like to eat early, so it’s all good for me. Also, thinking about it, you could always eat here, then have a walk around the local area and ‘accidentally’ end up at NingXia Nightmarket… (you’re welcome for that idea).
Anyone who knows anything about me knows my feelings about a small menu – victory! Small menu’s, to me, show a mastery of craft. I mean, why sell a cheeeburger in the same place you’re looking to get some Arrabiata? No, just no. Find something you cook well, and continue to develop that, instead of a million other things that you aren’t that good at.
Wherever you see 味噌 (wèi zēng) on the menu, you can expect to be ordering a dish using Miso as the main seasoning/sauce. Miso is a Japanese cooking ingredient often used to make soup. It’s salty, it’s one of those ‘umami’ flavours, and it’s made using fermented soybeans.
So, for example – 味噌豬排飯 (wèi zēng zhū pái fàn) = fried pork with miso.
Similarly, wherever you see 和風 (hé fēng) you’re going to be getting a sticky, soy, sweetened and slightly vinegary sauce accompanying your dish.
Grilled burger with Japanese sauce, shredded cabbage and a fried egg
和風漢堡肉 hé fēng hàn bǎo ròu
So, you wanted a juicy burger with a perfectly fried egg on top but you don’t want to waste your time with a stodgy bun? Here it is, in all its glory. No carbs before marbs? Well, kind of…
Expect a perfectly seasoned patty of beef cooked to perfection. It’s perhaps on the saltier side, but I am good with that. The fried egg is a delicious addition of texture and flavour, as is the shredded cabbage. But, the sweet and tangy sauce that swims around the plate just oozes silky class. I mopped it up with every fork of the burger and I regret absolutely nothing.
Deep fried burger with Japanese sauce and shredded cabbage
煎蛋手炸漢堡肉 jiān dàn shǒu zhà hàn bǎo ròu
On the naughtier side of health sits this deep fried burger. I strongly recommend exercise before this, but afterwards I would just say sit for a while and revel in what you’ve just done.
The batter around this burger is so damn good. It isn’t oily, it isn’t too thick and it doesnt crumble off the burger or fall off like what seems to happen to a lot of battered meat.
The burger is that same patty as above, so it’s bloody good. Meaty, juicy and with that battered texture it’ll be sure to have you sticking this in your ‘Want to go’s’ on Google Maps (my current number surpasses 500 in Taipei, with only a handful of ‘Love’ pins dropped, FYI.)
Wings (small portion – 3)
炸雞翅 (3本)$100 zhá jī chì
Wings can be hit and miss. But these were definitely a hit. Sometimes they can lack meat, flavour (that doesn’t come from whatever sauce they are cooked in) and texture. These hit the mark on all 3 of those points. Solid.
They’ve clearly been marinated beforehand, but the marinate is subtle and delicate. The flavour of the chicken comes through and the crispy skin just hits the spot. I strongly recommend this.
Some things to note:
1. Rice is extra here, but I would suggest getting a bowl as otherwise the meal can end up being on the salty side. Rice is $10/bowl, so it won’t break the bank.
2. Expect to be a bit cramped inside. I am 6ft1 and felt a little squished in at times. It depends on who is sat either side of you, of course, but in the heights of summer this could get a bit too much for some people.
3. Having to queue up is highly likely. Bring a bottle of water for the wait.
4. It’s cash only. There are plenty of ATM’s around, so make sure to get some cash out before you go inside.