Thursday, 18 July 2013

Zhong Pua Restaurant @ Taipei, Taiwan

Here we are in Lin Shan South Road in search of a good place to have common Taiwanese lunch. I was told that along this street we would be able to find very good food at a cheap price. This street is located right next to a University and hence it mostly caters for university students. I was excited by the fact that I am trying out a common food place instead of the posh tourists restaurants or those located in the malls.

Lin Shan South Street in Taipei, Taiwan

Our Lunch place called Zhong Pua Restaurant
We sighted this very humble looking restaurant along this street that serves some good soups and dumplings. All along this street, you find similar settings where the ground floor is converted into a restaurant and the first floor is the home of these restaurant operators. I have heard that the dumplings in Taiwan is quite good and I immediately agreed to try out the place. Interestingly, dumplings here are known as Tian Shien instead of Dim Sum which is the commonly used name in most other Chinese speaking countries. 

Very Simple Set Up

Menu and the Price of the dishes

Small Dining Space

Small yet air-conditioned
Once we were there, I kept staring at the menu and then let my friend do the ordering. The dishes offered is limited but savoury. The ordering process too was quite simple and if we need additional side dishes, we could just pick the items and place them in a plate and it would then be garnished and served. There is a small air-conditioned seating area which had a total of four tables that seats sixteen comfortably. There is also a small television in the room which airs local dramas. This stall is operated by a single lady and I am sure for this size, it would not make any economic sense to hire a helper. Also an interesting thing to mention here is that since most of their dishes are soups, they do not sell any drinks here. As we ordered a few dishes, it took her around 10 minutes to prepare them and then it was sent over to the table.

Mixed Seafood Soup @ NT$ 100
The first to arrive was the above dish. It is a mixed Seafood Soup dish and is priced at NT$ 100 which works around USD 3.30 . It was a really huge bowl and came with prawns, abalone, crab sticks, cockles, vegetables and squid. The soup was salty, spicy and really delicious. Definitely worth the price paid for bearing in mind the number of ingredients added. I would rate this dish at 10/10 .

Spicy Soup @ NT$ 35
This was quite similar to the one that I had at the airport but this had no pork in it but came with loads of mushrooms, vegetables and tofu. It had a touch of vinegar in it that gives a slightly sour taste but then comes packed with black pepper too and that adds a lovely touch to this dish. The portion is equally great to the earlier one and I for sure was not able to finish it. It was priced at NT$ 35 which works out about USD 1.10 . I loved this soup and I would rate this at 8.5/10 , though I liked the one at the airport more.

Pork Dumplings @ NT$ 55
Here in Taiwan, you are not able to have multiple varieties of dumplings in a single seating as it usually comes in a plate of ten instead of the usual two or three. It is commonly consumed as a single main dish. These steamed dumplings most commonly have pork as the filling and it consumed by dipping it into a vinegar and ginger dip. The outer skin was so soft and smooth that you would not realise that there was an actual skin which held the filling in place. Really it was an awesome dish. I would rate this dish at 9.3/10 . This dish was priced at NT$ 55 which works around USD 1.80 .

Herbal Eggs & Herbal Tofu @ NT$ 30
The above is the side dishes that I took today. It is two Herbal Eggs and one Herbal Tofu. It is priced at NT$ 10 each and my selection today added to NT$ 30 which works out at USD 1.00 .Generally, the Herbal Tofu taste sweet but flat and is consumed by dipping into thick sweet soy sauce. Similarly, the Herbal Eggs also tasted the same. In Malaysia, usually it is slightly salty but that was not the case in Taiwan. Even the eggs had to be dipped into the thick Sweet Soy Sauce but it was nice though. Due to the herbs, it had made the texture slightly harder and it was really nice. On average, I would rate this side dishes at 8.5/10 .

On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the meal today. Having lunch in such a simple setting truly gave me an opportunity to experience the day to day meals of a common Taiwanese. It did not cost anywhere near those restaurants in the malls and was satisfying. If I do get another opportunity, I would love to try more of these simple pleasures here in Taiwan. 

Address: Lin Shan South Street, Taipei City, Taiwan.

Opening Hours: 1000 - 2200 Daily 

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