Friday, June 12, 2009

Hakka Cuisine in Jhongli, Taiwan

It's not even half-way through June and I've flown from Toronto-KL-Ningbo-Bangkok-KL and now I'm in Taoyuan, Taiwan. Despite all the work and jet lag I get the opportunity to try some of the local food that my clients and suppliers take me too. The restaurants that we would never know if we came as a tourist: "Hidden Eats".

View from the Restaurant

This trip in Taoyuan, my supplier took me to an authentic Hakka Restaurant somewhere up in the mountain in Jhongli City. The drive was long and we passed through quite a few small tea plantations before we reached our restaurant.

Restaurant Entrance

Upon arriving at the restaurant I was greeted with a sort of calm that is much needed after all the work and travel. The surrounding view was amazing and the interior reminded me of an old Chinese tea house.

Restaurant Garden

Restaurant Interior

Not being able to read Chinese my supplier ordered all the dishes while I went to grab the rice and tea.

Rice and Tea is Self-Service

The dishes all arrived at about the same time. I decided to try the simplest of them all, the Fried Omelet. It's so simple but yet delicious. The egg was lightly crisp on the outside and very fluffy.

Fried Omelet

Next I tried the Steamed Free-Range (Kampung) Chicken. The chicken is a little on the tough side and bland but dip it in their sauce and the flavor level goes up another notch.

Steam Free-Range Chicken

The Deep-Fried Tofu is another favorite of mine. That dollop of preserved bean paste sauce gives the soft tofu a good balance of sweet and salty.

Deep Fried Tofu

The Braised Local River Fish with Hong Xiu Sauce was also delicious. The fish was so soft that the meat was literally falling off the bones. The savory sauce had a hint of ginger which complemented the fish really well.

Braised Fish in Hong Xiu Sauce

For vegetables we had two different local stir-fried greens which I don't know what they're called. Both were cooked with garlic. I particularly liked the one that looked a little like long pea shoots. It had a nice bite to it and tasted very earthy.

Stir-Fried Greens

Stir-Fried Greens

Last but definitely not least is a dish synonymous with Hakka Cuisine, Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables. The one served here is different from the others I had. It was very dry and looked like the preserved vegetables and pork belly were packed tightly in a bowl and steamed. The slices of pork belly is also very thin.

Braised Pork Belly with Preserved Vegetables

Overall, I really enjoyed the food served here. Everything was simple and very hearty reminding us how simple ingredients if cooked properly can satisfy the tummy and soul. As a Hakka it also reminded me of the food that I grew up with when I was a kid.

Contact Information:
Address: Somewhere up in a mountain in Jhongli
Website: N/A
Phone: N/A

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The 2nd veggie is sweet potato leaves. I'm assuming the 1st type of veggie is just the stalk of it.