S and I love Japanese food in Taiwan – thanks to 50 years of Japanese occupation, the Taiwanese people have a pretty good grasp on the cuisine. (In fact, you can find Japanese influence in many aspects of life in Taiwan. It’s interesting to me because even though Taiwan was under colony rule, the Japanese really wanted Taiwan to be a “model colony” and actually improved much of the existing infrastructure and economy. For this reason, many Taiwanese people actually see the Japanese occupation in a positive and even appreciative light. Okay, nerd rant over – but you can learn more about it from the Wiki page.)
Anyway, S and I usually try to have several meals of sushi and Japanese food whenever we visit Taiwan – luckily, his family also loves Japanese food! Here’s a sampling of our meals… First up, the Japanese restaurant located in his hometown, Fengyuan – 廟東壽司屋 (Miao Dong Sushi House):
Steamed egg with broth, and mushrooms and seafood mixed in. I love the delicate texture of the egg – it’s so silky, almost like fresh tofu.
Oden is a typically eaten in the winter time. You pick whatever fixings you want – processed fishcake, meatballs, daikon, etc. – and it’s cooked and served in a light soy sauce and dashi broth.
Assorted sashimi 綜合生魚片
This plate of sashimi was only 7 USD! Of course, it’s expensive for Taiwan, but for us Americans, the price is super budget friendly. The quality of the fish is also excellent; fresh, and prepared expertly.
Ikura Hand Roll 鮭魚仔手捲
We love hand rolls and couldn’t help but order one. The salmon roe here had a very mild flavor and was really yummy with the cucumber and sushi rice – I think they wash it more extensively here since the typical Taiwanese palate is a lot less salty than the U.S.
Hamachi Kama 烤魚下巴
Hamachi-kama, or grilled yellowtail collar, is one of my favorite cooked-fish dishes. The fish was tender and flaky, and was perfect with a touch of lime and seasoned salt.
Fengyuan, Taichung, Taiwan
When we visited Taipei, S’s grandfather took us to one of his favorite Japanese places, 春日. It’s actually pretty Taiwan-ified Japanese food – S and I sometimes joke that no matter what type of cuisine you get in Taiwan, it all ends up having a “generically Taiwan flavor”. Not that it’s a bad thing… if you don’t mind the lack of authenticity. (S tells me that the Sichuan/Korean/Thai/etc. food we get in the U.S. is much more authentic than the versions he’s had in Taiwan, hehe.)
Assorted Sashimi 綜合生魚片
We had tuna, yellowtail, and salmon sashimi here. As you might see, the pieces here are really huge – in fact, we think that it’s a little too big and actually affects the texture a bit. Still, though, absolutely no complaints about the quality and freshness of the fish here!
“Hana” Sushi and Inari 花壽司，豆皮壽司
“Hana” sushi, or flower sushi, is a really Taiwan-ified type of sushi roll which includes masago roe, cucumbers, carrots, and pork floss or canned tuna, and sometimes seasoned with mayonnaise. Yep – no raw fish in these rolls. Think of these as Taiwan’s version of the Philly cream cheese or California roll. I actually really love them, probably because I love pork floss. The inari sushi was also quite yummy – the fried tofu skin have a mild sweetness that works so nicely with the sushi rice.
Cucumber, Ikura, and Uni hand rolls 手卷
I’ve proclaimed my love for hand rolls… Can you guess which one I ordered? (Not all of these were mine, I promise!) If you guessed uni, then you know me pretty well, hehe.
Beef Bowl with Egg 牛肉丼
A pretty typical beef bowl, except with an egg mixed in – sort of like oyako-don but with beef instead of chicken. This was a bit on the sweet side, but S enjoyed it.
There were actually a couple more dishes at this meal that I couldn’t get good pictures of, but overall it was quite a nice meal. Thanks to S’s grandpa for taking us here!
Last place that I’ll share about in this post is a “creative Japanese” restaurant in Taichung called 鈺鮮創意日本料理.
Miso Soup 味噌湯
The complimentary miso soup here is flavorful and had plenty of ingredients inside – tofu, seaweed, daikon radish, even small chunks of fish. It was also less salty than the miso soup that we usually get here.
More chawanmushi… This version had krab, shiitake mushroom, and corn kernels. Yum!
Salmon Croquettes 炸鮭魚球
I actually didn’t know what this was before it was brought out to us (one of S’s relatives did the ordering), and I was a bit surprised to find that these were deep-fried balls of salmon! These were crispy and light, and perfect dipped in a bit of mayonnaise.
Raw Oysters 生蠔
I’ve never had raw oysters with ikura and wasabi, and I must say that this is definitely my new favorite way to enjoy them! They definitely added a nice salty, tart, and spicy “punch” to the briny oysters.
Lightly Grilled Hirame Collar Nigiri 炭燒比目魚鮨邊肉壽司
We actually had a lot more sushi than these two pieces, but 1) I forgot to take a picture of everything else, and 2) this was my very favorite out of everything that we had that day – or possibly out of all the sushi that I had in Taiwan this trip. I believe the cut is from the collar of hirame, or fluke. It’s seared ever so lightly so as to bring out the natural fish oils, and served with a sprig of green onion and ikura. It was so wonderfully tender and delicious.
Basil Seed Drink 粉圓
The basil seed dessert was, to me, a perfect example of the Taiwanese fusion aspect of Japanese cuisine here. Lightly sweet and quite a refreshing way to end a wonderful meal, in my opinion.
Hope you enjoyed this little round-up of some of my meals in Taiwan! You can also check out my other Taiwan trip recap posts here: Tim Ho Wan, Ippudo, and Splendor Teppanyaki. Back to a San Diego post next!