Another couple of meals to share – a traditional meal at a Hakka/Taiwanese restaurant in Longtan, and a fusion/Western-influenced meal in Taichung. (Warning: lots of photos ahead!)
We had lunch with S’s family for New Year’s celebration at 大楊梅鵝莊 (“Goose King”, I believe, is their English name). It was almost like a banquet meal (though a bit more down-to-earth).
S says that fancy meals in Taiwan usually start with some cold dishes and sashimi platter. I didn’t get to try the seafood salad in the first photo since there’s crab, but I enjoyed the sashimi! As I’ve mentioned before, sushi/sashimi in Taiwan is really amazing, so I was happy to have another opportunity to eat it.
Poached Goose and Saltwater Chicken
Since the restaurant name is Goose King, we had to try it out. I thought it was a bit amusing that they serve goose and chicken together in this dish – it really highlights how much better the goose tastes…
Stewed Fish with Soybean Crisps
Stewed Octopus with Veggies; Braised Eggplant
I’m not sure why these were served on the same plate – the flavors weren’t particularly complementary. But anyway, eggplants are one of my favorite vegetables, and this was delicious.
The manager of the restaurant said that this steamed bittermelon was one of his favorite dishes. Bittermelon isn’t for everyone, but I really love it – and this was probably one of the best preparations that I’ve had so far. The melon was so silky and tender, and the light broth complemented the bitterness really well. I actually got S to try a bite – he still doesn’t like bittermelon, but he did admit that this was pretty good since it “wasn’t so bitter”, hehe. This dish was definitely the highlight of this New Year’s lunch.
A few days later, we had another family lunch gathering – S’s mother chose a restaurant in Taichung, Butterfly Bridge (蝴蝶橋Cuisine). It had a really cute patio and garden area where we had hoped to take some fun photos, but unfortunately it was raining that day so we pretty much rushed into the restaurant from the car.
I was immediately drawn to the beautiful display case of desserts that greeted us after we entered… I was ready to just start with dessert, haha!
Like many Western-style restaurants in Taiwan, Butterfly Bridge offers a few prix fixe sets where you have options for each course. S, his sister V, and I tried to pick different things – variety is a good thing. We also noticed that the dessert options did not include items from the display case… but, the waiter told us that we could substitute and just pay the price difference.
Taiwanese food tends to be on the sweet side, and I felt that the salad dressing was a tad too sweet for me. The borscht soup was piping hot and delicious, though.
Blurry photo of a not-so-memorable course. I like the color of the rice, though.
Palate Cleanser – Citrus Shot
I didn’t think that we really needed a palate cleanser between the risotto and entrées, but the orange/lemonade juice shot was light and refreshing, so why not.
Seared Pork Jowl
Roasted Rack of Lamb
Pork in Taiwan tastes so much better than the pork we get in California, and it’s especially noticeable in delicate and flavorful cuts like jowl, so we try to order it whenever we can. I loved the version here, which kept the meat tender while adding tons of flavor. The rack of lamb, by comparison, didn’t stand out as much, but was still quite yummy.
Finally, our most anticipated course, dessert!
When I saw the Mont Blanc in the dessert case, I knew immediately that I wanted to try this. Layers of chestnut paste piped over a flaky crust, and finally topped with a candied chestnut – I love the nutty flavor, and it was just the right amount of sweetness. I wish that this French dessert is more popular in the U.S.
S chose the cheesecake, which was one of the standard lunch set options. It was lighter than the typical New York cheesecake, but not as fluffy as the Japanese kind. It also isn’t as tart as NY cheesecake, since there’s no sour cream layer, but we still enjoyed it.
Whew, that was a lot of photos. All in all, two very happy and wonderful meals, enjoyed in the presence of even better company. Thanks for reading!