北平金廚蔬食料理, Chin Chu

Quick side:
There’s another 燒餅 / 油條 [sao bing you tiao] place that’s right around the corner from our apartment that I really like. This place has been family-run since I started going back to Taiwan a decade ago and I’ve seen the kids grow from teens to men! Crazy. Good food. 永和豆漿 [yong he dou jiang] is the name of the place–but don’t get it confused with all the places that also have that name! This one in particular is located near the intersection fo 信義路 [Xing Yi Road] and 安和路 [An He Road].

北平金廚蔬食料理, “Chin Chu” is a place I definitely recommend if you’re looking for vegetarian xiao long bao ‘小籠包’, or steamed soup dumplings.

My mom’s friends were kind enough to treat us to this awesome place. 🙂

Between the five of us, we split about 10 different dishes. All in huge proportions! This was more of the regular sit-in restaurant with nice tablecloths, plates and silverware, and servers in uniform.

Appetizer 1: “生菜包霞鬆” [sheng cai bao xia song]. 生菜, which means ‘raw vegetable’, points to the lettuce wrap, and 霞鬆 is the hot and ‘meaty’ part of the dish. Crushed 油條 (Chinese fried dough) brings in a nice crunchiness while the fake 蝦仁 [xia ren]–or ground shrimp–adds a creamy texture, and you have stir-fried, diced mushrooms thrown in for good flavor. The iceberg lettuce leaves were fresh, crisp, and cool. As a result, when you wrap the 霞鬆 in the lettuce, it really strikes a perfect balance between hot and cold, salty and naturally sweet, crunchy and soft. Get it!

Appetizer 2: 火腿卷餅 [huo tuei juan bing]. A turkey scallion pancake wrap, if you will. Veggie ham cut into thin slices, lightly stir-fried and peppered, paired with some fresh cucumbers, and wrapped into Chinese pancake, “餅” [bing]. 餅 is made from a mix of two different kinds of dough–oil and water. The result is something flaky, buttery, and all kinds of wonderful: perhaps a cross between a tortilla and puff pastry? If you’re familiar with Chinese scallion pancakes, 卷餅 comes pretty close to that, but they’re still slightly different.

Appetizer 3: 苦瓜炒鹹蛋 [ku gua chao xien dan]. Bitter melon stir-fried with salted duck egg yolk. So good. Green bitter melon is typically pretty lip-puckering, yet when stir-fried with salted duck egg yolk, the bitterness is gone. There was even a level of sweetness to the bitter melon.

There was also this dish called 蚵仔 [za e-ah]. “炸” is the word for fried, and “蚵仔” is Taiwanese for oyster. Vegetarian oyster is made using mushroom and seaweed, which are rolled up together into a ball and fried with basil; it’s then served with freshly-ground black pepper, white pepper, and salt. One of my favorite things to eat. The other things we ordered were also delicious, but the names of them now escape me! Sad.

We had some orange chicken, another 卷餅 dish with asparagus and sesame, and what I thought was the highlight of the meal: 絲瓜小籠包. 小籠包 [xiao long bao], a type of steamed dumpling, is a pretty common Chinese dish. Unfortunately, it’s almost never vegetarian. So this was the first time ever that I had been at a place that served vegetarian 小籠包. SO EXCITING.

The skin was paper thin and wonderfully chewy, and the moment I bit into the dumpling, all the juices from the 絲瓜 [si gua]–a soft green Chinese squash–burst into my mouth. I think I burned my tongue in the process, but it was so worth it. The 絲瓜 was sweet and tender…perfect. I could eat endless baskets of those things. Order the 絲瓜小籠包 if you ever go to this restaurant; you won’t regret it!

Restaurant info:
Name: 北平金廚蔬食料理
Address: 台北市士林區天母西路38巷3號, (天母西路與天母北路交叉口附近)
or
No. 3號, Lane 38, Tianmu West Rd, Shilin District, Taipei City, Taiwan 111
Phone: +886 2 2873 8680

It’s a little far out from Taipei, but worth the trouble!

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