Friday, November 30, 2012

Shin Yeh (Taiwanese Cuisine)

Oops. Just realized I had forgotten to publish this post :X

For my sister's 1st dinner in Taipei, our old college friend A. and her fiance S. booked a table with Shin Yeh at their Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Xinyi Branch (8th floor, building A9). As A. puts it, if you want to sit down and slowly get acquainted to traditional Taiwanese dishes before diving into the fast paced, rough and tumble night markets, Shin Yeh is a good start. Also, it helps that their website is available in English, providing a small glimpse of their extensive menu with names of some of the dishes in English!

There were actually 8 of us, with another couple and their young son arriving later in the meal. But by then, we had already ordered some 12 different dishes, with the waitress reluctant to keep taking our order because she thought we had ordered way too much. Actually, I have noticed this trend when dining out in Taiwan, that some waiters and waitresses don't just politely suggest you've ordered too much but will actively try to convince you to stop ordering LOL!

Had a bit of a bad hair night there...

Stir fried clams with basil leaves. Loved it. Delicious through and through. The Pan-Fried Fragrant Turnip Omelette (正宗菜脯蛋) was yummy too, especially with rice.

Shin Yeh is actually famous for this Pan Fried Pork Liver (香煎豬肝), which was nowhere as scary as it sounded. It was actually quite good, and there was no "liver taste" at all. Instead, each liver slice was fragrant and somewhat chewy, and they tasted better when accompanied with a leaf of cilantro. Hubby and I would never think to order that dish, but we happily ate it when it was put in front of us! Unfortunately, the squid stuffed with kimchi (a cold appetizer dish) looked much better than it tasted. I have also noticed this trend of crappy kimchi in Taipei. From all the kimchi I've had so far, even the ones from nicer sit down restaurants such as Shin Yeh couldn't compare to the pre-packaged generic grocery store varieties I had in Japan. Am I missing something here? There are so many Koreans in this country, why can't they make better kimchi?!?

I didn't try this salad, but it looked good. Instead, I focused all my attention on this scallops stir fried with chopped scallions, which was also delicious even if a tad "touristy" ^.^

Stir fry green vegetables. It tasted like spinach. A. told me it was actually a leaf of some vegetable, but I forgot ^.^' Fresh Spring Roll Filled with Cabbage, Bean Sprouts and Peanut Powder (欣葉潤餅) was very interesting. I wolfed this one down so fast I totally forgot I hadn't taken a picture of it. Doh. Sorry! It was a quirky combination of salty and sour pickled vegetables, and sweet and fragrant peanut powder. Each roll was huge too, about half the girth of a Chipotle burrito, and it was supposed to be an appetizer!

I thought the Three Cup Chicken (三杯嫩土雞) was very decent, and hubby loved every bite of it! Too bad it was also quite expensive, about NT$630 (US$22) for the full portion! My sister was most disappointed with this Braised Pork Belly (欣葉滷肉), which she had initially mistaken for Black Pork (東坡肉). I also thought it was just alright and nothing special.

Steamed buns stuffed with pork belly, pickled radish, and peanut powder (刮包). It was this little snack that made me want to come back, though my second experience with it was rather disappointing (see below)!

The egg tarts (蛋塔) was decent, though not as delectable as the ones I had in Ximending.

Check out the ticketing hall of Taipei Main Station! 

Apparently it was new, opening up just within this past year! I took a video of it too if you want to take a look ^.^

Anyway, here's take two at Shin Yeh, this time with just me and hubby on a rainy night. This time, we was determined to try some new things in addition to the favorites we had last time.

Of course that stir fried clam with basil leaves dish made a comeback ^.^ I'm glad to report the taste was consistent and it was as delicious as I remembered it! However, the beef with scallions were, how should I put this, yucky. It greasy, it smelled beefy and not in a good way, and it wasn't well flavored at all!

I ordered the Fresh Spring Roll Filled with Cabbage, Bean Sprouts and Peanut Powder (欣葉潤餅) again too, though this time I was surprised with how much they had shrunk - they were only about the size of an egg roll! Sure, being egg roll-sized makes more sense in terms of an appetizer item, but now I am uncertain which of the case was a fluke, the bigger or the smaller ones.

Also ordered the Pan-Fried Fragrant Turnip Omelette (正宗菜脯蛋) again along with a the salted and pan fried shrimps (tôm rang muối), which were yummy!!! Hubby wasn't too thrilled with them still having heads, tails, and shells on, but I didn't mind this too much and ended up polishing much of this plate off by myself ^.^

The steamed buns stuffed with pork belly, pickled radish, and peanut powder (刮包) was my most anticipated dish, however it was also the most disappointing one. Not only they were, once again, smaller than the last visit, we also got 2 giant chunks of fat!!! Please excuse my, umm, American habits, but where the hell was my meat?!? Hubby and I ended up digging out the two chunks of fat and ate the emptied buns. Boo. Hiss.

And of course, stir fried water spinach. I discovered upon this visit that we had to ask the restaurant specifically for these. My sister had wanted to eat this vegetable (they are hard to find and are quite expensive in the US of A!), but last time we didn't see it on the menu and assumed they didn't have it :(

And here's me, grumpy about my hollowed guabao. 

It was another rainy night, but at least the Shinkong Mitsukoshi Xinyi shopping complex was nicely decorated.

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