May 17, 2013

Everybody marries in May

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It's the Parental Units' anniversary again, so naturally I find myself back in Taipei for this important date.  After all, if they hadn't gotten married on this day so many moons ago, I wouldn't be here today, would I?  Anyway, today was a different sort of anniversary from years past.  Instead of just the three of us, Mr and Mrs. Tigger as well as Grandma Bear joined us for this occasion.  As it turns out, everyone (except me, of course!) got married in May!

There was never gonna be any question about which type of cuisine we would have tonight, and I booked ourselves a little room at Shunsai (旬採).  After a pretty good experience the first time around, I was looking forward to trying it again.

As usual we started with some homemade pickled radish (沢庵), which were delicious and crunchy.

Our amuse bouche was Matsuba crab tofu (松葉蟹豆腐), with a little mash of okra on top.

The sashimi selection (お造り) arrived with an array of seafood paired with accompanying condiments:
Golden alfonsino (金目鯛) - from Izu Peninsula (伊豆半島), served with finely shredded radish and perilla (紫蘇) leaves.

Salmon (鮭) - forgot where this was from… Served with myoga (茗荷).

The chef said this was "tajiuo" but I can't find any fish that fits this name…

Ark shell (赤貝)

Cockle (鳥貝)

Oyster (牡蠣) - from Akkeshi (厚岸) in Hokkaido.  Served with scallion sprouts (芽ねぎ).

Japanese green sea urchin (馬糞雲丹) with glass shrimp (白海老) and ark shell lip - the glass shrimps were from Toyama Prefecture (富山県), and served with perilla flowers.

Sea cucumber (海鼠) - these were from Aichi Prefecture (愛知県), marinated in vinegar raw and served with ginger mash.  I don't think I've ever had raw sea cucumber before…

Pike eel (鱧) - from Kyoto (京都), served with tofu skin (湯葉), wheat bran (麩), myoga and winter melon (冬瓜).  They did a pretty good job with the pike eel, as I only noticed 1 or 2 tiny little bone fragments.

The wheat bran was really interesting, as it just looks like a piece of pork belly - instead of something vegetarian.

Horned turban (栄螺) - served with its liver that turned the "jus" bitter.  Crunchy texture.

Glass shrimp (白海老) - deep-fried with shells.  Very yummy.

White asparagus - Dutch.  This was pretty sweet, with only a slight hint of bitterness.  The ground rock salt really brought out the sweetness.

The selection of nigiri sushi (握り鮨) came next:
Tuna belly (トロ) - I normally don't eat tuna for environmental reasons, but gave in today.  This was wild tuna from Kyoto, and not something you see everyday.  Very veiny and fatty.  Very yummy.

Roughscale sole (鮫鰈) wings - torched so that it's incredibly smooth and melt-in-your-mouth.

Purple sea urchin (紫雲丹)

Mackerel (鯖) - done in box sushi (箱寿司) style, with a thin piece of shiroita kelp (白板昆布).

Egg (卵) - very soft, silky and smooth.  Yum!

Short-necked clam (浅蜊) - from Aichi Prefecture (愛知県).  The soup was made with 3 different misos (味噌): two white miso and 1 with rough texture.  The finely chopped scallions were particular tasty.

Finally we had some fruit

…and lemon mousse… and mulberry (桑) sorbet.

This was a very yummy meal.  I had a couple of items for the first time, and once again this meal proves that the best value for money in terms of Japanese fish is to be found in Taipei.

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