July 3, 2022

Taichung hop 2022 day 2: triple-recommended

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After a late one last night, it was not surprising that we would get a slow start this morning. We reluctantly bid the hotel bed goodbye and checked out just before our early lunch, and thankfully Shan-Shin (膳馨創作料理) is within walking distance from the hotel, on the other side of the National Museum of Fine Arts.

I thought things would be easy at a restaurant serving up Taiwanese cuisine since we could order à la carte, but that just meant I would inevitably over-order…

Preserved radish cracker (菜脯餅) – our welcome snack was nice but the seasoning powder definitely packed lots of MSG…

Stir-fried egg with mixed chili (椒香催淚蛋) – with a Chinese name like that, one naturally expects the chili to deliver so much heat that it induces tears just like tear gas. But… no. Not really spicy, even for a wimp like me. The fragrance of chili peppers are there but there’s very little heat.

Pork with garlic sauce (蒜泥活菌豬) – apparently the pork comes from pigs fed on a diet of seaweed and probiotics, which reduces the pungent flavors some pigs carry. Pretty nice.

Chicken with scallion sauce (香蔥油雞腿) – the drumstick from free-range chicken was pretty nice, as one would expect in Taiwan. The addition of scallion oil just brought it home.

Dressed Chinese cabbage with sauce (原鄉拌白菜絲) – nice and tender Napa cabbage hearts. A refreshing dish to start the meal with.

Fried luffa with scallop shreds (干貝白雲絲瓜) – love having loofah in the summer.

Stir-fried beef fillet with green onion and garlic (老牛吃嫩草) – I guess they wanted the beef to be chewy and “Q” because it really was… despite having used meat tenderizer.

Deep-fried squid with garlic and green onion (黃金蒜酥小卷) – squid was a little chewy.

Fried cabbage with sergestid shrimp (櫻花蝦高麗菜) – love cabbage. Love sakura shrimp (桜海老). Needless to say I would have wanted some more shrimp on the plate.

Stir fried minced pork with black bean, chives, and preserved egg (皮蛋蒼蠅頭) – nice to see the century eggs diced to the same size as the chives. Pretty good wok hei (鑊氣), not too salty so it’s possible to enjoy this without any rice, but sadly not spicy as the dish should be.

The complimentary dessert was a little bowl of chia seeds with lemon juice.

A decent meal overall, but a couple of dishes fell short of expectations in that the spice-loving people got disappointed by the lack of heat. Mom, of course, knew that the additives in the food would have consequences for her.

We had a few hours before our return to Taipei so I decided to take a look at the National Taichung Theater (臺中國家歌劇院), a striking building whose design credit generally goes to Ito Toyo (伊東 豊雄). We happened to be in time for one of the guided tours of the building, so that was kinda interesting.

We got back to the hotel to pick up our stored luggage, then hopped back to Taipei on the Taiwan High Speed Rail. It was a tiring but fun weekend away from Taipei, and I think mom was reasonably happy.

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