November 25, 2022

Simple dinner at the club

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I'm back in Taiwan hanging out with the Parental Units, and since mom wasn't in the mood to cook tonight, she decided we should have a simple dinner at the Landmark Club (天母國際聯誼會) tonight. The dining outlets had been taken over by the Ambassador Hotel (國賓飯店) years ago, and these days as the hotel itself is being renovated, the hotel kitchen staff has been transferred here. That meant the standard of cooking has been noticeably elevated, albeit at the expense of a higher price point.

The staff came with a selection of cold appetizers, and mom chose the pickled bitter melon (醃苦瓜). This was the surprise of the evening, as the vinegar-based liquid was very refreshing and fruity. The slices of bitter melon were also much more crunchy than expected, and we got two different types - both the green and the white. The cherry tomatoes were pretty nice, too.

Pan-fried string beans (乾煸四季豆) - in Hong Kong I have never found a restaurant that serves this dish up to my standards, although mom reminded me that the string beans found in Hong Kong are much thicker compared to ones in Taiwan. It would take a lot more time and effort to get the beans to dehydrate and "shrivel". One look at this plate, though, and I knew I would be very happy.

Similar to the way it's done at a few other places, there is an option to add some spring onion pancakes (蔥油餅).

So the thing to do is to use the pancakes to wrap the string beans in side. Perfect.

Crispy fried chicken with pepper salt (脆皮炸子雞) - mom wanted to try this and I was initially very suspicious, but this turned out pretty nicely. The way it was served was somewhat problematic, as they stacked some pieces on top of others. This meant that for the pieces underneath, the skin was no longer crispy. But I liked that this was pretty lightly seasoned, and still retained the crispiness of the paper-thin skin.

Baked scallion-stuffed sesame biscuit (蟹殼黃) - I could never resist ordering these when I see them. Just love the flavors of the spring onions with lard... and of course the sesame seeds.

Braised seafood and tofu with X.O. sauce (X.O.海皇豆腐煲) - a dish that dad wanted and mom couldn't really eat. Not a fan, especially when you've got cheap frozen seafood.

Gotta say that food here has improved a lot since I was last here a few years ago, but that's a direct result of the Ambassador Hotel team taking over this kitchen. What it also meant was that prices went up, which has led to grumblings by members who used to dine here regularly. Oh well...

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