Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Local Food @ Fuyuan Restaurant (富园餐馆風味菜) [Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan]

I was determined to have some authentic local food on my second day in Taiwan and decided to walk along a quiet pathway adorned by brightly lit signboards. Good food can sometimes be found hidden in some unspoken alleys.

There was one simple criterion; it must have customers!

Fuyuan Restaurant (富园餐馆), which should be translated as prosperous garden restaurant, met my expectation; almost all tables were filled when we entered the small establishment and it served a dish that was said to be a must-have in Sun Moon Lake (日月潭). 

It also did help a bit when we saw a garden located at the back of the building where fresh vegetables were planted and harvested for consumption! 

Since we were unsure what the local specialties were (save for that must have dish) and shyness prevented us from asking further, we decided to go along with the set meal at NT$800 (around S$33) that included four dishes and one soup. 

Freshly brewed tea in a metal teapot can be had for an additional NT$100. Taiwanese are crazy over tea and the country is famed for their tea culture and plantation; so you bet this was one pot of great tea we had. 

Daylily Soup
金针汤
I originally thought this was the golden needle mushroom soup and felt something was off when the bowl of soup was served to us; those were obviously flowers and not mushroom! Upon checking the web, the flowers were actually daylily and known as 金针花 in Chinese. Anyway, the soup had a slicky smooth consistency that wasn't too heavy on the palate although i would have very much enjoyed a peppery broth similar to Singapore style Bak Kut Teh in that cool weather. 

Spring Onion Chicken
葱油土鸡 
The use of scallions was a bit excessive for this dish; resulting in a flavour that would be more likeable for individuals who love spring onions. Personally, i disliked the harder texture of the chicken even though it came with significantly lesser fats. 

Stir Fried Wild Boar Meat
炒山猪肉
First bite, a nice smokiness to the flavour. Second bite, not too bad as well. After the third bite, it was evident that the wild boar meat was tougher than our conventional pinkish pig and Alex literally left the dish for me to finish up myself. 

Stir Fried Vegetables
炒過貓菜
When i first heard the name of this vegetable, i was amused as i have never in my life heard of this vegetable known as 過貓 (which would literally mean walked past the cat). 

The cat hated it so much!? Not for me; i totally love this vegetable for its thin stalks and unmatched crunchiness! Instead of oyster sauce, the chef in Fuyuan cleverly used another one that was similar to the meat sauce (that came in a can often found in Singapore's supermarkets) and the taste turned out to be so delicious! 

President's Fish 
總統魚
This is the must-have dish to have in Sun Moon Lake. Not i said one hor; this was according to the many blogs on the web when i checked out the food to have in the area. 

Texture of the freshwater fresh was amazingly soft (warning: you need to have good chopstick skills to eat the meat). Other than that, the taste wasn't exactly that befitting for the top governing position in countries like Taiwan, USA. In addition, you have to be extremely mindful of the many barely noticeable bones! As i mentioned, you need good chopstick skills.

Real look of the president's fish! Now, you might wonder how the name actually came about since it doesn't bear any resemblance to any of the famous president. The origin of that name is not that complicated; it was initially known as aruzay  (曲腰鱼) and the name change came about simply because it was the favourite dish of Taiwan's first president; Chiang Kai-shek! 

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Location Map
I didn't have the exact address but Itashao is not a big town and you should not have any problem finding it. Just rely on the google map that i have generated for your benefit. 

Price
For the above, we paid a total of NT$1,500. The big ticket item has to be the president fish which required an additional top up of NT$600! 

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