Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mei Guan Yuan (美觀園) - Japanese Food at the Heart of Taiwan Since 1946

Taiwan is famed for their street markets and after my trip to the amazing country, i can confidently tell you that there is absolutely no need to dine at restaurants as street food would be more than sufficient to fill your stomach.

Having said that, i did plan for some meals in restaurants and one of them was Mei Guan Yuan, which started business in year 1946 (shortly after the defeat of Japan in World War 2) and came strongly recommended in a quite a number of Chinese travel guides!

Entering the vicinity - it's definitely not your conventional Japanese restaurant with tatami mats and paper lanterns and decoration was limited to the mirrors and the placement of food / drink posters. Anyway, food is more important and here's what we had.

茶碗蒸
Chawanmushi
Notwithstanding the simplicity of this hors d'oeuvre served in a metal cup, the egg was steamed to a taste of near perfection with the exception of it being a little bit too wet.

Dig further for the surprising find of a clam, one prawn ball and a piece of chicken meat; the flavour was more eggy at the top but it intensified tastefully with a meaty seafood infusion nearing the bottom!

鲑鱼生鱼片
Salmon Sashimi
For a Japanese restaurant that have thrived for so long (over 65 years), i was utterly disappointed with the salmon sashimi. Presentation wise, each slice was thick and chunky alright even though the slice was bit uneven (which didn't quite bother me). What depressed me was the obvious touch of frozen fish as i chew halfway through. 

天婦羅
Mix Tempura 
I often lamented in the past that no tempura dish had ever impressed me enough for me to crave for it. The dipping sauce, known to be a common companion for tempura, was either overly salty or too bland or my liking.

Not this one here! The tempura was as normal as the rest; it was the dipping sauce that i totally enjoyed! It was light yet with a sweeter aftertaste that completely enhanced the salted batter! Yum; craving for it now actually. Hah!

親子丼
Oyako Don
I know, i know; this was entirely different from the oyako don we have long been accustomed to in Singapore! For one, where was the generous layer of gooey golden simmered egg?!!?!?

Taste wise, it was nothing comparable to the oyako don i know of! To put it succinctly, it was like eating mixed vegetables rice with rice, deep fried chicken and some vegetables and eggs simmered in sauce. Disappointed? Absolutely.

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Location
Number 36, E'mei Street, Ximending, Taipei 
(along the same street as Ah Zhong Mian Xian)

Map
As above

Website (in Chinese)

Price
Could not remember as i have lost the receipt but i recalled it wasn't as pricey as Singapore! You may have some gauge on the pricing from the menu i have appended below. However, do note that prices are subject to changes, as always.

Menu (in Chinese)
As above. As mentioned above, prices are subject to change.

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