Monday, March 31, 2014

Taiwan Food Diary: Fishballs and Braised Tofu at New Bamboo

Whenever I am traveling, I like to find and experience the local eateries or the places where the locals go (as long as they are not too run down or does not compromise on the hygiene; that's a given) to blend in with the culture of the place, or at the very least, see for myself the way they live on a daily basis. I am sure that is also what most avid travelers do; especially those who do their self-tours (like me).
While wandering on the streets towards the Bo Pi Liao Historic Street, presumably still within the Wanhua district of Taipei, I stumbled upon a little eatery named Xin Zhu (translated as New Bamboo)   along a row of shophouses.

It looked pretty decent and homey, that we popped into the little shop for a quick bite before continuing on our journey.

Small tables and chairs filled the tiny space of the shop; just like how I would imagine a local Chinese eatery from the vivid images depicted in the movies and tv series I have watched over the years. Locals sat comfortably, chattering away with each other, drowning the nostalgic tunes of old songs being played from a radio in the background; filling the air ventilated by a table fan fixed to low ceiling.
Oh yes, that was the environment, and you can clearly see from the picture above.
Definitely a retro moment, and I am glad I found a place like this!

One drawback for international tourists would be that in places like these, the local language is a preference when communicating with the owners.
Of course, they could get away with picture pointing and sign languages, but it is when you speak to them in their local language that you get the recommendations and it makes the whole ordering process easier.

Still, the menu here was pretty simple and straightforward and as we could also speak Mandarin, it was not really an issue.

Braised beancurd/tofu

One thing I have noticed about the Taiwanese, is their love for soy and dairy products. They love braised stuffs too; especially braised curd.
Not that I am complaining, as these are really good!

We ordered a bowl of Fried Fish paste (TWD$45), which came in a sticky broth made of corn starch and drops of sesame seed oil. Slices of ginger were added to add to the flavors of the soup and to keep the fishy smell to a minimum level (though the frying did that job already).
It was in all, a very warm bowl; filled with heat (yang) elements to warm one up during the cold winter weather.

A Mixed Bowl (TWD$60), where there is a little of everything.
From fried fish paste, to their famous meat balls, to cuttlefish, this was a bowl of mixed ingredients served in the same broth.

A very light, and enlightening meal, and I have enjoyed the simple and homey tastes from this little kitchen.
The warm soup did good to warm us against the cold wind blowing in our faces, and we left as happy and satisfied customers :-)


  1. I love Tofu cause of it's versatility, you can give it the taste you want to!
    The soup looks like the perfect comfort food!
    Great culinary trip.

  2. Daniela, Yup, it is indeed one of my favorites too; and a great comfort food too ;-)

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