Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Taiwan 2010: Part 2

Day 1 lunch time. Three aunts, my mother, and I went to Wein Restaurant and Lounge.  The restaurant building was designed like one of those postmodern museum/library structure with three floors of floor to ceiling window, white sofas, black walls, and open concept kitchens. I wondered what the start-up cost of this place is.  The space along must cost millions.

Wein served Chinese Japanese fusion cuisine with Western inspired food art on designer dish wears.  Each dishes used high quality ingredients, they were delicately put together and the service was impeccable. The all dishes were al la carte and we choose the one of the set courses: 12 dishes for $100 CND, shared between 5 people, no tip or tax.

Anyway, less typing and more pictures.  Bamboo was a widely used ingredients for food and for other manufacturing, such as clothing, furniture, etc in Taiwan.  Fresh bamboo shoots are subtly sweet, fruity, and crunchy, offering the perfect texture and contrast in the salad below.

Lobster Salad with Bamboo Shoot and Caviar

Let's take a good look at this picture: Jellyfish Salad with Rice Gnoochi and Fruit Soy Sauce Vinegarret. Jellyfish was a very common appetizer in Taiwan; sometimes they were even given away for free at banquets. The cheap stuff was usually pickled or several-days-old boiled jellyfish and it looked rather unappetizing.  In order to spice up this dish, they turn it into a table-side entertainment.  Each ingredients were brought to the table separately for the guests to examine its freshness and quality, before the server combined them in a frosted glass bowl.  If you ever want to try jelly fish, this was probably the most appetizing it would ever be.

The level of service is rather astounding. While mixing this salad, the server politely explains each ingredients, their origin, and the sauce.  He also periodically offered compliments and well wishes to each of my aunts.  Once he was done, he bowed and offered some more well wishes before leaving the table. Notice the ear piece? It was how they communicates, quietly, and stealthily. This was standard for restaurants in Taiwan.
Shanghai Vegetable Fried Rice
The rice had complex flavours offering layers and layers of different flavours in each bite. It was not greasy and doused in MSG. Oh, I feel so proud of my Taiwanese root... sniff...

Tofu simmered with Crab Roe and Eggs
A little bit of gastronomy here with the fireproof paper.  This is a Japanese inspired Chinese dish with subtle miso flavour in the sauce. This dish, ladies and gentlemen, was mindblowingly awesome.  The delicate hot tofu soaked this... sauce... I can't pinpoint the flavour it was so complex. nom nom nom.

Again, another server portioned the slow braised boneless ribs.. Apparently, they even trained for proper posture.  The jellyfish salad is also in the photo.
Oven Steamed Yellow Croaker with Preserved Sun-dried Mustard Leaves and Wild Mushrooms
Beef with Truffle Sauce and Pickled Bamboo Shoot

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