Monday, 13 February 2012

Restaurant Review: good food at a good price in tourist town (Yingge)

With northern Taiwan enjoying its first sunny Sunday of the spring, it was not surprising that many people chose to shake off their winter cobwebs by cycling the hour or so west along the Dahan River bikepath to Yingge (鶯歌), one of the island’s oldest ceramics towns.
There is still no sign of a fully vegetarian restaurant up on the “old street” tourist centre. An increasing number of stalls offer meat-free snacks, however, including one selling stinky tofu and lu-wei (滷; marinated tofu, mushrooms &c.).

There are three vegetarian restaurants immediately outside the railway station, and with two of them closed for some reason, the third, Amitoufo (阿彌陀佛; meaning the “Amitha Buddha” but no English) was doing excellent trade. Housed in more of a tent than a building, it has been in operation for just 8 months, and its owners claim to have been busy since then whatever the weather.
Basically it is a noodle/dumpling place—with more than two dozen items on the menu including no less than 3 kinds of dumplings: hongyou-chaoshou (紅油抄手), shuijiao (水餃) and huntun (餛飩)—as well as some unusual additions.

NOMM tried four classics: sesame-paste noodles (麻醬麵; NT$40), shuijiao dumplings (NT$45), boiled leafy greens (燙青菜; NT$30), and a mixed plate of tofu/dougan (豆乾; dried beancurd) (NT$55), and one unusual item: vegetarian oyster omelet (素蚵仔; NT$45).

The noodles and greens both had fake meat in their sauces but otherwise were fine, the dumplings surprisingly did not, and their tastiness did not suffer as a result. We were told not to add sauce to the lu-wei as the beancurd had been marinated to a family formula, but were encouraged to dunk the dumplings in chili sauce as this was also home-made by the owner’s mother.

The non-oyster oyster omelet was the real surprise, as it did not contain the fake-meat oysters so typical of this dish (non-egg omelets can also be ordered for vegans) but rather had bamboo shoot, bean sprouts and seaweed as additional ingredients. An excellent meal for two for NT$215 in a dog-friendly, friendly restaurant.
Address: “Beside the rear entrance, Yingge Railway Station,
Jianguo Road
.” (according to the business card)
Tel: 0928-068272
Hours: ~, Wed~Mon, 2nd and 4th Saturdays also closed
NOMM Fake-meat/processed food index: 2 (low)

Text and photos copyright Jiyue Publications

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