Fri, Mar 22, 2002 - Page 10 News List

Restaurant of the week: Amigo

Address: 202 Fushing N. Rd., Taipei (北市復興北路202號)
Telephone: (02) 2515-6633
Open: 11:30am to 12pm
Average meal: NT$350
Details: English menu, Credit cards accepted

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Amigo strives to bring a variety of Mexican cuisine to Taipei.


Amigo is a small space with Mexican exotica meticulously built in: the neon light in the shape of a Mexican hat at the front door, a giant plastic Cactus standing in the center of the restaurant. And at each table there is a lamp covered with a Mexican straw hat. As for the place's colors, orange, yellow, green and some purple -- Mexican with a modern look.

Because they love Mexican food and had long had a dream of building a house of their own, Joe Chang (張喻茜) and her husband quit their advertising jobs around a year ago, and travelled Mexicofor a few months. The result was a cutely designed house full of metal geckos, chili jars and small cacti.

Although Mexican food can be found in many of Taipei's American-style restaurants, few eateries concentrate on Mexican cuisine. There are fewer than eight Mexican restaurants in Taipei, and of varying quality, according to Chang. Another of Amigo's ambitions is to concentrate on Mexican food and to introduce a greater variety of Mexican cuisine, she said.

So apart from the familiar tacos, burritos, quesadillas and enchaladas, Amigo has more choices on the menu. Chimichangas have a rich stuffing of tomatoes, lettuce, chilis and meat. They come with a rice pilaf, beans and sauces. If it's not enough, try the Mexican Chicken Soup. Made of corn, tomatoes, fennel leaves and chili, the soup is served with a chewy cinnamon treat.

For something different, try the house's original grilled Chocolate Chicken. Half of a chicken is first seasoned with cinnamon, pineapple, cocoa powder and mixed spices, then simmered for 36 hours before being sent to the oven. The chicken is then dipped in a spicy chocolate sauce. It's an authentic Mexican dish with a mixture tastes both spicy and mildly sweet.

According to David Yuan (袁衛國), Amigo's chef, Taiwanese now have a much wider acceptance of Mexican food. But in order to cater to local tastes, the food here has slight changes compared to original Mexican food. The tortillas are a little thinner and the beans and rice are placed on the side of the plate instead of wrapped inside the tortilla.

During the afternoon tea time, from 2pm to 5pm, you can try a cup of coffee with a burrito instead of dessert. There is also a "buy two, get one free" for business lunches and beers.

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