Fri, Mar 22, 2002 - Page 10 News List

Restaurant of the week: Chiu Chih Seafood 九記海鮮

Address: 104 Changchun Rd., Taipei (北市長春路104號)
Telephone: (02) 2541-0546 or (02) 2542-4278
Open: 11:30am to 2pm for lunch, 5pm to 1am in the evenings
Average meal: NT$350.
Details: No English Menu, Credit cards not accepted

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sauteed prawns with house soy sauce top the menu at Chiu Chih Seafood.

PHOTO: YU SEN-LUN, TAIPEI TIMES

Were it not for its red signboard, it would be hard to find this small restaurant of only 10 tables. But for the past 10 years, Chiu Chih Seafood has been one of the most popular restaurants in the central Taipei area for its Hong Kong/Cantonese style cuisine.

At weekends and on some weekdays, you need to line up to have dinner at Chiu Chih. Most of the guests come to Chiu Chih for their famous sauteed prawns with house soy sauce (生抽煎草蝦). This is a dish that nearly every table in the house will order during dinner time, said Lin Mei-hsia (林美霞), Chiu Chih's owner.

According to Lin, the dish is actually simple to prepare -- if you have the right skills. The chef first cuts open the underside of the prawns and deep-fries them quickly to make the meat swell. He then quickly drenches the prawns with a house-made sauce -- which is a mixture of fish and soy -- then stir fries it all before serving.

"The control of the fire and timing is crucial," said Lin. The bright red color (which is slightly browned by the soy sauce) and the puffy prawns are the proof. To enjoy the dish, be sure to suck all the house's juicy, sweet, special soy sauce from the shell. It would be a pity to simply separate the shell from the meat and taste only the meat. This is a dish that offers fun-filled, "finger-licking" enjoyment.

Chiu Chih's chefs all come from Hong Kong -- with some of them having 40 years of cooking experience -- which guarantees pure Cantonese style. One major characteristic of Cantonese cuisine is its unique creation of all variant fish sauces and fish pastes, using ingredients ranging from shrimp, oysters, scallops and different kinds of spices. Chiu Chih's other famous dish, deep-fried dough stuffed with mashed shrimps and XO sauce (XO醬百花鑲油條) is another tasty example. It's a strong-tasting dish because of the spicy flavor of the XO sauce, another fish-based sauce. The deep-fried dough is first stuffed with mashed shrimp and minced water chestnuts, then stir-fried in XO sauce.

Stuffed shrimps, or bai-hua (百花) as its known in Cantonese, is a typical Cantonese cuisine. Other variations include stuffed eggplant with mashed shrimps in black bean sauce (鼓汁煎鑲茄子) and steamed tofu stuffed with mashed shrimp (百花鑲豆腐).

The restaurant is open late. Customers arriving before 1am can still order. And there is currently a special offer where a third main dish costs only NT$99 and can be chosen from the daily menus.

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