Fri, Jul 12, 2002 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant of the week: Dengji: Old Deng Dan-Dan Noodles 鄧記:老鄧擔擔麵

Address: 83 Lianyun St., Taipei (北市連雲街83號)
Telephone: (02) 2341-1200 or (02) 2341-1260
Open: Lunch 11am to 3pm, dinner 5pm to midnight
Average meal: NT$200 per person
Details: No English menu. Credit cards not accepted

By Gavin Phipps  /  STAFF REPORTER

You can't go wrong with special cold noodles and steamed ribs.

PHOTO: GAVIN PHIPPS, TAIPEI TIMES

The fact that the Dengji Dan-Dan Noodles restaurant is located on a lane opposite Taipei's restaurant-loaded Yangkang Street (永康街) -- a thoroughfare famed for its multitude of ice-deserts and small-eats joints -- doesn't deter thousands of patrons from frequenting the small restaurant that specializes in fiery Sichuan-style small eats over the years on a weekly basis.

Until recently the famous small eats restaurant had all the hallmarks of a spit and sawdust eatery. A change of address and a facelift, however, have now transformed it into something other than an Oriental fast-food joint.

Now located on the opposite side of the street, the restaurant's once-sparse interior now boasts old Chinese-style wooden furniture and other such old-world-style Oriental trimmings.

The decor and address may have changed, but the quality of the food certainly hasn't. For almost 40 years successive Lao Deng managers have not only managed to keep the recipe for the chili and peanut based sauce that covers the joint's specialty dish of dan-dan mien NT$50 (擔擔麵) a well-guarded secret, but they have also conjured up a multitude of other recipes for success.

One of the most mouth-watering of their creations is the oily chili sauce that covers the joint's bite-sized dumplings. The freshly made dumplings (紅油抄手) costing NT$50 per bowl are as far removed in both appearance and flavor from the common, or garden-variety, as is possible.

The thin soft pastry wrapping melts in the mouth and the meaty filling remains in one piece and doesn't spill out and fall listlessly onto the table top or diners' laps. The dumplings are also available for the same price without the chili sauce, which is instead replaced by clear oil (白油抄手).

It is the joint's various flavors and styles of noodles, however, that remain the crux of any meal at the Dengji.

Along with dan dan noodles, other noodle dishes worth chowing down on include hot and sour noodles NT$60 (酸辣炸醬麵), dry hot and spicy noodles NT$50 (乾酸辣麵) and vegetarian noodles NT$60 (素椒炸醬麵). At present, one of the restaurant's more popular noodled dishes is its special cold noodle dish NT$80 (招牌涼麵).

While noodles remain the restaurant's big draw, there are still plenty of equally tasty rice-based dishes on the menu. Dishes such as pig trotter rice NT$100 (蹄花飯), beef tendon rice NT$180 (牛筋飯) and chicken rice NT$110 (雞腿飯) are all equally scrumptious.

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