For an all-you-can-eat restaurant, Han Chiang Guan is generous with its offerings. Waiters shuffle between the kitchen and self-help area to make sure the popular beef ribs and cuttle fish heads -- items rarely found in similar mid-range restaurants -- are in ample supply.
Since Han Chiang Guan's opening last year, the Korean barbecue restaurant has gained a reputation for its quality meats, including plum-blossom pork (mainly lean meat with some fatty parts), beef tenderloin and ribs, mutton and chicken -- all of which are pre-marinated to bring out their respective flavors. This is a nice change considering most other all-you-can-eat restaurants depend on the unrestrained use of a range of generic sauces to provide flavor to go with the meat.
Seafood items include fresh shrimps, crabs and squid. The seafood pancakes, one of the most popular items, combine all of these with gourds, onions and other vegetables to create a mixed flavor that is light without being bland. Best served steaming hot, the pancake can also be baked for a while on the copper plate if it gets cold.
One secret of the flavorsome meat at Han Chiang Guan is the fruit sauce prepared by Sun Cheng-yu (
The sugared sweet potatoes are not to be missed. The popular item appears simple to prepare -- deep-fried sweet potato cubes with a coating of sugar -- but requires an experienced cook to get it right. Frying with too little sugar turns the potatoes white, while frying them for too long caramelizes the sugar. When done properly, the sugar coating perfectly complements the marshmallow-soft potato inside. For a fully authentic dish of sugared sweet potatoes, Sun said, relatively chewy Korean sweet potatoes are used, but they are not available here.
Address: 6, Alley 9, Lane 316, Roosevelt Rd Sec.3
Telephone: (02) 2369-9688
Open: 11:30am to 2:30pm; 5pm to 10pm
Average meal: NT$199 for lunch and NT$259 for dinner
Details: Credit cards accepted; Chinese menu
With nearly 20 years' experience behind him, Sun has trained a couple of Taiwanese cooks, who help him in the kitchen. "The test for well-prepared meats for a copper-plate barbecue," Sun said, "is whether they taste good without any seasoning. Quality meat stands out this way."