Fri, Jul 18, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: Lung Yen Chu

By Yu Sen-lun  /  STAFF REPORTER

A wholesome pot of chicken soup and sesame oil dry noodles.


Lung Yen Chu means dragons drooling over food, according to the owner of the restaurant, one of Taipei's few eating establishments specializing in chicken soups.

There are 10 kinds of chicken soups, all stewed with different Chinese herbal ingredients. Ginseng chicken and sesame oil chicken are probably the most familiar ones, along with ho shou wu chicken (何首烏雞), four ingredients chicken (四物雞), pineapple and bitter melon chicken (鳳梨苦瓜雞) and clam chicken. There are also rare items that even a local person would find exotic: shan pu tau chicken (山葡萄雞) and niu nai pu chicken (牛奶埔雞). These are all Chinese herbs, mixed to a different formula.

Don't be scared by the odd names and the stereotype view of chicken soups being too rich and too nutritious. Soups here are light and less oily, having been designed for health-oriented cuisine.

Each soup is made in one-person portions, placed in a hand-made pottery pot and served with a wooden spoon. It's a neat and interesting way to enjoy the traditional soup.

"We want to add more quality and higher taste to the traditional dishes," said owner Kao Huang-chih (高煌棋), adding most of the items on his menu could be found in night markets in the south of the island.

"But very few [cooks] seems to elevate the quality of such nutritious food," he said. "Our aim is to let you eat good food in a comfortable environment."

The house is surrounded by bamboo and pebble stone courtyards. The chairs and tables are antique-style dark wood, imported from China, and the pottery bowls and pots are all hand-made from Yingko, Taiwan's pottery town.

There are three kinds of chickens on the menu. Mountain chicken, (山雞, NT$100), country chicken (土雞, NT$130) and black-boned chicken (烏骨雞, NT$150). None of them are intensively reared, ensuring the meat is juicy and chewy. The black-boned chicken is the most valuable kind because it's rare and rich in flavor. A pot of chicken soup plus a bowl of sesame oil flavored dry noodles is enough to provide a satisfying dinner, with prices ranging from NT$130 to NT$180.

Address: 63, Lung Chuan St, Taipei (台北市龍泉街63號)

Telephone: (02) 2368 4899

Open: 11am to 12am

Average meal: NT$160

Details: No English menu, credit cards not accepted

"We lower the price to make sure you come here often. In Chinese medicinal theory, you have to take food tonics frequently enough to really make a change," Kao said.

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