Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 19 News List

Restaurant: Mei-Kung Thai and Vietnam Restaurant

Address: 157-3 Yanji St, Taipei (台北市延吉街157-3號)
Telephone: (02) 2752 3051
Open: 11:30am - 2pm; 5:30pm to 12:30am
Average meal: NT$800
Details: Credit cards not accepted

By Adam Ulfers  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

A square meal at Mei-Kung will please.

PHOTO: ADAM ULFERS, TAIPEI TIMES

Zhongxiao East Road and its cross streets are busy almost any time of the day and the Mei-Kung Thai and Vietnamese Restaurant in the neighborhood is no different. Serving only the most exquisite dishes from both countries for 19 years, one has no trouble finding something adventurous and delicious.

Set half a block from Zhongxiao East Road, the restaurant is nestled snuggly among a number of Mom-and-Pop eateries and convenience stores on Yanji Street, but is designed for someone looking for a bit more elegance. A member of the staff who preferred to be called Manager Chen says, "Business has always been good here. People like our food and we provide a nice atmosphere."

The decor follows a simple-is-best design, with wicker chairs and a very ethnic look that provides a pleasant timbered ambiance.

Mei-Kung can accommodate groups of 10 to 12 at a single table. In fact, it is advisable to bring as many people as you can so that you can try more from the menu.

The food, by all standards is good enough to eat three times a day -- a shame they do not serve in the morning hours. At Mei-Kung, it is very much the case that you eat what you pay for. A plate will cost you somewhere between NT$250 and NT$400. For these prices you get tantalizing spring rolls, pomello salad or cold beef and vegetable salad appetizers; and main dish delights such as the spicy chicken fried in coconut sauce, water spinach with shrimp taste, and pineapple rice with shrimp, among other traditional surf-and-turf delights.

There is a bilingual menu provided, and once you place your order the service is fast and your chosen assortments arrive together with a pot of tasty red tea. A bottle of Taiwan Gold Beer is recommended to complement the meal, but if you are not a fan of the domestic brew, there are other choices as well.

With so many positive things to say about it, an unfortunate aspect of the Mei-Kung experience (in this reporter's experience) is a tired service staff. The ample number of staff members offer inflexible accommodation to special requests and are slow to pay attention to customer needs.

Not to overstate the issue though, for a night out with friends or family, Mei-Kung provides an atmosphere conducive to an enjoyable business or social occasion, just be sure to bring your flare gun.

When comparing Mei-Kung to other restaurants, Chen said, "What we pride ourselves on is that our food is the closest to authentic Thai food."

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