For Taipei's office workers, a new place for a quick after-work drink and some tasty late-night snacks is always welcome. The drinks are too expensive in a lounge bar. But if you go to the night market, the food may be good but the environment is not upmarket.
Located on the corner of Renai Road and Guangfu South Road, Jiang-tzi BBQ House is a small cozy stand that is ideal for eating and drinking, as it's cheap and tasty. There are also open-air tables for people-watching.
A plate of Xinjiang-style lamb kebab with a bottle of Heineken beer appears to be a strong attraction for Taipei's middle class in the area. Every day, after 4pm, the fragrance of cumin seeds and other spices, as well as the charcoal fire, scent the air.
The place is always full, which is not surprising, given that it has only four tables and a tiny bar area. But the owner, Jack Cheng (鄭
QQ lamb kebab (NT$40), QQ beef (NT$50) and grilled chicken hearts (NT$40) are the three most popular dishes. Jack Cheng is proud of the taste of his BBQ dishes. He said his kebab cooking skills come from two years spent working in China. Originally a trade executive for a computer company, Cheng was fascinated with Xinjiang barbecue and became an apprentice of a BBQ house in Shanghai.
Cheng chooses lamb rib to make the QQ Lamb Kebab while using fillet for another lamb dish -- the House Kebab. "The rib tastes chewy and contains more juice in the meat, while fillet tastes softer and tender but is less juicy," Cheng said.
The 10 kinds of spices and sauces in the marinating process is a secret weapon in Cheng's tasty kebabs. The only thing he is willing to reveal is that "no soy sauce is used in the recipe." After placing the ribs on the BBQ rack, cumin seed powder and chili powder is added.
There are other choices such as lamb chops, beef ribs, grilled chicken wings and shrimp. To cut through the grease in the meats, try the Korean kimchi or Hakka-style onion pickles.
Apart from Heineken beer, there are choices of Smirnoff Ice, small bottles of JP Chenet Cabernet red wine and Macallan 12-year-old whisky, all at reasonable prices.