You Ji Chufang (
"We chose the name because it was catchy, not because it has any special meaning," said one of You Ji Chufang's owners Lee Che-ming (
You ji sounds like the Chinese for "organic" and literally means "has chicken," but the restaurant's menu is built around neither organic food nor chicken (though the most popular dish is indeed a chicken dish). You Ji Chufang specializes in Cantonese cuisine -- the kind you don't find much in Taipei.
Lee, whose day job is managing the sales department at a local newspaper, took a trip with two other investors and some chefs to Guangdong in search of cuisine that would be a hit back home. What they came up with was a menu of about 10 dishes. The number-one seller is the hua diao chicken (
Placed on a burner at the center of the table, the chicken continued to stew as I ate it. Steeped in the hua diao sauce with tomatos and green peppers, the chicken is juicy and fragrant.
Also juicy are the garlic squid rolls (
The most interesting and surprisingly good dish was pi pi cuo (
This place is open into the wee hours, perfect for a group of four to eight people famished from pub-hopping. If the food isn't spicy enough, you can always clear your palate with the restaurant's even spicier Kinmen sorghum wine.