If one late night finds you and your friends prowling Taipei for a midnight snack and ice-cold beer, Red Dragonfly Eatery, in the Yongkang neighborhood, is not a bad option. sThe eatery offers a decent range of Japanese-style brochettes and other light snacks commonly seen in Japanese beer houses.
A small, intimate place which seats 20, Red Dragon is popular; patrons usually need to wait around 20 minutes to be seated during the dinnertime rush.
But the wait is worthwhile. The joint offers many grilled, barbecued and deep-fried meat options as well as fried noodles and chicken rice bowls -- standard fare in most Japanese eateries. There is also an extensive drinks menu featuring beer, sake and plum wine.
A plate of meat or vegetable skewers costs between NT$80 to NT$100 and are must-try snacks. The popular chicken and chicken meatball brochettes are seasoned with the eatery's trademark sauce, which requires 24-hours' preparation time.
You can also order the grilled delicacies plain, with just a sprinkle of salt. Meat-lovers should try the pork neck. Other Red Dragon creations include miso and perilla pork brochettes that come highly recommended by regular patrons.
More exotic snacks include include deep-fried chicken skin (NT$100) and cartilage (NT$150), both of which come in
relatively large portions. The tangy, crunchy skin will should disarm and beckon diners who are usually put off by the sight of greasy subcutaneous fat.
The menu also features sweet fish, shrimp and European carp. This reporter ordered a charcoal grilled carp (NT$250) and was disappointed with its overly salty flavor, which required more than a few sips of beer to slack the resulting thirst.
For people who prefer lighter dishes, the grilled mushroom brochette is a pleasing option. The mashed daikon topping complimented the mushroom and left a fresh taste on the tongue.
Another highlight was the pork miso soup (NT$80). The cabbage, carrots and potatoes were stewed to perfection and melted in the mouth.
If you expect attentive service in this eatery, you will most likely be disappointed. The atmosphere is cozy but very casual as the young staff members natter among themselves, and tarry over diners' orders.