Fri, Jul 14, 2006 - Page 15 News List

Restaurant: Luh Gaang 鹿港 - 老戲院懷舊餐廳

Address: 42, Alley 223, Zhongxiao E Rd Sec 4, Taipei (台北市忠孝東路四段223巷42號)
Telephone: (02) 87731481
Open: 11am to 3pm, 5pm to 2am on Fridan and Saturday
Average meal: NT$200
Details: Credit cards accepted; Chinese and English Menu; reservations recommended on holidays.
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By Ginger Yang  /  STAFF REPORTER

The food matches the surroundings at Luh Gaang.


Luh Gaang looks like it might have come right out of an exhibition of Taiwan Storyland (台灣故事館), that repository of Taiwan memorabilia opposite Taipei Main Station. It is full of old world ambiance, and it aims to look like an old theater from the 1950s, even to the ticket booth and the huge old movie posters stuck on the walls.

Many of the objects that make up the decor of the Luh Gaang were collected at the time of Taiwan's retrocession by the father of the restaurant's current owner. “My father is in his 70s. He has collected old stuff since he was a six-grade student,” said Hu Ming-chou (胡銘洲), 28. He said that many of the old shop signs and posters on display can each fetch up to NT$3,000. “These things were trash decades ago. We never thought that they would become valuable someday.”

This is the second store that Hu has opened, the first, located in Tucheng (土城), Taipei County, is the original storehouse for Hu's father's collection. Hu said that the HeySong (黑松)soda company, a venerable institution with strong links to the colonial period, offered NT$20 million to purchase the Tucheng restaurant, but that the family had refused to sell. The store is located at 14 Guangsing St, Tucheng, Taipei County (土城市廣興街14號) and is run by Hu's brother.

Lu Gaang's menu is nothing if not extensive with 110 dishes, all of them traditional Taiwan fare, and many ideal as accomopaniments to a few beers.

Cod with peanut sauce is recommended (豆酥鱈魚). The homemade sauce, with tofu, is pleasantly flavorful and the smoked pork with vegetables (客家鹹豬肉) (NT$180), a traditional Hakka dish, is as authentic as it comes.

A dish you probably won't find anywhere else is “sui bian lai” (隨便來), which loosely translates as “gimme whatever” (NT$120). It is Hu's own invention: stinky tofu stewed in a sweet and spicy sauce with slices of Chinese preserved eggs.

Several whiskies are on offer, in addition to Kinmen Kaoliang (NT$320), sake (NT$250) and beer. For soft drinks, pinball soda, which harks back to the 1960s, is also on offer.

Lu Gaang is riding a wave of retro-chic, and mando-pop stars such as Jay Chou (周杰倫) are regular customers among other A-list celebrities.

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