Looking to explore Japanese food but don’t think you can settle on just one dish? Plan on eating with friends who have a hard time agreeing on what to order? Want to drink lots of alcohol and enjoy a good meal at the same time? This restaurant solves these dilemmas in one fell swoop.
Yabu Soba serves izakaya ryori (居酒屋料理), or pub-style food. Think of the rathskeller you visit for dinner, except this one serves Japanese dishes and you order a bunch of small but substantial courses to share with a group. There are tables in the back, with bamboo blinds and pictures of sumo wrestlers for decoration. In the evening things get lively and you can still eat at the bar, although this one offers a view of sake bottles and sushi preparation instead of whiskey and beer taps.
On a recent visit a party of seven shared seven delicious dishes and consumed several one-liter bottles of Kirin beer. The result was a satisfying meal and the tab came out at NT$450 per person. Impressively, staff offered to alter the portions of each dish to suit the size of our group.
PHOTO: RON BROWNLOW, TAIPEI TIMES
Memorable courses included the roast potato slices topped with mentaiko, or marinated roe, (NT$160, 烤馬鈴薯明太子), California rolls (NT$160, 加州酪梨捲) and beef tataki (NT$360, 日式生煎牛排), slices of raw steak that have been lightly seared on the outside and are to be dipped in a ponzu sauce. The sauce is what makes this dish. Stir in sliced ginger and scallions thoroughly before dipping the thinly sliced beef.
Staff also recommended the kimchee beef (NT$190, 韓國泡菜牛肉), chicken wings with mentaiko inside (NT$190, 烤雞翅包明太子), and the restaurant’s trademark soba noodles (NT$150, 日式蕎麥冷麵). There’s also a decent selection of vegetable and tofu dishes, such as fried tofu (NT$70, 炸豆腐) and spinach with egg (NT$130, 菠菜蛋); tell staff if you’re a vegetarian before ordering. This being an izakaya, there’s a drinks menu that features around a dozen brightly colored cocktails.
Yabu Soba moved from its old location on Linshen North Road four years ago. It’s now on Nanjing East Road next to the Emperor Hotel and three blocks east of the Zhongshan MRT station.
During lunchtime things are much more subdued and Yabu Soba looks more like a run-of-the-mill Taipei Japanese eatery, albeit one with an extensive and eclectic menu. Lunch prices run from NT$110 for soup noodles to NT$250 or more for a set meal with soup, salad and entree.
Address: 106 Nanjing E Rd Sec 1, TaipeiTelephone: (02) 2511-8017Open: Daily from 11am to 2:30pmAverage meal: NT$150 to NT$450Details: Chinese and Japanese menu; credit cards accepted
This month saw the online launch of an English-language book that it is hoped will enhance Taiwan studies at universities in Europe and further afield, providing a wider audience with unique insight into a field of study that is attracting increasing attention. Taiwan’s Contemporary Indigenous Peoples is the result of a lecture series at London’s Centre of Taiwan Studies, part of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. These talks on issues related to Taiwanese Aborigines formed the basis of the new publication, the whole project facilitated by a grant from Taipei’s Shung Ye Museum of Formosan Aborigines
For those who’d like to know more about Taiwan’s history, but lack the time or inclination to crack open a book, Formosa Files might just be a godsend. Launched on Sept. 6, the podcast is intended to be a highly accessible yet in-depth look at key events over the past 400 years. So far, it’s picked up listeners in 20 countries. Formosa Files kicked off with an episode devoted to George Psalmanazar, a wandering hoaxer who, despite his blond hair and never having left Europe, managed in the first decade of the 18th century to convince members of London’s elite that
Imagine if poor people were polled on why they drove beat up old cars. Imagine if that poll had several answers, which were “might want a better car if possible,” “want a better car as soon as possible,” “waiting on it” and “don’t want a better car.” Imagine if most people answered “waiting on it” and then, disregarding all other data, from that a scholar concluded that most poor people don’t want to drive a better car. That conclusion is absurd, and yet that is one we have seen again and again in describing the preferences of Taiwanese for the
As Yunlin County loses humans, it seems to gain birds. The county’s population peaked at just over 800,000 in the late 1970s, since when it’s fallen steadily. So far this year, it’s declined by about 5,000, and now stands below 672,000. There are several reasons for this. When it came to high-speed rail stations and science park extensions, Yunlin was at the end of the queue. What’s more, many Taiwanese prefer to live in major cities where there are more economic and entertainment opportunities and better schools. The county’s biggest settlement has just 108,000 residents. By contrast, Yunlin’s bird population is thriving, at