Fri, Oct 24, 2008 - Page 15 News List

RESTAURANTS : Mama Tu’s Puli Restaurant (塗姆埔里小吃)

STAFF REPORTER

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The food at Mama Tu’s Puli Restaurant makes you feel at home, or at least like a welcome guest. This modest family restaurant in Tianmu was started 18 years ago by proprietor “Mama Tu” (Tu A-ai, 塗阿愛) a native of Puli Township (埔里), the mountain town in central Taiwan that was hard hit by the 921 Earthquake of 1999.

Tu shows there’s more to Taiwanese cuisine than dan zi mian (擔仔麵), oyster omelets (蚵仔煎) and stewed minced pork and rice (魯肉飯). The restaurant’s hearty recipes feature garlic and pork-based sauces and rich and pungent flavors. Its stir-fried green bamboo shoots and salted egg (鹹蛋綠竹筍, NT$240) deserves special mention. The egg’s sharp taste and garlic’s piquancy nicely complement the thick and crispy chunks of bamboo (which weren’t actually green, but light yellowish), all of which paired nicely a bowl of white rice topped lightly with pork lard sauce (特製豬油拌飯, NT$30), a house specialty.

We chose a few selections from a list of the month’s most-ordered dishes, and none disappointed. The unusual but tasty water lotus vegetable (野蓮水菜, NT$200), which is stir-fried with thin slices of pork and small chunks of stewed taro, is stringy and looks similar to seaweed, but is greener and has a firmer consistency.

Typical dishes are given atypical twists at Mama Tu’s, where kongxincai (空心菜) is stir-fried with pickled bamboo (酸筍空心菜, NT$160), and the homemade sesame oil noodles (麻油蒜泥麵線, NT$100) comes with a side of garlic mash. Yet, like Mama Tu’s cold country chicken (白斬土雞, NT$290), which is similar to drunken chicken (醉雞), but with less Shaohsing wine (紹興酒), some classics are let be.

While meat lovers can’t go wrong with wild boar and celery (芹菜山豬肉, NT$240), which marries the pork’s hint of sweetness and melt-in-the-mouth texture with the celery’s crunchiness, for piscivores there’s oysters and garlic mash (蒜泥蚵仔, NT$290), which arrives bubbling in a heated clay pot, fragrant with the aromas of basil and chili.

Mama Tu’s Puli Restaurant (塗姆埔里小吃)

Address: 65, Ln 8, Tianmu E Rd, Taipei City

(台北市士林區天母東路8巷65號)

Telephone: (02) 2875-6552

Open: Daily, from 11:30am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm; closed on the last Tuesday and Wednesday of each month

Average meal: NT$300 to NT$500

Details: Chinese menu


With plain wooden chairs, tables just comfortable enough for an extended meal with friends and a large faded tourist map of Puli hanging in the corner, the interior design at Mama Tu’s is simple, fairly clean and faux rustic. Much of the restaurant’s wall space is devoted to the proprietor’s calligraphy, which is written on brown corkboard.

Oolong tea from Nantou County is served in earthen pots. But what ultimately conjures up a feeling of home is the food, best enjoyed in the company of three or more people, which enables customers to order a wider range of dishes.

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