Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 15 News List

RESTAURANTS : Wanda (丸大食堂)

By Catherine Shu

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The old Wanda (丸大食堂) was a no-frills hole-in-the-wall that was one of few options for low-priced sushi near Shida night market. The new Wanda is sleekly remodeled and twice the size of the old restaurant, but the menu and prices remain the same.

While Wanda’s old interior was cramped, the new Wanda is spacious and swank, with deep brown leather chairs and dark wood tables set off by birch partitions. The new sushi bar, which is lit up like a small stage at the back of the restaurant, is a distinct improvement over the old model, which was little more than a glorified freezer with a bar wrapped around it.

The best items on Wanda’s sushi and sashimi menu are its hand rolls. The tastiest is the shrimp and asparagus hand roll (蘆筍蝦手捲, NT$70), which nestles the two main ingredients with crisp shredded lettuce and mayonnaise in a cone of seaweed. The salmon roe roll (鮭魚卵手捲, NT$80) is a richer option, with a large scoopful of the gleaming roe perched on soft sushi rice. Wanda’s salads are also good, even if the portions are disappointingly small for the price. The best of the bunch is the shrimp and apple salad (鮮蝦水果沙拉, NT$180), which is served on a bed of peppery watercress and lettuce.

Wanda’s chirashi (生魚片蓋飯, NT$170), with sashimi layered on top of a bowl of rice sprinkled with flakes of salty-sweet furikake, offers good value for sushi lovers. Its sushi and sashimi combos, however, are hit and miss. The combination sashimi platter (綜合生魚片, NT$280) is composed of tuna, amberjack and salmon sashimi and a fresh prawn prettily arranged on a bed of crushed ice and garnished with a paper umbrella. Unfortunately, the dish did not live up to its presentation. The tuna pieces were limp and separating into segments, but otherwise appeared and tasted fine. The floppy and somewhat lifeless slices of salmon were more tedious to get through. The amberjack slices were also mediocre, though the prawn was delicious.

Wanda (丸大食堂)

Address: 32, Ln 40, Taishun St, Taipei City (台北市泰順街40巷32號)

Telephone: (02) 2369-5003

Open: Daily from 11am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 10pm

Average meal: NT$160 to NT$400

Details: Chinese menu; credit cards not accepted


While the sashimi platter did not pass muster, the sushi combo (綜合壽司, NT$160) was downright disappointing.

Though its decor is more upscale, Wanda still serves sushi rolls with a layer of saran wrap around them, which has the effect of compacting and hardening the rice and giving diners with the impression that the sushi is not freshly made. The combination’s California roll would have been fine if it weren’t for a large dollop of overwhelmingly sweet mayonnaise sauce, while the roll with shredded dried pork, cucumber, egg and pickled radish was also lackluster. The sweet inari, or tofu skin, nigiri was okay, probably because it had mercifully escaped the cling wrap.

Wanda’s menu also includes hot dishes including a large selection of grilled fish, as well as Japanese favorites such as pork cutlets on sweet, coconut milk curry (咖哩豬排飯, NT$130).

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