Remember the first time you tried Sushi Express? Grabbing your food from the revolving conveyor belt was half the amusement, if not most, given the forgettable food.
But at Dai Sya Rinn (大車輪) in Ximending, revolving sushi is fun all over again. Instead of a conveyor belt, the dishes make the rounds on a toy freight train that chugs along at a relaxing pace. There’s plenty of time to both choose a dish and admire the train.
The decor and atmosphere is full of Japanese rustic charm (lots of wood) with Taiwanese warmth (friendly waiters). Diners eat at a bar that takes up most of the room and seats around 40 people total. Japanese paper lanterns are strewn all over the place, almost haphazardly, and knick-knacks seem to hang everywhere.
Even when crowded, it feels cozy. The wait staff, who wear robes and hats, move like clockwork: they’re constantly keeping busy — washing, chopping, clearing plates — but always seem to be right there when you need them. The nakashi music playing on the stereo is dated but soulful. It feels like a good place to share sake (NT$120) or a beer (NT$85 for Taiwan Beer, NT$110 for Kirin) with a friend.
The food isn’t mind-blowing or imaginative, but fairly priced and certainly a few steps above Sushi Express. The only thing that gives Dai Sya Rinn away as a chain restaurant is a poster menu with stock photos; choices include fried tempura (星鰻天婦羅, NT$200), Tokyo-style sirloin (沙朗東京燒, NT$280) and Matsusaka pork (松板豬肉和風燒, NT$280).
There are also paper banners on the walls listing other items, but it’s easiest to pick off the cart. The prices are color-coded: dishes with green flags are NT$30, NT$45 for yellow, NT$70 for red and NT$80 for white. Be aware that the dishes wrapped in cellophane are just display samples — order those through the waiter.
We started with a plate of inarizushi, rice tucked inside fried tofu skin. Dai Sya Rinn’s version had the typical Taiwanese touch, with corn, sliced ham and cashew nuts, but was surprisingly not bad. The soul-satisfying steamed egg (蒸蛋, NT$70) has chunks of chicken and mushroom, and I made a note to remember this one for the winter. The cold spinach noodles (日式菠菜冷麵, NT$88), on the other hand, make a good choice for the summer.
The tuna nigiri (NT$90 for two pieces) was a little bland; one of the tuna slices hadn’t thawed properly. But the salmon nigiri (NT$160 for four pieces) was tender and tasty. There’s no need for wasabe, as the waiter will remind you there’s plenty packed under each slice of fish.
The place was packed with high school students at dinnertime on a visit last week. They were probably taking advantage of the reasonably priced individual meals, which include the barbeque pork lunchbox (燒肉便當, NT$138) and udon noodles (烏龍湯麵, NT$88). From a glance at the person sitting next to me, the fried pork lunchbox (豬排便當, NT$128) looked appealing.
We wound up ordering more than we could finish, but this was more a testament to the atmosphere than the food. But another visit is definitely on the list.
Address: 53 Emei St, Taipei City (台北市峨嵋街53號)
Telephone: (02) 2371-2701 Open: 11am to 9:30pm
Average meal: NT$250 to NT$350 per person
Details: Credit cards not accepted On the Net: www.dsr.tw
Warren Hsu (許華仁) sees chocolate making as creating art and performing magic. Zeng Zhi-yuan (曾志元) “talks” to his cacao beans and compares the fermenting process to devotedly caring for a child. Despite their different products and business models, the two helped put Taiwanese chocolate on the map in 2018 at the prestigious International Chocolate Awards’ (ICA) World Finals when Hsu’s Fu Wan Chocolate (福灣) claimed two golds, five silvers and two bronzes, while Zeng took home four golds. That year, Taiwanese chocolatiers burst through the gates with a total of 26 medals, an impressive feat given that many locals don’t
Chen Zhiwu (陳志武) says that the COVID-19 crisis puts into sharp focus that we are in a new cold war, with China and the US being the two protagonists. “It’s almost literally in front of us,” says Chen, Director of Asia Global Institute and Chair Professor of Finance at the University of Hong Kong. Political observers were hesitant, Chen says, even up to the beginning of this year, to confirm a new cold war was underway. “But ... the coronavirus has made clear the clash in values and way of life between what China would like to pursue, and what
For tourists visiting Hualien, Taroko National Park (太魯閣國家公園) is the first order of business. But if you find yourself in the city with half a day to spare — your train back to Taipei will leave mid-afternoon, say — it’s hardly worth busing out to Taroko Gorge. Instead, borrow or rent a bicycle or a scooter, or hail a cab, and set out for one of these attractions. At only one of these places is there an admission charge. CISINGTAN SCENIC AREA A literal translation of Cisingtan (七星潭) would be “Seven Stars Pond,” but there’s no pond here, just the vast Pacific
To bring sustainability and prosperity to their farms, some agriculturalists in southern Taiwan have embraced innovative types of companion planting. In contrast to the monoculture that dominates much of the rich world’s farmland, companion planting is the cultivation of different crops in proximity, usually to optimize the space, for pest control or to enhance pollination. The symbiotic relationship between cacao trees and betel nut, which may be unique to Pingtung County, is striking when one visits the cacao plantations maintained by Choose Chius (邱氏可可) and Wugawan (牛角灣) in Neipu (內埔). The history of growing cacao in Taiwan goes back to Japanese colonial