Fri, Apr 09, 2010 - Page 14 News List

RESTAURANTS : Diantai Shifu 滇泰食府

By David Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER


Don’t let the name fool you. Diantai Shifu (滇泰食府), or “Palace of Thai and Yunnan Cuisine,” looks nothing like a palace. But the restaurant makes up for its unremarkable decor by offering

decent Thai fare at reasonable prices.

Diantai Shifu, located near Guangfu South and Zhongxiao East roads, used to be part of Yunxiang (雲鄉), a small chain of budget Thai restaurants. Not much has changed, at least judging

by the menu, which still bears the

old name.

Family-style dishes range from NT$100 to NT$180. The selection is extensive, so when in doubt or in a hurry, go for the menu’s starred items, mostly popular Southeast Asian dishes. There were a couple of duds out of the 14 items we ordered, but everything else passed muster.

The dapao zhurou (打拋豬肉, NT$100) — ground pork stir-fried with basil and onions — was the top favorite among our party of 10 persons. With this many people, order two servings of this simple but tasty dish.

Another starred item that disappeared quickly was the jiaomaji (椒麻雞, NT$129), crispy fried chicken served on a bed of coleslaw and topped with cilantro, minced chili pepper

and garlic.

The Thai shrimp cakes (月亮蝦餅, NT$169) were also a favorite at our table, but another deep-fried option, the Thai-style spring rolls (泰式春捲, NT$100) failed to impress. They had a bland filling (mostly rice noodles) and were too oily. These shortcomings might not be as noticeable if accompanied with beer — tall bottles of Taiwan Beer and regular-sized bottles of Heineken are NT$80 each. Sadly, there are no Thai brews available.

Those with adventurous palates might enjoy the prawns with glass vermicelli noodles (冬粉蝦煲, NT$169), which are cooked in a sauce that had a subtle herbal flavor that resembled xiancao (仙草).

Diantai Shifu 滇泰食府

Address: 1, Ln 180, Guangfu S Rd, Taipei City (台北市光復南路180巷1號)

Telephone: (02) 8771-3188 Open: 11am to 2pm and 5pm to 9pm

Average meal: NT$250 to NT$350

The cold raw prawns (涼拌生蝦, NT$149) are well worth a try. The crustaceans, topped with a potent dressing of lemon juice, chopped garlic, chili pepper and cilantro, melt in the mouth and had a rich, almost buttery flavor.

But pass on this house specialty: steamed fish with lemon (清蒸檸檬魚, NT$179). The lemon and garlic sauce tasted fresh and tangy, but it couldn’t hide the mediocre quality of the fish.

The wait staff, mostly college student-aged women, often holler orders to the kitchen staff in Thai and were polite and efficient when serving our table. Our waitress didn’t hesitate when we asked to hold the chili on certain dishes or make vegetarian versions of others. Everything arrived at the table promptly and as requested.

Though dining at Diantai Shifu is probably best with four or more people as you can order a wider variety of dishes, couples can find a good deal too. On a separate visit, my dining companion and I spent just under NT$500 for four dishes, which included a tasty Yunnan-style egg omelet with bamboo shoots (雲筍烘蛋, NT$100).

Located a three-minute walk from Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall MRT Station (國父紀念館捷運站) exit No. 1, Diantai Shifu offers a quick fix for a cheap family-style meal.


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