Fri, Jul 09, 2010 - Page 14 News List

RESTAURANTS : Hsin Chichou 新濟州韓式豆腐鍋之家

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Located behind the Sogo department store on Zhongxiao East Road (忠孝東路), Hsin Chichou’s (新濟州韓式豆腐鍋之家) menu features an abbreviated selection of Korean classics, including bibimbap, tofu stew and stir-fried noodles. The restaurant is simple and cafeteria-like, but sleekly appointed with white tables, mirrors and luxuriously plush chairs that are just waiting for a kimchi spill to mar their peach-colored velvet upholstery. Despite its bare-bones menu, Hsin Chichou is bustling even during off-hours, perhaps because it offers a quick, budget alternative to the barbeque restaurants and cafes in the neighborhood.

Each of Hsin Chichou’s dishes are NT$140 each; the portions are relatively petite, but the price is still reasonable for the East District. The restaurant’s signature dish, the seafood tofu stew (韓式海鮮豆腐鍋), is served steaming hot in a steel bowl, accompanied by a tiny scoop of white rice on the side. The spicy broth is filled with glass noodles, slices of pork, calamari, clams, one gigantic prawn, a poached egg and, of course, tofu. There are tender cubes of silken tofu, as well as large chunks of dong dofu (凍豆腐), or tofu that has been frozen and thawed before being served so that the ice crystals leave it with a sponge-like texture. The frozen tofu soaked up the broth well and was pleasantly springy, a good contrast to the melt-in-your-mouth silken tofu.

Hsin Chichou’s bibimbap, on the other hand, was bland compared to the tofu stew. It looked promising, served in a stone bowl with a gleaming raw egg yolk in the center of ingredients including slices of pork, kimchi bean sprouts, bok choy and julienned carrots on top of white rice. But the only things that really added any flavor to the dish were the two first ingredients, and after the meat and kimchi were gone, the carrots, cabbage and other veggies blended into one flavorless bunch. The rice was also surprisingly oily. When I got to the crispy layer of rice on the bottom of the bowl, it was so greasy that the texture and color reminded me of pork crackling — and not in a good way.

Hsin Chichou 新濟州韓式豆腐鍋之家

Address: 55, Ln 190, Dunhua S Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市敦化南路一段190巷55號)

Telephone: (02) 2777-3008

Open: 11am to 11pm

Average meal: NT$140

Details: Chinese picture menu, credit cards not accepted


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