Peddler’s noodles (擔仔麵, danzaimian) is a popular snack or supper food that can be found all around town, often in quite unremarkable versions of flabby noodles, watery soup and an over-seasoned meat sauce. Du Hsiao Yueh (度小月), which according to shop lore began business back in 1895, has had plenty of practice in getting it right. It has five outlets, including two in Tainan, its home city, and three in Taipei, with the newest restaurant in the bustling Yongkang Street (永康街) shopping district.
Du Hsiao Yueh’s Yongkang Branch has left its humble origins far behind, and while its minimalist contemporary Chinese interior is not exactly luxurious, it has some pretensions to style. The most notable aspect of the design is the replica low brick stall at the front where the noodles are made. A video screen above provides a detailed introduction to the store and the craft that goes into making the perfect bowl of peddler’s noodles.
A basic bowl of noodles, available either dry or in soup, is just NT$50. It is flavored by Du Hsiao Yueh’s special meat sauce, which has just the right amount of flavor, enhancing noodles that are cooked to al dente perfection. The yellow Taiwan noodles (油麵) are the traditional choice, but vermicelli (米粉) and flat rice noodles (粿條) are also available. Dry rice with meat sauce (祖傳肉燥飯) is available at NT$30 for a small bowl.
Photo: Ian Bartholomew, Taipei Times
Whether you choose the noodles or the rice, both are really not more than a few mouthfuls of food. Fortunately, Du Hsiao Yueh also offers a host of side dishes made in a kitchen in the back, lifting the humble bowl of noodles into a varied spread not unlike an Asian version of tapas.
The bowl of noodles can be enhance by a stewed duck egg (NT$15) and perhaps a side of deep fried shrimp rolls (NT$150, 黃金蝦捲) to make a perfect light snack. Served with a sweet dipping sauce, these crispy rolls are dangerously moreish, and are almost worth a visit to the restaurant all by themselves. But Du Hsiao Yueh offers much more.
For those who feel like taking a little time over their meal, there is a multi-page menu of side dishes that are likely to all but eclipse the central bowl of noodles. These range from the light-as-air deep fried tofu (炸芙蓉豆腐, NT$160) and delicately flavored vegetable dishes such as fresh harvested cold bamboo shoots (NT$200, 晨採關廟冷筍) to regular stir-fries like shrimp and cabbage (NT$180, 櫻花蝦炒高麗菜). Hawker stall favorites that are now sadly hard to find, such as Tainan-style taro cake (台南芋粿), are a welcome addition to the menu.
For those visiting Du Hsiao Yueh for an evening snack, the establishment also offers Taiwan Beer, two kinds of shaohsing wine (紹興酒) and two types of kaoliang (高粱酒) to help diners make a night of it.
Service, which is provided by by young people who are quick on their feet and able to lay out your spread of small dishes in record time, is fast and efficient. The staffers are not exactly founts of information about the food, but the picture menu does provide some explanation about each dish (in Chinese only).
Address: 9-1 Yongkang St, Taipei City (台北市永康街9-1號)
Telephone: (02) 3393-1325
Open: 11:30am to 10:30pm (Sunday to Thursday), 11:30am to 11pm (Friday and Saturday)
Average meal: NT$250 per person, minimum expenditure NT$100 per person
Details: Credit cards accepted, picture menu with Chinese, English and Japanese
On the Net: www.iddi.com.tw
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
I had really hoped that this film would be a Taiwanese answer to the American camp classic Snakes on a Plane, but Spiders on a Ship — er, Abyssal Spider (海霧) — takes itself way too seriously. One major gripe about Taiwanese commercial features is that they are prone to being unnecessarily over the top, but that’s the one element that could have made Abyssal more watchable. The lack of camp is especially disappointing since director Joe Chien (錢人豪) first made his mark with the intentionally trashy horror movie Zombie 108 (棄城Z-108). Released in 2012, it is considered Taiwan’s earliest