Located near the Taipei Gymnasium (台北小巨蛋體育館), adjacent to the Taipei Arena (台北小巨蛋), Saladay specializes in low-priced, packaged salads and other foods for the calorie conscious. The sleek restaurant focuses on fast takeout service, but there is also a comfortable sitting area in the back.
Most of Saladay’s offerings rely on flavorful sauces and dressings. For example, its menu features several konjac (jurou in Chinese, 蒟蒻) based side dishes. Made from the flour of a yam-like root vegetable of the same name, konjac is a gelatinous, slightly springy substance. It has close to zero calories and is just as tasty as it sounds (which is to say, not very). Saladay does its best to make konjac palatable and it succeeds fairly well. The restaurant’s konjac noodles with fresh vegetables and sweet-and-sour sauce (NT$58) is too small to be an entree, but makes a good guilt-free pairing for Saladay’s sandwiches and rolls. The sweet-and-sour sauce is actually more sour than sweet, with a hint of ginger. The noodles are served with a small heap of vegetables, several slices of savory tofu and cherry tomato halves to add some texture.
My favorite of the packaged salads was the avocado salad with salsa sauce (NT$108 for the entree size). Its name is a bit of a misnomer, because the mixed greens are topped with just a dollop of guacamole and sour cream. It is packaged with two packets of salsa sauce. I dumped the entire contents of both into my salad, which proved to be too much. Just one packet of the spicy, zesty dressing would have given the salad greens enough kick.
Photo: Catherine Shu, Taipei Times
After the avocado salad, I was excited about the Mexican avocado wrap (NT$73). Unfortunately, the fairly ample slices of avocado in the white flour wrap had their delicate, buttery flavor canceled out by an oddly sweet salsa and too many bits of diced red onions. The rest of the filling consisted of salad greens. The wrap is packaged to go, but I found that within an hour it had started getting soggy.
Saladay caters to carb lovers with a small selection of baked goods, along with several pasta and rice-based hot meals that are packaged in neat little foil containers like space food. Most hot dishes are priced under NT$50. I paired a yakisoba (or grilled soba noodles with onions and a drizzle of mayonnaise, NT$45) with an asparagus, okra and seasonal greens side salad topped with Japanese sesame dressing (NT$55; NT$108 for an entree-sized portion). The noodles were surprisingly tasty and fresh, considering that they had been sitting in a heated rack. The sesame dressing on the salad was also good and gave the relatively flavorless vegetables the boost they needed.
Saladay offers few dessert options, aside from fruit salads, but the restaurant does have a small selection of excellent muffins. The blueberry version is big and comes packed with real berries. As the weather gets chillier, it will make an excellent (if not entirely healthy) breakfast with a mug of hot tea or coffee.
Photo: Catherine Shu, Taipei Times
Address: 168, Nanjing E Rd Sec 4, Taipei City (台北市南京東路四段168)
Telephone: (02) 2578-3286
Open: Daily from 8am to 8pm
Average meal: Most entrees range from NT$45 to NT$110
Details: Cash only, English and Chinese menu
On the Net: www.facebook.com/pages/Saladay
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