Ex-Mrs Tom Cruise Katie Holmes visited Taiwan in June, and one of the locations she dined at was the N°168 Prime Steakhouse, a bistro located in the Grand Victoria Hotel in Taipei’s Dazhi district. Some of the dishes prepared for her visit have now been incorporated into the restaurant’s menu as part of a celebration of American food, overseen by Taiwan’s grill master extraordinaire Danny Deng (鄧有癸).
Deng, who started off as a teppanyaki chef, has graduated to become one of Taiwan’s foremost consultants in the preparation of steak, overseeing the opening of what is arguably Taipei’s best steakhouse, the A-Cut at the Ambassador Hotel. The new menu is a showcase of Deng’s skill, and includes a 16oz prime rib eye (recommended for two) cooked in a Beech wood-fired oven and finished with American oak wood.
Although Deng has made his name with beef, N°168 Prime Steakhouse is also known for other grilled meats, and the grilled Alaskan sablefish also highlights Deng’s style: the subtle combination of meat and flame, with a minimum of garnish. From north to south, Cajun-style grilled pork with “dirty rice,” a traditional Cajun dish made from white rice cooked with small pieces of chicken liver or giblets, puts top quality Idaho pork through its paces.
Lots of top quality US ingredients have been imported to give an authentic experience of the best food America has to offer, and this of course also features Californian wines, including those from Chateau Montelena, the vineyard that made history back in 1973 when it put the Napa Valley on the international wine map by beating top French wines at a blind tasting subsequently dubbed “The Judgement of Paris.” This cornucopia of fine American produce is available as part of three set menus priced at NT$1,840 until Oct. 31.
Over at the Shangri-la Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, the chef’s at the Shang Palace restaurant are busy cooking up a wide selection of Cantonese style double-boiled soups. Soups are one of the highlights of Cantonese cuisine, and often require hours of careful preparation to get the flavors and textures just right. There is even a saying that Cantonese people would rather go without meat than go without soup (寧可食無肉，不可食無湯). According to Chef Ip Chi-Kwong (葉志光), who has over 40 years experience cooking Cantonese food, soups are especially good as autumn approaches, as the air becomes drier and the body can easily dehydrate. From Double-Boiled Watermelon Soup with Duck and Snow Fungus (西瓜燉米鴨, NT$390) to Double-Boiled Sea Conch Fish Maw with Pork Knuckle (花膠響螺燉豬展, NT$880), the soups range from the homely to the exotic, and make a good accompaniment to the Shang Palace’s regular menu. The selection of soups is available until Sept. 30.