From time to time, I still think of that amazing lobster roll I had at Ed’s Lobster Bar by the New York City waterfront on my last visit.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I passed by the Lobster Bar in Taipei. However, the restaurant’s higher-end, atmospheric interior, had always deterred me from just popping in for a quick seafood fix.
Eventually, I brought a date. But as soon as we sat down it became apparent that, due to portions and pricing, we should have brought a group so that we could sample the restaurant’s intriguing and diverse menu, which includes far more than its namesake suggests. For example, we didn’t order the seafood paella because there was a minimum order of two portions (NT$420 per portion), and who wants to fill up on rice when there’s lobster?
Photo: Han Cheung, Taipei Times
Also, visit early if you want to try the surf and turf burger (NT$680), featuring prime shoulder meat, foie gras and lobster. Alas, they only make 10 of these per day.
For appetizers, we ordered the deviled eggs (NT$280) and the crab cakes (NT$380 for two). The crab cakes were excellent, as each bite contained copious amounts of juicy crab meat with little filler. The abundance of meat, though, caused the bottom of the crab cake to become slightly soggy — but I’m not complaining. They were flavorful yet not greasy, and I didn’t need the lemon or tartar sauce that it was served with.
The deviled eggs were tart and rich, with faint sweet bacon highlights from the slivers on top. This appetizer would be better shared in a group, as with four eggs per order, the savoriness became overwhelming after the first two halves.
Photo: Han Cheung, Taipei Times
Since we had been talking about sandwiches, the mini rolls (NT$380 for three) were an obvious choice. The bite-sized rolls form all three of the restaurant’s signature seafood: lobster, crab and shrimp. This is where this restaurant really shines.
The generously-portioned lobster salad with a slight dollop of mayo was served in a soft roll and was a harmonious match that melted in my mouth. The crab roll was also in salad form, but with less mayo and not as sweet. The crab didn’t come in chunks like the lobster, constituting a finer texture. With this sandwich, the bread had a firmer texture, making an enjoyable contrast from the previous roll.
The shrimp roll was saltier, which balanced out the other two rolls. This one was my least favorite, as the shrimp was grilled and a bit chewy.
Since we were at a lobster restaurant, we splurged and ordered another entree. This was a mistake. Although filled with the sweet crustacean, the lobster ravioli (NT$620) in lobster sauce somehow felt more like a Chinese wonton than its Italian counterpart. The pasta was unevenly cooked — too firm in some places, overly soft in others and it fell apart quite easily.
The lobster sauce had appealing nutty overtones, but erred on the salty side and, like the noodles, carried more of an Asian than Italian consistency. Abundant garlic slices provided a kick, but as a whole it overpowered the main ingredient.
Later, I surfed the Internet to see what others were saying about Lobster Bar and the anecdotal consensus is that the uni pasta (NT$520) or duck truffle risotto (NT$480) would be a better entree choice despite their lack of, ah, lobster.
Although we didn’t try any alcohol, the menu has a small selection of beers, including the green tea-infused Iki and Hitachino Nest. It also features standard classic cocktails, hot cocktails as well as originals such as Alice in Lobsterland (NT$400, mango puree, cream, eggnog, soda water).
When I left, I wish I had just stuck to what I originally craved. Next time I come, I’m just going to sit by the bar and order a full-sized lobster roll with a beer.
June 5 to June 11 After trying all day, reporters finally reached then-Peking University president Ding Shisun (丁石孫) by phone. It was around 6pm on June 10, 1989, the first day that Taiwanese could directly call people in China, and a week after the People’s Liberation Army began violently suppressing the pro-democracy student protests in Tiananmen Square. The reporters, who worked at the Liberty Times (Taipei Times’ sister newspaper), asked Ding about the situation at the school, whose students were the center of the demonstrations. Ding replied, “The students have all left!” When they asked whether any students or professors had been
It’s certainly been a pleasure watching the presidential campaign launch of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate Hou You-yi (侯友宜) lurch painfully about like a wounded pachyderm in search of an elephant graveyard. Hou’s fall to third place in some polls last week appears early, and it might still be recoverable. But grumbling in his party about replacing him has already begun. Indeed, all indications are that the party that twice gave us Lien Chan (連戰), the most despised politician in Taiwan, as a presidential candidate and later offered voters Hung Hsiu-chu (洪秀柱) and Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜), is arcing along its normal
When Toi Windham co-organized a Black Lives Matter rally in Taipei three years ago, she received some unfriendly comments questioning the relevance of such an event to Taiwan. “They were like, don’t bring your American problems here, we’re not racist,” she says. While it’s true that African-Americans don’t experience the same overt racial tension here as they do back home, microaggressions such as constant stares, people trying to touch her hair or making insensitive comments are part of Windham’s daily life. Discriminatory hiring practices still occur. Plus, blatant racism toward Southeast Asian migrant workers and the indigenous community regularly make
Most tourists and longtime residents of Taiwan have visited Taipei’s tallest building, Taipei 101, at some point. Far fewer make it inside the building that was Taipei’s tallest over a century ago and is still standing today. It has withstood fires, American bombardment during World War II and major political regime changes. Throughout most of its existence, its purpose has remained the same, serving as an office for the leader of Taiwan: the governor-general during the Japanese era, and the Republic of China (ROC) president since then. This place is the Presidential Office Building (總統府). As it is still in active