Sunday, December 12, 2010

漁泊食堂 (Yu Bo Shi Tang)

Yu Bo Shi Tang
Lishui Street #5-5, Taipei
Just a little west of Yongkang Street, between Xinyi and Jinhua Roads

We tried this place out yesterday with Joseph and it was delicious - the setup was Japanese style, with wooden plaques hanging from a series of hooks on a wall indicating the menu (also a popular method in Taiwan), a high hutch between the serving area and the diners, and a long bar-like counter at which one eats.

Front to back - meaty rice, my husband's hands, our delicious fish, the bowl of snails next to the wine-stewed eel, more rice, someone's drink.

As you can guess, the specialty here is fish - when you ask about fish, a giant basket of the catches of the day appears, and you pick the one you want. You can ask for recommendations (for example, if you want a firm or soft-meat fish, with normal or few bones, etc) and get prices - most fish seem to cost approximately NT 500, give or take a hundred kuai.

Our fish, which was firmer-fleshed with fewer bones, came cooked with crispy, flaky skin that had no taste of bitterness, delicious seasoning and a fileting that left one side bone free. Digging into the remnants, Joseph said "I've done all I can to this fish without actually picking it up and chewing it" as he held up its spine and fins, picked clean.

Considering that when we sat down, the man next to me (who had left by the time the comment was made) was doing more or less just that, I'm not sure it would have been a big deal if he had.

With the delicious fish, we got some slightly overcooked but still good and well-seasoned green veggie topped with sesame seeds, a bowl each of something akin to lu rou fan (rice with a meaty stew) but served with pink pickled ginger and seasoned onion slices, red wine cooked eel which was spectacular (seriously - get it. 紅酒鰻魚) which was big and fat and meaty and not slimy with tiny chewy bones the way most sushi eel is. We also got spicy snails which were delicious.

Sake, Coke and water are available (the sake is tasty and a good deal) and the owners friendly.

All in all, a great option in the Yongkang area, which I'd previously found a bit disappointing despite its reputation as a culinary mecca.

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