Monday, January 21, 2013

A Fair-share of Taiwanese Cuisine from Shi Lin

When a new word catches my attention, mostly if it is a foreign name of a restaurant or food, the first thing I do is to google it.   Google now may be referred to a verb or an action word meaning to search in the internet.  I guess I don't have to educate you on that.
The new word I was talking about is Shi Lin.  It is not actually new to foodies for it has become illustrious which you can see with a number of reviews compiled by Google.   However, it didn't actually gave me what I was asking for.   No translation for Shi Lin but information about Shi Lin market famous in Taipei showed up.   So I guess it would typify the street food that are abundant in Shi Lin market, which I've read is one of the world's sought street  food flare.
Thus, Shi Lin, a Taiwanese restaurant which we found at the Fort.   It looked simple outside but with a mesmerizing site of the pink and white diagonal hanging lamps from our point, which was on the other side of the street.
Quite unique in it's right amongst Chinese food, it is a mash up of  Xiamen, Hokkien and a bit of Japanese culture.   As you can see the interior of the restaurant has that clean, elegantly streamed-line that draws modern art and food to a union.

Compared to other branches which are narrow or tight in space, the one at the Fort is spacious and has an upstairs dining space for the more private ones, which I also found to be a good company or business meeting venue.   Ample parking space is nearby and note-worthy restaurants are also around like Relik, Singapore Food Republic, Tully's  and Cha Time, and more
This twin painting goes practically well with the warm hues of the walls and the pale yellow leathered chairs.
I bet you're dying to know how we found the food.   I've read that they have one of the best Xia Long Bao in the metro and have been rated by as number one.
On the Second photo from the top, you can see the staff making dumplings, at that time they were making Xiao Long Bao.   Will  tell you how their Xiao Long bao is in a while.

Let me share we had first.
Japanese Cucumber.  Intriguing as it may  sound, known as Suhyo,  it is slim and long, compared to our local cucumbers which are oblongated yet short.   Some grows as long as 18 inches but has a diameter of 1 1/4 inches.   It was made into a salad with a bit spiced white vinegar.    Surprisingly, it was more than crunchy and refreshing.   I guess the only restaurant I've tried where they have cucumbers served like.
Okay now, let me braise my self first, as I am drooling and dreaming of having these babies beside me,  quite an awesome dumpling sight you might say, and I couldn't agree more, but if I say that these are soup-filled dumplings how would you react?
Xiao Long  Bao, literally is "little basket bun",  is a petite and delicate steamed dumpling.  However thin though it's skin maybe it is pliable that it holds warm soup inside it.   Indeed tricky the recipe maybe, foodies never seemed to ponder how it could hold up a sample of the chicken broth while having the filling intact and tasty on its own.
Though small (xiao), it is heavy on the tummy, where a condiment of  sesame soy  sauce, ginger and sambal are served with it.   There is actually a note on the edge of the table on how it can be savored.  Remember there is a liquid inside.  
Here is the best way to enjoy it.
Pick up one of those soup spoon and a pair of chopsticks.   Gently lay down one of those tender, juicy dumplings so that it drapes seductively in your spoon.   Glide the warm spoon towards your mouth, let your lips lightly brush against the pleats of the dumpling.  Slowly move down and take a little nibble on on of the folds of the skin.  No, let's not be hasty by putting  the whole dumpling  inside your mouth, yet.  Let the wisps of steam escape out and caress your upper lip and the tip of your nose. Now, surrender to the aromatic symphony of the filling tickling your senses.  Go ahead, slowly bite into it.   An explosion of rich, steaming, hot juice oozes into the groove of your tongue, dribbling down the side of your chin, make sure you try to catch any escaping broth with your spoon.
Ahhh, no wonder why more and more foodies are into the search for the best Xiao Long Bao, and I've only just begun yet I'm concluding that I have found it!

Yes, it actually gave me a mild amnesia, for I have forgotten how these plate of omelette was named.    It is simply an omelette garnished with bell peppers but has mighty  bits and pieces of seafoods such as squid, shrimp and oyster.  A good replacement to the usual meaty fare but still gives that protein packed goodness one might be aiming for.
Of course, we can not pass by a Taiwanese restaurant without having noodles.   Though fresh in our memory how a Tom yum soup have stuck in our minds, Bhogs preffered to try Shi Lin's    So he ordered  Noodles with Braised beef soup.   The bowl came in big but can be consumed by one person.   Spiced delicately, the warm beefy broth with a touch of sesame oil is very hearty, add into it chunks of  tenderized beef and loads of leeks and my favorite leaf vegetable, bok choy.
We thought the experience would be enough but then we could not resist the steamed buns calling us, so we gave in and ordered Pork Buns.   The bun was big and the filling is just as lovely as their Xiao Long Baos.   As you can see, the bun comfortable holds the filling which comprises of pork ball, Chinese chorizo, salted egg, and shreds of leeks.   What I don't like about this one though is that the inside is soggy down to the bottom, which destructs the softness and airiness of the rice bun ( the bun is sort of a mash up of puto and siopao bun).   But still all in all, it was indeed captivating and drool worthy, and oh let me not forget that the price is so affordable you'll be surprised, so would we go back here?    Definitely!

Shi Lin 

Address:  Commercenter Bldg 4th Ave Cor 31st St. FGC, Taguig
Contact Numbers:  5427237 and 09177408567


I would love to hear your thoughts on my post, care for a comment?