Friday, June 19, 2009

Jia Xing Yu Wan (嘉興魚丸)

Another in a long list of restaurants I'll probably be visiting soon, 嘉興魚丸 (Jia Xing Yu Wan) serves up Taiwanese/Fuzhou style soups with noodles, fish balls, and I suppose what could be the equivalent of Chinese sausages (not the roasted and charred kind you find at night markets). This kind of store is a dime a dozen in Taipei, and most do a respectable job interpreting what I think is a simple, but amazingly homely dish, and Jia Xing doesn't disappoint. Do I have to even describe what the store looks like? Four words... Dingy, small, tables, and stools. That's it. No extra decorations, this place is entirely about the food. First up was something that I didn't order, my cousin got this dish known as 板條 (Ban tiao). It's basically the rice noodles that most people are somewhat familiar with at Chinese supermarkets, with the same name, which are then cooked up in the fish ball broth, topped with 2 Fuzhou style fish balls, and a pork ball (same kind as in hot pot). Served with a sprinkling of green scallions on top for flavor, it's a simple dish that's pretty satisfying. While I didn't try it, my cousin seemed to like it plenty, and at 50 NT ($1.50... don't quote me on the price), it's a ridiculously cheap meal.

My Aunt K, previously mentioned here, chose to go with a the 猷魚羹 (You yu geng) which is essentially ground pork squeezed with fish paste into little sausages, then dropped in soup. It gets cooked up with bamboo shoots, cilantro, and a whole mess of other ingredients on which I'm not too familiar (and don't care to know) until it's thick in consistency. Like a sweet and sour soup, but on steroids haha. Again, this dish ended up costing the same 50 NT ($1.50... and once again don't quote me on the price, I'm a bit hazy). Since I didn't try this one either, I'm not sure how good it was, but my Aunt seemed pretty indifferent. She did however suggest that there were much better versions of this nearby, so if that's any indication, she wasn't enamored with her bowl. Still, at $1.50, which is literally throwaway change for a lot of people in midtown, I don't think anyone would complain. There is a major drawback to this entree though... since you're already getting meat in the form of 'geng,' you won't be getting their fish balls or pork balls, which they're probably better at/more famous for... which isn't saying much haha.

As for me... since I had already eaten lunch with the 'mom,' I wasn't too keen on having a full on meal, but I have had a recent craving for Fuzhou fish balls, so I decided to go light and split an order. If you look back at the Lin Jiang night market version, it was clearly disappointing (what should I have expected getting fish balls from a place not specializing in that?), so my expectations were somewhat dimmed, and my experience had been sour from the get go. For 40 NT ($1.25) at this place, you get 3 fish balls, a pork ball, and the same broth as the ban tiao dish. The fish balls were definitely solid, thinner skin, more filling than the other place, and the pork ball was pretty good... chewy, but not to the point where you felt like you were gnawing on a super ball. It really was a solid showing, and I have to say, I have to reconsider my stance on fish balls. That said... would I recommend this place? Eh... if you really want to waste your time looking for this specific one, be my guest, but in truth, 75% of the places in Taipei taste just as good, and for the same price. My suggestion is just to slide into any street side stores and order whatever you want, this place probably won't reappear on my 'to-eat-list.'

Oh yeah, if anyone else has the problem I had about not being able to post comments on blogger sites, it's just because you don't have third party cookies enabled. For some reason, this doesn't matter if you're in the US, but if you're overseas, I guess the international sites aren't considered as the 'primary site.' So that's another task resolved (damn you Amex and you're 'agile' development terms).

Lastly... morning run... 7.23 miles in the book, the first 6.5 being solid running, and the latter 3/4 of a mile being stop and go. I had a really nice route from my house to Taipei 101, and then back to CKS memorial hall, where I saw a race event for a 2.6 mile run (unfortunately to officially enter, you had to register a month ago grrr). Whatever, today's run felt really easy, aside from it being overly humid, I'll take what seems to be one of my last good running days before leaving for TTT orientation (woo! first typhoon of the season!).

distance for the day: 7.23 miles
distance biked for the day: 0.00 miles

distance on the year: 333.05 miles
distance biked on the year: 142.68 miles


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oh snap. I can control the text here?