Friday, March 19, 2010

Half-price Katsuhama! (京都 Jing Dou)

Sorry for the deceptive title. No it's not some sort of promotion that they're running, but rather a clone I found in Taipei. Somewhere near the Taipei Main Train Station, there exists a couple streets that are filled with tutoring centers (you know how Asian parents do... they force their kids to take more classes outside of school). Luckily, business owners have also come to realize that an unhappy student is also a hungry student. These particular streets are also chock full of restaurants from Indian curry buffets to the Japanese katsu houses. Like I said, last Summer (yes I'm still posting about that saga), I was on a curry-katsu bender. Regardless of what else was in the area, I would defer to the crispy ecstasy that was fried pork. Just my luck, I happened upon this restaurant 京都, which was featuring a 150 NT ($4.50) dinner special.

First thing, the presentation was excellent. The inside of the shop was much nicer than most of the cheap student options found littered throughout Taipei. The tables didn't wobble (~strange), the seats were comfortable, and it looked... how can I put this? hygienic. Plus, check out the cool instructions they have for making your own sauce! They give you a bowl with sesames and assorted other spices and seeds which you're supposed to grind and add tonkatsu sauce too. I'm normally lazy, and would prefer my sauce prepared in advance, but the novelty was there.

Oh god, for $4.50 I get more food than I would at Katsuhama! Just a quick rundown of what you get, on the right is the sesame bowl for mixing the sauce, as well as pickled vegetables (mainly there for you to cleanse your palate). On the left was the miso soup, which was surprisingly rich and thick, as well as the rice. A note on the rice, it's covered in sesame seeds and also something called 牛旁 (Niu Pang) in Chinese, which are burdock that's been cut into thin strips, cooked, and cooled. The joke is, that in the raw uncooked and uncut form, they form long rods that are similar to a cow's member... hence the Chinese name. They taste okay I guess. I have no particular love for them. In the center is the golden beautiful katsu, with perfectly crispy skin, deliciously moist and tender meat that pulls apart simply with chopsticks. Seriously incredible. In the back, a couple fried yams, shredded cabbage, and a lemon... no clue what that was there for.

I know I'm not really being helpful since I can't identify the exact street, but if you, by some miracle, find this joint, do yourself a favor and eat there. Serious noms to be had (keep in mind I was willing to spend a bit more than my 100 NT limit to go here haha).


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oh snap. I can control the text here?