One of the great things I appreciate about the Chinese language is the wit and subtlety within which it operates. Sure, in English, clever puns exist too, but you have to realize that within the lexicon of the Chinese language, homonyms are much more frequent, and idioms are just as abundant... so yeah. On that note, I'd like to mention a restaurant that I felt obligated to visit on the sheer cleverness of its name alone, 麵對餡實小麵館. It has the pinyin of 'Mian4 Dui4 Xian4 Shi2,' with characters that match a phrase that translates roughly to 'noodles done right with excellent ingredients,' but the more obvious phonetic translation would be to 'face the facts.' That's Sherlock Holmes level wit right there, but no amount of wordplay can save a restaurant from lackluster food.
Thank goodness they're pretty famous for their noodles too. Having no clue what the phrase 'in moderation' means, I started off with an order of 蔥油辣麵. Without giving any background, the literal translation is basically spicy oil noodles (similar to 擔擔麵, but with a thicker and less soup like sauce). Basically a sweet and spicy sauce is poured over a dish of hand pulled noodles, a giant handful of minced garlic is thrown on, and finally finished with a helping of cilantro. Freakin' phenomenal. For, I think, 55 NT (~$1.75) it makes for a pretty fulfilling meal. The hand pulled noodles were spot on in texture, and the sauce was absolutely sublime. Just sweet enough for you to look forward to coating each bite, but spicy enough for you to be slightly hesitant in doing so, it's truly the perfect tease. I probably would've been fulfilled having this alone, but then again... I knew this wasn't the star of the show here.
This is. The famous lion's head noodles. I forget how much it cost (maybe ballpark ~120 NT, but I'm pretty much pulling that figure out of my ass), but you know what? It doesn't matter. This dish was good enough to make the 蔥油辣麵 look like a sad consolation prize. If I had to explain, this was one of those instances where I really didn't care that I spent more than 100 NT on a meal (yes I'm a cheapskate). If you're unfamiliar with what lion's head meatballs are, have a quick read on Wiki. Basically, you're given a giant pot of noodles, cabbage, and two of these monstrous fried meatballs roughly 3" in diameter, all immersed in one of the richest pork broths I've ever put to my lips. Heavenly, would be the only way I can think to describe it. The post meal experience of licking my lips was as if I had just made out with strips of freshly fried bacon for several minutes prior. To a guy like me, that's pure bliss (yeah I'm weird).
At the end of my meal I was greeted with this awesome check. Or I guess I should say 'chit.' It's definitely true that Chinese is a beautifully complex language, but I guess it's no match for simple English haha.