Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Eating My Way Through Taiwan: Japanese Barbeque

The Japanese Barbeque

This year we celebrated our anniversary by going to a Japanese Barbeque Restaurant. There are a number of these restaurants in Taoyuan City. The one I like to go to is maybe 5 blocks from our home. The restaurant is an “All-You-Can-Eat” place, where you cook at your table. You barbeque meats and cook Hot Pot. (See the Hot Pot post below)

You order based on three different menus of escalating prices. The prices vary based on the variety of meats that you desire. I always go with the lowest priced menu. For $299 NT Dollars (approximately $9.00 USD) per person you receive: All you can eat Beef, Pork, Chicken, To Gan (A type of Tofu), and Tian Bu La (Processed fish cake), a Hot Pot, salad, two types of desert and drinks. What a great value. Hot Pot alone costs $250 NT at a Hot Pot restaurant.

As you walk into the restaurant, the workers prepare a table for you. They put charcoal into the barbeque pit at your table and light the igniters and the charcoal begins to heat up. The barbeques usually have an exhaust hood like the hood on your cook top at home. A fan pulls the smoke up into the hood and it is vented outside of the restaurant. The problem is that most of the time the hood is between you and your guest, and it’s noisy. In this particular restaurant, the exhaust hood is built into the table. The smoke is pulled out before it leaves the barbeque. There is no conversation blocking exhaust hood in your face. You can easily talk and see the person you’re with.

After you order, the workers then go in the back and prepare your Hot Pot with all the usual ingredients: Processed Fish Cakes, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Shrimp, Duck blood (I can do without the Duck blood) and broth.
The fire is lit and the pot set on the boil. While this is happening you can go back and prepare your barbeque sauce. It’s similar to the hot pot sauce but a little sweeter with citrus slices in it. Then they begin to bring the meat… and bring the meat…and bring the meat, until you cry “Uncle” and tell them to stop.

The meat is thinly sliced and quickly barbequed. You season with salt and pepper, and then use your chopsticks to dip the meat into the “Barbeque Sauce” you made up earlier. I use the same sauce to dip my Hot Pot ingredients into. What a feast. But that’s not the end of it.

After you stop the meat flow, the workers prepare a desert that is made from a small loaf of doughy bread that is sprinkled with a sweet peanut powder and a type of sauce and heated. This is delicious when eaten hot. Our waitress warned us that if it gets cold, “You won’t want to taste it.” Then another desert is brought that consists of small doughy bars that are heated on the barbeque and then dipped into the sauce and peanut powder.

I can’t tell you the name of the restaurant because it is written in Chinese Characters and I don’t know all the characters in the name. But, if you come here I’ll make sure you get to visit this place. This place is highly recommended by Larry Beaureguard, if you know him you can ask him about it. If you’re a local it’s right across from Yang Ming Park on Changsha Road at the end of the block.

Other posts you may be interested in:

Eating My Way Through Taiwan:  A Traditional Restaurant
Eating My Way Through Taiwan:  Hot Pot

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