Authentic Taiwanese eatery worth the extra effort
Guang Tou Jiang is a well-kept secret among food aficionados and the local Taiwan community. The restaurant is tucked inside a plain-looking building on Wuzhong Road and is a 45-minute drive from city center.
Nevertheless, the distant location doesn’t stop Taiwan food lovers from making the extra effort. The interior is clean, bright and simply furnished, and reservations are required — especially for weekend dining.
Guang Tou Jiang offers authentic and whole-hearted food preparation with an emphasis on original flavors and fresh ingredients. The recipes are genuinely Taiwan-style — herbal, deeply umami flavors permeate the cuisine.
Local indigenous flavors and waves of outside culinary influences coalesce into the “salty-sweet” trademark of modern Taiwan-style food with handfuls of basil, garlic and corianders supercharging nearly every dish.
There’s a variety of signature dishes to choose from. I started with stinky tofu, three-cup chicken and basil clams. The stinky tofu, although not appealing to everyone, was delicious. The Taiwan version of stinky tofu is less smelly but more moist than most, and the tender fried tofu is good for pairing with sweet chili sauce and pickled cabbage.
Three-cup chicken is one of the most well-known Taiwan dishes. The chicken’s braising liquid consists of three equal parts of rice wine, soy sauce and sesame oil, cooked and served in an earthenware pot. When it arrived the chicken was still crackling with a generous final touch of basil.
Fried chicken is also on the menu in a Taiwan popcorn-style variety, commonly sold by street vendors and in night markets across the island. Usually tossed with salt, pepper and basil leaves, the end result is crunchy, fragrant chicken that leaves you craving more.
Another highlight of my meal was the steamed fish with cordia dichotoma seeds, native to Taiwan and commonly used in steamed fish. A spoonful of the olive-like seeds infuses the dish with a mild sweet-and-sour touch, giving the delicate fish a unique, tantalizing taste.
Visitors to Taiwan would rarely leave without sampling the famous oyster vermicelli noodles, so why not top off a lovely experience at Guang Tou Jiang with a comforting bowl of this renowned street food?
It certainly worked well for me.
Opening hours: 10:30am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-9pm (Sunday off)
Address: Unit C, 2/F, 1068 Wuzhong Rd
Average price: 120 yuan