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thyme (sarah)

So fun trying to imagine these dishes that sound so foreign to our Western palate. I love soups so I'm sure I could easily adjust to their varied flavors. Sounds like it was a fabulous (although hot!) trip.


This looks great. I lived near Gongguan when I was little, but was not aware of this 魷魚羹 place, would love to try it next time I go back.

Google map was not able to locate Bochuan Lu, any landmarks or a cross street?

Susan Marmé

This is a very interesting post -- that form of soup, geng, is one of the most ancient foods in China, incidentally. This version sounds terrific. Can't wait to hear more about one of my favorite cities and my heart's home :)


You keep charting territory for our future short regional trips. Taipei quite firmly in next year's list - along with return to your neighbourhood! And Turkey, well....

Thanks alot!


There is something distinctively and indispensable in Taiwanese old time youyu geng that is missing here , by the menu, is the Shacha youyu geng. I had only eaten youyu geng with shacha sauce 沙茶, never otherwise. Shacha in Taiwanese dialect, of course pronounced exactly as Satay. The absence of Shacha here + hand ground, hand shaped fish paste dumpling make it Hakka in Taiwan – Geng unconcerned. That’s my view.

The 3-way squid soup is called ‘zong he youyu geng’ (zong he, assorted, 綜合). You will see ‘zong he’ used in a lot of food in Taiwan – cold platters, shaved ice, juice, anything you want with more than one topping, filling or mixed arrangement.

The main shop is at Ding Zhou Lu section 3, no. 289 (Gongguan); otherwise a Shida branch on Shida Lu intersecting Pucheng Lu 蒲城路. Maybe that’s what you meant Bochuan Lu.


Sarah, it *was* really too hot, which affects the appetite .... otherwise we had a great time and certainly ate very well! Taipei-ans are super friendly, another great thing about the city.
Albert, see new address, with Katy's help. I must've copied the characters incorrectly.
Thanks for reading Susan, how lucky you are to have lived there. We haven't, but I consider Taipei my favourite city in Asia.
Sticky - we'd gladly meet you there! (But not in the summer.)
Katy, thanks and noted on the address. I did not get to try shacha while in Taipei and this bums me out. We just couldn't fit in a re chao meal (IC suggested we order green veggie with sha cha). Next time.


One thing about 魷魚羹 I want to throw out there is the use of dry fish flakes (like katsuobushi) in the soup, this is likely related to the Japanese stock - dashi, perhaps one of influences from the occupation.


Awesome post. Hope to see more stuff from your recent trip!


Interesting Albert, thank you! Dunno if they use the flakes in this version but I'll check next time I'm in Taipei (bec I am definitely returning to this stall!).

Thanks Mike! Yes, there will be more posts. Stay tuned.


Not a fan of goopy soup, but reading this made me think of the goopy version available in Msia @ prawn noodle stalls. There is the usual red prawn-y soup with noodles and this other version with thickened dark brown soup and served with chopped garlic and black vinegar.


I was just thinking I hadn’t had noodles ‘dry’ prepared like that when I was living there– not in ‘you mian’ (油麵. We call yellow noodles ‘you mian’ – greased noodle) and not in lard. So googled – indeed this bowl is called ‘Ke jia cong you mian’客家蔥油麵. cong is shallot here. Not only that, Hakka you mian and Taiwanese you mian are made from different process and it is said, Hakka’s is now mass produced and gradually replacing Taiwanese. How is the process different I can’t see, but Hakka’s preserved better in soup, don’t puff or go soft soaked. I reckon the youyu geng in this store 3 generations away would have been a different content and style. I know it is different with your hujiao bing – 30 years ago at the wanhua location and now. Taiwan has gone through a food branding and promoting in the 1990’s resulting in today’s style in both the food that you had. which also may have explained that people living abroad since 1990 would have been unfamiliar with this Hakka geng in this fashion. Li Ji was probably the original name before the brand Hakka youyu geng was promoted.

Hakka you mian is mass produced in Beipu 北埔,near Hsinchu.

You can truly say this youmian dry bowl is Hakka style.


You should visit Taichung. I have a long list of places to send you!!!!


Me either Chris, the texture is off-putting the flavour of this one was so good. I'm a sucker for anything seafood-ish.
The Malaysian dish you're thinking of is lor mee/loh mee (depending on the sign). The dark gravy is scented with 5 spice, every version is different, some more cinnamon-y, some taste more strongly of star anise, there's always pork and prawn in there and yes, they're served at Hokkien mee stalls. The idea is you can mix the two if you like. A bland loh mee is nothing to be excited about, but a really strong spicy one is nice, especially thinned with the garlic-vinegar and chili sauces served alongside.

I'll keep it in mind, Mike, when we next go to Taiwan!

Katy, I'd love to reproduce that shallot oil. I know it's just shallots cooked slowly but I can't imagine I'd even do it as well as that stall does.

Michael Czyzewski

You don't have to worry too much about making cong you if you have a trip to Taiwan planned. When I was last there, I bought a big, homemade jar of it. Literally, it consists of lard and shallots fried in the lard. You can find it at mom and pop shops, although you might have to do a little digging to find it. I bought my jar in Miaoli county...lots of Hakka people there.


Mike, I really rue not carrying back the jars of lard and lard with cracklings that I saw sold by San Shui market across from Bopilao in Taipei.


All these talk about Taiwanese food is making me hungry and homesick, ha.

I am guessing you also had 蚵仔麵線 on this trip? It is another well known Taiwanese noodle soup thickened with starch. Made with really thin and soft noodle (noodles are usually light brown in color). And as the name implies, it typically has oysters in it, and sometimes pig intestine as well. Dry fish flake (柴魚)is also used in this soup by many if not most vendors.


Albert, I didn't. There is so much we didn't eat on this trip, time was too tight and, well, I was working! Next trip. I assume the "four gods" soup noodle you see everywhere is also of the starch-thickened genre. This all needs sustained investigation. :)


o-a-mi-soa (Oyster thin noodle蚵仔麵線) and toa-tng-mi-soa (Large intestine thin noodle大腸麵線) are relatives of this Taiwanese thin noodle starched soup. They are commonly offered in one stall accommodating individual preference, but as Albert said, they are served mixed as well (the Hokkien pork and seafood combination). Black vinegar is used here – definitely in the Oyster’s.
As far as I understand – four god soup is a soup, not geng. And it’s herbal – so I assume the thickness in the soup was produced by grains etc – most likely barley. I wouldn’t have thought by sweet potato as is the case in the geng in Taiwan. They may be both thick but they are different class soup I believe. And by the way, not all o-a-mi-soa is starch thickened, resource points out that in Lukang (deer harbour), it is served with clear soup, although the oyster is coated with corn starch before cooked. If four gods soup is starch thickened, maybe of this fashion, for coating, not for the soup base.


ahh... my heart aches remembering my mom's youyu geng and oa mi sua. shacha or not, i always had to have multiple bowls.

i haven't been to taiwan since the 100 yr festivities, but looks like i need to plan another trip soon.


Kudos to finding such unique, interesting foods! I used to live in Taiwan for 15 years and never had squid noodles! How shameful! Glad you enjoyed your culinary trip in Taiwan.

Ali Bowling

Taiwan is just one of the Eastern countries I really want to visit because of their cultures and amazingly different foods. YOu are so lucky to have been. Please keep writing about your trips and keep posting recipes on the food from each place...so exciting to read about it. I live vicariously through your travels LOL!

Wina Chen

you already know alot!!

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