no-name.com.tw (Chinese only)
date visited: 12/14/2006
This place is actually called NO NAME CONGEE-- it's such a weird name, it makes it stand out even more and easy to remember its name. And it's important to stand out since this place is one of many little shops on the same street that serve porridge and side dishes into the wee hours of the morning on Fu-Hsia S. Road open 24 hours a day. I was amazed to discover this "shi-fan" or congee street and that I had never heard of it before- turns out it is a popular local spot for people looking for affordable eats for large groups, before or after clubbing/Cashbox karaoke singing/late night movie/activities, somewhere to go after you land at 5 am into Taipei airport. We had about sixteen people at 11pm and most places that are open that late cannot accomodate so many people on a whim- but we found lots of room at No Name.
The way it works is that you basically pick out the side dishes you want and they supply the porridge/congee for free- if you are a party of one, you can just choose a few and get a free pot of porridge for however much your side dishes cost.
If you are a huge group like we were, then make sure you coordinate who gets what, so you don' t have a ton of overlap and leftover side dishes from too many hungry people grabbing dishes for each other.
The side dishes range from NT$50-$100, depending on the color of the plate/size of the plate and what it is. If in doubt, ask. There's no menu- instead at a buffet-style self serve area, you can just pick out what looks good since nothing is really labeled. You can either pick from the plates above the glass, or ask them to dish you up a fresh plate.
The sides were relatively fresh and there is a wide assortment including lots of traditional sides- including thousand year old egg, bamboo, mushrooms, various green veggies such as braised asparagus, egg omelette, cucumber, fried sweet gluten... The porridge is Taiwanese style, with large cubes of sweet potato mixed into the not too soupy, not too thick porridge.
It's a pretty spartan space, but clean and open seating with upstairs and downstairs areas. It's not too crowded that you can't find an area to sit, and you can linger in conversation over your food if you want. This is the only one I've tried-- I've heard they are all about the same-- but if anyone else recommends another one instead, I think I'll definitely be back eventually one late night (or early morning!) when everything else is closed.