1010 HUNAN POP CUISINE
No. 301 Fuxing N. Rd
MRT: Nanjing E. Rd or SongShan Airport
website: 1010restaurant.com (Mostly Chinese with some English) and FB page
hours: 11:30AM - 2:30PM/ 5:30PM - 10PM
Sat/Sun: 11:30AM - 3PM/ 5:30PM - 10:30PM
Kid friendliness: many non-spicy items available
Visit reviewed: 2/21/2011 & 4/24/2010
Oftentimes Chinese food isn't seen as luxurious as other cuisines and maybe in some parts we have ourselves to blame. We revel in that we can eat a huge bowl of oyster vermicelli for only NT$45 and we'll do it standing up with no tables or chairs, slurping down a hot bowl without vanity. We'll eat whatever-on-a-stick and stinky tofu and wander the alleys of the night market in hunt for late night cheap eats with swarms of other sweaty people in the middle of a humid Taipei summer (because a huge tsui jian bao is only NT$10!) But this all because it all tastes SO good, who needs all the frou frou?
But maybe it wouldn't be so bad if Chinese food was fancy. A place nice enough to take your parents that won't have them complaining how overpriced the food is for such small portions (like my one time attempt at taking my parents to PF Changs for "nice" Chinese food in LA). A nice place that isn't Japanese or Italian or a steakhouse, so for the grandmas and extended Chinese relatives that only eat things that go with white rice.
1010 Hunan Pop Cuisine blends modern style, taste and family dining into an upscale setting that is relaxed enough for you to get your hands dirty. It's also brings Chinese food to the table for those that like it hot and spicy with family style sized portions.
The English and Chinese menu has a pictures for most items as well as pre-set menus with drinks and dessert for a slightly better value. Look for the level of spiciness of each dish noted by the number of chili peppers next to it.
This post will include dishes from two different meals (and two different locations), as the first time I went with a group of girlfriends we got to try more things to share. The more recent lunch at the Eslite location was to jog my memory and double check that it was as good as I remembered. And it definitely was.
A couple tips- splurge on a drink and rice. Many of the dishes are gonna be putting mini-fires in your mouth and the lychee drink and steamed rice definitely helped soften it.
Order one or two fried pork ribs with chili and fennel spices per person. This is their signature dish and not cheap at NT$150 a rib, but it's worth it. Tender meat packed with flavor, the fennel seeds give it an unique aromatic crunch that's not overpowering.
This is the dish that will have you coming back, or at least thinking about going back for a few days. And the good thing is that you can order this dish no matter if you are dining alone or with a lot of people, since they just charge per rib.
Other favorite dishes I recommend ordering- the sauteed smoked pork with preserved bean, which is sour, smoky and crunchy.
The fried shrimp skewers which have a kick to them and can be eaten whole with the crispy skin on. I peeled the head and legs off of mine. There are a lot of skewers in one order and so even more reason to bring a lot of people so you can order more things!
I didn't dare drink the soup for the Hot Pot Preserved Tofu & Pork Intestine, but I kept scooping out the chewy intestines, blood cubes and stinky tofu to go with my bowl of rice. This dish has the maximum three chilis next to it on the menu and you can see all the chili peppers, sporting varying shades of red.
The Beef and vermicelli with pickled cabbage (NT$300) reminds me a little of the Korean glass noodle dish japchae.
If you have room or a larger group, you can consider ordering these dishes too- the steamed egg with clam (NT$240),
Steamed Fish Head with Green and Red Chili (NT$520),
Red chili and preserved egg (NT$150),
or Fried squid Hunan style.
In the spiciness department, I admit that I can only handle so much, but I enjoy the dishes at 1010 Hunan because it's layered and has depth instead of just of being knock you over the head spiciness. But for those looking for some serious heat can sure to be satisfied here.
And for the non-spicy eating diners, don't worry, there's a lot of hearty options available too.
I was addicted to the bitesize, chewy steak cube with rice cake and pine nuts (NT$320) to counter the spiciness of the other dishes.
Can't go wrong with kon ching tsai or sauteed water spinach with garlic.
The Steamed buns with condensed milk (NT$120 for 6) disappeared quickly,
as did the Pork belly in brown sauce with preserved vegetables (NT$330).
Save room for dessert. I love the black sesame milk with tapioca & ice (NT$99) which is sweet and soothing way to end the meal, with finely shaved ice, bubbly tapioca and nutty sesame flavor.
I love that living in Taipei allows me to explore all different kinds of Chinese food- from Sichuan to Hunan to Sanxi to Canton to Yilan to Taiwan- as well as in every form, from street eats to sit down restaurants- 1010 Hunan Cuisine is definitely worth the splurge.
Xinyi Eslite branch
No. 11, Song Gao Rd, 6FL
MRT: Taipei City Hall
at Tianmu Shinkong Mitsukoshi, Bldg A
No. 68, Tianmu E. Rd, 7FL