Saturday, December 06, 2008

CLOSED! mexican: i strongly recommend EDDY's CANTINA

i'm not teasing you.. these pictures are from Taiwan!

(edited 3/2012 This location was closed in 2012, but they have a second location in TianMu)

151-1 Zhongshan Rd
Danshui or Tamsui
(02) 2628-2638

Nearest MRT stop: Danshui


hours: Weekdays 11:30 AM-2:30 PM; 4:30PM-10PM (closed Tuesdays)
Weekends 11:30 AM- 10 PM

$ - $$ Cash only

Kid friendliness: High chair available. Restaurant above a stairway, so would need to fold up or lift strollers.

Visit reviewed: 12/5/2008

chicken enchiladas

If you're visiting Taiwan, you're probably headed over to Din Tai Fung for some xiao long bao, to Yong Kang Jie for some beef noodle soup or niu rou mien and mango shaved ice, to the night market of your choice for some oyster omelette or stinky tofu or giant fried chicken ji pai, or to Ximen Ding for some Ah Chung mien shien or vermicelli that you can eat only standing up. That's what I always ate when I visited. These are the places I usually take my friends when they visit.

But what about when we're no longer visitors?

When Din Tai Fung is as exciting as McDonald's and we're drooling over non-Chinese food on food blogs in LA, theOC, San Diego or more from OC? When all we want is a half decent burrito?

In the past, I tried all the Mexican places in town and then eventually end up at Chili's for the fajitas and guacamole, or make my own guacamole from the Haas avocados from Costco.

For months, I drooled over the possibility that good authentic Mexican food could fill my tummy when I read about Eddy's Burrito in Danshui and the new El Gallo in Tienmu. Perhaps I didn't want to get my hopes up, even as I read good reviews, that nothing could compare to the carnitas or enchiladas in LA. Everytime I made plans to trek to Danshui, the weather would rain me out. But I finally made it after a friend also wanted to try it and volunteered to drive.

And the drive (or MRT ride) is worth it.

Eddy's Cantina is not only THE BEST Mexican food in Taipei (and believe me, I've tried them all), but also makes me feel like I could be sitting in some mom and pop Mexican hole-in-the-wall in LA (and that is a good thing). Eddy's Cantina is run by Eddy and his wife Jo, and the food is prepared with fresh ingredients from Eddy's family recipes. The menu has been expanded from their days as Eddy's Burrito, a stand at Lao Jie.

From the English and Chinese menu to the service with a smile to the great prices, Eddy's Cantina offers almost everything a Mexican food lover could want. Burritos, soft shell tacos, chimichangas, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, nachos, horchata, margaritas, beers and even dessert. Their lunch menus offer up a variety of six different bowls- carnitas, taco salad, fajitas, mexi-breakfast, rice and beans (NT$99- NT$129).

The decor is bright and colorful and the space is not huge, but doesn't feel crowded. Mariachi music playing overhead adds to the festive setting.

With each dish, you can make it a set for additional NT$80 and choose a drink and three sides (from beans, rice, potatoes, salad or chips). It was a kick getting my Orange Fanta in a glass bottle, and my friend loved her horchata. You can also order the horchata with a shot of Kahlua.

The carnitas (pork) burrito (NT$160 ala carte/NT$240 set) came first and I had to hold in my excitement. The pork was roasted and had the slightly chunky and stringy browned carnitas look that I was familiar with, and the burrito was soft and warm, filled with pork, Mexican rice and refried beans- so if you get the additional sides, don't get the rice/beans unless you want extra!

The three complimentary sauces are served separately for you to add if you find your burrito not spicy or wet enough- white sour cream, spicy red chili rojo sauce and green guacasalsa sauce. I think next time I might ask for some diced tomatoes and onions or cheese too (which are available in their lunchtime only Carnitas bowl). Or even better, if there was chunky guacamole on the menu. You can also ask for jalepenos.

The carne asada (steak) tacos (NT$185 for 2) were topped with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro and cheese. There's even a slice of lime to squeeze onto the taco. However, as reader Dan C. reminded me with his inquiry, the tortillas are flour, not corn. It would definitely be better with corn tortillas, but I guess I've been in Taiwan too long and acclimated to making my own soft tacos when eating fajitas at Chili's or Yuma with flour tortillas. I honestly can't believe I didn't react to it right away.

Last, but not least, were the chicken enchiladas (NT$200 for 2). My go-to dish at a Mexican restaurant is chicken enchiladas- the seasoned chicken wrapped in a corn tortilla and baked with melted cheese on top is just comfort food for me. But they have been impossible to find in Taipei- only at La Casita were they decent. The enchiladas weren't drowning in sauce, but they were still moist and flavorful. The tortilla was soft and each bite made me increasingly happy. My friend who hadn't eaten Mexican food since she had come back to Taiwan over three years ago liked this dish the best.

Even though we were both stuffed, we decided to try the dessert. Two tortillas with butter and sugar in between, the Tortilla Dulce (NT$100) is served warm with chocolate drizzled on top and ice cream- it reminded me of a dessert crepe. The chocolate chip ice cream was so good and it was a sweet ending to a delicious meal.

If you can't make the trek, Eddy's Cantina can also deliver burritos and more through a 7-11 freeze/deliver service for you to reheat the next day. I haven't tried it yet, but I'll probably make the call the next time the craving hits me. It's definitely going to be better than the frozen rice and bean burritos at Costco (UGH!) or the frozen enchiladas at Jason's.

It was kind of surreal, finding authentic Mexican food in Taiwan and at totally affordable prices. Sure it's almost an hour away from where I live in Taipei, but that's a lot closer than LA!

PS. BY THE WAY- don't forget to vote for your favorites
in the Reader's Choice poll!!!
I'm really hoping you all will help me give it a try-
it's your chance to share your faves,
especially if you've disagreed or agreed with me before
even if it's for a few of the categories!!! Thank you!


Anonymous said...

My experience of Eddys was a disappointment. However - I am a Texan, and Tex-Mex is all about flavor & plenty of it. I had read about Eddy's during the summer and was all psyched - too psyched! I'm still on the hunt for the real thing.

Anonymous said...

I love Eddy's, this is the best thing in Taiwan. I think it would be impossible to find the kind of food I used to eat, but I can settle for something close like this. Otherwise, I am stuck at home with my Taco Bell "taco kit"! Been to Eddy's 3 times, Jo even knows me now. The commute over there just takes too long though, about 50 minutes by MRT from Sogo area.

joanh said...

anonymous: hmm, I wouldn't consider Mexican and Tex-Mex the same.. have you tried Yuma?

Virginia: I hear you! Maybe if it's popular enough they can open a franchise in Taipei city.. have you tried ordering the 7-11 service?

Sweet Cheeks said...

Okay, not the food I would expect in taiwan. That food looks sooo good, I might have to pack my bags...

Anonymous said...

I have to say, I wasn't impressed with Eddy's. The night I went (a Saturday), the nachos were really stale, they had run out of the Carnitas, the re-fried beans in my beef burrito were dry and unappetizing, the beef was chewy, and they only gave us (2 people) one serving of guac, salsa, and sour cream in those tiny dishes that you show in your post. My friend got the quesadillas which were good but I wouldn't say that quesadillas are a high skill item. I can just as easily go to Costco for their tortillas (which are quite good, by the way), snag some cheeses, salsa, meats of my choosing, and make my own quesadillas at home. Perhaps if the carnitas had been available, I'd have a better opinion of the restaurant but I have a hard time justifying the trip out to Danshui again for their food.

joanh said...

vanessa: yeah, it surprises even me sometimes the range of foods becoming available here! :)

wayne: i would be bummed if they ran out of carnitas too! my favorites are definitely the enchiladas, then the carnitas. the steak can be a little chewy, but many carne asadas are a bit chewy. did you ask them for more sauces? we didn't finish ours, so maybe they give a certain amount so it doesn't go to waste.

Roger said...

Killer intro paragraphs. I had a real good chuckle XD

joanh said...

roger: thanks! I had the idea in my mind before i typed it out. Glad it came out the way I brainstormed it and... glad you responded to it!

Anonymous said...

I did not like Eddy's. I, a Texan, went with an El Salvadorian friend and we were both disappointed. The beans had a weird texture and the rice and beef were not flavorful enough. I had the chimichanga and found it was too full of rice and beans and not enough chicken.

Unknown said...

I just ate at Eddy's today and the experience (food and service) was great. I got to talk to Eddy about his store also. The recipes for his menu is his own family's recipe, which explains his dishes' distinct flavor, you'll see when you try it. As far as i'm concerned, Eddy's Cantina is the real thing. Highly recommended from a California native missing Mexican food in Taiwan.

Anonymous said...

I just went by last night and had some chicken enchiladas. It was a bit oily and soggy than what I had in the US, but it was way better than anything else I had in Taipei. I guess when there is only so few to pick from, I can't be picky. They said they have fish tacos now, I guess I will try that next time. I love their nachos, it is something I can make at home too, but takes too long for small portions.

Anonymous said...

You should check out Yuma. ZhongXiao E. Rd., Ln. 216, the same alley as Ding Tai Feng. It's at the other end, right around the corner of Toasteria and Alleycats. GREAT Tex Mex.

Anonymous said...

Just went to Eddy's during the past weekend and was very happy that I decied to take the long MRT ride in the name of food. Of course, the food might not be as good as those I had back in the States but my Eddy's experience was still very great...not to mention that I ate so much that my craving for Mexican food should stay at bay for the next few weeks. Will definitely go back!

joanh said...

Anonymous: hi! Sorry you didn't like it.. Mexican food is a bit different than El Salvadorian food. Have you guys found any good Mexican/Latin places to eat at in Taipei?

Peter-Nam: Hi Peter! Thanks for sharing your experience! I agree- Eddy's probably is the closest thing for us So-Cal transplants..

Virginia: Yeah.. the only "real" enchiladas I've seen in Taipei are at Eddy's and La Casita. You should try the nachos next time!

Anonymous: I've been to Yuma, and while I like it a lot, its Tex Mex doesn't fulfill my Mexican food cravings!

Anonymous: Cool! Thanks for sharing!!

Anonymous said...

the service at eddys was terrible. i went today and arrived when there were only two couples and one lady. we didn't get any food for well over 45 minutes and heres the kicker, two other tables of people had showed up and got their food before my girlfriend and i did. a table that arrived probably 25 minutes after us had their first meal before we had two tacos and a quesadilla. i lived in texas for 5 years, now, I know how to make these two dishes and they sure as hell don't take damn near an hour. needless to say, eddys lost two very hungry and dissapointed customers today, i dont think i will be returning there any time soon.

Saurabh Shah said...

Although I live in Danshui, I went there only yesterday...It was one of the most delicious foods I had in Taiwan.Also tried some Rogue's Ale there.
Definitely a MUST check out place!

Michael Z said...

I live in TienMu so my run up to Dansui is easy. My usual test for a mexican restaurant is a Carne Asada Chimichanga. Eddy's tasted great, was crispy and really big. Came with hot hot sauce, a chunky salsa and sour cream. Being from Texas I like my food very spicy. When I was living in Tucson the Mexican food was milder. Eddy's Cantina is sort of a cross between Texmex and Sonoran. Eddy's Cantina is highly recommended. It is not Texas but nothing is.

LIN said...

Did you try their drinks? Say, the horchata or kahlua milk tea? :)

Anonymous said...

My brother and I went to Eddy's a few months ago cause we'd heard that it had great Mexican food. Unfortunately, my beef was overcooked and the taste wasn't strong enough. :(

Ken said...

I headed out to Eddy's on a WED afternoon. I live in Nankang, so Tamsui takes me 1 hr to reach via MRT (vs Keelung which is only 30min via train), but it was well worth it. I had the fish tacos with horchata, salad, nachos, and rice set. I also ordered the chimichanga with carnitas. The horchata was nice and the chimichanga was HUGE. The first half was delicious with its crispy skin, but by the second half, I was wishing that this deep-fried burrito would have more than just beans, rice, and meat inside. It turned out that the fish tacos, with some tomatoes and lettuce inside, were easier to devour. I finished all the nachos - very addictive - you can easily tell that they were made in store. Jo offered a second set of spicy, sour cream, and salsa sauces, and I gladly accepted. By the time I finished half the salad, I couldn't eat any more. I was stuffed, and going into a very nice food coma. According to Jo, for lunch, they also serve bowls that are priced around NT$120, cheaper than the main menu, but you could order from the main menu for lunch, too. Apparently, the bowls are popular with the locals. My huge meal came out to a little over NT$500, which would be considered expensive outside of Taipei, but quite reasonable if you need a Mexican fix and are thinking in terms of US$. Eddy's Cantina is definitely repeat; I'm looking forward to trying other items on the menu.

viagra online without prescription said...

Visité México hace tres años. Comí en un buen restaurante llamado "Chino Mexicano", es una combinación de las dos culturas, con comida típica, china y mexicana! Ese lugar es fantástico y delicioso, también!

Anonymous said...


Unknown said...

I went to Eddy's just tonight, the salsa tasted like pasta sauce and the burrito was bland and I couldn't get a very good taste out of the rice and beans in my burrito. The carne asada was also too tough. The margharita was horrible (you're supposed to blend the ice?), and from the look of my friends the tequila itself was bad.

I'm sorry, for that price and at that location, I can't recommend Eddy's at all, maybe it was just a bad night for the chef... or a bad night for us?

Unknown said...

Haven't been,...but they do say ths is pretty close to a mexican fast food place...I wanna go.


Anonymous said...

The fresh tortillas are the best I've ever had. If I could buy a stack to take home, that would be great.

I just wish the fillings at Eddy's were equally as inspiring, but they are not. Very little meat and an odd proportion of veggies.

I ordered the fish tacos and there was so little fish, maybe two bites per taco, that I never even tasted it. And most of the vegetable was chopped onion, not even very much cabbage, let alone tomato.

For 200 NT I felt it was kind of a rip off.

Anonymous said...

I've been to Eddy's three times, and I've left angry every single time. The food is good, but the amount of time it took for our dishes to arrive (in excess of 40 minutes all three times) was ridiculous. Furthermore, I complained to the boss and he responded with the speech about how they use all fresh ingredients and everything is made to order. I don't know if he's going out to the farm and picking tomatoes straight off the vine or something, but it shouldn't take that long to bring me a burrito. Furthermore, even our Coronas took about 15 minutes to be brought to the table. Finally, on 2 of the occasions that I've been there, there's been something wrong with my order (ie they bring me Chicken instead of Beef, etc). This wouldn't be a huge problem but BOTH TIMES the waitresses gave me a dirty look and, upon bringing me the corrected food, slammed the plates down on the table in front of me. I don't care how good the food is, the service there was beyond bad and I'll never go back.

Anonymous said...

I went there based on this review and what i found is dry old cooked rice, semi-coldish food and a bad service. I am talking about the Danshui branch. Price vs quality wasn't right either. We're talking about a fast food basically. I didn't taste any fresh food.