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Tuesday, June 30, 2009
not taipei/hakka: i recommend LAO DI FANG
LAO DI FANG
or "The Old Place"
No. 489, Yuan Lin Road, Sec 1
Ta Shi, Taoyuan County
Kid friendliness: high chairs available
Visit reviewed: 6/21/2009
A few weekends ago, I went on a road trip with a ton of relatives and family friends. The kind where you sit on a bus and listen to them karaoke to pass the time (whether or not you want to). The kind where you end up in other parts of Taiwan and you have no idea how to blog about where it is or how you'd get there. The kind where the day ends with a family dinner where the relatives do the ordering, you never get to see the menu and then huge platter after platter of food come out until you have no idea where the next plate will go.
We went up and down some mountain to take a bunch of pictures and then ended up in Ta Shi at Lao Di Fang, a Hakka or "Ke Jia" restaurant that was bustling with families chowing down. The food arrived as soon as we sat down (might have been a pre-order by my aunt or the tour guide) and never stopped. Mostly everything was good, though some dishes were more oily or salty than we might be used to.
In case you're curious, Brian Webb does a great job explaining in a summary about Taiwan's 3 ethnic groups: Aboriginal, Hakka, Hoklo, and Immigrant.
My favorites were the
stir fried rice noodle
vegetables with thousand year old egg
and tofu with vegetables pot.
Also pretty good was the oysters
Surprisingly, I didn't like the Hakka stewed pork belly over simmered preserved mustard greens (similar to "gua bao" when put into steamed buns) and the soup with the "tang yuan" (or rice balls). I'm used to having the "tang yuan" over shaved ice, so I couldn't get used to it in a salty soup, especially the pink ones. The Hakka pork and mustard greens were too salty for me and I missed the Taiwanese version with the condiments of the ground peanuts/sugar powder and cilantro to balance out the flavors.
Also, it didn't help that these dishes arrived at the end- the shredded "si gua" or loofah and the Hakka stir fried squid. Too stuffed to try it.
I don't think this was my first time having Hakka food, but I'm definitely not familiar with it. But send some huge hot fragrant plates of Chinese food to our table, and we're happy customers. Especially after a long day on the bus. Any big fans of Hakka food? Any recs for inside Taipei city?