Thursday, December 11, 2014

[Taipei] Du Xiao Yue (度小月)

Du Xiao Yue (度小月) is most well-known for its noodles (擔仔麵).  The brand has been around since 1895 and considered one of the most recognized Taiwanese restaurants among tourists.  Second to Ding Tai Fung (鼎泰豐) perhaps?

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On one fine day, we decided to pay them a visit during lunch time, with my co-worker's boss from the US.  He had wanted to visit Ding Tai Fung but the queue was ridiculous and we had to give up.
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The backstory of the brand is an interesting one.   Back in late Qing dynasty, Taro Hung (洪芋頭), the founder of Du Xiao Yue, was a fishermen who lived in Tainan.  In those days, life for the fishermen is especially hard in the months of April, July and September due to typhoons, which led to stormy sea conditions unsuitable for fishing.  These months were also known as "Xiao Yue" or "小月" in Chinese (lit. bad months.).  In those months, Hung would go to town and sell noodles in front of the local temple to maintain a livelihood.  He named his shop "Du Xiao Yue" (lit. living through the bad months) and the rest is history.

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A little noodle stall was reenacted in front of the shop.
I doubt Hung's stall was this fancy back in the day.
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The popularity of this noodle has led Tainan people to regard it as one of the "national treasure"The main ingredients for this dish are: noodles/rice noodles, bean sprouts, cilantro, shrimp, and the special meat sauce.  You can either have it dry (撈麵) or with soup (湯麵).  I personally prefer the dry version as the noodles seemed to be more fragrant.  The noodle usually comes in a small bowl as it is meant to be enjoyed as a snack and not to be eaten as a meal.  So don't be surprised next time you order this noodle and found yourself hungry for more.

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In addition to their noodles, the restaurant also offered other Taiwanese dishes.  The restaurant applied the same concept to the other items on the menu.  i.e., most of the dishes came in small plates.  I appreciate it because I can try a variety of dishes without being stuffed.  It's almost like eating Taiwanese tapas.

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Soft and tender, topped with a delicious soy based sauce.
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Taiwanese sausages, grilled to perfection.
Nice flavor combination with the raw garlic.
The boss liked this a lot.
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Boiled pea sprouts.  So tender!
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This was eel stir-fry.
The boss originally said he would try anything but I have noticed he stayed away from this dish.
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Crispy as it is expected (and should be!)
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The boss love spicy food so we had a lot of hopes in this dish.
Nope... not spicy enough.
I think we need to take him to a proper Sichuan restaurant next time.
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Fried taro desserts - so yummy!
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I love any gelatinous desserts with osmanthus in it.
It's like add elderflower liqueur to any cocktail and I will be happy.

I think it's one of the safer bets if you are looking for a place to take your business partners / boss / in-laws or simply a restaurant where consistency is more important.

Du Xiao Yue (度小月)
No. 12, Alley 8, Lane 216, Section 4, Zhongxiao East Rd, Da’an District, Taipei, Taiwan大安區忠孝東路四段216812
Tel: +886 2 2741 5365
Hours: (Mon - Sun) 11:30 am - 11:00 pm

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