By Uvia Chang
Translated by Ann Lee
79, ZiZhi St
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5:30-9:30 pm
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Wishful House, a deep-red, glass Chinese restaurant decorated with a combination of traditional Chinese and French Impressionist flair, is located near the corner of the canal on LiuChuan West Road and ZiZhi Street. If not for the huge banner at the entrance which reads, "Shanghai & Jiangzhe-style delicacies", one might think that is place is just like any other coffee house in the city. When you walk in, you'll first be greeted by a large wooden sign with the characters for "Wishful House" written in large print, as well as two red lanterns and an antique cabinet. These design elements help give the restaurant an old-fashioned, nostalgic feel.
Most people in Taiwan can tell the difference between real Shanghai delicacies and imposters, and Wishful House keeps the most discerning of diners happy. The young, delightful hostess here, Chen Li-dai, explains that the secret to their famous dishes is the chefs, who've had over 20 years of experience making these Chinese specialty dishes. They actually learned their cooking techniques from an older generation of chefs in China, which gives the Wishful House an even more authentic edge.
The chefs truly capture the essence of Shanghai flavors, and supervise the entire cooking process, from hand-picking the ingredients and spices to shelling the shrimp, cleaning intestines, and scrubbing the potatoes. One of the dishes, Bean Curd with Crab Roe (蟹黃豆腐), is made by carefully removing stubborn crab meat from the shells, so that not a fleck of shell remains. This attention to detail is just one special quality of the restaurant.
While flipping through their thick menu, you will see various specialty dishes that would require a lot of technical skill to create; the selection includes steamed, braised, stewed, sauteed, grilled and clay pot cooked seafood, poultry and red meat. Some Shanghai-style rice and vegetable dishes, soup dumplings, and Ningbo Sticky Cakes are also available, and start at NT$100. The dining area on the first and second floors fits about 15 tables, and three private rooms seat about 18 customers each. When you dine at Wishful House, you may bring your own liquor without an extra corkage fee.
Top-Left Picture: Kao Fang (or more commonly known as Dongpo Pork, NT$350), is made with top-quality pork cooked with rock candy, soy sauce, and some secret seasonings. This dish takes half a day to make, and throughout the cooking process, chefs need to constantly remove the grease from the pork, so that you can enjoy the melt-in-your-mouth texture that makes this dish one of the best in the restaurant.
Top-Right Picture: The Steamed Fish Head with Diced Red Hot Chili Peppers (NT$680) is made with naturally-fermented red chili peppers that
are marinated with the dishes other ingredients to create a slightly sour and spicy flavor. The mix of steamed fish head,
peppers, and tofu makes the smell of this dish irresistible.
Top-Left Picture: Bean Curd with Crab Roe (NT$260) is made with authentic crab roe. Though this dish takes some extra time to make, it's certainly worth the wait.
Top-Right Picture: The Shanghai Pot-Au-Feu (NT$328) is made with rich, flavorful broth that's simmered for six hours with pork ribs, ham, tofu skin knots and winter bamboo shoots. It's one of the most famous Jiangzhe-style delicacies.