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HOME > CENTRAL TAIWAN > DINING

COMPASS MAGAZINE > February 2009
 

Hearty wine-cooked chicken for the winter--Jing Wu Road Chicken Shop, Xiao Yu Er Wine-Cooked Chicken Specialty Shop, A-Le Wine-Cooked Chicken, Chao Zhou Luo Wine-Cooked Chicken

By Niang Chen & Ann Li
Translated by Ann Lee

If you want to try an authentic Taiwanese-style specialty, this is the season to savor some tasty wine-cooked chicken. The places selling this dish aren't usually fancy but, rather, tend to have just a few tables. Consequently, a good-sized crowd makes it feel like a traditional market. This local ambiance, combined with friendly service, helps attract patrons looking to warm up in the evenings. These establishments usually open later in the afternoon and continue till the wee hours
of the morning. So, if you're hungry late at night or are a habitual midnight snacker, put on your slippers and head out for some wine-cooked chicken!

Jing Wu Road Chicken Shop

Jing Wu Road Chicken Shop

Jing Wu Road Chicken Shop

Jing Wu Road Chicken Shop

93, JingWu Rd (corner of JingWu/JinHua roads)
(04) 2212-8366
Hours: 5 pm-4 am
No service charge. Credit cards not accepted.

This popular black-bone chicken specialty restaurant keeps a low profile but is well-known to wine-cooked chicken fans for offering some of most delectable chicken in town. This extensive selection includes Dried Radish Chicken, Sesame Oil Chicken, Garlic Chicken, and Chicken Soup with Pineapple and Bitter Gourd. The chef recommends different chicken dishes for different seasons throughout the year. In summer, try the Braised Chicken Aloe Soup, made with wholesome, juicy aloe. Its invigorating texture is perfect for hot weather. During the winter, the perfect choice is Wine-Cooked Chicken, or the Tong Tian Black Bone Chicken, both reputed to help keep your hands and feet warm.

A: This place does not have an official name, but has kept its customers returning for many years. On weekends, you may even have to take a number and wait in line before ordering your desired chicken dish.

B: The Mushroom Chicken with Sesame Oil (NT$400/half chicken) is a popular specialty here. The tender chicken is first fried in the wok, then mixed with dozens of Chinese medicinal ingredients to increase its rich aromatic flavors. Adding dried mushrooms and plenty of sesame oil to the wok creates a truly tempting aroma that makes you want to eat it right away. Chefs add a secret ingredient to this winter dish--a small cooking sack holding black and white sesame seeds and sesame powder. A bowl of Pork Lard Noodles (NT$30) goes perfectly with this dish. Its clear soup with fresh clams balances out the oiliness of the main dish.

C: Yang Nei Mu Black Bone Chicken (NT$400) has a rich, creamy texture that initially releases a cinnamon-like flavor and becomes smoother as you go along. Other popular dishes include Salty Preserved Egg with Bitter Gourd (NT$100). The hearty signature 3-Cup Chicken with Jasmine Orange Leaf (NT$120), a female favorite, is cooked with basil leaves, ginger slices, garlic cloves and a pinch of sugar. When ordering a pot of chicken soup, you'll get snack-sized complimentary dishes such as Stir-Fried Dried Fish with Peanuts and a plate of seasonal vegetables.

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Xiao Yu Er Wine-Cooked Chicken Specialty Shop

Xiao Yu Er Wine-Cooked Chicken Specialty Shop

Xiao Yu Er Wine-Cooked Chicken Specialty Shop

Xiao Yu Er Wine-Cooked Chicken Specialty Shop

151, DuXing Rd (about 50 meters from WuQuan Rd)
(04) 2201-4800
Hours: 5 pm-5 am
No service charge. Free delivery service for purchases of NT$500 or more.
Credit cards not accepted.
Parking available.

The owner here named her shop "Xiao Yu Er" after a Taiwanese soap opera she enjoyed watching a lot in earlier days. In addition to a selection of intoxicating, delectable chicken dishes, an array of stir-fry dishes are also popular here. Some chef's recommendations include Stir-Fried Crucian Carp (NT$100), Stir-Fried Spiral Shells (NT$100), Sauteed Bamboo Shoots (NT$150) and Stir-Fried Clams (NT$150). Other chicken dishes are specially made with hearty Chinese medicinal ingredients like "siwu" (four ingredients chicken), "bazhen" (eight treasures herbs), "jiouwei" and ginseng. Some specialty chicken entrees are reputed to nourish your kidneys and brain. A look at the menu here alone shows that the restaurant focuses not only on serving tasty dishes, but also on looking cooking with healthy, hearty herbal ingredients.

A: Youthful grandmothers Mrs. Guo and Mrs. Shih are both regulars at Xiao Yu Er, and have been coming here for years to enjoy their own pot of wine-cooked chicken.

B: The rice wine used in the tasty, signature Wine-Cooked Chicken (NT$400/half chicken) here was brewed by the owners themselves, with added Chinese medicinal ingredients like Chinese Angelica, Fructus Lycii and dried black dates. This gives it an aromatic smell and flavor that releases with cooking. The Five Claws Black Boned Chicken is also worth trying. The broth softens and permeates the chicken and is best enjoyed together with the meat.

C: Stir-Fried Chicken Kidney and Testicles (NT$500), Stir-Fried Bird's Nest Fern (NT$150) and Flavored Thin Noodles (NT$20) are all popular here. The first dish is made by cooking chicken kidneys and testicles in boiling water. Ginger slices, garlic cloves and chopped onions are added before it is stir-fried with sesame oil. The second item is a crunchy vegetable dish, while the thin noodles are served with chopped garlic, sesame oil and pork lard--a simple but truly flavorful dish.

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A-Le Wine-Cooked Chicken

A-Le Wine-Cooked Chicken

A-Le Wine-Cooked Chicken

A-Le Wine-Cooked Chicken

(04) 2242-3189
432, ChangPing Rd, Sec 1
Hours: 6 pm-12 am(closed on Wednesdays from May to September)
No service charge. Credit cards not accepted.

Open now for 40 years, A-Le specializes in offering wine-cooked chicken dishes made with pure Chinese medicinal ingredients. The restaurant's signature dish is cooked with carefully chosen indigenous chickens and a mixture of certified Chinese medicinal ingredients. Duzhong Chicken, Heshouwu Chicken, and Kidney-Preserving Chicken are all popular dishes that exude the mild aromas and flavors of the medicinal ingredients. The soup's smooth texture is a well-known throat warmer and gives off a hint of rice wine as you savor it. This alcohol will not generate heat from within your body, making it ideal for any season of the year.

A: A-Le has been pleasing diner palates for a very long time by offering traditional-style wine-cooked chicken with hearty ingredients and a flavorful soup.

B: Wine-Cooked Chicken (NT$400/half chicken), Boiled Taiwanese Cabbage (NT$50), Boiled Yam Bean Leaves (NT$50) and Flavored Thin Noodle Soup (NT$30) are all popular dishes here. The tender indigenous chicken is served in a unique pot and is a favorite winter dish among regulars. Vegetable dishes come in healthy portions and are served with minced pork on top for a truly tasty item that compliments the chicken.

C: The Ginseng Chicken (NT$450/half chicken) is a ultra-healthy dish made with huge chunks of chicken and braised with a dozen of Chinese herbs and medicinal ingredients. With no added salt or preservatives, the chicken is boiled with a famed Taiwanese rice wine, along with other ingredients like Chuanxiong, Angelica root and Chinese wolfberry.

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Chao Zhou Luo Wine-Cooked Chicken

潮州羅燒酒雞

潮州羅燒酒雞

Chao Zhou Luo Wine-Cooked Chicken

202, SiTun Rd, Sec 1
(corner of MinQuan Rd)
(04) 2202-4858
Hours: 4 pm-4 am
No service charge.
Credit cards not accepted.

Open for nearly 30 years, this restaurant has established a strong reputation in Taichung. Friendly, charming owner Ms. Huang notes that the key to a tasty chicken pot is to use quality Taiwanese indigenous chickens weighing about 1.8 to 2.4 kilograms, or black-boned chickens weighing about 3 to 3.6 kilograms. Huang says that chickens of that weight taste best and have the finest texture at that time. Indigenous chickens have a chewy skin after being cooked, while black-boned chickens have the most tender meat. All you have to do here is pick one and the chefs will cook up a fresh chicken pot for you.

A: In earlier days, Chao Zhou Luo only offered two chicken dishes, Wine-Cooked Chicken, and Pineapple with Bitter Gourd Chicken. However, due to popular demand, the menu now offers as many as 15 different chicken dishes including The Perfect Ten, Tianma Chicken (cooked with sesame oil), and Brazilian-Bred Chicken, reputed to be a very healthy option.

B: Garlic Chicken (NT$400/half chicken) is made with a black-boned chicken and large amounts of fresh garlic. The tangy smell of the garlic sinks right into the chicken meat as it's cooked, giving the broth a naturally sweet flavor.

C: Dong Chon Xia Cao Chicken (NT$400) is chicken soup with the cordyceps sobolifera herb. Other popular dishes here are the Lishan Cabbage (NT$50), which has a crunchy texture, Stir-fried Pork Intestines (NT$150), a favorite with local customers, and Deep-Fried Shrimp (NT$150).

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