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COMPASS MAGAZINE > November 2013

Taichung Japanese restaurants with a strong "zen" vibe--Sono, Ming Yuan, Yamatoya, Kenrokuen

Translated by Angel Pu


(04) 2302-9393
19, Lane 229, MinQuan Rd, North Dist.
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5:30-9:30 pm
English menu available.
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Parking lot available.

One of the city's oldest and best-known Japanese restaurants, Sono has since opening in 1987 always taken pride in its brand of Japanese traditional cooking. Its kaiseki dinner sets, featuring only high-quality ingredients, are beautifully presented. This commitment to excellence makes Sono near-irreplaceable in Taichung's dining scene. --By Niang Chen

A:Sono has a spacious, elegant dining space, making it a top choice for entertaining important guests.

B: Sanhe set meals (from NT$680) include an entree (Hakone Beef Paper Hotpot, Grilled Chicken Chop with Truffles Sauce, or Grilled Mackerel) with four seasonal appetizers such as Soft Crabs Salad, Sashimi, Scallops with Whiskey, and Tofu with Shrimp. Steamed Rice with Salmon and soup are also included.

C: The Seafood Set (NT$880-1,080) includes an entree such as Grilled Salmon with White Wine Cream Sauce, Shrimp Tempura, Grilled Fish Jaw or Grilled Shrimp, with high-quality appetizers including the refreshing Sashimi Salad and soft, tender Pan-Fried Cherry Duck with Truffles Sauce.

Sono  A. Sono  B.  Sono  C.


Ming Yuan

25, WenZhong Rd, Xitun Dist.
(04) 2311-8638
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Parking lot available.

For 33 years, the Chen family has run this traditional Japanese restaurant, now managed by the owner's son. Ming Yuan's Kyoto-style atmosphere was created by a Japanese architect, while its cuisine highlights the fresh ingredients and the chef's skills with a seasonally-changing menu. Diners can choose fixed-price set meals, or a special menu specially designed by the chefs (from NT$800). A la carte dishes include appetizers, temaki sushi, sushi, grilled and fried dishes, hot pots, and a special crab dish. Seven-course business lunch sets (NT$200) are available Monday to Friday. --By Uvia Chang

A: The Angus Beef Hotpot (NT$360) contains Kansai (western Japanese) flavored red miso paste and Nagano sweet-flavored miso paste, which enhance the beef flavors.

B: The Abalone and Seaweed Stew contains fresh seaweed and South African abalone with a fresh bonito flake broth, cooked for three hours to allow the deliciously-chewy abalone to absorb the savory seaweed flavors.

C: Ming Yuan is a quaint restaurant with a Japanese-style garden, bridge and pool.

明園A. 明園B. 明園C.




(04) 2320-2608
62, ZhongMing S Rd, West Dist.
Hours: Mon.-Sat. 8 am-12 am, Sun. 8 am-5 pm
English menu available.
Wi-Fi available; pet-friendly.
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.

Yamatoya offers exquisite, high-end creative Japanese cuisine made with seasonal ingredients, such as crabs, salmon and chestnuts this fall, making it ideal for special gatherings. Weekday lunch (from NT$600) and dinner (NT$800) sets include 6-7 dishes, such as steamed, stewed and fried dishes, sashimi, sushi, a handmade side dish, fruit and dessert. Weekday business lunches start from NT$380. --By Niang Chen

A: A beautiful garden here exudes an elegant, quiet ambiance.

B: A set for two (NT$1,980) includes Hokkaido Scallops and Sashimi, three handmade side dishes, Fried Shrimp with Shredded Potatoes, crab, a stewed dish, and seafood and vegetable soup.

C: Beef Fillet and Foie Gras with Pesto Sauce (NT$380) and Fall Salmon Sushi (NT$260) can be ordered a la carte or as set meals. The rare beef fillet is drizzled with pesto sauce and put on a sweet egg tart with foie gras in the middle. Sushi rice is wrapped with grilled salmon slices and served with salty wasabi sauce.

YamatoyaA. YamatoyaB. YamatoyaC.



272, GongYi Rd, West Dist.
(04) 2319-2228
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5:30-9:30 pm
English menu available.
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Parking lot available.

Kenrokuen has joined the ranks of local Japanese restaurants known for using top-end ingredients, including its most popular live Hokkaido king crab and other fresh seafood. Although the traditional Japanese-style ambiance includes a rock garden and wooden decorations, the restaurant's cuisine is served with beautiful French-style plates and presentation, together with a serious Japanese attitude towards dining. During the fall, NT$680 weekday lunch sets include 7-8 dishes. --By Niang Chen

A: Head Chef Liu is very proud that his diners can enjoy fresh king crabs year-round at Kenrokuen.

B:The filling King Crabs and Beef Set for Two (NT$2,980) includes a French Corn Mousse Cold Dish, Varied Sashimi Plate, Hokkaido King Crabs Grilled with Salt, Steamed Eggs with King Crabs, Wakyu Sukiyaki, King Crab Roe Stew, Seafood Soup, seasonal fruit and Japanese-style cheesecakes.

C: Flounder of Flatfish (NT$80), a grilled dish that melts in your mouth, is pictured with Romaine Roll with Horse-dung Sea Urchin (NT$350).

KenrokuenA. KenrokuenB.  KenrokuenC.


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