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COMPASS MAGAZINE > September 2014

Aboriginal and other exotic dining at Urban Tribe Restaurant

By Uvia Chang
Translated by Holmes Chang
Photos by Pedro Lucas Teixeira Pinho

568, QingHai Rd, Sec 2, Xitun Dist.; (04) 2451-5858
5:30 pm-12 am;
Hours: Sat/Sun 11 am-2 pm, 5:30 pm-12 am
Credit cards accepted.
Parking lot available.

Aboriginal-themed restaurants are rare in Taichung, and Urban Tribe is a now major player in this small scene. Upon entering the main gate, an impressive 500-ping, wood carving-themed setting unfolds, including tables and chairs fashioned from driftwood. The vibe is park-like, with a remote mountain feel. The sense of being within a tribe makes this dining experience totally different from your typical urban restaurant.

There are plenty of visible aboriginal-style elements here, with a half open-air space, a bamboo-and-weaving roof, wooden staircase balustrades, natural-log fencing and stone slabs, all complementing the similarly-themed menu. "We offer fresh ingredients from eastern Taiwan including dishes of starfruit, tetragonia greens (New Zealand spinach) and other herbs, rather than common cabbage or water spinach (kong xin cai)" the owner explained. The wide variety of dishes from different aboriginal tribes include plenty of dishes and ingredients that this writer had never tried or even heard of before, such as a native Taitung fish fry, fried crickets, and crocodile penis, providing an eye-opening experience from the very beginning. After 7 p.m., diners can also enjoy aboriginal singing performances, rounding out this exotic feast.

Urban Tribe Aboriginal Specialty Restaurant Urban Tribe Aboriginal Specialty Restaurant
Left: Salted Fish Meat with Rice and 'A-bei'-At least two bowls of Salted Fish Meat with Rice should be enjoyed, together with "A-bei"-- small rice dumplings wrapped in peach leaves, having a light ginger aroma and filled with sticky millet and thin aspic (jelly).
Right: 'A-mi' Rock Shrimp (NT$480)-The Amis tribe lives by the sea and this dish is cooked the original way, with prawns place on a hot 'maifan' stone and doused and
cooked with a special concoction for a fragrant result. The dish pictured in the back is made with field mouse meat.

Urban Tribe Aboriginal Specialty Restaurant Urban Tribe Aboriginal Specialty Restaurant
Left: Chicken Pot (NT$520)-Despite the simple ingredients and mild broth, which includes mountain ferns, clams and wild chicken, this is a uniquely-tasty variation of chicken soup, near impossible to find in the city.

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