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Oyster heaven at Budai Oyster Cuisine

By Niang Chen
Translated by Alicia Yu

355, XiangShang Rd, Sec 1, West Dist.; (04) 2473-1331
Hours: 5 pm-2 am;holidays 12 pm-2 am (closed Tue.)
Cash only. No service charge.

Nestled among the many businesses around ZhongMing South and XiangShang roads is this small, tidy restaurant, famous for its Budai oyster cuisine (Budai town in Chiayi county is close to a seaport and famous for oysters). Oysters, known as the "milk of the sea", are turned into all kinds of fresh and delicious dishes at this establishment, whose walls are covered with photos in addition to the autographs of media figures, pop stars and gourmands who have visited from all over Taiwan.

Budai oysters--steamed, fried and grilled--are fresh, sweet and juicy. Combining these with various toppings such as Taiwanese crispy onions, garlic and Chinese basil results in a vast selection of oyster dishes, ranging from banquet entrees to simple, small items, such as the basic Oyster Rice Porridge, well worth trying here. Main dishes, such as noodle, rice and porridge choices, are NT$60-100; stir-fried dishes are NT$80-320; steamed and barbecued items are NT$110-320; and appetizers, cold dishes and soups range from NT$60 to NT$220 each.

Budai Oyster Cuisine Budai Oyster Cuisine
Left: Shrimp Pancake with Squid (NT$160) is filled with squid and sweet shrimp that promise to conquer any gourmand's taste buds.
Right: Signature Dish of Oyster Thin Noodles (NT$70) is an undisputed classic combination of thin noodles, fragrant sesame oil, crispy onions, cubed green onions and oysters. Golden Crispy Oysters (NT$220) uses beaten salted egg yolk wrapped in fried batter. This dish is a perfect match with cold beer!

Budai Oyster Cuisine Budai Oyster Cuisine
Left: Teppanyaki of Oysters with Baked Eggs (NT$200) includes plenty of oysters and Chinese basil. As you prepare to relish this dish, you'll experience a symphony of sound, aromas and flavors as the server glazes the cooked eggs with a sweet and spicy sauce on a sizzling iron plate.
Right: Green Bamboo Shoots with Salted Eggs (NT$200) is made with peanuts, sliced broad beans, raw chili peppers and a mix of bamboo shoots and salted eggs. These combined ingredients generate the strong flavors of the dish, which is salty, fragrant, crispy, sweet and slightly spicy.

Budai Oyster Cuisine Budai Oyster Cuisine
Right: Fresh Oysters (NT$60) have topped the rankings among customers here and are indeed as fresh as their reputation suggests. The oysters are not only plump and huge but also tender and juicy. Enjoyed on a bed of crispy shredded cucumbers and a spicy wasabi mixed with lemon sauce, the freshness of these marine morsels explodes in your mouth!

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