Oyster heaven at Budai
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
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.
Left: Shrimp Pancake with Squid
(NT$160) is filled with squid and
sweet shrimp that promise to
conquer any gourmand's taste
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
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
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.
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!