Words and translated by Anna Yang
173, XiangShang N Rd, West Dist
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5-9:30 pm
Sat & Sun 11:30 am-9:30 pm
This two-floor restaurant may be named after the traditional Dongchu kitchen deity but it has a very trendy ambiance, with its building partially covered in greenery and modern French windows by the entrance. Inside, the first floor has seating for 20 to 25 and the second floor has two round tables for group gatherings.
The owner--a native of Chengdu in Sichuan province--and her husband greet guests warm-heartedly like friends and serve modern Chengdu cuisine with entrees that are both aromatic and spicy. The owner's father loves cooking and she grew up with the pleasure of watching him preparing dishes. From slicing broiled ingredients to cooking heat control, every culinary skill was learned from her father and her goal is now to present authentic home-style flavors via her own dream restaurant.
Signature offerings can found among the menu categories of Cold & Fried Dishes and Chengdu Style Braised Dishes, as well as soup, noodle and hot pot choices. The most recommended item is Poached Chicken with Chili Sauce (NT$360) prepared with handmade sesame and drizzled with sesame oil, which results in a dish that is fragrant with layered flavors, unlike versions that are immersed in spicy oil. Other mouthwatering highlights include the complex Griddle Cooked Spare Ribs and Shrimp (NT$520), featuring seasoned ribs and fresh shrimp garnished with crunchy lotus, cucumber and coriander, as well as Braised Pork Knuckles (NT$50) and Pork Ear (NT$50), dipped into a special chili powder.
Dongchu also offers the Hidden Menu: Daqian Pan-Fried Fish (NT$580), named after a famous Chinese calligrapher and epicure. It is made through a time-consuming process that results in peppery, sweet and sour flavors, with pickled peppers and other spicy seasoning added to this sea bass dish (traditionally made with carp in Sichuan). In addition, fresh, handmade Lime Juice (NT$75), beer and other drinks served here pair well with the spicy cuisine.