By Daniel White
Translated by Anna Yang
361, BuZi Rd, Beitun Dist
Hours: 5 pm-2 am
Taichung's Dakeng Scenic Area might be a little out of the way for some residents but, if ever there was a reason to make the trip, Parking Bar offers the thirsty traveler great music, libations and incredible cuisine. It's also spacious and comfortable with a pleasant atmosphere, friendly staff and even a foosball table for those who need a little exercise to work up an appetite.
Parking Bar offers an extensive menu focusing on barbecued and stir-fried dishes with some deep-fried snacks for those who are only a little peckish. My companions and I opted for three dishes, Stinky Tofu (NT$188), listed on the English menu as "Parking Bar Dishes", Kung Pao Beef (NT$188), and Garlic Salt Pork (NT$288). The tofu was delightfully stinky, crispy outside and soft inside. It was accompanied by shrimp, chili peppers, and chives. For those who enjoy stinky tofu, this is as good as it gets, a little peppery, but not too spicy with a well balanced savory flavor.
The Kung Pao Beef was tender and succulent with onions, green peppers, green onions and peanuts. The dish was a little spicy and savory and quite satisfying. The salt pork was a great companion dish with well-cooked, juicy pork, chili peppers, green onions and garlic. Everything came out perfectly cooked and was well-suited for sharing, so bring some friends to go with your appetite. I also recommend a cold beer, like a Taiwan Beer Gold Medal (NT$90 large bottle), to enjoy with your meal; it pairs especially well with the salty pork. Besides reasonably priced beers, there are also NT$100 shots and mixed drinks, from a Gin Tonic (NT$150) to Screwdriver (NT$180).
If you want a little more than just great food, then stop in on Wednesday or Saturday evenings to listen to live music. Bands play on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 p.m. to midnight and the music is usually upbeat and always a good time. Parking Bar also features a big-screen TV and plays sports events daily.