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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, February, 2006.

Authentic Cantonese dining abounds at Wakin's Kitchen

(02) 2702-9988
FuXing Branch: 283, FuXing South Road, Section 1, 2F
Hours: 11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5:30-9:30 pm;
Sat/Sun/holidays 11 am-2:30 pm, 5-9:30 pm
Credit cards accepted. Valet parking available.

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-- By Timothy Liang Translated by Cara Steenstra

Wakin's Kitchen is the result of efforts by famous singer Wakin Zhou, who gathered a team of Cantonese cooking experts for this venture. From main dishes to small snacks, all menu items here are authentically delicious, fragrant and carefully-prepared Cantonese cuisine. The menu is changed seasonally, with different ingredients used during different times of the year to create authentic dishes with varied flavors.

Dim sum dishes at Wakin's come in a great variety and are each carefully handmade. The Almond and Shrimp Roll (NT$92) and the Gold Medal Xia Jiao Wang (NT$92) are highly praised by diners. The chefs' expert culinary techniques are also demonstrated in the Sesame and Char Siu Pastry (NT$92), or the Dried Shrimp and You Tiao Chang (NT$92), so soft and tasty that it tempts you to order seconds.

It can be hard to know what to order with so many wonderful selections. Other not-to-be-missed dishes include the Crispy Pigeon (NT$380). Pigeons are prepared with Wakin's very own marinade--containing Chinese pepper and star anise--then slow-cooked. When the flavors are locked in, the pigeon is covered with a layer of malt syrup and left to dry before being deep fried to a golden hue.

The Wuzhou Paper Wrapped Chicken (NT$340) is another must-try at Wakin's Kitchen. This is a famous dish that originated in the Wuzhou area about 60 to 70 years ago. De-boned chicken is combined with a secret sauce, bamboo shoots and mushrooms before being wrapped in paper and slowly deep fried. The wrapping is a special "yu-kou" paper made from bamboo shoots and not only helps maintain the chicken's original flavor, but also adds to the texture of the dish.

About one third of Wakin's customers are Cantonese, which is a true nod of recognition to the authenticity of the cuisine. Diners' satisfaction is reflected in the restaurant's booming business as Wakin's has expanded to two more branches. If you are looking for an authentic Cantonese restaurant in Taipei, Wakin's Kitchen is definitely the place to go.

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