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TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, September, 2006.

16, Lane 232, DunHua S. Road
(02) 2731-2269; 2731-9098
Hours: 11:30 am-9:30 pm

Honey Flavor Pork, porridge of scallops, crispy deep-fried bread sticks and peanuts, Oyster Oil Dumpling Noodles, Thousand-Year-Old Ginger Egg

Real Hong Kong dining at Lao You Ji

--By Hsiang Ray Translated by Sho Huang

Lao You Ji, near Sogo on DunHua South Road, is different from the typical busy, noisy and oily Hong Kong-style restaurant, with a recently-renovated, inviting interior that provides a modern, bright and clean atmosphere.

The restaurant's name means "old friends" in Cantonese because of its vision of delivering authentic Hong Kong cuisine to an old friend. Owner Mr. Huang came to visit his brother 12 years ago and found that there was always something missing in the food served in Taipei's restaurants. He decided to change all that. In order to maintain the authentic flavours from home, all his chefs were hired in Hong Kong and hearing him communicate with his chefs adds to the authentic atmosphere.

Oyster Oil Dumpling Noodles (NT$100) is highly recommended by the owner. Eggs are added to the recipe for a chewier texture. With fragrant oyster oil and red vinegar specially brought back from Hong Kong, this dish is sure to make your mouth water. And, if you like spicy food, don't miss the owner's personal-recipe chili sauce, special for its warm fragrance combined with a kick-ass spiciness.

Traditional Hong Kong food tends to have a heavier, oilier taste. When diners want a change from this, porridge and Chang Fen (a sticky rice powder-based dish) are two top choices for light food. The porridge of scallops, crispy deep-fried bread sticks and peanuts (NT$75), and Shrimp Chang Fen (NT$75), with big chunks of shrimp, are two popular dishes. The Ginger Thousand-Year-Old Egg (NT$35) uses chef-made pickled ginger, which goes well with the egg.

Hong Kong cuisine is famous for its "Shao La" dishes, featuring various food preparation methods, including barbecuing, stewing and roasting. All sorts of Shao La are ready between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Honey Flavour Pork (NT$100) matches moist flavours with the right proportion of honey and salt, so that you'll savour the juice through your teeth when you bite into it. If you're not fond of fat, you can ask the owner for a leaner portion with the same taste satisfaction. Mr. Huang is also planning to add a drinks section to the menu, including Yuan Yang (usually meaning "couple" in Chinese) Milk Tea, Iced Milk, and Iced Lemonade, to give guests an even more authentic dining experience.

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