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---By Josie Wu and Julia Koprak Translated by Sho Huang and Miko Liu

Ming Jih Vietnamese Gurmet

536-1, KangNing Street, XiZhi (SiJhih) City, Taipei County
(02) 2692-7015
Hours: 11 am-9:30 pm
(closed Mondays)
Credit cards accepted with 10% service fee charge.
Free parking.

"Although we've lived in Taiwan for years, we still can't quite get used to the food. That's why we opened up a Vietnamese restaurant to serve simple Vietnamese snacks," says the owner of Ming Jih, Mr. Wu Qien Ming. This friendly Vietnamese-Chinese, together with his wife and a few Vietnamese wives, prepare authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Besides the well-known Vietnamese Noodles, Prawn Cakes and Spring Rolls, you might want to try Vietnamese Sour Fish Soup (NT$250 for two people), Shrimp Sauce Seafood (NT$120) or Coconut Barbeque (NT$90). Vietnamese Chicken Porridge (NT$150) is boiled with chicken bones for a long time for a smooth taste. Shredded Chicken Salad also comes with the dish. Jiang Bang Xiao (NT$180) is a dish with shrimp, bean sprouts, beans and pork chops wrapped up in rice paper. Lettuce, cucumber, basil and mint leaves with fish sauce are sprinkled on top to bring out the freshness. The French-influenced dish, Curry Chicken French Bread (NT$110), is an all-time favourite among regulars. Reservations are recommended on weekends.

Indo-China Cuisine

350-47, JiLong Road, Sec. 1
(02) 2725-1350
Hours: 10:30 am-9 pm (occasional break on Sundays)
MRT: Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall
Credit cards not accepted.
Delivery service available.

Squeezed between a bunch of small restaurants in an inlet of JiLong Road across from the Hyatt Hotel, this family-run place scores high with the Taiwan Fun gourmands. Multi-lingual owner Wilson, born in Ho Chi Minh City, will cheerfully greet you with "What's your favorite today?" and happily whip up something fresh and scrumptious in just a few minutes. For a refreshing and healthy lunch, go for the Fresh Spring Rolls (NT$60) or a traditional noodle dish, such as the popular Spring Roll and Noodle in Fish Sauce (NT$100). The flat rice noodles are topped with a heaping of fresh veggies, and the sauce is a perfect ratio of fish sauce, vinegar, lemon, garlic, and chillis. If you're one for flavor, their curry soups will rock your taste buds. And wash everything down with a digestive sweet soup made daily with special ingredients. Wilson really puts his heart and soul in the food, and makes several trips to Vietnam each year to bring back the best ingredients. Note that several vegetarian options are also available.

Thanh Ky Vietnamese Restaurant

Original Branch: 1, Lane 6, YongKang Street; (02) 2321-1579
Hours: 11:30 am-11:30 pm (closed Mondays)
2nd Branch: 6, Lane 6, YongKang Street; (02) 2322-2765
Credit cards accepted.
No service charge.

Twenty years ago, Vietnamese-Chinese Mr. and Mrs. Du started the Thanh Ky Vietnamese Restaurant. Now they've opened up a second restaurant on the same alley as the original, after years of dedication to reasonable prices and authentic Vietnamese flavours. Beef Stew Vietnamese Noodles (NT$120) is the specialty here. It's cooked with cow bones and beef for hours. Then turnips, lemongrass and onions are added to sweeten the broth. The 60-gram beef in the dish is prepared daily for freshness. Dried Beef or Pork Thick Rice Noodles (NT$95) deliver a chewier texture than Taiwanese rice noodles and the cucumbers, lettuce, bean sprouts, onions and peanut powder provide a slightly sour and spicy flavour. Prawn Cake (four pieces for NT$100) is crispy and crunchy with one prawn in each cake. Hot pots (NT$380 for two people) are also included on the menu with four choices of broth: spicy, sour, sour and spicy, and barbecue sauce in four varieties.

Discovery Vietnamese Cuisine

19, SongGao Road, 6F
(02) 2722-2565
Hours: 11:30 am-
2:15 pm, 5-9:20 pm
Credit cards accepted with 10% service fee charge.

The Vietnamese-Chinese owner here opened his first Thai restaurant in GongGuan 10 years ago. Now he has four. Clearly, he knows what he's doing, as his Vietnamese restaurant has also turned out to be a huge success. Similarly, his original Vietnamese restaurant in the XinYi District has now expanded to four branches. The close relationship between Chinese and Vietnamese cooking means that the latter cuisine has been well-accepted here. Deputy Manager Rock recommends Barbecued Shrimps Paste on Sugar Cane (3 pieces with lettuce, NT$180); Vietnamese Deep Fried Shrimps Pancake (NT$180); Fillet Grouper "Ha Nai" Style (NT$420) with perch, lemongrass, mint and fennel; and Vietnamese Fresh Shrimps and Pork Rolls (NT$150 for 3 pieces)--basically spring rolls with eggs, pork, mint, Cantonese greens, shrimp and rice noodles and perfect for people who are concerned about their weight. Tamarind Drink (NT$90) and Vietnamese 333 Beer (NT$90) are two items that you don't get to enjoy in most other Vietnamese restaurants. Set menus for 2 to 12 people (NT$760-NT$6,000) are composed of dishes highly recommended by the chefs. Taiwan Fun reminds you to not to drink and drive.

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