Fu Xiang Yuan
Venturing into Yongkang Street's gourmet food jungle
Written and photos by Cecilia Chang
Translated by Ann Lee
6, Lane 7, YongKang St
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm,
5:30- 9 pm
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.
Besides its famed variety of gourmet dining, Taipei's Yongkang Street is also known for its outstanding restaurants selling Zhejiang provincial cuisine. In 2007, food critics dishes out high praise for Fu Xiang Yuan, which was originally launched on RenAi Road back in 2005 but relocated to YongKang Street two years later. Thanks to the loyal patronage of old customers, this establishment is today better known than ever, with the proof of this quite literally on the walls, covered with autographs from celebrities and politicians.
Malaysian-born Chinese Executive Chef Fan Tian-mei is the soul of Fu Xiang Yuan. Working at a number of establishments prior to his current post, he has 28 years of experience under his belt and, of course, is meticulous when it comes to selecting the finest ingredients for his signature dishes. Owner Ms. Chang Bi-yao's husband also happens to be an experienced trader of sorts on DiHua Street, a fact that Fan uses to his advantage when picking out top-quality ingredients daily.
Some of the must-try dishes here are the Sesame Roll with Mushrooms and Seasonal Vegetables (NT$268). For this dish, Fan stuffs fresh Chinese vegetable with shrimp, crab sticks and five kinds of mushrooms, then finishes it off with a bit of chestnut to intensify flavors. All this is rolled into 80-degree oven-baked sesame dough and put on the grill for 10 minutes. This dish includes 12 sesame-stuffed rolls that disappear from the plate all too fast when you're eating with company.
Another great dish to try is the tantalizing Dong Bo Pork (NT$520/big, NT$320/small). This pork dish is made not only with huge amounts of pork but also chicken bones and chicken feet. These wholesome ingredients are put in a pot and cooked for five hours at high heat, which is then reduced to low heat and stewed for a further four hours. Even then, it's not done yet, as the chef puts it in the freezer to remove excess grease from the cooking process. Chef Fan also recommends the Braised Fish Jaw (with at least 2 pieces/NT$108 per piece) or the Healthy Salad (NT$228), made with a special dressing of mustard seeds, coconut syrup, fish sauce and lemon juice--a Southeast Asian flair that is extremely popular with some VIP guests.
You won't regret paying a visit to Fu Xiang Yuan; as the spring couplet hanging on the restaurant wall notes, "Everyone wants to be rich, having great food and wine brought to you, everything you get to enjoy is classy and delicate, and if you serve your guests with pure sincerity, they will always come back to enjoy more."