Matsusake Mushrooms and
Crispy BBQ Meat Cubes
Crab and Loofa Dumpling
Fermented Sea Cucumber
Cantonese cooking legend showcased at Gloria Price Hotel's Chiou Hwa Restaurant
Translated by Kassy Cho
Among those who enjoy Cantonese cuisine in Taiwan, Chef Wu Hung-chen is a household name. Born in Hong Kong, Chef Wu entered the cooking business at 16 while working at the Hong Kong Mandarin Oriental Hotel and went on to become a chef at 28. About 20 years ago, when Cantonese cuisine was just gaining traction in Taiwan, he was one of the first chefs hired to come to Taiwan, serving as the designated in-flight chef for former presidents Lee and Chen on several of their overseas trips. Thus, anyone seeking a taste of exquisitely-made Cantonese cuisine that stands apart from almost any other place should look for Chef Wu over at Chiou Hwa restaurant at Gloria Prince Hotel Taipei.
"A good chef has to continuously refine and improve his techniques and understand the newest dishes and trends of the market," Wu once commented. Indeed, he has transformed traditional entrees into perfectly-balanced light, fresh and innovative delicacies, using numerous trips back to Hong Kong to research and gather a variety of Cantonese dishes. Then there are his personal efforts to innovate a unique style of handmade sour onion sauce and Sichuan spicy sauce. The end result is that, after a year of taste-testing, the chef has put out an all-new menu with eight individual dishes (NT$180-NT$980).
Made of egg tofu that has been sliced 14 times horizontally and vertically, Matsusake Mushrooms and Chicken Noodles (NT$190) is an elegant dish. Its broth also includes the traditional Chinese herb codonopsis, which was added to address hot summer temperatures. The combined, complementary flavors of this herb and the matsusake mushrooms, together with the delicate chicken leg slices, makes this dish a feast for the eyes and tastebuds.
Crispy BBQ Meat Cubes (NT$360) consists of bacon pieces styled into small cubes that are then pricked multiple times with needles to allow excess oil to drain out when cooked. With a touch of the chef's specialty sour onion sauce, the BBQ dish is deliciously crispy and not too oily. Fermented Sea Cucumber (NT$580), also a classic Cantonese dish, is made by first burning off the top layer of lime on the juicy sea cucumbers with a coal fire. They are then soaked for at least three days before being flavored with an abalone broth and stuffed with ham, shrimp paste and other ingredients. Slowly simmered in Chef Wu's speciality Sichuan spicy sauce, the sea cucumbers are lightly coated with the slightly spicy sauce, creating a a highly-recommended dish with an unforgettable flavor that stands apart from other traditional dishes braised in soy sauce. Other than that, the Crab and Pea Shoot Dumplings (NT$140 for four) and Crab and Loofa Dumplings (NT$140 for four) are other customer favorites.
Shredded Taro Stir-fried in XO Sauce (NT$200) and Spicy Beef Floss with Thousand Layer Tofu (NT$360) are among Chef Wu's special variety of appetizers that aren't listed on the menu. These exquisitely-made dishes look tantalizing, taste good and are only available when ordered one day in advance. Regardless, on any day the restaurant's steamed fish, stir-fried vegetables and pot soup all are good choices.
(02) 2581-8111, ext. 1521
369, LinSen N Rd, Zhongshan Dist.
Pomotional period: continues to August 31
Left: Spicy Beef Floss with Thousand Layer Tofu
Right: Shredded Taro Stir-fried in XO Sauce