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WOO Thai Restaurant, Taichung

Besides its name, WOO stands apart from your standard Thai eatery in a number of other ways. Situated above the swanky Tsutaya Bookstore Shizheng branch and famed WuPaoChun Bakery, its 120-seat interior is stylishly decorated with a modern Greco-Roman theme that includes decorative floor tiles, white marble tables, glass chandeliers, statues, painted wooden furniture, deep vibrant colors, classical white busts and an enormous stone Caesar’s head. The sprawling premises (including pleasant open-air balcony) is also subdivided into a variety of seating areas and styles suitable for intimate and large gatherings alike.
Opened in 2014, the original WOO Cafe is located in Chiang Mai, Thailand and was recently highlighted as a top fine-dining spot in Thai Airways’ Sawasdee in-flight magazine. Six WOO branches have also opened in Taiwan, including two in Taichung last year. The menu features a variety of artfully-presented, mid-priced, northern Thai/Chiang Mai dishes, which tend to be sweeter, saltier and oilier than standard Thai food but have been toned down for Taiwanese palates.
One unique appetizer I’ve never encountered before is Watermelon Topped with Petit Sweet Grilled Fish and Crisp Shallots (NT$380), mixing cold, juicy, sweet cubes of watermelon with the saltier flavor of the dry, crunchy fish-powder topping. WOO’s authentic Shrimp Cakes (NT$350) are small, thick disks, unlike the Taiwanese-style pancake-like versions seen everywhere else. Despite its ordinary name, Pineapple Fried Rice (NT$380) features a half-pineapple filled with a mix of curry-flavored rice, fresh pineapple, cashews and raisins, topped with shredded egg and meat floss, while Pad Thai Prawns (NT$390) is covered with a unique egg mesh.
Other stand-out entrees include Stir-Fried Shrimp with Green Beans (NT$220) and Stir-Fried Scallops with Asparagus and Mushroom (NT$280). Of course, WOO offers variations on Thai favorites like Steamed Sea Bass in Lemon Sauce (NT$580), papaya salad, Tom Yum Soup with Seafood, and yellow, green, red and Massaman curry dishes.
Besides menu desserts, try special ordering a non-menu Chiang Mai treat, Mango and Sticky Rice (NT$280), which allows you to mix mango, sticky rice and a sweet/savory coconut sauce in each mouthful. A full drinks menu has not only Thai-style coffee and milk tea, but also smoothies, red/white wines, beers, cocktails and spirits.

市政店:西屯區市政北二路18-1號4樓 (04) 2252-8559
18-1, ShiZheng N 2nd Rd, 4F, Xitun Dist

米平方店 M Mall branch:
(04) 2462-1288
西屯區國安一路168號B1-5
168, GuoAn 1st Rd, B1-5, Xitun Dist

11 am-3 pm (最後點餐/last order 2 pm), 5-10 pm (晚餐週一至五最後點餐8:30 pm,週六、日最後點餐9 pm / last order 8:30 pm Mon-Fri, 9 pm Sat-Sun)

Don’t drink and drive

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Written by 何道明 Douglas Habecker

Douglas Habecker is the editor-in-chief of Compass Magazine

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