Known as the “Treasure Island”, Taiwan has an abundance of fresh agricultural and sea-harvested products all year round. In recent years, caviar from Taiwan’s aquafarmed sturgeon–so precious to China’s Empress Dowager Cixi and as a high-end western ingredient–has gained popularity.
Since 1997, Yu Zhi Xiang (魚之鄉, “Township of Fish”) in Taichung’s Heping District has specialized in serving up farmed sturgeon, nurtured in spring waters in a beautiful valley. Around for almost a half-century, the restaurant draws many epicures with its fish dishes as well as precious caviar, harvested from fish between the ages of 18 to 21 and prepared with a traditional Iranian salt-marinating method.
As caviar is only harvested from sturgeon, its prices are quite different from any other shrimp, crab or salmon roe. The most valuable and exquisite wild caviar costs about NT$80,000 for 100 grams, while aquafarmed sturgeon caviar prices are based on sturgeon type, age, roe and size. By far the best local caviar is the “Aphrodite” variety, named after the legendary Greek goddess, from Heping District’s Guguan. This product is used by many Taipei Michelin-starred restaurants as a garnish and has become a hot subject of discussion between many epicures and Champagne tasters.
At this Guguan restaurant and its Nantou County Puli branch, diners can not only order and savor specialty sturgeon dishes, but also purchase Taiwan-cultivated, high-end caviar for NT$2,500-3,980 per 30 grams. –By Helen Young Translated by Anna Yang
魚之鄉 Yu Zhi Xiang
和平區博愛里東關路1段松鶴1巷20-1號 (04) 2594-3319
20-1, SongHe 1st Lane, DongGuan Rd, Heping Dist
11 am-8 pm
南投縣埔里鎮中山路一段21-1號 (049) 292-0909
21-1, ZhongShan Rd, Sec 1, Puli Township, Nantou County
11 am-8 pm (週三公休/closed Wed)