Finally, my long-awaited Taiwanese food adventures have recommenced! Armed with a new Sony NEX-5N camera (apologies as I still don’t really know how to optimise it yet), our first megameal took place at the famed Zhejiang cuisine restaurant, Rong Rong Yuan. This place serves proper dishes so sublime that Taiwan’s First Lady is a regular visitor.
Rong Rong Yuan is huge, well-fitted, with plenty of private rooms for functions and large groups. Their menu is extensive but reasonably priced for the type of quality you get. Lots of fresh seafood as well as traditional and unique dishes — none of which compromise on presentation or taste. Just have a look at the marvellous smorgasbord we feasted on below.
We started with a couple of complimentary dishes, including one combining dried tofu and dried little fish, with a dash of chilli (see first pic above). Then came free range chicken, tofu skin rolls, steamed fish, broad beans, mini-prawns, amaranth hotpot, fried rice. All were brilliant. There’s too many pictures so I’ll put them in gallery format (can also toggle for slideshow — please check it out, it took me freaking forever to set this crap up).
However, the highlight for me had to be the signature dish, braised pork spare ribs stuffed in sesame buns.
The pork spare ribs are slow cooked in foil and the juices are simply divine, practically begging to be devoured being unwrapped from the foil and placed individually into the fluffy buns.
Coming in second was the crab pot with rice cakes.
I just loved how all the ginger and spring onions and spices used to cook the crab got all mixed in with the rice cakes, making them ridiculously tasty.
A plainer favourite was the fried silver thread buns. I simply adore the crispy exterior and the piping hot, soft and slightly sweet interior.
Another favourite for the rest of the diners was the steamed stinky tofu, which I was once traumatised by and steadfastly refused to eat. I take their word for it when they say that it’s ‘terrific’ (and I don’t mean ‘terrible’). It was sure pungent but the odour was less objectionable than some of the roadside vendors you’re likely to come across.
By the way, what we sampled was merely just a fraction of Rong Rong Yuan’s impressive menu.
For dessert we were served complimentary fried ‘yuan xiao’, or glutinous rice flour balls with black sesame paste on the inside. Not my thing but everyone else seemed to love them.
In all, a splendid way to kick off my new culinary adventures in Taiwan. Rong Rong Yuan is not the kind of place you’d visit regularly but I’d definitely recommend it for proper formal functions, large groups and special celebrations, especially because of all the private rooms they have. Not every dish appealed to me but there were enough super dishes for me to consider it one of the best formal dining Chinese cuisine restaurants I’ve been to recently. All the evidence is in the photos.
9 out of 10!
Restaurant: Rong Rong Yuan (浙寧榮榮園)
Address: 2F, 25 Xinyi Rd Sec 4, Da-an District, Taipei City
Closest MRT Station: Da-an
Contact: (02) 2703-8822
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2pm; 5:30pm-9:30pm
Price Range: NT400-700 per person (approx)