Friday, October 2, 2009

Taipei Travel Log: Dawan - 大腕燒肉專門店

Back to completing my Taipei Travel log...

After a long day at Danshui, we returned to venture to this meat place which I had reserved dinner based on a blog entry I had read prior my trip. the place is called 大腕燒肉專門店 (Da wan barbecue meat specialty place). the place is located at Dunhua nan lu, amongst many little trendy stores popular with the younger crowd.
I have absolutely no idea how to get there by train even though there is a metro stop nearby. Seeing that we are running late, I opted for a cab, not before asking the hotel to call the place that we will be 10mins late. In hindsight, that was a super wise decision because the place was nestled in an inner street, and it was really FULL. I assume my seats would have been given up if no called to say we will be late since I didnt have a local number for the store to call and confirm my attendance.

The floor area isnt very large. The central area in a u-shaped is taken up by the staff cooking and preparing the food order, while the patrons will sit on the counter area. There is one table tucked away in a corner reserved for larger crowds. The place is packed with locals, not tourists, and brightly lit, well designed, well ventilated and filled with the very friendly and polite serving staff. The place even comes with discretely concealed drawers with a keylock that allows you to place your bags/ coats etc. Talk about thoughful.

We were shown to our seat promptly and since all the menu was in Mandarin (what's new), I honestly didnt know where to start explaining the long list to my husband. The place is kinda dedicated in serviing beef. of course there are seafood, and other food but I would say this is a beef lover place.

While I was busy staring and wondering what to get, the young guy asked what we would like to drink. I told him honestly I had no idea and am kinda lost and some help to start with would be fantastic. Knowing we are from out of town, he very swiftly recommended some of the store's specialities and this beef platter of wagyu beef of 3 different cut. Then he recommended this cocktail which he assured was asbolutely divine and I wont be able to discern the alcohol within. he looked sincere and earnest enough that I trusted him with the plan. I was not disappointed.
Dinner at Dawan proved to be my best meal in Taipei for the trip. Apart from the excellent service we had, the ingredients were undoubtingly fresh and reasonably priced. I would never ever pay so little for such high quality waygu beef cut. the meat was fresh and succulent and the staff timed the cooking over the charcoal flame so perfectly that every piece was cook to perfection (pink), where the juice will oozed inside your mouth as you take each bite. There was no additional sauces needed for dip. The meat is soooo good and naturally sweet that you will want to savour the full flavour on its own. Any additional condiments or sauces are excessive or rather unnecessary at this place.

We started off with this salad with small cubes of tofu. Each mouth was crunchy and delightful. The tofu was fried to prefection where the skin is lightly crisp without being oily, and the inside really soft and warm. The sald mix was light and non greasy either. (the girl was making our salad in the pix) What followed next was the grilled beef tongue with chopped scallions.

While we were eating, I started chattin with the girl who was "assisting" us in cooking our meat. She is very very sweet and funny. I told her she looked like the taiwanese actress/ singer Yang Chen Ling and she laughed. I prob made her day. We chit chat so much and laughed so much that she joked that Kirby her colleague must have overdosed my drink with too much alcohol... her other colleagues joined in the conversations and they started to guess my origins.

Too bad, no one guessed correctly where I was from with some thinking I was taiwanese. haaaa. As any typical reaction after the answer was revealed, she asked me what happened to the "funny singapore" accent. It's kinda hard to explain nor overturn this "deeply etched" WORLDWIDE perception that ALL SINGAPOREAN speaks BADLY in both English and Mandarin, so i didnt bother to elaborate. Its kinda sad if you really think about it.... Anycase, before I knew it, they had somehow coined 爱笑小姐 as my nickname for the night.

One of the best dish was 牛小排,甜美,又嫩又多汁,真没话说。After cooking to perfection, the meat will be taken away to be slice to small pieces and adorned wih a drop of wasabi that perfectly enhanced the flavour. The wasabi isnt the usual nasty choking usual but rather it has a very light flavour closer to english mustard but mixed with a tinge of something else. Combined with the sweet meat, it was divine combination.

The seafood was also fresh, unadulterated goodness as well.
Our neighbors had some rice ball that has salmon stuffing which didnt really appeal to us that much. I had another of the cocktail but of pomelo concoction this time as recommended by the girl to be her fav. I was sold and she was right.

Both my husband and I had a great time there, in terms of food and ambience and everything. To us, everything was perfect. If u can speak Mandarin, that is definitely a place to go. The place was constantly filled with customers and not a single empty seat in sight from 7.30pm to 9.30pm while we were there. As we were leaving, the place was still going strong with people waiting outside, and hence reservations is a good idea for this place. Would I come back again? Definitely. For the same meal, it would prob cost us an arm AND a leg if it was consumed in Hk or Singapore but not here in taipei. At the end, apart from the good food, I think the humourous friendly staff set the place apart. Creating a setting like you are dining at a friend's place where you can unwind, chill out or banter with the staff is a perfect environment to leave a memorable time for any guests, and most certainly have them come back again. Before I left, the girl and I said our goodbyes, and that I will definitely be back again the next time I am in taipei. It's a promise :)

As I left the store and was asking one of the serving staff (taking his smoking break) where to take a cab, he told me to head to the main street, not before cracking another joke to take my pick on any of the "cattle herd" parked by the side... That night, I went back with a big smile and a full belly.

Address: 台北市敦化南路一段177巷22號1樓02-27110179

operating hours: PM18:00~AM02:00


ethan said...

hhaaa, I was shocked when I was told I speak with a accent. That must be the "singaporean accent". :) Reading yr piece now, reminds me how you can effectively turn it off and on. I am always amazed by it.

Tell me who yr teacher lei, I want to learn how to do that too!

Nomad said...

hey this is a surprise!

haaa, personally, I didnt find your accent isnt very distinct but i guess to non locals, they picked it up more acutely...:)

nah, you dont need any teacher. U are just fine :)

otherwise, watch more TV, a keen ear and chatting more with taiwanese friends prob rub it off. ha! (-v-)

Tushar said...

hey ur lucky enuf to find those people who helped you a lot suggesting the dishes and drinks you are not aware of, adding the lady who assisted you got along friendly and i think this gives a positive sign for the place she is working for as well as the country gets a good name in hospitality....i would like to see more posts of the similar type...

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