On our 3rd day, we were able to get up before 12:30pm only because I made a lunch reservation at 1:30pm. When it comes to food, to urge to sleep becomes secondary! The place was Mitsui Cuisine which has become one of the must stop Japanese restaurants in Taipei on every visit. Mitsui and its chain of Japanese restaurants each has its own theme so to speak to provide a different experience to diners. I am not certain and I doubt Mitsui and all its outlets are the best (or the cheapest) in Taipei but so far all my visits have been very consistent in terms of quality and service.
We ordered two different sets of meals namely the Yue Yin Set (NT$1800) and You Hsin Set (NT$1500) which pretty much means nothing me expect for the slight difference to price. There were no breakdown on the menu as to what we were getting, all up the the chef perhaps? This sort of set menu applies to all outlets of Mitsui restaurants so be prepare for some surprises and don't worry, there will be enough to feed your stomach! The price of the sets are considered above average locally but when you compared them with Hong Kong and the number of quality dishes that you will be receiving here, I say these sets are bargains, more than justified for a little luxe moment!
I think we got mixed up as to which dish belongs to which set because we switched the items between us every now and then, and the server delivered them accordingly based on which dish we were having at that moment. Since there was no name for the dishes anyhow, I will just post them here as a slide show for your enjoyment! :) ...
We spent almost 2.5 hours at Mitsui, way passed their lunch hours. Yes we certainly took our time since it was a vacation afterall! The bottom line is I will return to any of Mitsui restaurants whenever possible! Actually, any suggestions as to where else I can have great Japanese cuisines in Taipei? I am actually keen on trying the so-called Taiwanese-Japanese cuisine.
Where did we go afterwards? We wanted to tell ourselves we travelled beyond just a few blocks within hotel, we took the subway (Metro Taipei 臺北捷運) and ride to the end of the Danshui 淡水 line! The ride took about 40-45 mins or so and we arrived at Danshui! One of the famous attractions here is the Danshui old street 淡水老街 district with all sorts of snacks. Our initial plan was to come here in search for some nice casual cafe but we couldn't find any that interest us. I have decided that I will do a series on Taipei's cafe! I just hope I would not overdose on caffeine! (yes you are right, I did not take any pictures because I was too busy searching for cafe and both hands were holding food / snacks!)
By the time we made it back to Taipei, we were beyond hungry! Just so you know, a lot of the restaurants in Taipei close quite earlier, perhaps around 9pm unlike Hong Kong. We have been spoiled by the Hong Kog culture in a sense. Tian-Quan Oden 佃權關東煮 was one of the few that remains open til late. Casual and relax, this place is perfect for Oden and a few glasses of Sake! The setup of this shop is basically like a street stalk with benches surrounding the kitchen, no individual tables, you have to sit next to a stranger or fellow foodies from all parts of Taipei in my case.
Before the oden, we ordered the grilled chicken wings which were crispy not overly salty! These are the dry type and perfect with sake!
We ordered the Oden platter and Tamago as well. Nothing to complain about perhaps because I already had a few glasses of sake? These were perfect mid-night snacks or simply perfect whenever you have cravings for something hot yet comforting.
The salad was surprising refreshing and appetizing! Tender and flavorful pork neck slices with a light vinaigrette dressing. Not a wise choice to have something appetizing at this hour to be honest but what can be the worst case scenario? Order more? oh yes, a great scenario! This is definitely one of the places I will visit again! (Tian-Quan Oden 佃權關東煮 台北市延吉街136號, +886 (02) 87718272, 5:30pm-2:00am)
I could not remember what happened next thanks to sake but I do remember I went to bed with a very satisfying stomach full of delicious food!
~ end of day 3 / 4 ~