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When the fish aren't biting, start cooking

By Ye Jun | China Daily | Updated: 2014-03-22 09:16

When the fish aren't biting, start cooking

When the fish aren't biting, start cooking

Braised pork ankle (top) and mullet roe are two typical Taiwan dishes served at Du Hsiao Yueh Restaurant's new branch at Wangfujing's Sun Dong An. Photos by Ye Jun / China Daily 

Visiting Du Hsiao Yueh Restaurant's new branch at Wangfujing's Sun Dong An changed my first impression of its first locale.

When the fish aren't biting, start cooking

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I had found the dishes to taste a bit bland when I ate at the restaurant's first venue at Parkview Green. Chefs with the Taiwan restaurant must have made adjustments since then to suit the local palate, because this time not only does the food taste good, but I also discovered a few great dishes that I've not tried before.

Du Hsiao Yueh is known in Taiwan's Tainan for danzai mian (carrying-pole noodles), which are southern Taiwan-style minced pork noodles.

According to the restaurant, the noodles have a history that dates back more than 100 years to 1895. A fisherman with the surname Hong tried to sell noodles for a living during the off season of fishing. That's how the restaurant got its name - du hsiao yueh literally means "spending the low months".

Hong started his noodle business by carrying a pole and selling noodles topped with minced pork sauce and one shelled shrimp on the streets. Danzai mian has since become a signature snack in Tainan, and now the fourth generation of the Hong family is running Du Hsiao Yueh.

The secret of good flavor lies mostly in the minced pork sauce, which is fried with lean diced pork, shallots, mashed garlic, shitake mushrooms and shrimp, and seasoned with sesame oil, soy sauce, sugar and rice wine. To give the noodles a clean taste, chefs add bean sprouts and coriander to the noodles.

The noodles are often paired with a bowl of shrimp-head soup, and a tasty marinated egg. The diced pork sauce is also used to garnish steamed rice or in boiled starch noodles.

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