Many of us have been to Taiwan, or at least heard of, the incredible food in Taiwan. The cockle meesua, the braised pork rice are some of the better examples to mention. Other than the local delicacies, Taiwan is also a giant cauldron of other cuisines from other cultures and countries. You will see Japanese cuisine, Korean cuisine, Spanish, Mexican, Itanlian cuisine, French cuisine and with more South East Asians living in Taiwan right now, there are more South East Asian cuisine popping up every now and then in Taiwan. Taiwan is simply one of the food haven in Asia, there’s no question about it.
However, with that many kind of cuisines operating on a small island, there isn’t guaranteed quality or taste for all cuisines and it is especially hard when you are operating a small shop with huge influx of hungry customers. There is this one casual dining place at New Taipei City that serves incredibly fresh and tasty Japanese style seafood don, or seafood bowl. This dining place is called 二男料理(pinyin: Er Nan Liao Li). Unfortunately, they do not have an English name, so we will refer 二男料理as it is in Mandarin.
二男料理is seated in the middle of New Taipei City, twenty minutes away from Banqiao station. Many people might miss it if they are not aware, this restaurant sits right between many motor and auto shops, unless you are trying to look for food in the middle of motor oils. However, even if you visit the area during the lunch hour, you will see a line of hungry people lining outside this one small restaurant. There are so many people that you have to take a queue number and expect to wait for a while before you have a seat. You have to make your order while you’re queuing, unfortunately there are no pictures on the ordering slip nor there are any language other than Mandarin, so you might have a little trouble to know what’s what on the slip. Worry not, the friendly staff will help you to understand what’s on the menu. 二男料理serves mainly Japanese seafood items such as seafood don, various raw fish sushi and several other kinds of gunkansushi(sushi wrapped with seaweed with various topping). My personal favourite and highly recommended by me is the 二男丼and their aburi salmon sushi.
Look at the size of the bowl, look at that prawn! All these at the price of 620NT$, you can’t find anything this good at this price. The freshness of the seafood is unbelievable, it’s so fresh that you can taste the subtle sweetness in the fish and prawn, you might just taste the sea itself. The prawns are extremely firm to bite, but not hard. The salmon melts in the mouth and the maguro has that sweetness upon landing on your tongue. There is really nothing to complain about the seafood don, if there is one, probably that I can’t have enough of them.
The aburi salmon sushi, in fact all other sushi, are prepared and made in front of the customers. You can see the chefs handling the rice and the fishes, after a perfect nigiri sushi is formed, the chef will then uses kitchen blowtorch and lightly fry the salmon on the top. The fat in the salmon fish will melt slightly and a fragrance will emit out from the fish. You put it in your mouth and it will immediately melts in it, the flavour of the vinegar rice and the salmon combine and form a heavenly taste. If you are a fan of ginger or wasabi, it will even further enhance the flavour.
There are a lot more seafood to choose and enjoy in the menu, but too bad that my stomach can’t take in that much food. I spent less than 1000NT$, which roughly translate less than $50SGD for a whole meal of seafood that probably worth more than that. This is one restaurant I will always return to whenever I visit Taiwan.
You can get to 二男料理by taking bus 307 from Banqiao bus station, which is located right next to Banqiao train station. Alight at Banqiao Motor Vehicle Office, 7 stops later, then continue walk forward and you will reach 二男料理in no time.