Tag Archives: hakka

taiwanese/hakka: jinjiang tea house (晉江茶堂)

date january 23, 2011

contact No. 1, Jin Jiang Street, Zhong Zheng District, Taipei/02.8369.1785/台北市中正區晉江街1號

hours 7 days a week 11:00-21:00

price 200-600NT

rating ♥♥♥♥♥ (5 hearts out of 5)

nearest mrt Guting (古亭捷運站)

Hidden on Jinjiang Street (晉江街) off of Heping West Road (和平西路) is Jinjiang Tea House. The outside of Jinjiang is really cute; it looks like an old house. My friend Stephanie took me to Jinjiang for the first time a few weeks ago, but I couldn’t find the cord for my camera to upload photos. So tonight, Steph and I took my mom to Jinjiang for some tasty Hakka goodness.

The inside of Jinjiang is pretty small. It probably seats around 20. While it doesn’t look super clean, it’s clean enough and the food is delicious.

The menu at Jinjiang is only in Chinese. So be warned those who cannot read Chinese. They have some pretty great items on their menu that aren’t super common that I love such as water lily and betel nut flower. Meat items go for about 250NT a plate and vegetable items between 100-200NT.

I had never had water lily before I came to Jinjiang a few weeks ago. Now, I love it. I have no idea what part of the water lily this is or if it is even water lily, but the Chinese name for it is water lily, so I’m going with it. For 150NT, the stir fried water lily (炒水蓮) is super crunchy and refreshing. The water lily is lightly seasoned with salt and stir fried with garlic and chilies. The chilies don’t really add any spice to the dish, so if you’re sensitive to spicy food, as long as you avoid the actual chilies, I think you’ll be fine.

I really love betel nut flower, but I rarely see it on menus. So when I saw that Jinjiang had it I was super excited. The stir fried betel nut flower (炒檳榔花) for 180NT is made with carrots, chilies, and green onions. For those who have never had betel nut flower before, it is the white strings in the picture above. Texturally it is a little similar to bamboo shoots, however the taste is not. Unfortunately I am not really sure how to describe the flavor other than to say it’s really good. Like the water lily, the betel nut flower is lightly seasoned with salt, and although there are chilies, as long as you don’t eat the chilies themselves, this dish is not spicy.

For those who love tomatoes, I highly recommend the tomato fish pot (番茄鮮魚煲) for 250NT. Served in a pot on top of a flame is pieces of fried fish, tomatoes, and tofu. While the fish in this isn’t anything that special, the tomato base is really good. Also, soft tofu is hidden under the fish which is a nice surprise.

I love eggplant. I get it anytime I see it on a menu. The basil eggplant (九層塔茄子) for 150NT is pretty good. It’s actually pretty standard, nothing special. Lot of basil, some green onion, and chilies. Again, like the other dishes with chili this is not spicy at all, just avoid the chilies. Really, I ate the chilies and they weren’t that spicy, but I love spicy food, so if you’re sensitive to spice, just avoid them.

The meal ends with a complementary bowl of grass jelly. This is nothing special, it’s just grass jelly, but it’s a nice free dessert.

Since this place is called Jinjiang Tea House they do sell tea, Hakka ground tea to be more specific or 擂茶 (lei cha). I’ve gone on Hakka culture trips before and made some lei cha myself. Lei cha is made by grounding several different ingredients (sesame seeds, corn, tea leaves, rice, etc.) and then just adding water. I love this stuff, and I’m so glad I know that Jinjiang sells it now. They sell it by the box for 250NT or buy 5 get 1 free. They have many different flavors including cocoa, almond, original, etc. They didn’t have any almond or unsweetened original on hand, but the owner told us to leave our number and he’d order it for us and call when it came in. Can’t wait!

While this place is a little more expensive than Double Happiness it’s total worth it for the hard to find dishes. The portions are not very big, but I think Jinjiang is a quality over quantity type of place. Highly recommend that anyone who likes Hakka food give this place a try.

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taiwanese/hakka: double happiness hakka cuisine (雙囍家常料理)

date january 4, 2010

contact No.2, Lane 48, Sec. 2, Roosevelt Road, Zhong Zheng District, Taipei/02.2358.4662/台北市中正區羅斯福路二段48巷2號

hours not listed

price <300NT

rating ♥♥♥♥ (4 hearts out of 5)

nearest mrt guting (古亭捷運站)

I found this place through friends who happen to live right across the street from it. It recently opened and they had been telling me about how great it is so I wanted to see for myself. They said they didn’t want to over hype it and have me be disappointed, but honestly, it’s really good.

inside.

The inside of Double Happiness isn’t that big, but it’s nice and it’s clean. Every time we go in they play a very random mix of old American soft rock. I think they see the foreigners and think, oooh time for the soft rock mix! We think it’s hilarious and we like the music, so it’s cool. The menu has a pretty good mix of stir fry, soups, rices, noodles, and other miscellaneous items, so there should be something there for everyone.

dry pan fried yellow croaker 160NT (乾煎黃魚)

I love fish and this one was very good. Lightly fried, not too oily and not dried out. The meat of the fish was still moist and flaky and the skin was nice and crisp. There isn’t a lot of added flavor which is nice because you can taste the flavor of the fish. Squeeze the lime on for some extra juices and don’t forget to dip it into the 5 spice.

beef with green onion 120NT (蔥爆牛肉).

The beef with green onion dish is one of Double Happiness’ most popular dishes (as identified on the menu). The meat is tender and the sauce isn’t too salty. There is a lot of green onion, garlic, and ginger, so if you don’t like any of those things, maybe wouldn’t recommend this dish, but honestly, you can eat around all that stuff and just eat the meat.

basil eggplant with pork 110NT (九層塔茄子).

Eggplant is one of my favorite things and this dish does not disappoint. Each time I’ve had this dish it tastes great. The slices of pork are tender and the eggplant is always cooked well. There is also a lot of garlic in this dish as well, which for me is awesome because I love garlic. The sauce in this is very similar to the one in the beef with green onion dish, maybe even the same? Either way, it’s really good.

sauteed clams 120NT (炒蛤蠣).

I love clams and these clams are delicious. Like a lot of the other dishes here there is a lot of basil, garlic, and ginger. The sauce on these clams is really good, garlicy and very clamy. The clams are always well cooked and rarely are their any clams that can’t be eaten.

kung pao chicken 140NT (宮保雞丁).

The kung pao chicken was good. Nothing particularly great about it, just kung pao chicken. The meat was tender though, and the sauce had a good balance between salty and sweet. Again lots of garlic. Wish there were more bell peppers though.

salt and pepper shrimp 170NT (椒鹽蝦).

The salt and pepper shrimp here is really good. The butterfly the shrimps which make it difficult to peel, if you want to peel them. Honestly, the skin is so crisp and thin that you could just eat it. I love that they aren’t super oily and all the basil, green onion, garlic, and red peppers that come with the shrimp. You get a pretty decent amount of shrimp too for the price. Be careful though: I bit into one and had the shell dig into my gums.

sauteed cabbage 70NT (高麗菜).

The only green vegetable I’ve ever had here is the sauteed cabbage. It’s pretty good, a little oily, but still really good.

Don’t waste rice here. A friend and I didn’t finish our rice once and the owner told us that we shouldn’t waste food and that next time we should share. We took her advice and shared this time. Between 4 people we usually order 6 dishes and our bill usually comes out to about 200NT a person, which for the amount of food and the variety is totally worth it. So if you like garlicy, good food, Double Happiness is a good place to try.