Wednesday, February 19, 2014

176. Taiwan Day 7: Tokyo Style Italian at Bellini Pasta Pasta / 日式義大利餐在 Bellini (Taipei: Da An District / 台北市: 大安區)

One of my favorite things about eating in Asia is the availability of fusion food.  The abundance of fusion fare comes not because the culinary world actually works to blend different cuisines but because it is almost inherently in their nature to do so.  The Japanese and Taiwanese especially have an affinity for Western cooking but use local ingredients to mimic dishes from their own culture.  These such blends are apparent in the dishes at Bellini Pasta Pasta, one of my favorite Asian inspired European restaurants, and I make a visit each time I visit Taipei. 

From spaghetti with shrimp tempura to sauce using squid ink or yuzu and mentaiko, there is a plethora of choices when it comes to Japanese-Italian fusion pasta.  One of my favorites is the spaghetti with shrimps & mushrooms in basil pesto sauce (羅勒青醬鮮蝦蘑菇起司麵).  At first glance it does not quite seem Japanese or Asian at all, but it does not appear to be authentic Italian either.  The creaminess of the pesto sauce, the use of full basil leaves, and the length wise cuts of the mushrooms create the Asian essence that the pasta exudes.  I love that toasted pine nuts and red chili flakes have been tossed in with the noodles already, and the sauce has a lightness that distinguishes it from other heavy cream sauces.

Since Japan and Taiwan are island nations, there is a heavy use of seafood in their traditional dishes.  This is reflected even in the fusion cuisine that they produce.  The pizza that we ordered, a mentaiko with calamari & tuna (和風明太子鮪魚中卷比起司薩), is another favorite.  The thin crust is toasty and crisp, and the cheese is light and does not take over the pizza.  The best part, though, is that nori is tossed over the top of the pizza right before serving.  With the tuna and nori combined, all that is missing is a bit of rice to make a sushi roll.  Yum!

We also ordered the Caesar salad, a beef carpaccio, oven baked clams & mussels, soup and desserts.  It's tough to contain myself here because all the dishes are made so well.  Until next time, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

Bellini Pasta Pasta
No. 98, Zhongxiao East Rd., Section 4, Da An District, Taipei City
Bistro 98 Building, 4th floor
MRT: Zhongxiao Fuxing Station, exit no. 3 / 捷運忠孝復興站, 3號出口

ML - 20130706

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