Friday, March 7, 2014

Taiwan Day 10: Jin Chun Fa Beef Restaurant / 金春發牛肉店 (Taipei: Datong District / 台北市: 大同區)

Ever since my cousin first recommended Jin Chun Fa (金春發牛肉店) to me, it has been one of my absolute favorite places to eat in all of Taiwan.  It is a restaurant that specializes in beef dishes, and it proudly advertises that it has been in operation for over 100 years.  There are over 40 dishes that feature all parts of the cattle.  Dishes range from the safe and traditional like beef satay, curried beef, and beef and potato stir-fry... to more adventuresome plates of tendon, tongue, stomach, brain, heart, and penis.  Here are some of the items that I order whenever I visit.

One dish I dream about at night is this curry beef chow mein (炒咖哩牛肉麵), an absolute must order dish at this restaurant.  The spice from the curry, although apparent, does not take away from the strong point of this dish, which is the sliced beef.  It is sliced thin, which makes it tender and almost elastic in texture.  The noodles are my favorite because they are saucy, slippery, and slurpable, the way that a traditional Taiwanese chow mein is cooked.  It is neither greasy nor spicy... a surprise to most who try it.

Most bone marrow lovers prefer theirs oven roasted and served with toasted bread, but this stir-fried dragon bone marrow (炒龍骨髓) is what I crave.  It has been wok tossed with tomatoes into a savory and saucy dish that tastes like a soy sauce infused marinara.  All that marrow gravy goes great over rice or noodles.  Mmmm... and although I am not sure why it is called dragon bone marrow, I am sure that after having this dish you will change your mind about how you want your bone marrow prepared.

You know me... I need my vegetables.  What better way to get your greens in than by combining it with beef? This sauteed water spinach (炒空心菜) is flavored with garlic, red chili, and a blend of curry powder different from the one used in the chow mein.  The hallowed vegetable stems are crunchy and are a nice contrast to its leaves.  The beef, by the way, is just as soft and tender as the the leafy spinach. 

Another favorite at the restaurant include the stir-fried vinegar beef (炒醋肉), cooked with strands of ginger that blend into a sweet and sour sauce.  The satay beef (沙茶牛肉) using traditional Taiwanese barbecue sauce is an authentic dish that is worth a try as well.  All of these dishes, by the way, would pair well with a bowl of steamed white rice, but they taste even better chased down with ice cold beer.  Taiwanese beer is light and has lots of tingly effervescence, enhance the very flavorful beef dishes, many of which have lots of spice and seasoning, even further.

Anthony Bourdain featured this place on his episode of The Layover in Taipei, but I'm happy to say that I have been eating here years before he had ever dropped in.  He tries the beef noodle soup, but I think the stir-fried dishes definitely steal the show here.

Until next time, let's all get S.O.F.A.T.

Jin Chun Fa Beef Restaurant (金春發牛肉店)
No. 20, Tianshui Rd., Datong District, Taipei City

ML - 20130709

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