Di Bao TaipeiPosted By Jennifer Ho Aug 16 2011 · 0 comments · Dining Out
Di Bao is immediately striking what with two great big Chinese drums flanking its outer entrance (diners are free to pick up the drum sticks and hit the drums as hard as they can) , elaborately dressed waitresses (headdresses and formal Chinese gowns), and the glimmering gold emperor’s chair at the front of the restaurant. The plating at this restaurant is most impressive: catching a glimpse of other tables with food already served, I couldn’t wait to see what the set menu we had pre-ordered had in store.
All of the plates we had were shared amongst 11 peope so it worked out that everyone had one piece of everything – just a little to whet the appetite and tease the stomach. One of the first dishes we received was a massive plate of assorted sashimis which included yellowtail, tuna, salmon, swordfish, sea bass and yellow roe.
We had a soup that had been on the stove for over eight hours marinating with chicken bones and a special ingredient that is one of the rarest and most precious in Chinese cooking – the thin film of skin from the inside hollow of bamboo.
We also had a plate of fried sushi, a plate of squid wrapped sushi with smoked salmon inside topped with a small scallop, prawns tossed with spices and ground with rocks (really earthy flavor) as well as a roasted chicken which the waitress took apart by hand, preparing one plate of the crispy chicken skin and another with the wings, thighs and breast meat.
One of the most visually interesting plates came in a cup full of fruits (watermelon, dragon fruit, yellow melon, guava) with a sweet sauce at the bottom, topped with candied sugar whipped into fine strands, almost like angel hair and fashioned to look like a tall bird’s nest. You were made to mix the sugar into the fruit salad and eat it all together. Delicious.
The dessert was of the same caliber – a wide and heavy plate was hoisted onto the lazy suzy containing a white and fluffy, effortlessly light cloud-like thing. Sort of like cotton candy, the white stuff hid the real sweet stuff that lay beneath: a Chinese version of panna cotta topped with plum flavored sugar crystals.
This is a definite must-go to restaurant in Yilan simply because the dining experience is incomparable. From the varied flavor pairings presented in the dishes, the ingredients used, the aesthetic of the food to the service and the atmosphere, the meal you’ll have here is well worth the hour drive out from Taipei city.