Friday, April 15, 2011

Hunghwa Teppanyaki - expensive, but so WORTH it!


Hunghwa Teppanyaki Steak House

Shifu Road 45, Sinyi District Taipei (insdie Taipei 101 on 4th Floor)

Food: 4.5

Service: 3.5

Price: Expensive

Not only does Taiwan has tons of delicious street food (see proof here), but they also have many great restaurants. Since R is a big fan of Teppanyaki, we decided to check out at least one. Just like specialty tonkatsu shop, there are many choices with different price range, some are only $14-$20 for a meal, while others can cost up to $80-$100. The one we decided to check out was located in Taipei 101. If you ever been there you know this was not going to be cheap, as it was a nice restaurant in a high end mall.The restaurant was quite upscale with nice decor and good ambiance. Each grill was house in an individual dining room which can accommodate 6 people or more. I guess this will ensures that each chef will not be overwhelm by the amount of order they have to take. We ordered the set meal costing $1680($56)/person with additional 10% service fee. Although the price was certainly expensive at first glance, but take a look what was include, you will see this was definitely a worthy meal.
Since there were 3 of us, so we each chose a different soup. The first was the mushroom/seafood soup, which had almost oil free, yet it has very flavorful. R soup was the spinach soup, which to me looked a bit scary since it's so green. However the soup did not have the 'grassy taste' due to the grind up spinach, but I didn't particular love it either. Lastly, I had the French Onion soup which was thicker in comparison. The soup base was rather meaty, I would have wished for a lighter taste. All soup came with a slice of garlic bread, and it was pretty standard.
Next up is the cold plate appetizer: smoked salmon with crab salad/caviar, and salmon roe. The crab salad was super fresh and just the right amount of mayo, so that it doesn't over power the seafood flavor. The smoke salmon was also very good and not mushy at all. The salmon roe was very fresh.
If you are very observant, then you must have noticed those green globes that looked like tiny grapes. These are widely known as green caviar or sea grapes (aka vegetarian caviar). I was definitely fascinated as this was my first time trying them. These tiny sea grapes were succulent and tasted like kelp, but lighter.The 3rd course was a refreshing salad with a citrus dressing. Although there were a few pieces of lettuce present, but it was mostly a fruit salad. Just like the seafood appetizer, all the fruits was fresh and delicious. The sweet yet slightly tart dressing really complimented the fruits and opened up ones appetite.
As we were consuming our salad, the chef walked in with the 'real food' and started to prep our hot appetizers and entree. One thing I noticed in Taiwan was that anyone who directly handled the food were all wearing face masks, this was also seem at Ding Tai Fung in Taipei. However the same was not required in Bellevue's branch. :P
The first hot appetizer was the lightly season grilled prawn. The meat was cooked to perfection, so it has that snap to it when biting in. Although there was a side of honey mustard sauce, but I think the prawn should be enjoyed as is to taste its freshness.
Next up was grill fish fillet. I am not too sure what kind of fish was used, but it could either be cod or halibut. Anyways, this was also grilled to perfection, as the outside was slightly crusted, yet the inside was still succulent and soft. The fish is only season with some salt and pepper, but they did not forget the people who needs a little more flavor, as there was a side of fresh salsa.
At this point I was already feeling full, but the 5 courses above are only appetizers. Finally the main course came. For mine set meal, I went for the sirloin steak grilled medium rare. One look at that meat, you know it's done perfectly, as each piece was tender and juicy. They even sliced the steak into small pieces, so no additional work is required. :)
R's entree was the grille lamp chops. This was also done very well, the meat was tender yet chewy (in a good way). Lamb could easily turn out to be gamey if not cooked properly, but here that was definitely not a problem. They certainly do pay attention to details here (just like my pre-cut steak), they wrapped the end of each lamb chops, so that you hand won't get dirty if you decide to pick it up.
The last entree was the chicken breast. At first when I saw it on the menu, it sounded least interesting out of the 3, but once it was served, I know I couldn't be more wrong. The chicken meat was juicy and soft, and the skin was nice and crispy without any fat. They also served with a side of sauteed bacon, chili pepper and green onion. This was the a great addition, as the chicken was not as flavorful as the lamb or beef.

So if you think that's it, there is more. I missed a picture of the last dish, which was a plate of teppan bean sprout/mushroom. I guess they just wanted to add this to clean your palate and add some veggie after all that meat.
There was no question that I was stuffed from the meal above, but there was still dessert. Outside Hunghwa, there was adjoining coffee lounge, and that was where they took us to serve the dessert. I guess this way you won't have to smell other's food or inhale any smoke while eating your dessert. Plus the ambiance was much better suited for tea/dessert. If I had to pick the most disappointing dish of this whole meal, I guess I will have to go with this. It was just your average coffee cake with icing.

I know this meal was not cheap, but we had a grand total of 8 dishes, and that average of $7 dollars per dish. Given the fresh ingredients and the excellent execution, I'd say this was a very worthy meal. So if you like food that are fresh food cooked with minimal spice/sauce then Hunghwa Teppanyaki definitely definitely can not be missed.


nick April 15, 2011 at 2:41 PM

This meal looks so much better than any teppanyaki in vancouver.. I don't even think its that expensive considering the prices that teppanyaki places here charge

Jenny April 18, 2011 at 2:55 PM

@EDC: I totally agree this really isn't that expensive in Vancouver standards. However taken into account that this was in Taiwan, it's considered a bit pricey. If we had place here with similar pricing, I would definitely go back often. :P

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