My first Taiwanese meal at Zero Space, in 双井

Everyday on my way to work, as I exit the subway I pass this hip little cafe that specializes in Taiwanese food. I’ve never given it much thought but I had time to kill tonight and was both famished and sick of the other options in the area. I figured I’d try a new place, and tonight a new culture as well. Taiwan is an island off the coast of China, and one of it’s few special administrative zones. Geography is a huge factor in a country’s eating habits, and Taiwan being a small island I wasn’t surprised when most of the meats were either chicken or from the ocean. I was however pleasantly surprised at how much tropical fruit is incorporated into their dishes. Mango, pineapple, kiwi; each dish had a delicious accent. Wiping the drool off my face I settled on a mango smoothie, fried shrimp with pineapple, and beef fried rice.
The smoothie was the first to arrive. It was incredibly thick and I’m pretty sure they’d used cream instead of water when mixing it. It was tasted amazing, definitively the natural taste of mango, and not at all synthetic given the chunks of mango fruit in it.
The shrimp came next. The plate was kind of small, but after the first bite it was well worth it. The batter was delicate and fluffy, and both the pineapples and the shrimp nuggets (foodies please don’t crucify me for that lack of a better term) had a cream glaze on them that made their flavors stand out, and gave it a creamy melt in your mouth affect with an aftertaste of good shrimp. The pineapples were perfectly ripe.
They gave me a complimentary soup, consisting of seaweed and a dumpling. It didn’t have much taste but traditionally these soups were more meant to clean the nutrient rich seaweed of the salts and sediments of the ocean, and relieve the plant of its otherwise brine water taste. I didn’t expect much, but it wasn’t meant to be much.
Last came the fried rice. Not a lot of meat was in the dish, but that’s normal in china. It was full of diced beans, eggs, and carrots to make up for it. The fuyuan, or waitress, had told me it was spicy but I barely noticed anything. The dish had more of a sweet pepper spice than anything actually hot, which nicely added to the great beefy/veggie flavor built on the rice foundation. Definitely a solid end to the meal!
The restaurant had a chill atmosphere, especially being in the middle of a mall, and was affordable too, coming out to be 66RMB in total. Overall a very nice place and I can certainly say there will be more Taiwanese food is in my future! Those fried shrimp bites were crack!

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