Saturday, October 18, 2014

Taiwan Taipei Original Pot, in Vancouver !

It's finally here ! I've been eyeing this restaurant's opening for a while now. It's located near the end of Alexandra road, in a little mall housing other restaurants such as Deer Garden (second floor) and Kao's Family Restaurant.  Just like any other places on Alexandra, it's extremely difficult to find parking. I was once there during their soft opening, but gave up because I couldn't find parking park. Sigh, I actually found the perfect spot right in front of the store, but for some weird reason, I couldn't back my car into the spot ! My car kept hitting the curb and stopped moving. It was really strange ! At that embarrassing moment, three guys were standing outside the store smoking and staring, so my friend C quickly convinced me to give up trying and drive away. So after that one time, I haven't returned till weeks later, and I kept returning ever since.

Front Entrance
It's always great that you can make reservation at a busy restaurant such as this one. And I strongly recommend you to do so, as most of the times, they are completely booked for the entire night, and you will have to go else where to find food after spending forever to find a parking spot.

Decent Sized Interior
Original Pot's interior resembles so much of the family restaurants in Asia, even their utensils and customer base, but again, we are in Richmond. And I don't complain, I loved it ! It certainly adds to the authenticity. I mean it has to be authentic, because it IS the franchise store of the actual popular Taiwan Taipei Original Pot. It doesn't disappoint.

Once you were seated, you will find this portable hot-pot stove on the table, and you'll be like, "WTF, I'm not here for hot-pot, I must leave immediately before they start pouring tea !" Well, at least that was my initial reaction when I first reached my table. My boyfriend said something like, "it's okay, we can eat hotpot too." so we sat down. *two culturally inadequate souls, hahahaha.

The Instructional Menu
If you don't read Chinese or you are just as confused as I was when I first ate there, this place might be a little difficult for you to make orders. This is exactly why you should read my blog because I'm helpful like that.

*clears throat.

So, first step ! You need to decide how hungry you are. The Original Pot is actually more suitable to eat with a bunch of people. But if you are #foreveralone, I'd suggest you pick your orders carefully. The "set" comes in 3 steps : stir fry -> 滷 (braised, soy-stew) -> Soup.

The 3 Steps
If you don't eat much, I'd suggest you just go for step 1 and maybe order an appetizer. Step 1 consist of the famous 花雕雞 aka Hua Diao Alcohol Chicken (please keep in mind that I might be just making up the English translation here). This alcoholic chicken is actually the name of the restaurant in Chinese. I guess the owners were also having trouble translating this chicken dish hence the Taiwan Taipei Original Pot. If I were the owner, I'd totally name it Alcoholic Chicken, such a good name *copyrighted immediately.

Anyway, so Step 1, the chicken, you can choose a couple options from the menu. I've tried both the Signature Chicken and the Emperor Chicken. To me, they tasted exactly the same, except the Emperor Chicken is boneless, so I've been sticking to ordering that ever since.

The Emperor Chicken
Tada ! The above picture shows the Emperor Chicken braised in soy and alcohol and all the good stuff. There's quite a strong alcoholic taste to it, so please be aware if you are very allergic to alcohol. We were told that the longer you stew it, the milder the alcohol, so you can try that as well. The pot itself is a little salty, so I do recommend ordering rice to go with it. And don't you worry if you don't know how or when to start eating, the server will take care of everything from stewing to asking your preferred flavor, and lastly, opening the lid of the pot so you can start the delicious meal. 


For drinks, we ordered a jar of regular Milk Tea (which was pretty good !) and Taiwan Beer ! Not all Taiwanese restaurants in Vancouver serves Taiwan Beer. The few that I can think of on top of my mind are 508 Bistro in Burnaby, Maji in Richmond, and this one.  Sadly, I'm not so much an alcohol person so I can hardly describe how Taiwan Beer is different from the rest. 

For appetizer, we decided to order the Fried Tofu, which was amazing. I think this is one of the best Fried Tofu I've had in the worlddddddd. But then I also might be very hungry to start, so feel free to doubt my credibility. 

Now, Step 2. 
Taiwanese Tempura and Tofu Skin
Step 2 requires you to order more ingredients to braised in the left-over sauce for alcoholic chicken. If you don't eat much though, I'd recommend you to only pick a few ingredients for step 2 as they come in pretty big portions as well. We only ordered the noodle, Taiwnese Tempura, and Tofu Skin. We wanted to order some vegetables but the server recommended to only cook the veggies with soup (step 3) which we were too full to proceed.

The above portions were for 2 people.

I had the soup once when I came with 3 other friends. It wasn't too bad, but it's something you can go without. Ummm, I wouldn't say this is my absolute favorite restaurant, but it's definitely somewhere I'll keep going back to.

Taiwan Taipei Original Pot 台灣台北原創花雕雞 on Urbanspoon 

Note: I see there are very few votes/reviews on Urbanspoon, but please do keep in mind that they are still a very new restaurant ;)

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