Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Silks House Taipei

We made a quick hop downstairs for dinner at Silks House on our first day in Taipei. I ate at all other dining outlets during my previous visit last year except this one so felt like I finally completed the full circle. 

Chef Max Wo has quite a reputation in Hong Kong and Taiwan given his long experience working at Lei Garden of Hong Kong before moving across the strait to head up the ever-popular Cantonese restaurant at Regent Taipei. Tucked in the corner a couple levels above the lobby level, decor was tastefully done with the dimmed long corridor led to the common dining area with tables well spread apart. There's a choice of a la carte menu with seasonal specials plus a few tasting menu options in different price points. 

Planning on having a "second meal" at the night market afterwards we opted for a lighter dinner with a few dishes picked from their a la carte menu. Having Cantonese food in a place far away from home seems like an unusual choice but Chef Wo and his team made good use of locally-sourced ingredients with classic techniques to create something unique. That started with their signature Empress Oolong Tea brewed using aromatic and soothing Taiwanese oolong tea leaves. 

We began with a trio of appetizers. The presentations for the Preserved Eggs and Duck Eggs may be similar but both had a different flavor profile and were excellent. The pickled peppers on top of the preserved century eggs gave a nice spicy kick to the rich, slightly fermented flavor of the creamy dark custard-like egg. For the second dish, duck eggs were marinated with soy and topped with shrimp roes with a firmer texture but richer umami tastes. The dish was part of the seasonal menu for its refreshing flavor. Rounding up was a small dish of finely shredded vegetables with julienned sea cucumbers - I like the combination of crunchy and bouncy textures with hint of umami. 

Normally I wasn't a fan of taro but felt we should try the classic taro duck that's also one of the seasonal specials. The whole local duck leg was steamed with meat picked off the bone, then it's coated with mashed Taichung Dajia taro 台中大甲芋頭 (which came into seasonal in late winter/early spring) before battered and deep-fried. The equal portion of duck and taro gave it a nice balanced flavor and tender texture, combing well with the fluffy, crispy crust. It's hard to find a place that does this anywhere close to home and even harder to find somewhere that does it as good as this version. 

We went for two more home-style courses, including the daily soup and sauteed choi-sum, before finishing with the Fried Rice served in sizzling hot stone pot. The combination of diced preserved turnips, crispy garlic and taro gave this an interesting bite and complex flavor. 

When? April 11 2024
Where? Silks House, Level 3 Regent Taipei, No. 3, Lane 39, Section 2, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei, Taiwan
Menu Highlights? Crispy Duck with Mashed Taro 芋蓉香酥鴨
Web: www.ihg.com/regent/hotels/us/en/taipei/tperg/hoteldetail/dining

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