LANTERN (Tianmu Branch)

25, TianMu East Road
(02) 2874-9988
Hours:11:30 am-2:30 pm, 5-10 pm
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.

--By Shanzi Chen, translated by C. Donovan Smith

Head chef Chen Wen-Kai asserts "at Lantern, you'll find real Sichuan cuisine." In his early 30's, Chen already has nearly 20 years of hard-to-come-by culinary experience in Sichuan and Hunan cuisines -- which he says are rarely authentically rendered in Taiwan. To solve this, he flew to Chengdu city, sought out five star chefs and humbly asked them for advice and training. He continues to return three or four times annually to continue his studies and to buy spices, local specialties and fagara (Sichuan Pepper). Lantern recommends dishes with fagara (considered the 'soul' of Sichuan spicing) and green fagara from Guizhou to experience true and delicious Sichuan cuisine. Food can be ordered individually or as an all-you-can-eat buffet. The menu boasts an impressive armoury of 101 choices. Taiwanese dishes are available for those who don't like spicy food. Leave some space for their Fried Sweet Potatoes w/malt Sugar -- it comes specially recommended.

A. Whether the meat is beef, frog or fish -- it will be stewed the traditional way, but not eye-wateringly spicy. Those who like it hot should ask for it prepared 'classic Sichuan style'.

B. Decor is fashionably classical, with traditional windows and, naturally, lanterns.