En-Cheng-Ju excels at traditional Cantonese seafood

Written and translated by Diva Yang
Photos by Andy Lin

(02) 2397-2498 / 2396-3271
11, RenAi Rd, Sec 2
Hours: 11:30 am-2 pm, 5:30-9 pm
closed 4 days during Chinese New Year, Dragon Boat Festival and Mid-Autumn Festival
Credit cards accepted. 10% service charge.

During my first visit to En-Cheng-Ju, I became a bit confused about its location. That's when my cab driver assured me that he knew exactly where it was, because he took customers there all the time. Certainly that alone was a good sign.

En-Cheng-Ju was established in 1988 and originally located on XinSheng South Road before moving 13 years ago to its current site. The first impression I had of the restaurant was a tankful of shellfish by the entrance and all the Chinese calligraphy by contemporary masters on the wall. As many customers are Taiwanese political and business leaders, there are also seven rooms reserved for private dining.

En-Cheng-Ju is famous for its Cantonese-style seafood as well as Chao-Zhou cuisine. Owner Mr. Wu says that Cantonese cuisine has lighter flavors with lingering aromas when compared to other Chinese cuisine. This means you don't need rice as an accompaniment. Most importantly, it is prepared with less oil and minimal salt, helping it meet the requirements of a modern healthy diet.

The owner promises that the 12-course, set-menu meals for tables of 10 (NT$6,000-NT$12,000) will satisfy everyone. Among regular entrees, the most recommended dish is Fried Duck with Taro (1/2 duck NT$400), a traditional delicacy rare because it takes so long to prepare. Even though it's fried, you'll barely notice the oil and the taro is super silky--for the best effect, be sure to take your first bite without anything extra, before adding some special sauce for the second bite. Some customers can't get enough of this unforgettable dish.

With Cantonese cuisine, all seafood is served with the shell to certify it was live and fresh before cooking. The Steamed Grouper (NT$55 per 50 grams), weighing at least half a kilogram, is tasty and tender. For crustacean-lovers, Crabs Served in Hua-Diao Shao-xing Wine (NT$55 per 50 grams) will make you yearn for more when the plate is empty. At the end, be sure to soak up the juices with Taiwanese vermicelli for a perfect finish to your crab-tasting experience.

Mr. Wu's better half, Lin Qiu-xiang, is a renowned TV cooking icon whose post-birth meals have benefited tens of thousands of new mothers in Taiwan. At the restaurant, she has created Assorted Mushrooms with Pine Nuts (}NT$480) for health-conscious customers, who can savor seven to eight kinds of fresh mushrooms in one dish. With all this and much more available at En-Cheng-Ju, it's no wonder that almost everyone, including the taxi drivers, seems to know how to get there these days.

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