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Definitely not on a weekend December 10, 2016

Posted by hslu in Food, Restaurants, Taiwan.
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25 minutes. I was told.

That’s how long I had to wait to get my meal after I placed my order.

The restaurant is called “金子半之助” located at the Food Court of the Mitsui Outlet Park (林口三井) in Linkou, Taiwan. 

It sells tempura over rice and there are exactly 3 items on the menu:

天丼:舞菇、大蝦、魷魚海鮮炸(小干貝+魷魚)、青龍、炸半熟玉子、炸海苔片。新臺幣 $330。

上天丼:鱚魚、大蝦、魷魚海鮮炸(小干貝+魷魚)、青龍、炸半熟玉子、炸海苔片。新臺幣 $350。

江戶前天丼:穴子魚、大蝦、魷魚海鮮炸(小干貝+魷魚)、青龍、炸半熟玉子、炸海苔片。新臺幣$390。

Don’t be surprised by the long wait time on a Wednesday night because it can and do stretch out to 1.5 hours if you come on a weekend.

On weekends, line stretches out beyond this point. After you reach to the counter and place your order, you have to wait 40 minutes to get your meal. It is simply ridiculous if you ask me.

I know because my wife tried it out a few months ago on a Saturday night and I had to wait for her meal long aftet I finished mine.

Was it worth the 90 minute wait? Definitely not. 

Since the restauran is so popular Both in Japan and Linkou, I Just have to try it someday.

Well, last night was my lucky night because I was the only one in line at 6:15 pm. However, I still had to wait 25 minutes before I could eat. No kidding. In general, five, at most ten, minutes was the usual wait at other restaurans.

The actual wait time was 23 minutes and 18 seconds. I believed that there were four or five orders before me.

When I walked up to the counter, a young woman told me that my order would be out shortly and it would be placed on ‘this’ (pointing) tray soon. 

That’s when I realized that 金子半之助 was so particular on providing the best dining experience to their guests that the restaurant summoned their guests over right before their meals were ready. All other restaurants called their guests over after their meals had already been placed on a tray.

I waited for my meal patiently and, sure enough, it came out in about 20 seconds. The young woman called me over, pointed her finger to the middle of the rice bowl and told me to poke the egg york open after finishing half of my meal to enjoy it with the rice. 

Well, here is what I got:上天丼, the miso soup didn’t come free with my 上天丼. It cost additional 新臺幣 $30。The sides were pickled ginger and something called 牛蒡 which customers can served themselves.

Buried below the tempura is a deep fried egg york.

My first impression was the rice bowl was too small for the 新臺幣 $350 price tag. I probably got spoiled by the low prices we’ve been paying for other meals at this and other food courts.

I then tried the tempura. They were good and the outsider batter layer wasn’t very crispy like many other tempuras I have had before. Seasoning was adequate and the fish tempura was the best among the three: juicy, tender, fresh and not fishy. A few pieces of squid and scallop were deep fried in batter. The tempura veggie and battered corn patty weren’t extraordinary. The deep fried seaweed piece was thick and chewy but it tasted like others I’ve had before. The rice was firm but not starchy. It was added over a soy-based sweet sauce. The same sauce was poured over the rice befoe the egg york, three tempuras and deep fried patties were dressed later. I didn’t finish all the rice because it had too much sauce at the bottom of the bowl.

I believe the egg york was covered with flour or corn starch before it was individuality deep fried. It should have been chilled (may have been slightly frozen) first to make it easier to handle and to end up with a running center after deep fried in 350 degrees F. By the time I started eating the egg york, the running center was still warm. 

I believe the restaurant took pain to make sure that each  was as good as the one it served before. I appreciated the dedication 金子半之助 put in the they make. Maybe this is why it’s so popular in Japan and in Linkou, Taiwan.

But, it will be a long while before I come back to try 金子半之助’s 丼 again. If you come, please do not come on a weekend unless you have nothing better to do and you like spending your time waiting in line watching other people enjoying their food.

In the mean time, I’ll take two bowls of 牛肉麪 (usually 新臺幣 $120 to $150 each) and a couple of side dishes for a bowl of 新臺幣 $350 上天丼  anytime if you don’t mind. 

Web image

Side dishes from 點水樓, Linkou.

By the way, pronounces ‘dong4.’ It generally means rice covered with something: beef, chicken or fish. For instance, 牛丼 might mean rice covered with sliced beef stirred fried with onions or some other vegetables.

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