Wednesday, 25 October 2017

What to Eat at Yang Ming Shan. Ching Tsai Yuan Restaurant. 陽明山竹子湖青菜園 ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

For many tourists to Taipei, a day trip to Yang Ming Shan is often one of the highlights of their itinerary. Locals too like to come here to enjoy the cool fresh air and beautiful views of Yang Ming mountain. After a day of walking the hills and soaking in hot springs, it is customary to enjoy a meal of fresh highland vegetables at the numerous restaurants at the national park.

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

There are many easy walking trails at Yang Ming Shan which the whole family can enjoy together. Yang Ming Shan National Park is just an hour's drive, heading north from Taipei.

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

Many restaurants in Yang Ming Shan serve fresh highland vegetables 山蘇, the local speciality. Buddy Rickee and our local guide recommended Ching Tsai Yuan which is reputedly the first highland vegetable restaurant here.

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

We like the relaxed, casual, informal interior. Just the right ambiance for some down to earth highland vegetables done hill village style. It's quite tranquil on a Monday noon. I am told, people have to stand and wait for a table on weekends.

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The busy narrow kitchen is at the far end inside.

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The menu is basically boiled chicken, various chicken soups and stir fried highland vegetable dishes. The Mandarin speaking only staff wasn't too eager to suggest signature dishes, so we were pretty much left to make our own random choices.

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A dozen boiled chicken set on trays to air dry.

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

The chicken were huge, perhaps at least 1.8 kilo per bird. (Price NT$450 / SG$20.20 for half a bird.)

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The 白斬雞 chicken is chopped up and served when there is an order.

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

I like it that the chicken was chopped into large chunks with bone in. The thick yellow skin with a slight gleam from sesame oil looked so invitingly delicious. There was very little fat.

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The huge chunks of chicken were tender and juicy. The texture is firmer than farmed American broilers and even kampung chicken in Malaysia and Singapore, but it is still nicely tender. The thick skin especially had a pronounced natural chicky sweetness. The chicken is cooked to less than 100% doneness, which I like. I love this chicken and took more than my fair share of it 😝

We also tried their highland vegetable dishes which Yang Ming Shan is famous for.

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

龍鬚菜炒山豬肉 Korean asparagus fern stir fried with thin slices of boar meat. The greasy sauce used is robustly savoury with a slight spicy undertone.

The fern was soft crunchy juicy sweet. The wild boar slices had a soft crunchiness, especially the skin and fat. The boar meat had little flavour and it was masked by the savoury spicy sauce.

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Crunchy juicy leafy greens stir fried with a light sauce, oil and dried anchovies. Homely and quite greasy.

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蘆筍香菇 Stir fried asparagus and mushrooms. Simple and nice. We can taste all the natural flavours and goodness of the juicy thick crunchy asparagus spears.

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炒檳榔花 Stir fried nutmeg flowers. The white flowers are like thick knobbly threads - they gave the dish a soft crunchy texture but not much flavour. The dish relies on the sauce and oil to give it a mild sweet savoury taste.

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山藥雞湯 Chicken soup with mountain herbs.

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Greasy tasty mildly sweet savoury herbal soup.

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😋 Leftovers analysis. We loved the chicken most - only one piece of neck was left. Someone even ate the claw and another, the bishop's nose. The highland vegetables were nice mainly because they still retained their natural texture and flavours. But, they were stir fried with quite a lot of oil, so they were a bit on the greasy side. The wild boar meat didn't do very well as it doesn't have much flavour and the sauce was slightly too salty. There was a bit of leftover soup though it was tasty as it was very greasy. They were quite liberal with oil here 😂

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

4-Stars (out of 5). Top recommendation here is their fat juicy delicious chicken. For this alone, it is worth coming to Ching Tsai Yuan 青菜園 when you are visiting Yang Ming Shan 陽明山.

(Note to self: There are numerous other highland vegetable restaurants to try at Yang Ming Shan.) 

Yang-Ming-Shan-Ching-Tsai-Yuan-Restaurant-陽明山竹子湖青菜園

Restaurant name: Ching Tsai Yuan 青菜園
Address: 112, Taiwan, Taipei City, Beitou District, 竹子湖路55之11號
GPS25°10'38.4"N 121°31'51.3"E | 25.177323, 121.530916
Tel+886 2 2861 9165
Hours: 11:00am to 8:00pm (Weds off)

Non Halal



Date visited: 23 Oct 2017

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I firmly believe that taste is subjective and so, warmly welcome differing viewpoints as it makes this blog better :-D But, I disapprove negative comments that are anonymous or hide behind fake identities. I feel that that is unethical in the same way as speaking ill of others behind their backs. I look forward to all your comments :-D Thank you. (Date: 18 Dec 2015)

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