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Taiwanese noodles in Shinjuku


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Taiwanese noodles in Shinjuku

chibi | Jan 18, 2003 08:23 AM

I was out in Kabukicho with some friends and we were in dire need of a beer. My experiences with Chinese food in Japan so far have spanned the range from want-to-hurl-vile to ho-hum. So I didn't really have high expectations when they picked Tainan Ta-Mi Men, part of a chain of Taiwanese eateries. The first round of dishes were inoffensive, if insipid. I picked out pidan, which turned out to be like out of season tomatoes - hard and tasteless. Next came tsai po dan (preserved turnip omlette), which was well fried, but completely lacking in preserved turnip, replaced instead with tamer fresh daikon shreds. Which left me completely unprepared when the Tainan-style noodles (danzi mian in Mandarin, ta- mi- men in katakana) were brought out. I'm still in shock. They were not just good, but really good. Really REALLY good. Noodles in a light broth, with a generous sprinkle of chopped coriander and drizzled with a few oily spoonfuls of a sauce to die for. Bits of spicy ground meat in an obscenely fragrant sauce redolent with fried scallions and every so slightly sweet from toasted garlic. You can have the danzi mian either with egg noodles or with vermicelli (mi-fen), which even better -- ultra-thin, fragrant, and springy. Just like the kind my mother likes to buy in Hsinchu, Taiwan.
Happily, I noted that they put that divine sauce on several other dishes, including on plain chopped cilantro, and blanched moyashi (bean sprouts). I might just have to go back to try their other Taiwanese specialties - I saw that they had zongzi, Taiwanese "hamburgers", and bawan listed on the wall.

Tainan Ta-Mi Men
Kabuki-cho 2-45-1, Shinjuku (actually they have two branches in Kabuki-cho alone)

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