After visiting all the places on our day 1 itinerary, it was close to late afternoon and our driver suggested for us to have a late lunch /early dinner. He brought us to his recommended restaurant which was supposedly famous in Qing Jing.
The restaurant was located quite high up on the mountain and has a fantastic view of the mountains. Perched on a platform where part of the restaurant has huge windows granting full view of the mountain, we saw various signs showing that this restaurant is highly recommended by a gourmet TV show.
We were greeted with a sight of huge water tanks of live fishes, lobsters and prawns right at the door step the moment we entered the restaurant.
The restaurant was decorated in a style that looks like a fishing village with various huge bamboo trays traditionally used to sun dry seafood as ceiling props. Surprisingly, the restaurant was quite empty when we visited.
One of the more famous dish in Qing Jing area is the Urn Chicken which is chicken roasted in an earthen urn. The restaurant offered a few different sets which includes the Urn chicken and a couple of seafood dishes which is popular in the restaurant. Taking the suggestion of the server, we order the TWD 1580 set.
The first thing that came was the rice which was topped with fried garlic, hot oil and soy sauce. When mixed, the rice was fragrant and very delicious, although I could have more sauce on my rice. It was a simple yet scrumptious bowl of rice.
The next was pan fried onions, garlic and pepper prawns which were fried till very dry and crispy. However, the shell were not crispy enough to be eaten and the prawn meat was too dry that the prawn juices were lost. After taking 2 or more prawns, the dry pepper and condiments had a parching effect on the throat and we had to drink water continuously.
The next was supposed to be dang gui ( Angelica sinensis) hot pot with pork ribs but it was simply a metal pot of bland water with pork ribs and some coriander. This was totally disappointing and we did not touch the entire pot after tasting just 1 or 2 spoonful of the soup. We had initially wanted steamboat and our driver recommended us which was totally not what we had in mind and to make it worse, it really tasted horrible.
The next was the stir fry highland cabbage with light sauce. We were having pretty high expectations of the vegetables as highland vegetables are supposed to be sweet and crunchy even when cooked blanched. The plate of vegetable was too raw and barely sweet, in fact it was also quite tasteless.
The hero of the meal which is supposed to be the Urn chicken came at the last part of the meal as it takes 20-30 mins to cook it after the order is placed. The server will show you the chicken before plucking it into pieces with their hands.
The plucked chicken is delivered back to our table with a bowl of concentrated chicken oil and juices collected from the chicken while it is being roasted. There was a few ways to try the chicken, firstly on it’s own, secondly, dip it in the bowl of concentrated juices and lastly eat it together with a piece of kimchi vegetable which is provided for free during your meal.
With high expectations, the chicken fell short again. The taste was not very bad but not the best we had and personally I did not like that the chicken was heavily spiced before roasting so you can’t taste the natural taste of the chicken. Having the chicken on it’s own was also too dry so dipping it in the sauces elevated the chicken 1 level and eating it with kimchi elevated it 2 levels.
Overall, Qing Jing is famous for Urn chicken but I do not think Chicken King has the best one. The food served here is also mediocre and I find it quite unacceptable especially when it costs us a total of TWD 1580 which is almost SGD 75. At the end, we all agreed the kimchi and rice with garlic oil and sauce provided was the best dish in this restaurant. We could not lament since we did not do any research on restaurants hence taking the driver’s suggestion so do your food research beforehand.
Address: No. 224-3, Renhe Road, 546, Taiwan
Operating hours: 11 am to 11 pm