In Singapore we have localised stir fry restaurants which we called zi char locally, they are basically Chinese restaurants located in hawker centers or coffee shop which makes them more affordable than upscale Chinese restaurants. The kind of dishes served are pretty similar to those you find in up scale restaurant with differences in the plating or grade of ingredients used. In Taiwan, these restaurants are called hot fry which is very similar to our Zi Char places.
This particular hot fry place called fresh 100 seafood market is particularly popular with the locals because of the variety of dishes available as well as the pocket friendly prices.
The setup of such restaurants are simple with no fuss, where there is space, there is a table and chairs to sit customers. The kitchen is also semi open with a large window where you can see the cooks hard at work.
Once you are seated, you will find the menu in this order chit where you can fill up your order on the paper and hand it to one of the server. The price for the dishes range from TWD 150 to TWD 580 where the most expensive dish is for the hot pot selections which is usually for sharing.
This is a very simple dish of boiled pork belly with shredded ginger and chilli soy sauce which is quite palatable.
The clams were mildly fried with chili, spring onions and oyster sauce and is slightly on the salty side.
This pig intestine was crunchy with shredded ginger and spring onions but it was not my favourite as the taste of the pig intestines was still quite strong.
This spicy mala pot of pig’s blood was absolutely my favourite as the pig’s blood was smooth and the spicy mala gravy has been absorbed fully into every cube of the coagulated blood.
This is a dish which I find extremely interesting although there is not much of a distinct taste to it. This is actually the suction cubes on the Octopus tentacles removed and deep fried into these cube round balls. Once deep fried, the balls are fried with spices, lots of garlic and spring onions as well a topping of crispy peanuts.
This messy looking dish is spicy frogs legs fried with dried chilli, onions, spring onions and ginger. This dish is quite similar to our gong bao frog’s legs but with less gravy. This whole pot has only very little frog legs.
This is a popular dish amongst local which has dried bean curd, squid, leek, pork belly, spring onions, and chilli. This dish reminds me of a home cook dish where our grand parents used to throw in everything to stir fry into 1 single dish. This would go extremely well with plain rice.
For those who needs their rice, you can also find fried rice and fried noodles or just plain rice to go with the great variety of dishes available.
Overall, the taste of all the dishes are quite general but it is a great experience to enjoy a meal just like the locals and get to sample the local tastes without burning a hole in your pocket.
Note that they are recorded as Central Market Stir-Fries on google maps so for those using google, you have to key in this name.
Address: No. 52-1, Section 1, Chang’an East Road, Zhongshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan 104
Operating hours: 11.30 am to 2.30 pm and 4 pm to 4.30 am