Friday, October 21, 2011

Random Asianess: Steak in Taiwan

I've written before, about American Fast Food in Taiwan.  But there’s something else that I haven’t written about and that’s Taiwanese restaurants that serve American Style food.  This is different than American food being served in an American restaurant in Taiwan.

In the US beef is by far the most popular meat that we eat.  But in Taiwan, Pork seems to be the most popular.  Why you may ask?  Almost all the beef that’s sold in stores here is imported from the US, New Zealand or Australia.  There are some dairy farms here, and I would suppose that they have some beef steers, although, I have to admit that I’ve never seen one in Taiwan.

So the reason it is difficult to find an American style steak in Taiwan is that people just don’t eat it all that much.  You can find a steak in American restaurants like TGI Fridays or Outback but rarely will you find steak like that in a Taiwanese restaurant.

My wife grew up on a farm in Ohio and they raised their own steers for food.  In fact, my wife would raise a steer for the county fair and she could be seen taking her steer for a walk through downtown Ridgeville Corners.  I don’t know how much weight they gained or if they won prizes at the fair, but they were happy steers, treated like the family pet.  Well, except we don’t usually eat the family pet.  But that’s another story.

There are a number of restaurants that serve steak in Taiwan.  But it is prepared differently and isn’t what we Americans are really referring to when we talk about steak.  As an American the definition of steak is a flat cut of beef.  New York, Sirloin, Tenderloin, Rib eye, Filet Mignon, you get the drift.  If you’re in the US you can ask your butcher, he knows all about steak and the different cuts.  But if you go to the butcher here and ask for a Ribeye, with the exception of Costco, or Carrefour they will have no idea what you’re talking about.  Because in Taiwan they just don’t cut meat like that.

One restaurant that is famous for serving steak is called Tasty. Tasty has a reputation for fantastic customer service, and the reputation is well deserved.  The service is impeccable, polite, responsive, attentive (without being obnoxiously attentive), and the prices are reasonable.  We had a 7 course set meal for $450.00 NTD (about $15.00 USD).  Salad, appetizers, antipasto, dessert, it was wonderful but the Steak just didn't look or feel like a steak.  It was cooked in what is called a speed cooker.  A speed cooker is basically a steamer.  So the steak was steamed.  It was also a different cut than the steaks we are used to in the US.  But it was delicious served with a nice pepper sauce.  There is a Tasty restaurant in Taoyuan City near the corner of Junghua Rd and Nanhua St, on Nanhua. (No.66 Nanhua Street, Taoyuan City) It is well worth trying, but not if you’re looking for a good ol’ American Steak.

There is a Taiwanese restaurant called My Home Steak at Chunri Rd near Chengong Rd.that serves steaks in cuts that Americans are used to, sort of.  The restaurant has an all you can eat Salad bar that comes with the meal.  And the meat is served with pasta and two eggs Sunny Side Up.  The salad bar serves a nice green salad, with Thousand Islands dressing or you can load up on Taiwanese foods like shrimp, fish balls, and other things like that.  A Sirloin Steak at this restaurant sells for about $280.00 NTD ($10.00 USD) which isn’t a bad price.  After your meal you can get a dish of frozen yogurt or ice cream. 

That same pepper sauce is available to put on your steak if you want.  All in all it’s a decent meal and it looks familiar.  But if you’re a real steak person, like you grew up on a farm and had a pet steer, that you eventually had to eat, you probably won’t be entirely satisfied.

Steak and other courses at Tasty

Sirloin Steak at My Home Steak

My Home Steak Chunri Road, Taoyuan City

Other Posts you maybe interested in:

Photo credits: (For Tasty sign and Steak and other Courses)
Chris and Brenda Banducci

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