An important part of Taiwanese cuisine are xiaochi (小吃 “small eats”); small, savoury snacks eaten together similar to tapas or meze. Taiwanese xiaochi has gained such a reputation that travelers have been known to visit Taiwan just for an unforgettable trip to the xiaochi night markets.
Yet Toronto, for all its culinary diversity, does not seem to have a strong Taiwanese representation, something that became clear to Chih-Yang (Sean) Kuan upon arriving here more than ten years ago. A passionate cook with a love of classic Taiwanese dishes, Sean has spent the better part of that last decade perfecting some of his favourites. This 7-course tasting menu is a selection of Taiwanese specialities you are unlikely to find anywhere else.
鹽酥雞 (Yan Su Gee) Taiwanese Popcorn Chicken
A traditional appetizer that combines tenderness with crispiness. Fresh chicken breast marinated with Sean’s secret powder and sauce with a hint of garlic aroma. Crispy texture outside, tender inside as soon as you take a bite.
酸辣湯 (Taiwanese Swan La Tang) Hot and sour soup
Unlike the traditional Cantonese-style hot and sour soup, the Taiwanese version is a complex blend of shredded pork, bamboo shoots, carrots, tree fungus, egg and tofu flavored with hot peppers and spices to bring up the heat. It warms up your stomach and stimulates your appetite at any time during the meal.
蔥油雞 (Tsong Yo Gee) Ginger and Onion Chicken
Steaming the chicken with Taiwanese savory sauce and peppercorn makes it tender and delicate, with rich flavors.
三杯豆腐 (Sun Bei Tofu) Three-cup Tofu
Tofu and fresh Thai basil cooked with sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine has an enhanced flavour with a distinctly Taiwanese taste.
紅燒牛肉 (Hong Shao Niu Row) Taiwanese Beef Stew
Slow-braised beef is simmered in a unique combination with onion, Chinese peppercorn, and tomato with a light touch of soy sauce and hot bean sauce for this dark beef soup.
瓜仔肉 (Gwa Zai Row) Preserved Baby Cucumber with Pork
Steamed pork with preserved baby cucumber has a heavenly sweet taste that goes perfectly with rice.
油飯 (Yo Fan) Taiwanese Style Sticky Rice
This main dish delivers the authentic, traditional flavor of Taiwan. Pork, dried mushroom, dried shrimp, oyster sauce and a touch of shallot and sesame oil give the sticky rice a delightful taste.
$40 + HST
Chih-Yang (Sean) Kuan grew up in Taiwan and came to Canada about ten years ago. As much as he has been amazed by the multicultural environment in Toronto, he felt surprised to see no authentic Taiwanese restaurants in town. Although he is not a chef as a profession (his academic background is actually Engineering, which is not too far away from cooking he would say), he loves cooking as a hobby. Perfecting the traditional dishes of Taiwanese cuisine is his passion, and the delighted faces of people enjoying his dishes is his reward. Sean hopes to offer you an authentic taste of Taiwan in Toronto.
Every weekend The Depanneur invites a guest chef to host a fun, informal dinner party.