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 Sean (Chih-Yang) 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 3-round tasting menu is a selection of Taiwanese specialties you are unlikely to find anywhere else.
鹽酥雞 (Yan Su Dgee) 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.
蝦鬆 (Shia Sone) – Water chestnut, fresh shrimp and crispy fried dough wrapped in iceberg lettuce and decorated with green onion, garlic and dry mushroom that creates an interesting texture with rich flavors for your tongue.
魯肉飯 (Lu Rou Fan) – Slow cooked minced pork with shallots and aged soy sauce. A very traditional Taiwanese dish which goes very well with rice, vegetables and noodles.
梅干扣肉 (Mei Gan Kou Rou) – Slow braised pork belly with a sweet scent from preserved vegetables. Don’t be intimidated by the fat part! After hours of braising, only its tenderness and creamy taste remain that become the perfect company of the lean meat.
鳳梨苦瓜排骨湯 (Fengli Paigu Tang) – A soup of Yin-Yang, a soup of balance, a soup of real bitter and sweet that will warm you up in the cold weather. The combination of pork rib, pineapple and bitter melon creates a an experience for your taste buds.
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.
沙茶牛肉空心菜 (Shacha Newrou) – Taiwanese style stir fry with vegetables, garlic, beef, signature Taiwanese BBQ sauce and a touch of rice wine. It is a very popular dish especially in the summertime as it goes very well with beer. Bring your own beer if you want to experience summer earlier!
$40 + HST
Chef Sean (Chih-Yang) 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 and loves the satisfactory faces of people enjoying his dishes as a reward. Sean has perfected his skills in the traditional dishes of Taiwanese cuisine with his passion. He wants to deliver the most authentic Taiwanese taste to you in Toronto.
Every weekend The Depanneur invites a guest chef to host a fun, informal dinner party.