Tuesday, October 14, 2008

TW Tour: Ali Seafood, Kenting

Ali Seafood on Da Guan Road is so well known that they bus tourist buses in. Generally, this is a sign for me to stay away, but after reading about and seeing the delicious meals on several TW food blogs, I knew I had to go see for myself. It certainly didn't disappoint and made our seafood meal of the previous night pale to not even worth mentioning despite it being rather good by any other standard. As you can see the restaurant itself is huge. You walk in, the assign you a table, and then the fun begins.

There is a waitress that comes by to ask for your beverage order, but then after that you go to the front seafood counter and order your meal. In an ice chest were fish that were freshly caught that day. We picked out a fish with the help of our order taker. She aksed us, "What prep? We asked for ours steamed and in soup (so 2-ways). We've never ordered this way before! One has to know ones seafood and what best preps and saucing might go well with it. The order taker may give suggestions, but there is no menu. It's point at something that interests you. Tell them how you want it to be cooked. Period.
Another view of the fish ice chest. We were wondering about the turquoise blue fish pictured above. But isn't it Nature's Law that the mroe colourful an animal, the less tasty?
The following is what we ordered from the ice chest, the tanks, and the glass chest displays of seafood and vegetables:

Local sashimi - buttery, fresh, melt-in-mouth
Clams in black bean sauce - way juicier and plumper than the previous night's. Also the saucing was much rounder. Served as a good direct, head- head reference point for the two seafood dinners.
Garlic stir fried kong hsing tsai - perfect and crunchy.
Fresh, fried handmade cuttlefish balls - with a dab of pepper salt, the perfect mound of fried goodness. You can still taste the chunks of cuttlefish in there.
Another view of the cuttlefish balls.
Local crab with ginger and onion sauce - the TW version has an egg batter around that was delcious. There was local onion as well as scallions. The crab was sweet and meaty. Not sure what kind it was but it certainly was not Dungeness.
Fish 2Ways in Soup_ the fish bones, less meaty chunks, and head made a wonderful light and aromatic soup.
Fish 2 Ways Steamed - Delicate, silken meat with the lightest touch on the soy and wine based sauce.This was one of the top five meals we had in TW and certainly the best seafood meal we had. For some of us, this was the best Chinese style seafood meal we had in a decade (and we're including places in SF, Taiepei, LA, NYC, Toronto, and Vancouver). It doesn't have the trappings of the some opulent HK style seafood banquet places, but man... the taste was 100% spot on. All this with several rounds of Taiwan Beer was NT2160 (~$72) for four people. Can't touch this...


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