User Reviews (2 Reviews)
- 肥前屋 (Hizen-Ya / Fei Chien Ou)Jul 04, 2012
Somewhere on Zhongshan North Road 中山北路 off into an unsuspecting alleyway is a Japanese eatery that all the locals know about. The wait time if there is a line, can be anywhere from 20 mins to upwards of an hour, but well worth it. The main reason? This place specializes in unagi over rice in a rectangular container, or unaju 鰻重.
The locals call it "Fei Chien Ou" 肥前屋 which in separate characters translate to "fat" "front" "house". Technically it should be the other way around (ie you become a fat a$$ after the meal not before). However if you read it from a Japanese perspective, it translates to Hizen-Ya, where Ya = House, and the name Hizen came from an old province in Japan that consisted of what is known as Saga and Nagasaki prefectures
At Hizen-Ya, you can get donburi, agemono, tenpura, kushi yaki (skewers), sakana shioyaki (grilled fish), or sakana nitsuke (stewed fish) here (no sushi or rolls, but they have sashimi, no teriyaki, no udon, no soba here). All of which are very very good.
After having unaju here, you will never want to eat frozen pre-grilled unagi from China served over Cal Rose rice with an overly sweet goopy sauce ever again in North America. The eels are prepped the Japanese way, and they make good use of local Taiwanese eel (much of which also gets exported to Japan). So you get a taste of the real deal but at a fraction of Japan's prices.
For about NT$240 or US$8 you get a large unaju. Oh yeah, the owner is Japanese who grew up in Taipei.
Not only are the eels prepped from scratch, but the preparation remains traditional and unchanged for the past 25++ years Hizen-Ya has been around.
- the eels are first grilled, then steamed, then grilled again to remove excess fat, keeping the interior moist, and the skin cripsy, toasty, and flakey. Carefully controlled process. They do this enough in advance that the average unaju order takes less than 5 minutes to get to your table.
- the amazing unagi sauce is in house made stock (nikiri) made from unagi bones and seasoned with soy sauce, mirin, and reduced.
Shchimi torigashi (the udon pepper spice) and the obligatory sansho (by House Foods) self help on the tables. Sansho elevates Hizen-Ya's unaju to even greater heights.
Also, don't miss the unagi dashimaki, or egg omlette rolls with unagi inside. Really good stuff. Ditto for grilled fresh unagi liver skewers, but usually sells out during lunchtime (another excuse to come here).
Word of warning, some cab drivers don't know where this place is, so just have them drop you off by the intersection of the main road (if you see 24 hr convenience store then you are close). It's actually not too bad of a walk from the closest MRT station (15 minutes or so).
肥前屋 (Hizen-Ya / Fei Chien Ou)
台北市中山區中山北路一段121巷13之2號 (Taipei City Zhongsan District, Zhongsan North Rd, 1st Portion, Alley 121, 13 of No 2)