Like A-Sha. To get there I flew to Taipei and took a high-speed train to Tainan City in southern Taiwan. But A-Sha was worth the trip. You can read about that extraordinary meal by clicking here.
Recently, I ate A-Sha's food again. Not in a dream and this time not in Taiwan but in El Monte, only a few miles from home.
Chef Chien-Hao Wu from A-Sha (at the top) flew in to prepare a 10-course lunch and give two cooking demonstrations at the Culture Center of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Los Angeles.
We sat in typical Chinese fashion at tables of 10, sharing platters of food. First came a cold plate (above) that included chicken, mushrooms, cucumbers, fresh bamboo shoots, and sweet-tasting nuggets of ground pork and shrimp.
At A-Sha in Tainan, sticky rice is topped with crab. Click the link to my story about lunch there to see what that looks like. Here, Chef Wu substituted dried scallops and placed thick, chewy mushrooms on either side of the rice (above).
Tiny and round, they added sharp sweet and salty contrast to the mild fish. The label (you can buy them here) says they're prepared with soy sauce, salt and sugar.
This tangy seasoning, available in Chinese markets here, perks up the flavor of the fruit just as Mexican fruit stands add lime juice and chili powder to cut fruits and vegetables.
The lunch was the highlight of a program of awards to top quality Taiwanese restaurants in the Los Angeles area and Orange County. Click here to see the list.