Living la Vida Locale – a III Part series
PART I - Taipei Finds: The Best Italian
Those who have been following the works of the nananmoose will know exactly how much I am into local produce and the “simple pleasures of life”. I am hence thrilled and inspired to find today on MingPao a one page report on the new organic farm located in Jiangxi Province called Providence Family Farms, and which delivers exclusively, at least for now, to residents of Hong Kong. On the other hand, coming back from Melbourne and reading about the Food and Wine Festival that has been going on last week on The Age (Melbourne’s local paper), I realize how far behind in fact we all are in terms of coming to a true understanding of what it means to lead a simple and happy life.
That discussion, however, I will leave for the next part. Today I want to talk simply about two great restaurants I found while visiting Taipei last month.
The story of Max, owner and chef of Forchetta, is not your run of the mill inspirational story about a young chef who found passion in cooking at a young age and then went on to open the restaurant of his dreams. Quite the contrary, Max never cooked, used to be a veterinarian, and opened Forchetta as a low-end Italian pasta joint only as a result of a pure business decision. However, learning about the business as a start-up, Max soon developed a keen interest in the juxtaposition of different raw ingredients and cooking methods from Taiwan and the West, and self-taught his way to becoming an Italian chef. The shy and soft-spoken Max is one of the first advocates of “locavorism” in Taiwan, and uses 100% local Taiwanese ingredients in his Italian menu. Today, Forchetta is an upscale yet understated restaurant hidden in an alley off Anhe Road with a menu that boasts the likes of “Spaghetti with spicy chicken from Mioli and Chinese picked mustard vegetables from Fu Hsin Garden” and “Daily local fresh caught tilefish from Keelung”. The tilefish scales, deep-fried to perfection and intact on the skin, is at once crispy and flaky, and stands beautifully tall like sails in the wind.
I have never tasted fish together with its scales before, and it was amazing. In fact every dish we had there was amazing, from the ebi sashimi dressed with home preserved sundried tomatoes, to the duck leg confit decorated with a thin slice of lotus root dusted with a refreshing strawberry powder. Forchetta is hands down the best “Western” restaurant I’ve had in Taipei.
Forchetta is at
#4, Lane 127, Section 1, An He Road, Taipei 台北市安和路一段127巷4號
Tel: (886) 2-2707-7776