Jess Food Therapy
 
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I remember back when I used to live in LA, my fiancé and I would oftentimes crave for some good old-fashioned Taiwanese food. And when that happened, we would have to fight through an hour of traffic and starvation after work to somewhat suffice our hunger. Even though we knew LA already offered much better Taiwanese food versus other cities in the states, we still couldn't help but miss the 燒餅油條 (baked buns w/ fried crullers) from 永和 or the 仔麵線 (oyster vermicelli) up in 七段 or the 大腸包小腸 (sausages) outside of Sogo Cashbox...

It just wasn't the same.

So, when we moved back to Taiwan, we wasted no time hitting up all of the above and more. Out of them all, 度小月 (Tu Hsiao Yueh) became one of our favorite local "攤子"(food stands). 

There are a few reasons why I think people enjoy 度小月 so much. The food, the decor, the atmosphere, the location(s)... you name it. But, what captures me the most is how it still appeals to the modern customer even after 115 years in business.

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The story goes way back to 1895 with a young fisherman named Hong Yu-tou. During the summer and autumn, fisherman could not go out to sea due to hurricanes. They coined the season as "小月." Thus, in order to make ends meet and "度過" (survive through) the difficult months, Hong knew he had to branch out into other sorts of businesses. Luckily, he remembered an old minced meat recipe he learned from a chef back in his hometown Zhangzhou, Fujian and decided to experiment on his own. Next thing he knew, he came up with an amazing new noodle dish which he carried on shoulder poles and sold throughout the village. Customers would gather around his mobile food stand and watch as he pull together his newfound masterpiece. Hong decided to name his new success: "度小月但仔麵" (Tu Hsiao Yueh Tan Tsai Noodle). 

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After a century has passed, the stewed-minced-meat-and-shallots-sauce-with-shrimp-soup-and-oil-noodle recipe still remains a big hit with the locals (and tourists alike). But what used to be bamboo shoulder poles and one simple dish of 但仔麵 have been replaced with four restaurant chains, thick menu booklets, inflated prices, and even its very own branded products. While some may feel 度小月 has fallen victim to today's franchise frenzy, I don't mind and even appreciate the upgrades and changes because the restaurant has remained true to its Taiwanese heritage through its cooking method and food.  

And plus, I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling after a 度小月 meal, as if I've been brought back 115 years to a home kitchen in Southern Taiwan! 

Although much has changed with 度小月 over the decades, there are still noticeable traces of its century-long history embedded throughout the restaurant: pictures of master Hong at work, old Chinese tunes playing in the background, traditional lantern lighting/decor, and most distinctly, the old-school 攤子 that greets customers as soon as they walk in the door. Just like how it was done a hundred years ago, customers can gather around the storefront kitchen and watch as the cook whips up a hearty bowl of Tan Tsai noodle, now with the options of 米粉 (vermicelli) or 粿條 (pho). 

P.S: I always go for the 粿條! 

The menu selection has also expanded over the hundred years, with popular new items including 蚵仔 (fried oysters), 滷大腸 (stewed pork intestines), 炸蝦捲 (fried shrimp rolls) or 烤虱目魚肚 (grilled fish stomach). Though the menu has gone through considerable transformation, you can taste the time and thought that went into inventing each new dish. Each simple yet complex dish reflects 度小月's continued dedication to delivering the highest quality and most authentic Taiwanese cuisine. 

So, the next time you crave for some Taiwanese food, make sure to pay a visit to your local 度小月 for a real, time-warping experience. That is, if you live here. (Sorry!)

As my fiancé simply puts it: "Dude, it's Taiwanese soul food."
度小月
www.iddi.com.tw

台南店
台南市中正路16號
16 Chongcheng Rd, Tainan City
(06) 2231-744

台南中正二店
台南市中正路101號
101 Chongcheng Rd, Tainan City
(06) 2259-554

台北分店
忠孝東路四段216巷8弄12號

12 Lane 8 Alley 216 Sec 4 Chung Hsiao E. Rd, Taipei City
(06) 2259-554


台北中山店
台北中山北路2段180號1F
No.180 2 Zhongshan Rd, Taipei City  (02) 2585-1880
 


Comments

Corinna

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 16:56:36

hmm.....YUMMY~
haha, ive only been there once~
coz the store is located in downtown..
a bit far from Tienmu~

but i really wanna go again after reading your article...heh!

let's all go there together oneday, wat do u say? with the kids and cousins~

 

Jess

Tue, 19 Jan 2010 19:46:26

Hi Corinna, there's actually a 度小月 on 中山北路 that's much closer to those living in 天母 and 士林.

But you are right, we must go soon!!

 

Wed, 20 Jan 2010 21:24:31

OMG!! I am hungry now! I am jealous of you also. You are so lucky to have chance to eat those foods.

 

Jess

Thu, 21 Jan 2010 02:42:09

Thank you for your comment, Jenny! I feel blessed everyday to be living here :)

 

Anna

Thu, 21 Jan 2010 09:36:29

Another must visit restaurant in May. Can't wait!

 

Tue, 11 Jan 2011 22:53:43

Goats love to explore.

 

Sat, 15 Jan 2011 00:33:45

But familiarity does not necessarily imply deep friendship

 



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