I’ve been to Taiwan twice and I love the country mainly its food! It’s like discovering a hidden hunger that can only be satiated by the local cuisine whenever I went. Delicious eateries abound from sidewalk stalls and hole-in-the-wall shops to full fleged restaurants. Leaving the country back to Japan always feels like I’m leaving a piece of my heart, like a long-distance love affair that will have to wait a while before closing the gap just to be parted again. Yes, it is sad but that is life and love (I mean food love). LOL
Here in Japan, authentic Taiwanese food is difficult to find. As a proof of this, a branch opened in Osaka of an actual Taiwanese restaurant failed me to an unimaginable degree that my memory of the place was actually the “fun” of counting the misses of the food, beverage, dessert, and service (for another post). So when I hear of a Taiwanese restaurant here, I approach with caution and very low expectation. This was not the case with this restaurant, TEARS2.
Entering the Southern Taiwan (Tainan 台南) specializing restaurant, it felt like we were transported to a traditional Japanese-Taiwanese household; a Kyoto Machiya decorated with different materials from Taiwan. The transparent refrigerator was full of imported beverages from taiwan including my favorite grass/herb jelly and guava juice. Book shelves full of guide books of Taiwan and old recipe books of chinese food (the text even in the old right-to-left direction (in Japanese). And then there was the menu drawn by hand with clear definition of prices and cute illustrations (There were actual pictures in the other menu but I didnt take photos of it).
I got the Lu Rou Fan, a bowl of warm white rice topped with pork braised in soy, some star anise and a lot of magic and happiness powder (maybe pork floss and nori flakes. LOL). While at first the topping seemed too little, it was enough to bring both the fragrance and softness of white rice from the background and the blooming star anise lingering with the meaty and sweet pork flavor (I wished there was mooore of the delicious topping though. LOL). So good! My companion ordered the hot pot with rice drizzled with lard on the side. Not ordinary lard but flavored lard full of health-giving substances. IKR. I’m kidding. Lard on rice. Evil. Tasty. Satisfying and then the guilt. LOL
I wasn’t too full yet despite the big bowl of rice so I ended up getting the Taiwanese fried rice with egg, pork and shrimp タンチャオファン. It was so flavorful it would probably go well with a cold mug of beer (But then again I don’t drink (lol) and it was lunch). A restaurant that fails in fried rice should not exist. Therefore, this restaurant should exist. LOL
Finally, the finale that I wished had an encore (or ENCORES!), a warm bowl of my most favorite taiwanese dessert doufa 豆花. Prefectly chewy but not hard sweetened tapioca pearls, al dente taro balls, sweet beans and the super silky tofu/p**p of the soybean goddess make this dessert. I would be completely satisfied with just the tofu with the sweet syrup but with all the toppings, its on another level of happiness a.k.a. ecstasy. Just a note that the tofu in this dessert is not a silky tofu sold at supermarkets. It is so delicate and soft that it must be made a few hours before serving or else it will settle, harden, and lose most of the liquid that make it super smooth and soft. This store’s doufa was the real thing and it’s worth going back for again and again!
Price: 800 yen for the meat bowl plus 80 yen for the egg. 400 yen for the fried rice (small size). 600 yen for the tofu dessert. Taiwanese milk teas are also available for 500 yen.
Location: Check the map below. Along kawaramachi near marutamachi st. Accessible by Keihan line (Keihan Marutamachi Station) then cross the bridge towards Kawaramachi. Many buses that go along Kawaramachi going towards the north also pass here.