Tuesday homecooked lunch – 川味炸酱面 Szechuan style Zhajiang Mian. Many of us are accustomed to eating the 老北京炸酱面 Beijing version of Zhajiang Mian or better known as 京酱面 or even the Korean “Jajangmyeon” but not many might have tried the Szechuan version of this noodle dish which one ironically, may not be able to find in Sichuan China itself! This is only because it is an improvisation of the original form, cooked and sold by the KMT soldiers and their families from Sichuan who retreated with Chiang Kai Shek in the mass exodus from Mainland China to Taiwan in 1949.
Strangely of all our trips to Taiwan all these years, we’d never been to 鼎泰豐 Ding Tai Fung（DTF）. This is very odd I know, given how iconic DTF is in Taiwan’s culinary scene, being featured in perpetually every single guidebook we’d read in the past. Somehow, we’d never really felt compelled to visit, often brushing it off as a tourist gimmick and most rightfully so. This is often the first place we would pass by whenever we visit 永康街 Yong Kang Street in 大安区 Da’An district. The front door is always packed with tourists from Japan, Korea and of course Mainland China, sent here by the busloads. It often got so bad that the crowd started to spill over to the shop windows of the bookstore next door. We were often put off by this sight and would briskly walk away, shaking our heads and rolling our eyes.
But we’d tried DTF back home in Singapore many times and I must say that we thoroughly enjoyed the food there. While the loud and chattery crowd outside the main shop in Taipei irked us to no ends, we often wondered if the food there is better than what we are getting in Singapore. DTF originated from Taiwan after all. Finally, curiosity got the better of us and we made our first proper visit to DTF after all these years.