If you are after a local restaurant in the Xinyi area – somewhere other than in a mega-department store – then try Three Little Pigs. Three Little Pigs (三隻小豬熱炒100 – san ji xiao zhu rechao 100) is a casual “stir-fry 100” style restaurant, complete with friendly but persistent beer girls and kindergarten-style wooden stools. The sign out the front with the three pigs is kitschy cute: I am unsure of the inspiration, but suspect it describes how satisfied people feel when they leave.
I wish I could say I ‘discovered’ this restaurant, but actually my husband chose it based on several rave reviews on Chinese language blogs. While it has not let its fan club go to their head, our waitress (the owner’s daughter, as it turned out) happily recommended dishes based on what had been posted online. Perhaps too happily: we ordered way too much but thankfully the prices are reasonable (rice is free).
I highly recommend the grilled boneless steak (烤無骨牛小排 – kao wu gu niu xiao pai), served on a bed of lettuce for wrapping. Also a must try is the Sichuan-style beef with pickled vegetables (泡菜牛肉 – paocai niurou). Marinated in the same spicy liquid used to make the Sichuan kim chi, the beef was unrelentingly spicy. My favourite dish was the surprisingly good steamed tofu cod with a salty-crumbly topping, reminiscent of pork floss but actually made from beans (豆酥鱈魚 – dou su xueyu). A close rival was the sinfully rich fried soft-shell crab with golden egg yolk batter (金莎軟殼蟹 – kin sha ruanke xia ), good in moderation. I also enjoyed the stir-fried yam with whitebait (芋絲銀魚 – yusi yinyu), although as it was deep-fried and crunchy like French fries it may have been better as an appetizer with beer. In contrast to the fried dishes, the hairy melon and clam soup was light and refreshing (蛤蜊絲瓜湯 – geli sigua tang). But I was disappointed with the oysters on fried breadsticks (油條鮮蚵 – youtiao xian ke): full of bubbling expectation, it quickly became soggy.
To get to Three Little Pigs, use exit 4 at the Taipei City Government MRT station, and turn left at the CPC gas station. Follow this road until you get to Song Jiang Road, then turn left and continue to number 22 (台北市信義區松隆路22號1樓). For reservations, ring 0918 898 113 and ask to speak with Miss Zhang.