I love ‘stir-fry 100’. I really enjoy the casual, late-night sensation of sitting outside until late, drinking beers and conversing animatedly with your friends. ‘Stir-fry 100’ refers to restaurants that serve reasonably priced dishes, starting from NT$100. The restaurants are usually open late, and most dishes go down well with alcohol (usually beer). In other words, it is pub food Taiwan-style.
During a trip to Tainan, we decided to go out on a bit of a late night wander. We weren’t sure where we would end up, but thought maybe we might get a cup of coffee (or bubble tea). Then we stumbled across Hai’an Road, and found that almost the whole street was filled with stir-fry 100 places. One of my good friends, a Tainan local, said she found it a bit sad that northern-Taiwan style eateries have begun infiltrating Tainan’s traditional snack-food culture; she thinks Hai’an Road now looks more like downtown Taipei than the ancient capital city of Tainan. But I have to admit that regardless of authenticity or culture, the stir-fry 100 food we sampled was pretty good.
We didn’t plan to have a big meal, but the food was so good somehow the dishes kept coming. Likewise, we were so busy enjoying ourselves and chatting that I forgot to get the business card of the restaurant (or even take a photo of their sign). If you are looking for it, it is somewhere clustered around the corner of Hai’an and Chenggong Roads (海安路和成功路). There are several to chose from, and by the look of what people were eating the menus are largely the same.
First, we started with sashimi. As you can see from the photo, the flesh was blush pink and super fresh. Although it was an inexpensive eatery, the quality was second to none. Some things, like good quality sashimi, are often best served simply. We also enjoyed a plate of stir-fried pippis (clams), tossed with fresh Thai basil, which likewise were fresh and tender.
We couldn’t resist ordering deep-fried oysters. While I usually desist from fried foods, I make an exception for this dish. Biting into the crispy, salt and pepper flavoured batter into the warm, soft oysters is so inviting. And these oysters were especially good. Although I was not drinking on this occasion, it goes perfectly with beer.
Finally, we mopped up our supper eating indulgence with some stir-fried egg noodles. I love thick, yellow egg noodles. These were not too thick, but not so fine that the dish was gluggy, either. In short they were just right and the perfect way to sop up the beer and seafood dishes we had ordered.
Hai’an Road is around five to ten minutes taxi ride down from the train station (you could walk if were really keen — it is mostly downhill). During the day there is not much to see, although there is one temple and some good traditional snack places including for prawn rice. But at night, it really gets going with lots of stir-fry 100 places doing brisk business.