Jiguang Eatery 吉光.小食: Gem of a find

One of the things I love best about Taipei is the unexpected and quirky micro-eateries.  These are labours of love, places that might be no bigger than a family living room but that create an oasis of calm and space away from the frenetic (yet exciting) urban environment.

Shop front

I am pleased to introduce a guest blog post from I-Chun Liu, a long-term Singaporean expat who enjoys exploring Taipei’s food scene. She pens letters to the Singapore press in her spare time on health, finance and social issues.  And she has offered to share her review of Jiguang, one of her favourite places.

“It all started in a shop in Qingtian Street (青田街). A stack of lovely name cards of an eatery caught my eye and I asked the shop assistant what kind of food they served. “Oh, that’s hard to explain… the food there is very nice. Why don’t you try it out?” he replied.

Jiguang's business card

Jiguang’s business card

Since I’m always on a look out for new eateries to explore, that’s exactly what I did last July, about 2 months after the cafe first opened for business.

Set up by two friends in their 30s, 吉光.小食(Jiguang Xiaoshi) is located near Dongmen 東門 MRT exit 3 (opposite the Mormon church and next to a pizzeria). It’s a cosy place that seats 12, with a long bar counter and eight high chairs plus a table at the far end that seats four.

Inside Jiguang

Inside Jiguang

If you follow the address printed on the name card, you may miss it because this tiny eatery of only 8-ping (285 sq ft) does not have a conventional sign board (read: 500 font size). A total of five shops and eateries share the same address, as the space has been divided up by the landlord.

Inside Jiguang

Inside Jiguang

Since discovering it, I’ve become a regular at Jiguang. The food is delicious (no MSG or other additives!), service is friendly and attentive, there’s a great collection of books and imported magazines from the US, Spain and Japan, the owners’ cat (貓店長) sometimes drops in to check on business, and there’s also free Wi-Fi!

Lifestyle magazines from the US and Spain

Lifestyle magazines from the US and Spain

Japanese magazines

Japanese magazines

Meet Orange, the shop manager

Meet Orange, the shop manager

The owners serve what they themselves like to eat, which explains why the menu is an eclectic mix of east and west.

Menu

On the set menu are dishes such as one of the restaurant’s most popular items, pork curry rice (curry sauce made from scratch using tomatoes and onion) with omelette and side vegetables, $180; delicious and wholesome meatballs (chicken, sundried tomato, mushroom, parsley) with rice, shredded lettuce and vegetable soup (to be poured over rice), $180; brunch (German sausage, egg omelette with cheese and herbs, salad and baguette/ciabatta), $180; and a very satisfying linguine with Norwegian smoked salmon in a Vodka-infused creamy tomato sauce, $240. All mains on the set menu (except chicken meatball rice) come with vegetable soup and caffeine-free Rooibos tea (warm or chilled).

Yummy pork curry rice with corn soup

Yummy pork curry rice with corn soup

My all-time favourite: Chicken meatballs rice with vegetable stock (to be poured over rice)

My all-time favourite: Chicken meatballs rice with vegetable stock (to be poured over rice)

Soup for chicken meatballs

Soup for chicken meatballs

Those who have a smaller appetite can order from the a la carte menu, which has salads (Caesar, oil and vinegar), $120; seasonal vegetable quiche with side salad (BEST I’ve tried in my seven years in Taipei! The pastry crust is nice and buttery while the filling is tender and moist), $140; therapeutic vegetable soup (I’ve tried their corn, pumpkin, sweet potato, minestrone and cauliflower and potato soups), $100; delicious vegetable quesadilla (roasted vegetables, cheese, pesto sauce), $100 for 1 slice of 4 pieces and $180 for 2 slices; amongst others.

Many customers are bowled over by their quiche!

Many customers are bowled over by their quiche!

The beverage section includes coffee (Guatemala Antigua La Flor, Mandheling-Brazil, Jamaica) with a complimentary almond biscotto, $130;  black/milk tea, $130-$180; divine hot chocolate to die for made from Cacao Barry Saint Domingue 70% dark chocolate and lightly spiced with ginger, $160; seasonal fruit, mint and yogurt smoothie, $150; and beer (Hoegaarden and fruit beer), $150-$180.

Ingredients used for their ohso-heavenly hot chocolate

Ingredients used for their ohso-heavenly hot chocolate

Dessert on the current menu includes homemade yogurt with stewed fruits, $140; crepe with honey, 2 slices for $140; buttery alemon tart, $120; and a light and refreshing orange-yogurt butterless cake, $120 per (thick) slice.

Lemon tart

Lemon tart

Orange yoghurt cake

Orange yoghurt cake

Jiguang Eatery 吉光.小食 is indeed a gem of a find. I highly recommend it to all who enjoy good and healthy food. I go there at least twice a week and I don’t even live nearby!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/goodtimegoodfood

Address: 1F-3, No. 7, Lane 85, Jinshan South Road Section 2 (I suggest following my directions using the landmarks mentioned earlier instead)

Tel: (02) 2321 1968

Open: 11.30am-9pm (Friday closed)”

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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7 Responses to Jiguang Eatery 吉光.小食: Gem of a find

  1. Wow!! This place looks amazing!

  2. stephanie says:

    Hello! I’m a new reader to your blog + I CAN’T believe that I haven’t stumbled upon it before! I also blog about Taipei-centric travel/food & design at my blog The Thousandth Girl, and I so rarely meet other bloggers who are interested in the same things! And I live near the Qingtian area as well, so defo will be checking it out. Please keep writing xx

  3. Pingback: Balle Balle | Taiwanxifu 台灣媳婦

  4. I-Chun says:

    Jiguang’s new summer dish – Thai Green Curry Chicken (NT$240 set meal, including soup and Rooibos tea) is a must-try for those who enjoy spicy food. The chef makes the green curry paste from scratch, using imported fresh ingredients from Thailand. More than 20 ingredients go into the dish, which contains lots of vegetables. Everyone whom I recommended the dish to loved it. It contains no artificial green colouring, with part of the coconut milk replaced with coconut juice for a healthier but no less tasty dish. Best Thai green curry in Taipei, in my opinion!

  5. I-Chun says:

    Jiguang 吉光.小食 now offers pita sandwiches too. Three varieties available:
    1) Chicken with rocket/arugula salad and rocket & almond pesto sauce;
    2) Chicken, salad with blue cheese Caesar dressing;
    3) Stir-fried mushroom and lightly scrambled eggs with honey-balsamic vinaigrette dressing
    They make the pita breads themselves, which are really good.

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