Otherwise little else is new as I’m still doing the same old job, but I’m getting to the point where I’m close to be willing to do anything but what I’ve been doing for the past five years. The industry isn’t what it used to be and no-one seems to care about quality content any more, which is quite disappointing, but we got all the tech blogs to thank for that…
The main options includes a large selection of grilled meats off the barbecue – including home made boerewors – all of which is flavours by special marinades and spice mixes made by the owner. They also serve toasted pitas with various fillings ranging from meat to vegetarian options. All the meals come with a side salad and some also come with mieliepap which is a corn based dish somewhat similar to mashed potatoes in texture. They also offer a selection of drinks and apparently also dessert, something we’ve missed on our half dozen or so visits last year.
The Fu Bar is located right next to a large car park, a play ground and less than two minutes walk form the beach, which is in fact very good by Taiwanese standards. The Fu Bar is at the far end of the beach, so there’s no need to pay to access the beach. Just make sure you bring some suitable foot wear, as the sand gets very hot and the first time I burnt myself so badly I got blisters as I din’t bring any flip flops.
For more information we suggest you hit up the Fu Bar website
Update: The Fu Bar has changed owner and is now known as the Scubar. I have not visited since the new owners took over.
So here’s what you need before you start:
1 large mixing bowl
A good, thick bottom frying pan, especially if you’re cooking on gas as you need to be able to simmer things in it, forget about the cheap Teflon pans, they won’t do as you’ll burn everything in them
A large, slightly wet chopping board
Butter and a splash of olive oil for frying
Ingredients, for about 3-4 people you need:
500g of mince as per above
A large onion, finely chopped or grated, the latter if you don’t like onion chunks
Ground allspice, this is very important as it adds the distinct flavour to the meatballs
Additionally you’ll need a few ingredients for the sauce:
Milk and/or cream
Water or vegetable stock
About a table spoon of plain flour
Gravy browning (optional)
Maybe some more butter
To serve with the meatballs you need some or all of the following:
Boiled potatoes or mash
Swedish Lingonberry jam, available in IKEA or sold as Preiselbeere jam in Citysuper if they still have it
Peas, I use the small frozen ones from Carrefour, put them in a strainer and defrost by pouring boiling hot water on them
Other vegetables are optional
So how to make the meatballs?
Well, you simply mix the mince, onion, egg and spices together in a large bowl, don’t mix too hard though as the fat will render out of the mince and stick to the sides of the bowl. Try doing this with your hands, as you’ll be using them to roll the meatballs later on anyhow. Mix to a fairly smooth mixture, although the trick here is to get the beef and pork to blend as much as possible rather than anything else. It’s easier to do if the meat is at near room temperature rather than straight out of the fridge.
Now bring out the slightly wet chopping board, the reason for it to be wet is that the meatballs won’t stick to it. Roll balls somewhere around the size of a NT$10 or NT$50 coin, the smaller they are, the quicker they cook, but the longer they take to roll.
Once you’ve finished rolling the meatballs, don’t leave them sitting too long before you start frying them, as they’ll sink together and will be harder to fry.
Heat up a frying pan, but don’t go crazy here, especially if you have a gas cooker, as you don’t want the butter that you’ll fry the meatballs in to burn. Put a knob of butter and a splash of olive oil in the pan – the oil is to help prevent the butter form burning – let it melt, start putting in the meatballs, enough to cover about half the surface of the frying pan. I generally start with a circle around the sides and then add 3-4 meatballs to the middle of the circle. Check the heat so you don’t burn the meatballs, you want them to brown, but not crisp as such. Keep turning the meatballs so all “sides” are cooked, they’ll most likely not be the round kind you get in IKEA, but rather somewhat awkwardly shaped. Once all the sides are cooked, scoop them out and put them in a container while you cook the next batch. Once all the meatballs are cooked, keep them in the container, as next up is the sauce. If you’re planning on making the sauce, you don’t have to cook the meatballs all the way through, as they’ll end up simmering in the sauce, but more on that below.
If there’s enough fat in the frying pan from cooking the meatballs, no extra butter is needed at this stage, but if it’s dry, you need to add a knob or two of butter for the sauce. Whisk in about 1 table spoon of flour into the fat, it should make a fairly thick and hard paste. To this, we need to add liquid, depending on your preference you can use cream, milk or a combination of the two, as well as some water. Start with the cream/milk, about 100ml of cream and 250ml of milk, stirring in a little bit at the time into the fat/flour mixture. At first this will look like a mushy paste, but it’ll get thinner as you add more liquid. My granny always used to mix in water from her boiled potatoes and carrots (she always boiled peeled potatoes and carrots together), but regular drinking water is just fine and you need about 100ml or so. This help make the sauce more of a sauce than a creamy, gooey mess. Simmer the sauce and flavour with salt, pepper and allspice, add gravy browning for a browner sauce, only a drop or two tends to be enough.
Now the trick to make really tasty and moist meatballs is to put the meatballs back into the sauce and simmer them in the sauce for 10-15 minutes at a low heat. This will also impart flavour from the meatballs into the sauce, making the sauce that much nicer. And that’s it. Serve with some or all of the sides mentioned above.
If you don’t want to eat the meatballs in the traditional way, then just cook them so they’re cooked through to start with, but this generally produces a dryer end product.
Some people also add breadcrumbs or oats mixed with milk to make for a “cheaper” mixture for the meatballs, but I’m not a big fan of this.
The toppings are also a bit unusual, but there’s plenty to choose from and there’s likely to be a fair few things to anyone’s liking. Please note that this is a pizza place and as such 99 percent of the menu is pizza, although a few salads and lasagna is also available. The crust on the pizza is thing and very good, something most pizza places in Taipei can’t compete with.
If you think the pizza is good, then you need to try the deserts, as I mentioned, the owner is a pastry chef by trade and makes some fantastic desserts. A must try is the mille foglie, although it’s only available during weekends due to the time it takes to make. That said, he also offers things like apfelstrudel and several Italian types of pastry and pies. You can find more details on Zoca’s web page.
Instead, Ed’s diner is a BBQ place that servers ribs, brisket, chicken, pulled pork and a wide range of side dishes. This isn’t your average BBQ place though, as the owner has had a custom-built smoker installed which means that the meat you get here is not like anywhere else in Taiwan to my knowledge. The owner favours dry rubs, so don’t expect the kind of saucy, sloppy, baby back ribs you get in the traditional “north American” establishments in Taiwan.
So far we’ve only tried the pork ribs, brisket and pulled pork burger, so we still have plenty of things to try and new things are continually being added. The owner also smokes up turkey for the holidays, although this has to be pre-ordered. Overall this is a place well worth a visit, even though it might not be local to where you live. Currently they only have a facebook page rather than a website, but it has the menu on it and some pictures of their food.
Update: We’ve been back several times since the original post and I’m happy to say that the place is still as good. We’re still sticking to pretty much the same items from the menu, although we’ve tried a few more sides like the baked beans which are really good. Just be aware that Ed’s is very busy during the weekends and you’re best off booking a table and food before you go to avoid disappointment. The only disappointing thing we’ve had so far was the crème brûlée which wasn’t really the real deal, but at least it didn’t taste bad, it was just a bit too solid.