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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Taipei Chef, Artarmon

 taiwanese smoked chicken at taipei chef, artarmon

If crisp skin, succulent flesh and the lingering trail of smokiness in every mouthful is your idea of bliss, then Taiwanese-style smoked chicken ($10) is the flavour bomb your tastebuds have been waiting for. The chicken is cooked twice - first steamed and then smoked over a mixture of tea leaves and sugar until the skin takes on a golden glaze and becomes deliciously brittle. Trust us: this stuff is so addictive you’ll be reaching for your next piece before you’ve even finished the first.

taiwanese cuisine at taipei chef, artarmon

Taipei Chef has all your Taiwanese favourites covered. You can’t miss the fluoro yellow signage out the front. There’s nothing fancy in the décor but the food is presented cleanly with the occasional considered garnish. Despite the modest size of the kitchen – which you can spy from the dining room – the menu has an impressive list of 56 dishes. Most selections come with photo clues but if you still need help, staff are patient and will happily provide recommendations.

The crowd is mostly a mix of chatty Taiwanese families and curious local passers-by. Kids are readily accommodated, provided with special melamine tableware (blue for boys and pink for girls) with character prints. You can linger over your meal, but be prepared to be kicked out at closing time. Loiterers are politely reminded to leave once service has ended.

prawn dumplings at taipei chef, artarmon
Prawn dumplings $12 for 6

Kick things off with an order of prawn dumplings ($12 for six) - plump parcels of prawn wrapped in translucent dumpling skins. They’re sweet and fragrant, packed with slivers of water chestnut, Chinese celery and finely chopped shallots.

fried sweet potato chips at taipei chef, artarmon
Deep-fried sweet potato $4

Keep the snacks going with deep-fried sweet potato ($4), dusted with a salty and sweet plum powder that is wickedly addictive.

slow-cooked pork belly at taipei chef, artarmon
Slow-cooked pork belly $15

Slow-cooked pork belly ($15) is meltingly soft, simmered in a heady stock of star anise, garlic, chilli and soy. Drizzle the sauce over plain white rice and you’ve got a bowl of comfort food that hugs you right back.

Taipei-style long beans at taipei chef, artarmon
Taipei-style long beans $12

Garlic lovers should get into the Taipei-style long beans ($12) – a jumble of squeaky fresh beans stir-fried with chicken mince, chilli, vinegar and a generous amount of garlic.

Taiwanese-style pork mince on rice at taipei chef, artarmon
Taiwanese-style pork mince on rice $6

Taiwanese-style pork mince on rice ($6) is saucy but disappointingly leaner than the traditional fatty version. There’s far greater satisfaction in the sticky rice ($6) – chewy grains of glutinous rice studded with curls of dried shrimp and fine slices of rehydrated shiitake mushroom.

sticky rice at taipei chef, artarmon
Sticky rice $6

tofu stuffed with pork mince at taipei chef, artarmon
Tofu stuffed with minced pork and prawns on hot plate $15

taipei chef, artarmon

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Taipei Chef Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Taipei Chef 
1A Broughton Road, Artarmon, Sydney 
Tel: +61 (02) 9419 7119 

Opening hours: 
Lunch Tuesday to Sunday 12pm-3pm 
Dinner Tuesday to Sunday 6pm-10pm

This article appears in the March 2012 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [read online]

More Time Out Sydney reviews:
Akash Pacific Cuisine, Liverpool (Fiji Indian cuisine) 
ATL Marantha, Kensington (Indonesian fried chicken with edible bones)
Balkan Oven, Rockdale (Macedonian burek)
Battambang, Cabramatta (Deep fried pork intestines)
Cyprus Community Club Aphrodite Restaurant (Roast baby goat) 
Dos Senoritas, Gladesville (Mexican street-style tacos) 
Durban Dish, Baulkham Hills (South African cuisine)
Everest Kitchen, Marrickville (Nepali cuisine)
Good Kitchen, Hurstville (Hong Kong cafe)
Hijazi's Falafel, Arncliffe (Lebanese breakfast)
Island Dreams Cafe, Lakemba (Christmas Islands cuisine)
Kambozza, Parramatta (Burmese cuisine)
La Paula, Fairfield (Chilean empanadas, lomitos and sweets)
Mario Tokyo Pizza, Strathfield  (Bulgogi Korean pizza)
Misky Cravings, Fairfield  (Peruvian cuisine)
Olka Polka Bakery & Deli, Campbelltown (Polish cheesecake and rye bread)
Sea Sweet, Parramatta (Lebanese sweet kashta cheese burger)

Sizzling Fillo, Lidcombe (Filipino pork hock crackling)
Tehran, Granville (Persian cuisine)
Tuong Lai, Cabramatta (Vietnamese sugar cane prawns)
18 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/29/2012 12:24:00 am


  • At 3/29/2012 9:01 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Love the look of the dumplings and the sticky rice especially. Making my mouth water...

  • At 3/29/2012 10:27 am, Anonymous Eha said…

    Pork belly, long beans and tofu for me, please! This food looks seriously good :) !

  • At 3/29/2012 10:27 am, Blogger Simon Leong said…

    oh yum. that fried chicken does look pretty darn good! must try!

  • At 3/29/2012 11:17 am, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    Naww I miss Artarmon! I do love dumplings and those look plump and delicious. Will have to check it out :)

  • At 3/29/2012 12:58 pm, Blogger jack said…

    I can't see any of the photos when I'm at work (clearly I'm working hard! ;p).
    But even from your description, the chicken sounds so good, I really want to eat it now! Can't wait to see the pictures when I get home!

  • At 3/29/2012 1:11 pm, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Love the look of those plump prawn dumplings. I am a big water chestnut fan, they have won me over.

  • At 3/29/2012 1:39 pm, Blogger joey@forkingaroundsydney said…

    This has been on my list for a while, and especially the crispy skin chicken. Didn't know they had sweet potato fries though! Mmmm.

  • At 3/29/2012 9:22 pm, Blogger K said…

    I LOVE those sweet potato fries. I can just eat 3 servings of just that. Ok, maybe throw in the smoked chicken too. Just the skin. ;)

  • At 3/30/2012 8:48 am, Blogger Potato Princess said…

    Oh my...the sweet potato chips look heavenly...and the dumplings too!

  • At 3/30/2012 9:59 am, Anonymous food porn-er @ foodpornnation.com said…

    WOW that chicken looks heavenly. I have to go and get some. Never had Taipei food before.

    I've always wondered do you always manage to eat ALL that food??!! There is always heaps!! hehe

  • At 3/30/2012 9:36 pm, Anonymous SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) said…

    There is literally NOTHING listed here that I wouldn't happily eat for dinner tonight! Looks bloody amazing!

  • At 3/31/2012 7:35 am, Anonymous tania@mykitchenstories said…

    This looks great especially love the look of the sticky rice!

  • At 3/31/2012 1:15 pm, Anonymous JasmyneTea said…

    That looks really tempting, I've been wanting to try Taiwanese for ages and this just might be the place to go!

  • At 4/01/2012 5:25 pm, Anonymous Chopinand @ ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    We were quite excited when we read this. We came here on Friday night and were a little disappointed that by 8pm, the smoked chicken and snake beans were off the menu.

    The skin of the dumplings was quite doughy and the tofu stuffed with mince pork and prawns a little ordinary.

    The owner told us there is actually no tea leaves used for the smoked chicken, only sugar.

    The slow-cooked pork belly was by far the stand out dish, succulent with just the right amount of spice and flavours.

  • At 4/01/2012 9:41 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi food porn-er - Haha that's what friends are for! I have developed a very good capacity for eating though. Not necessarily a good thing!

    Hi Chopin - Aww sorry to hear that they ran out of smoked chicken and snake beans, and interesting too to hear that they don't use tea leaves. I must have been given incorrect info.

    The dumplings were lovely when we had them, and yes I didn't think the tofu was that great which is why I didn't mention them in the review. Great to hear you enjoyed the pork belly. Can never go wrong with fattylicious pork!

  • At 4/04/2012 3:15 pm, Anonymous Kat said…

    Wow your shots of the dishes here makes it look so much more delicious! Thanks for this post!

  • At 4/07/2012 7:39 pm, Anonymous IVNHO said…

    Oh Helen, you missed the Three Cup Chicken and spicy pipis! You must have them on your next visit.

  • At 4/30/2012 10:29 am, Anonymous Obesebaby said…

    went there on saturday, omg so nice the food although decor was like a home but i was happy. the deep fried sweet potato was to die for!


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