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September 13, 2020

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A cozy, cool space for the comforting Taiwan fare

OKAERI is a cozy yet cool space inside Jiashan Market, where an eclectic mix of people love to gather after work for comforting Taiwan fare, refreshing drinks and good cheer.

The space itself, which opened in this location about five years ago, still exudes a cool vibe thanks to the exposed wall, open-plan dining space, dim lighting and the cool-looking decor. Okaeri gives out a very personal, unpretentious atmosphere, unlike those spaces trying too hard to follow interior-style trends. The venue also boasts a cute outdoor space that looks attractive.

Due to its popularity, Okaeri is usually packed and booking in advance is required. On a recent visit, the place was fully occupied with happy diners and I had to wait about ten minutes to get a bar counter seat. The cozy interior makes a good first impression. As for the food, it offers sincere Taiwan dishes and most of them are perfect for pairing with drinks.

With different bottles of wine, whiskeys and other liquors on display, Okaeri encourages diners to select drinks from their extensive range. The regular menu is hand-written and a blackboard showcases the restaurant’s seasonal dishes.

For the famous Taiwan ginger duck stew, you need to book a day in advance. However, there are many other options for a weekday dinner. Taiwan garlic sausage, braised beef shank, Taiwan pork feet and fried oysters are all good picks to start the meal. Fried oysters are also known as popcorn oysters or basil fried oysters. It is a traditional Taiwan street snack loved by many. The juicy oysters are deep fried in a light flour coating, resulting in an almost crisp outer layer surrounding the succulent oyster flesh. The flavor is complemented by the fried basil on top and the salt and pepper powder on the side for dipping.

Stir-fried leek with smoked duck meat was another typical Taiwan dish. I found it tasty but salty, so a bowl of rice is in great company. Crispy spare ribs with spicy salt was well executed and probably my favorite on the night.

The food in general is a bit salty but I would definitely come back to try out their ginger duck stew and sesame oil chicken soup with noodles.


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