Dinner at Maru: Wang Tang Chu, Taipei

The dresscode in Taipei is either seriously cool or really casual. Ming had planned for all of us to go to what she says is “one of the best dinners of her life”. When I asked what to wear, she said “shorts will be fine”. Alrighty then.

It’s tucked away on a street in Taipei. I couldn’t even find it online when Googling it. The only reason Ming and Mum found it is because they quite literally stumbled upon it and decided to go in. How crazy is that? That rarely happens to me anymore, I usually stalk the place/menu online before I go anywhere!

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It’s a perfect size, with counter seating and one big round table near the front door.

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We grabbed our seat by the counter.

The meal was Omakase, which is when you have dishes one after another that are picked by the chef. There aren’t any names written down here. You don’t know what you’re going to get or what’s coming. You just need to enjoy it.

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This was our chef. He was extremely serious when working, but smiled really humbly after he was done (Boy shook his hand because he was so blown away by dinner). A true artist.

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This young lady was his sous chef, I’m thinking. She looked serious the entire time too. I felt a little bad for her because she looked like she was working under so much pressure – at one point the chef took the leaves she placed on a dish and threw them on the floor because he wasn’t happy with them.

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We were very excited for this meal. Like, seriously excited. Selfie-taking kind of excited.

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Just a low-down before I get into the food, the toilets are AMAZING. The kind of Japanese-heated-wash yourselves toilets. And I think the sinks had ice in them if I remembered correctly. Just seriously cool.

Anyway, back to food. Or should I say beer. Boy’s and Dad’s.

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This may look like I’ve had some weird champagne, but it was actually our first bit of food that was put in front of us.

The stuff inside is actually seaweed that coats itself in the winter time with a protective layer.

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The hostess grabbed the book and showed me a picture of it. How crazy. And surprisingly it tasted not bad!

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The next dish was a kind of wasabi salad, which I enjoyed even though I’m not one for wasabi.

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They even made freshly grated wasabi for us. I tasted it and it was insane how fresh and good it was. Maybe I’m just a wasabi snob secretly?

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Now we’re getting to the good stuff.

The chef literally slammed something down on each of our serving boards, where it’s body squashed itself due to the force then expanded and rose back up. It was a clam.

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A delicious clam, I should add. Do I need to state everything was delicious? Because it was.

The next was the fish Kimmedai. It’s a fish found exclusively in Japan.

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Again, the hostess knew how blown away I was by it all (and that I wanted to blog about it) so showed me a picture of it. And I thought eating barramundi was cultured.

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For our next course, I saw the sous chef dig her hand into the tank. Something was about to be extremely fresh.

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It was Sea Snails from Japan. And they tasted unbelievably good.

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The next fish, the Shima-aji. These fish keep getting better and better.

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After that was Shiro-ebi, which was served on a lime slice. Shiro-ebi is some type of prawn, usually eaten by goldfish. And now us.

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Then the Squid Sausage.

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Holy crap, was it incredible. Good doesn’t even cut it. It tasted like proper meat. And I know it wasn’t because I told him I was a diva pescatarian before dinner started.

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Then the sake broke out. And again, I mean for Boy and Dad. Mama Bridges and I were very cosy with our waters, thank you very much!

It was served beautifully though.

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Watching the chefs work was incredible. They are so skilled that it’s just mind-blowing to see.

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Next were some okra, which is also known as lady fingers.

I’m not a fan of lady fingers, so it was the one thing not for me. It wasn’t hard to get someone else to gobble it up though.

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What’s that I see? Fish? Oh yeahhhh.

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Not just any fish. Kinki fish. Well, that’s what the hostess told me it was called. I’m not even really sure how to spell it either. But it looked ridiculously cool.

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And did I even have to tell you how delicious it was?

Next was crab and seahorse.

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They were both seriously crunchy. I felt really bad about eating the seahorse though, as did Mum. Maybe it’s because you can see the whole thing, I don’t know. God, the wannabe-vegan inside me is yelling at me.

Things took a turn from the amazing to the even more amazing with the beautifully thick-sliced tuna sushi.

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INSANE. INSANELY GOOD.

The chef taught us how to pick it up and eat it so the rice doesn’t fall apart (as that was what was happening when we picked it up).

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Then, the beef.

None for me, but it was this rare, special beef. Everyone else was bouncing up and down in excitement watching this.

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It looked perfect. And apparently tasted more than perfect. Whatevs…

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Ugh don’t tease me!

The chef clearly felt bad that I was unable to enjoy the beef, so he gave me a chunk of tuna. Hoorah!

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The only thing is, this tuna was clearly prepared to be on sushi. Inside was still a teeny bit frozen and I think I found a bone in it as well. But I’m not complaining. It was still incredibly special.

Next up was what Ming had told me was the best thing she’d ever had, and something I’d never had before. Sea urchin.

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She had it made in a different way when she came, I think because it was plentiful and in season. It was insanely good on top of the sushi though.

Next, an eel wrap. Seriously one of the highlights of the night.

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Oh, what’s this? More sushI?

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Oh yeah. Sushi roll come at me.

It was only one piece though, but sensational nonetheless.

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To finish off the savoury was a soup with some kind of seaweed.

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And to start of the desserts, cold, freshly cut pineapple. It was actually amazing to watch them cut this. I tried to memorise it so I’d be able to do it at home. I’ll probably end up cutting my hand…

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One of the best pineapples I’ve had?

To finish it all off, I think this was black sesame soup? Sadly, I’m not a huge fan of that, so I gave it to Mama Bridges who gladly took it off my paws.

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Boy put it up there as potentially the best meal he’s ever had. The thing is, you’ll never have the same things twice, since it depends on what’s in season and what the chef wants to make for you, therefore the price at the end will always be different. It’s definitely a treat every once in a while because it’s pretty pricey, but Boy said it’d 100% be worth it to put money aside for this meal. I guess he’s coming back to Taipei!

For those wanting to go, their address is: No.3, Ln.290, Guangfu S.Rd., Dan’n Dist., Taipei, Taiwan.

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