Hi dear reader! It pains me to inform you that I am currently serving my military service for Taiwan. I will be done in May of 2013, so until then posts will be sporadic. I hope that this doesn't deter you from checking back often as I will attempt to provide content whenever I can. Thanks!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Taiwan First Store (fried chicken/popcorn chicken) - 台灣第一家鹽酥雞

Address: No. 530 Beian Rd, Jhongshan District, Taipei.  台北市中山區 北安路530號

Telephone: (02)2532-1591

Hours: 11:00AM-12:30AM

I saw this show once where they were frying things that had no earthly reason to be fried.  Snickers bars, pizza, burgers, and a whole smorgasbord of other goodies that were already fatty and delicious on their own merits.  As I took this in, I was equal parts horrified and amazed at the genius of this person.  Because even as I was trying to count the weeks/months/years eating that food would lop off of my life, I couldn't help but wonder what such concoctions would taste like.  
All this is to say that frying the heck out of things is amazing.  Sure, it might not be the best idea to eat it consistently, but good god, when I get a craving for some fried food, there is no stopping that desire until it is satiated.  

 I thought I would never see a scantron again.  Ordering was like taking a test... but worth it.
Ingredients galore.

As you can see by the title of this store and this post, they claim to be the very first fried chicken place in Taipei.  I do not know the validity of their claim, but I can vouch for the quality of their product and how it is immediately noticeable that they are a level above the multitude of vendors who serve this product all over the city.  Where as many of the 鹽酥雞(popcorn chicken/fried chicken/salted chicken nuggets, and a whole heaping of other names) offer only the basics as far as options, 台灣第一家 - Taiwan First Store offers more choices than I have ever seen in an establishment of this kind.  
From all sorts of meats, vegetables, breaded goods, fish balls, and a whole lot else, 台灣第一家 - Taiwan First Store really sets itself apart in this area.

You see that sign there? That sign that both you and I probably have some trouble reading (well, I do at least)? It is the second component that makes 台灣第一家 stand above the rest.  It is a sign touting the virtues of the oil that this store uses.  It is a cleaner oil that is changed frequently to make sure that the product that comes out of the fryer is up to the standard that they have established for themselves and for their customers.  As I always say when it comes to food, It really is about the details.

 The goodie bag.
The Damage. Because of their popularity, their prices are somewhat inflated over other restaurants that serve the same goods.

As you could have guessed, the fame of this store is well known around Taipei, and this results in rather ridiculous lines.  We came on a Sunday afternoon and the wait was roughly 30-40 minutes.  This sort of thing is always a double edged sword.  On one hand, its nice to get your food immediately, on the other hand, long lines mean that you've probably stumbled onto something that is worth trying.  Well, let me just make it clear, if you are looking for top notch fried chicken (among other things) then just hunker down and wait til your number is called.  You won't be disappointed.

All sorts of fried yumminess.  Chicken, tempura, calamari, 1000 yr old egg, mushrooms, and oh so much more!

The use of better ingredients and a cleaner oil is evident as soon as you sink your jaws into the final products.  It is less oily than many of the other 鹽酥雞(fried chicken) that you'll find, and the flavors are more abundant.  Even just visually, it somehow just looks better.  How different can food taste when it is just simply fried? Well, it is true that the difference might not be as large as in some other cuisines and types of food, but by choosing to use only the best ingredients, 台灣第一家鹽酥雞-Taiwan First Store somehow does create that chasm between themselves and everyone else.
To be honest, I don't know if I would travel to specifically this place over some other local store that is very near by.  But that might just be my own slovenly nature speaking.  Without a doubt it is worth a try, and there is no way that you won't notice the difference in their product.  There is a reason why people were willing to wait for the better part of an hour for food that can be found around any corner.  Just remember, almost everything is better fried.

Overall, 台灣第一家鹽酥雞-Taiwan First Store receives - 

-Til Next Time-

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