Thank you, thank you, thank you, to Monica and Marco and their special seafood restaurant on Lyudao. Thanks to their love of the island and entrepreneurial spirit, I had the best meal of the year while I was on vacation in Taiwan.
Maddie was a most gracious host and on top of taking care of ALL of the Chinese language aspects of our trip, planning the itinerary, executing the travel details and facilitating a truly stress-free vacation, she also researched restaurants! Her epic blog research is the best way to gain recommendations for Taiwan.
The guidebook selection for Taiwan is slim and infrequently updated. However, bloggers (we rock!) are providing more and more guidance for world travelers, and I would like to pay it forward by echoing the blog post Maddie read about Monica and Marco’s restaurant, “Crazy Fried.”
Based on this recommendation, we quickly found Crazy Fried along the short strip of restaurants on the main drag in Lyudao’s main town Nanliao. We ate dinner there the first night and I tried the “grilled squid with three flavors” – and was blown away. Maddie’s food was equally delicious and the prices were unbelievably low in light of the excellent quality of the flavor combinations.
I don’t want to oversell Crazy Fried, but this is a meal I will remember for the rest of my life.
After eating it the first night, I was tempted to order another plate of the same dish, IMMEDIATELY. Honestly, this is something I don’t do. I want to say that I have never re-ordered a dish immediately in my life. Maybe it’s happened a time or two that I forgot about, but it is not typical Jill practice. Yet, the food was that good to me in that moment. I wisely waited a few minutes and decided I was too full to be able to actually enjoy the dish immediately.
So, I returned the next day and ordered it for lunch. This became the non-negotiable option for lunch. In fact, the pictures below are from lunch because after I took the first bite at dinner, I was completely engaged in the enjoying of my food. I didn’t even think about the camera until I was 75% done with the meal.
The meal. Imagine the freshiest fresh fresh calamari squid, grilled to perfection. Then, add a savory soy and vinegar based sauce, thai basil, chilies, roasted garlic, green onion and caramelized/grilled ginger. Is your mouth watering yet? It should be!
The green onions were almost crunchy, but still flavorful; the garlic was creamy inside with a slight crackle as I bit in; the thai basil punctuated bites with flavor commas, savory semi-colons and herbacious exclamation points; chilies and ginger pervaded the sauce’s flavor, when I nibbled either chile or ginger directly, the flavors overwhelmed that bite, but overall, they blended well in the flavor. I had never had ginger prepared this way and while it was still too strong to take more than a small bite, it was refreshing and a neat presentation.
Monica was a gracious host, both by night and by day. She was funny and flirty and seemed to enjoy flitting about and making us giggle. When we stopped by the next afternoon, she immediately recognized us (on our scooter and helmeted) and waved us into a front-row parking spot. Monica’s conversational English is great. She did ask for our English expertise when she was commenting on a friend’s facebook post in English. She posed for a picture with Maddie and she was just one of those people who make you feel great to be alive.
Thank you Monica! Xie xie!