Monday, April 19, 2010

[台北] - 寧夏夜市 鬍鬚張 Formosa Chang - best MTV commercials ever

In America, we have restaurants that represent the finest of commercialized dumbed down cuisine to those who want either an introduction to a type of cuisine, or those who just eat the shizzle up and consume like your average target market that don't have the means to either learn, or just no other choices due to geographical location.

Look no further than Taco Bell, Chipotle, Chevy's for "authentic Mexican" if you want La Raza to roll their eyes, Panda Express for "authentic Chinese" or ahem, PF Chang's (PFC) if you want to see even more squintier eyes of disdain by native Chinese, Taiwanese, and last but not least, tell a native Singaporean that SF Bay Area's (or Atlanta's) Straits Cafe is da bomb diggidy.

The fact is, I wouldn't mind so much if someone upscaled street food with fancy decor, so long as the food kept its original root$ with a flair (whether it be re-inventing, innovation, or fu$ion done right). However this fails to be the norm in the US. And what we end up is douchified comfort food.

Enter Formosa Chang, a very successful chain in Taipei. Perhaps Tawian's answer to PF Chang, but absolutely not related at all.

Sometime in 1960, Mr Chang Yun Chuan set up an outdoors food stall on Mingshin West Road that sold various small bowls and plates of food.

His minced pork rice that was of uncompromising quality that made him very busy and rich, so busy to the point that they say he slept 3 to 4 hours each night, had no time to shave, and thus grew a beard. Locals nicknamed him HuSooChang (hence the Chinese name of FC) or Bearded Chang. He continued to innovate and improve upon his operation and offerings while insisting on quality, taste, service, and providing a hygienic environment.

Chang's philsophy extended to "I will serve if if I will eat it also"

Years later the business became so successful it became a chain of about 20 locations.


In 1999 FC got ISO 9002 certification (similar to Little Sheep Mongolian Hotpot, a measurement of success and quality) and eventually many other awards.

Each sit down restaurant (in nice moderately upscale digs) also offers a take out counter adjacent to the restaurant for quick ordering and pickup.

They even have those cardboard American Chinese restaurant takeout boxes!

Still the same food and offerings, basically very typical and authentic non touristy Taiwanese food like

-Jianzi (beef flank dish)
-Hailu Shuanpin (what looks to be fried yuba roll and roast pork)
-Zhujiao (stewed pig's trotter)
-Tipang (stewed pork hock)
-A cai (A-choy, local green veg)
-Sunsi Lu (stewed bamboo shoots)
-Jirou fan (chicken rice)

-Lu Rou Fan (minced pork belly rice) - signature item. at the Ningxia Night Market location, you can see a fake plastic "statue" in earnest dedication to the signature dish and that made Formo$a Chang a rich man.

- soups including bitter melon and spare ribs

Prices are higher than eating at the street food stalls, but apparently the quality is really good. Japanese and foreign visitors can easily partake in authentic fare in a comfortable environment that even locals go to, without having to eat at the stalls (not all of them are exactly prim and proper clean). I missed out this time round so archiving this one in case I end up eating at Chang's (not PF, or PFFFFFFFFFFFFFFT).

There may be one minor gripe for those in the know

Formosa Chang's logo design is a bit sketchy...

It looks like someone ripped off Nigo's BAPE for logo and image design...

Note the name "Pizza Cut Five" on top. Could there have been an indirect reference to the Japanese group "Pizzicato Five"?

Seems to be a collaboration to help sell FC swag, branding, design, and uhm fashion.

You have to check this shit out that PC5 is doing to promote FC

What a marketing monster!

Formosa Chang (鬍鬚張)
台北市大同區寧夏路62號‎ - Taipei City Datung District, Ningxia Road #62

1 comment:

  1. Yep, the first thing I thought of when I saw the logo was Bape.

    I'm all for street food being served in a clean restaurant. It can be fun to wander around the chaos of the night markets, but sometimes I just want to eat the tasty food in a more sterile environment.