“We have everything here, and we should be proud of it.”Serving ingredient-focused contemporary Taiwanese cuisine, Chiang’s two-year-old RAW is just one of a growing number of restaurants, ranging from casual to upscale, that are riding the wave of a growing “eat local” movement.
RAW Anchored by a sinuous cloud-shaped bar hand-carved from two colossal hunks of pine, the dining room at RAW is cavernous and murky, strikingly backlit by a semi-open kitchen.
There’s plenty of showmanship in crisp-tender blush prawns bathed in coral sauce made with prawn head fat and layered with jicama batons and wisps of fresh dill; frozen ricotta is dusted over the bowl, releasing a dry ice cloud.
I would return in a heartbeat for baby potatoes, which are thickly dusted with dried shiitake crumbles.
The mushroom crumbs bear a whiff of the forest floor and notes of coffee and bitter chocolate that deepen when mixed with the accompanying cultured butter.
I’m not at the farm every day.” But he estimates that about 90 per cent of what he uses in the kitchen is local; on the day we met he was excitedly planning a visit to a fish farmer in nearby Yilan county to investigate a tip about local caviar.
MUME, which opened around the same time as RAW and shares its capital-letters-only naming approach (mume is the botanical name for the plum blossom, Taiwan’s national flower), channels a Nordic sensibility, with a cosy dining room gently lit by the glow of a marble bar and Scandinavian-style bentwood chairs flanking tables lit by low-hanging pendant lights.