We were completely exhausted after one full day of visiting the essential tourist spots, as well as trying out some of those eateries highly recommended by the Hong Kong published travel guidebooks which all turned out to be a disappointment one after another. I couldn’t help but started contemplating whether I should begin doubting the veracity of those food comments contained in those guidebooks, or whether these travel writers deserved one last chance of redemption.
We decided to try this very cozy looking with bar seating restaurant located in some inconspicuous alleyway near the Zhong Xiao Dun Hua (忠孝敦化) MRT station called Hu Tong (胡同). The restaurant was apparently well known for its grilled meats and Korean pop stars lookalike waiters that offered superb service, according to the same travel guidebooks. After wandering around for more than 15 minutes amidst the labyrinthine alleyway, we finally found that tiny restaurant. We proceeded quickly to enquire about seats availability at the early dinner hour of 6pm, yet to our astonishment, we were told that the place was fully booked by customers for the entire night until 10pm. And mind you, that wasn’t even a weekend! Judging from how well received the place was amongst the local Taiwanese, I trust there must be some basis for the claim that it serves one of the best grilled meats in Taipei, and what a shame we had to give it a miss this round!
So we reluctantly dragged our very heavy footsteps out of the mysterious alleyway back to the traffic congested main road in search for an alternative place for dinner. And that was the time when I noticed the sign “Jun Yue Pork Ribs” (君悅排骨) hanging at the second floor of a row of unassuming shops. I remember inserting this name “Jun Yue” in my travel itinerary list as a “non-priorities” item. According to the travel guidebooks, the pork ribs here was so great that even Andy Lau was unable to resist the temptation. And in case you do not know who Andy Lau is, he is one of the most iconic figures that plays quite a dominating role in the Hong Kong entertainment industry since at least the last 30 years. A versatile artiste who sings, acts and produces films, Andy Lau was known as one of the “Four Heavenly Kings of Cantopop” (四大天王) in the 1990s. Despite having reached the age of 52 years old, Andy Lau is still astoundingly charming and looks nothing more than 40.
I had my initial reservation on the quality of the food of Jun Yue (notwithstanding it has a big name like Andy Lau testifying to the awesomeness of its pork ribs). The prejudicial view was probably due to the fact that Jun Yue is a chain restaurant, and my belief at that time was that it was almost always impossible to maintain the authenticity and standard of food once a popular eatery becomes a chain restaurant. But how Jun Yue proves me wrong! The boneless pork ribs were juicy, flavoursome and absolutely addictive! The vegetables and Taiwanese pickles that came with the bento were a refreshing treat and excellent appetizer for the stomach.
I am just glad that the slight deviation from the original travel plan has led me to Jun Yue. Jun Yue will definitely stays in my travel itinerary and will be promoted to the category of “must visit” list for my future trips back to Taipei.
Take Exit 9 of Zhong Xiao Dun Hua (忠孝敦化) MRT Station. 5 minutes walk along Dun Hua Nan Road, Section 1 (敦化南路一段) towards the direction of Shi Min Da Dao/ Civil Boulevard (市民大道).