Taiwan is an island surrounded by clean waters with rocky mountains and fertile plains. It’s no surprise then that Taiwanese food emphasizes fresh ingredients, cooked quickly to retain as much flavor as possible. There's less of a focus on spice and more of a focus on texture. These techniques and flavors are exemplified through Zai Lai’s leafy greens, pickled vegetables, and stir-fried rice noodles.
Taiwan’s culinary tradition is diverse, influenced by Dutch and Japanese colonization and waves of immigration from various regions of China dating back to the 17th century.
For Zai Lai, I've curated our menu to offer authentic Taiwanese flavor using popular Taiwanese dishes. The quintessential homestyle Taiwanese dish is Five Spice Pork, with each family having its own recipe. I couldn't help but put Beef Noodle Soup on the menu; it is to Taipei what pizza is to NYC. And our menu wouldn't be complete without some street eats that are prevalent in Taiwan's night markets.
When I say this is "homestyle" food, what I mean is that this is straightforward, made-from-scratch cooking that results in clean, nourishing food. It's what I grew up eating and I'm glad to be able to share it with you.