The thing about Taiwan is that every time you go back, something is different. The landscape is constantly changing. Something closes and something else opens. New fads ruthlessly push out old ones so that what once could be found all across the city dwindles to just a handful of shops.
So I really shouldn't have been surprised when I arrived in Danshui to discover that the big department store had closed down. In its place is a multi-story shopping center with an entire floor dedicated to restaurants.
Since my second uncle, aunt, and two cousins from Tainan were visiting Taipei, my mother's side of the family had a semi-reunion (missing quite a few people) dinner at one such restaurant in the new building. My first uncle recommended Saboten Tonkatsu:
Even though I was going to be in Japan - the land of tonkatsu - in just a week, I didn't mind. I could never get tired of deep fried pork.
Soon after our orders were taken, we were brought two gigantic piles of shredded cabbage, one for each end of the table:
The dressing for this "salad" was very light and came in these nifty screw cap containers:
My father loved the container so much that when he realized the brand was Japanese, he asked me to find it and bring him back half a dozen. Uh...what?
My parents really enjoyed the cabbage salad. Later that night, I opened the browser on my father's iPad to find Amazon.com searches for cabbage shredders. Sigh.
Our meal came with a DIY component:
It took a bit of physical exertion, but I eventually satisfactorily ground the sesame seeds and added in the tonkatsu sauce:
I won't go into what everyone at the table ordered, but here's what my sister did:
She got the loin katsuni set (320 NT or around $11). The tonkatsu came stewed in a soy based sauce with eggs.
I, on the other hand, went with the loin katsu set (300 NT or around $10):
Both our sets came with pickled veggies and black beans (which you can see above the tonkatsu) and a bowl of rice:
As well as a bowl of miso soup:
The tonkatsu was freshly fried and incredibly juicy. No soggy stuff at Saboten. Not the cheapest meal you can find in Taiwan, but reasonably priced for the quality and the quantity.
It was so reasonably priced that I felt completely comfortable snagging the bill away from my uncle. That's right. I'm now a working woman and I can finally treat my Taiwanese relatives to a meal
My mom's favorite thing that night was probably the black beans. She basically bullied all of us to give her ours. And then she asked for a refill.
Now you know where I get it from.