On a quiet alley in Yanji Street sits a small 10-seater Japanese restaurant. The sitting area lines the walkway so as you walk through you get a visual taster of all the dishes that have been plated for the guests. Their newest chef, Chef Shane, is young but incredibly talented. With his introduction comes DonBuDon’s newest menu.
The new menu boasts ingredients like A5 wagyu, caviar, uni, truffle, oysters and more. And a majority of that was in just their don bowl. Continue browsing to spot the soft crab hand roll, kumamoto oysters, and my personal favorite, an exquisite roll of anago sushi.
3-Way Pickled Starters
Extra care is put into each dish, starting with the appetizer. The 3-way starter featured different types of pickles (perilla plum squash, squash with yuzu sauce, and yuzu pickled radish.) Each offered a bright refreshing burst of flavor in between main dishes.
Stone Lotus Flax Seed Salad
This is my first time trying stone lotus, each succulent leaf is carefully sliced and placed on the plate.
Next we had the stone lotus with flax sauce and fried burdock shreds. The succulent leaves were a surprising crunch that was both refreshing and added an interesting texture to the salad.
Yukhoe Raw Beef Salad
The Yukhoe Raw Beef Salad used wagyu beef, arugula, onions, and an egg yolk. The flavors of the wagyu paired wonderfully with the special dressing they used for the arugula.
Plating of the Yukhoe Raw Beef salad. Each petal was carefully placed next to the raw beef.
Donbudon’s Japanese oysters are thick with a hint of fruitiness. Each bite was a burst of flavor, both refreshing, and a little briny. They’ve kept it simple with just a touch of caviar and plum to really let the flavor of the Kumamoto oysters shine through.
Soft Shell Crab roll
The soft shell crab roll used an entire soft shell crab, truffle, crab roe, kanpyo (dried gourd). I love soft-shell crab, so for the roll to contain an ENTIRE crab had me at the edge of my seat, chopsticks ready. After a quick deep-fry, Chef Shane showed us the crab before placing it on a bed of lettuce, dabbed with crab roe, and tightly assembled into a crunchy and delicious roll.
Truffle Chawan Mushi (松露干貝蒸蛋) – Appetiser
The steamed egg is always something I look forward to at Japanese restaurants. Donbudon was no different. Their steamed egg featured a generous scallop with delicious bites of truffle underneath. A fragrant appetizer that had me looking forward to the rest of the meal.
A5 Japanese Wagyu Sando (日本 A5 和牛三明治)
Easily one of DonBuDon’s signature dishes is their A5 Japanese Wagyu Sando. Using a thick cut of A5 Wagyu, it’s breaded and grilled before placed in between two special-made toasts. The wagyu oil is trapped within the breading and toast making it crispy on the outside and soft and juicy on the inside.
Yujimo Hokigai (湯霜北寄貝)
Washing down the sando with a soul-warming clam soup. Using Hokkigai salt-water clams (also known as Surf Clams) and a mixture of shellfish, the broth takes you all the way to a warm night on the beach. Topped with a healthy amount of shellfish, it was a great mid-meal break.
Anago Eel Sushi
This was my favorite. A beautiful presentation of a delicious salt-water eel. First, the eel was torched with a flame to release all the oils and add a charred taste. Then it was rolled and topped with ikura, caviar, some petals (which tied back to the wagyu raw beef salad), and served with a small dab of wasabi. A bite of heaven.
A5 Japanese Wagyu Shabu
The beautiful marbling of this A5 Wagyu had me drooling already.
The wagyu shabu don bowl used two mouth-watering slices of A5 Wagyu. They were quickly grilled then placed on top of a bowl of rice.
And that’s not all. The bowl is then also topped with a spoonful of uni, peony shrimp, salmon roe, crab leg, softboiled egg, beautiful purple broccoli, and wild mushrooms. A luxurious bowl and one of DonBuDon’s signature dishes. (It’s in their name after all)
We had a fantastic time. Four friends catching up at the bar side with luxurious food followed by drinks in their secret speakeasy bar upstairs… (more on that later.)
About Don Bu Don
Don Bu Don is a Japanese restaurant on Yanji Street in Taipei serving high-quality dons and dishes with a modern twist. Their name is a take on mandarin saying that translates to “Do you understand?” while also a pun on their signature dish: don bowls. This creativity is translated into their dishes: smart, creative, and focused on the food.
Don Bu Don 懂不懂
No. 3, Lane 160, Yanji Street, Da’an District, Taipei