10 hours is how long it takes to bring this chicken broth to it’s famous milky color. Once there, free-range chicken, pork knuckles, scallops, and more are added and cooked for another 2 hours to let the broth seep in and tenderize the meat.
As the weather gets colder in Taiwan, soups and hot pots are becoming a regular dinner meal. While Gi Yuan is much loved year-round, it’s popularity spikes during this season. And with good reason. The heart-warming broth hits all the right spots on the first sip.
The soup is cooked upstairs where passerbys can be tempted by the wafts of warm chicken broth while watching the chef handle multiple large clay pots at once.
Walking in, you’re greeted with a large open space, pots steaming away behind a glass door on the right, a wide stairway right in front of you leading downstairs. A host greets you and asks for a reservation before taking you below ground, which suddenly, became a whole other story. Tables filled with chatting families, cooks carrying bubbling hot pots of soup weaving in and out of the crowd, waitresses checking in periodically at every table. It felt very busy and very traditional.
Even the gold tablecloth and red menu felt nostalgic for an older era. We flipped through the pictured menu and picked several dishes, and of-course one giant pot of chicken soup.
The boiling hot chicken broth arrived a few minutes later, still bubbling! The clay pot retaining heat to keep the soup warm for the long meal. We helped ourselves to some broth while waiting for the other dishes.
Fried Taro Cake
The Fried Taro Cake came first (even though it’s more like a dessert.) Crispy on the outside with sweet taro paste as a filling.
The soft stirfried tofu was a good side dish adding something that doesn’t have an overwhelming amount of flavor, but still substantial, to go with your rice and soup.
For a vegetable dish, we opted for a local favorite: eggplant. You might have seen similar dishes in dimsum restaurants, din tai fung, and other local eateries, and there’s a reason why. It’s delicious. Cooked in heaps of garlic, ground pork, chili, and spring onions, it’s a delicious bite-sized side dish.
For something to match the heat of the soup, we got a clay pot bowl of pork intestines and pork blood cooked in a deep red chili sauce.
Overall an incredibly satisfying meal for the colder months, and great for large groups.
Gi Yuan (also known as Ji Yuan)