慈聖宮的台北口味 | Taipei delicacies at hand at Cisheng Temple

慈聖宮美食 | Locals will have four-herb soup with a meat bun, which is an unique combination in Taipei. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
慈聖宮美食 | Locals will have four-herb soup with a meat bun, which is an unique combination in Taipei. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)

【看英文中國郵報學英文】信仰有著凝聚力,如同廟宇除了求神問卜、消災祈福之外,也有著讓民眾聚集交流、喝茶話家常的功用,早在還沒有里民中心和公園的時候,「廟」應該是街坊鄰里最常聚在一起的地方。 

Faith gathers people together. Just as temples in Taiwan are centers of prayer and divination, they also allow people to gather and chat over a cup of tea. But faith also serves as a beacon. 

信仰也有著方向性,台人性格南北不同,口味山海各異;但你永遠可以在最大的廟口找到最道地的小吃、在廟找到免費的奉茶和一棵遮蔭大榕樹。隨著信仰的方向走,就能找到最在地的好味道。沒有任何地方像台灣把信仰和美食連結得如此深刻,台語有句俗語叫:「濟人好呷物 tsē lâng hó-tsiah mih」;大家一起吃,東西才會更好吃。群眾交流的廟口及廟就仗著台灣人愛好熱鬧的性格,從烏龍瓜子賣到麵湯小食,漸漸發展成今日的樣子。 

There are different tastes in different parts of Taiwan, and you can always find the most authentic snacks by walking through the grand temple entrances. Following in the footsteps of the faithful, you are sure to find the best local delicacies. 

There is perhaps no place like Taiwan, where religion and food are so deeply connected. In Taiwan, there’s an old saying: “tsē lâng hó-tsiah mih” (濟人好呷物), which means “foods taste better when shared.”  

無論是街坊鄰居的早餐午餐,或是遊客香客的吃飽吃巧,廟口可能是台灣最沒有城鄉差距的地方,無論城市鄉下都一樣,想吃在地、吃文化、吃人情味和風土,朝著廟口走去就對了。 

The temple entrance and square are where large numbers of people come and go, and, understandably, become a place bustling with not only people but also all kinds of delicious street snacks, Oolong tea flavored melon seeds and noodles. If you want to eat authentic, cultural, humanistic, and local delicacies, the temple entrance is the best place to go. 

慈聖宮的台北口味 | Taipei Delicacies at Cisheng Temple 

由南到北,每城市的廟口都是美食集散地,各地的風味特色也根植於廟口一攤攤各色小吃,例如高雄武廟、台南保安宮、鹿港天后宮、新竹城隍廟等多個廟口,各自表述了地方的風土人情。那台北呢?台北的口味應該非大稻慈聖宮莫屬了 

From the south to the north, the temple entrance in every city acts as a kind of food distribution center. The flavors of local gourmets are rooted in the snack stalls in such places as Kaohsiung Guandi Temple (高雄關帝廟), Lugang Mazu Temple (鹿港天后宮), and Hsinchu City God Temple (新竹城隍廟).  

These places are also where local customs are always on full display. Similarly, Cisheng Temple in Dadaocheng (大稻埕慈聖宮) is where the flavors of Taipei can be found and enjoyed to the fullest. Cisheng Temple is unique in the highlydeveloped city of Taipei.  

慈聖宮在高度發展的台北城中實屬特異,它的正門不在大路上,卻在一條小巷裡頭,有著一片大大的廟和幾棵榕樹。看起來和你記憶中的廟口幾乎一模一樣,沒有過度裝飾的七彩霓虹,也沒有擴建豪華香客大樓,它保留了傳統人和人交流的一片大埕,還有沿著廟口圍欄做起生意的整排道地小吃。 

Its main entrance is not on a main road, but in Lane 49 of Baoan Street (保安街), where lies a large temple yard and several banyan trees. Without over-decorated neon signage nor luxurious, modern facilities, it retains a most traditional yard for people to chat within, as well as a whole row of authentic snack stalls along the fence surrounding the temple entrance. 

香火鼎盛的慈聖宮,是大稻埕的三大廟宇之一。| Cisheng Temple is favored by the local faithful, making it one of the three biggest temples in Dadaocheng. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
香火鼎盛的慈聖宮,是大稻埕的三大廟宇之一。| Cisheng Temple is favored by the local faithful, making it one of the three biggest temples in Dadaocheng. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)

下午就賣完,大稻的早午餐 | Sold Out by the Afternoon: Brunch in Dadaocheng 

慈聖宮小吃的特色在於時間很短暫,你太早來沒開,下午來已經賣完,適合來此享用早午餐。台式早午餐年輕一輩吃來新鮮有趣,近年來也在遊客間漸漸傳開,不過對在地人來說,慈聖宮的小吃有著接近儀式性的用餐程序:必須要趁著晌午太陽還沒到頭頂的時候來,個人坐在攤位前靜靜的喝著肉粥,或和朋友一起坐在廟分食幾道炒飯和鼎邊趖;多樣化的選擇也是一大亮點,你可以雞配饅頭,也可以四神湯配炒飯,變著花樣可以吃好幾天都不重複。 

The snacks found at Cisheng Temple are characterized by the limited timeframe in which they are available. If you come early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you might be out of luck. However, if you are there in time for brunch, your timing couldn‘t be better.  

The Taiwan-style brunch here is provided in a nearly ritualistic manner: it must be served before the sun reaches its zenith, with one person sitting alone having meat congee (肉粥) or sharing fried rice and ding bian cuo (pot sticker soup, 鼎邊趖) with friends.  

You can have chicken rolls (雞捲) with steamed buns (饅頭) or four-herb soup (四神湯) with fried rice in different combinations for several days without worry of the meal becoming monotonous. 

11點前後的陽光斜斜地從枝葉中灑落,照得排骨湯一碗金黃,運氣好還會遇到麻雀來和你分食,緩慢的風吹來,桌面上的光點跟著跳動,配著裊裊香煙和鳥鳴聲滿足的完食,這種風情在台北也不是常有的。難怪常客們一吃就是四十幾年不嫌膩口,不變的是上午的陽光、充滿人情味的廟埕,和傳承三代的好味道。

What remains unchanged is the sunshine in the morning, the temple square full of human kindness, and the same good taste that has been a mainstay here for three generations and counting.  

慈聖宮媽祖廟前的小吃,是台北人不變的美食記憶。| There are so many food options in the Cisheng Temple neighborhood, and all of them are heartily recommended by locals. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
慈聖宮媽祖廟前的小吃,是台北人不變的美食記憶。| There are so many food options in the Cisheng Temple neighborhood, and all of them are heartily recommended by locals. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)

從湯水開始,暖胃開脾 | Start with Soup: A Nourishing Appetizer 

慈聖宮的湯水類小吃最具有代表性,在沒有胃口的早晨,熱湯最適合打開睡的脾胃,每食客人手一碗的葉家肉粥就是慈聖宮的代表小吃之粥米用大骨湯頭熬煮,不像廣東一般綿軟,而是還留有嚼勁,像泡飯一般的口感,搭配油蔥及赤肉,口味樸實清淡。最推薦的吃法是搭配各式炸物一起享用,尤其是紅糟肉搭配肉粥的組合,炸得香酥脆的肉皮裹著肥瘦各半的豬肉,正好搭配肉粥解膩,一口燒肉一口粥的吃法才叫道地。 

The soup at Cisheng Temple is what this place is best known for. After all, a bowl of hot soup is the best way to awaken one’s appetite in the morning. A bowl of Ye Family Meat Congee (葉家肉粥) in the hands of a customer is one of the common morning sights at Cisheng Temple.  

Rice boiled with broth is not as soft in its consistency as Cantonese congee (廣東粥), but still chewy. The most recommended way is to enjoy it with all kinds of fried food, especially the combination of fried red-yeast pork (紅糟肉) and meat congee. A mouth of fried salty and crispy skin wrapped in half of the fat and lean pork with a mouth of congee is the most authentic flavor of all. 

愛喝湯的絕對不能錯過媽祖宮原汁排骨湯,清澈的湯頭上浮著一層淡淡的油脂,混合著豬油和蘿蔔的香氣爽口卻不膩口,燉得軟爛的豬排骨輕咬一下肉就脫離骨頭,配上切成方塊的小蘿蔔讓骨肉更顯清甜,三兩口就喝得見底,好喝的排骨湯就應該像這樣子。 

Of course, you should not miss out on the pork rib soup (排骨湯). This clear soup with a layer of light oil is mixed with lard and radish. The stewed pork ribs are stewed lightly and the meat falls away from the bones with the gentlest bite. With small radishes cut into cubes, the flesh and bones are made fresher and sweeter. The soup is so lip-smacking good that you will want to scoff the entire bowl in two or three mouthfuls. 

講到傳統湯品,四神湯也是道地的台灣小吃之。四神湯南北皆有,但是搭配的食物卻大異其趣!在南部喝四神湯,配的可能是米糕或肉圓,不過在台北喝四神湯,配的卻是熱呼呼的大肉包!這個特殊的習慣幾乎只在台北能見到,慈聖宮也不例外。慈聖宮前的四神湯少了常見的當歸米酒味,卻多了一股甘蔗的清甜,滿滿的各式下水中粉腸特別軟嫩,連小腸都比別家大。別忘了還有台北吃法:配肉包,我偏好把蒸得白胖鬆軟的肉包皮撥開,蘸著湯汁吃下,讓皮吸收滿滿的湯水,再咬下一口肥瘦適中的內餡,滿足! 

Speaking of traditional soups, four-herb soup is another authentic Taiwanese food that is a must-try. Drinking four-herb soup in Taipei is absolutely indispensable along with a hot steamed meat bun! This special custom can be seen almost exclusively in Taipei, and at Cisheng Temple as well. The four-herb soup provided at the entrance of Cisheng Temple has a sweet taste of sugarcane, and its pig intestine (豬粉腸) is especially soft and tender.  

When having the steamed meat buns, pull apart the steamed fluffy wrapper, dip it in the soup and eat it, and then take another bite of the filling with its perfect proportion of fat and lean meat. Your taste buds will be absolutely satisfied! 

米食的變化,在這裡 | Change of Rice: Have a Taste Here 

台灣的米食文化豐富多元,光是小吃的變化就有好多種,在慈聖宮最值得嘗的應屬阿蘭。阿蘭最出名的應該就是炒飯了,它使用鐵盤翻炒,和鐵鍋炒飯不同的是少了大炒才有的氣」,卻讓米粒更分明,淡淡的醬油均勻包裹,細碎的蛋花點綴,香氣十足,吃起來令人回味無窮。 

The most delicious Taiwanese rice found among the food stalls at Cisheng Temple is probably that prepared at the famous A-lan’s fried rice (阿蘭炒飯). Different from the general fried rice that is fried in a frying pan, the one made by A-lan is made in an iron plate to make the rice more separated and distinct.  

The rice is evenly coated in a light soy sauce and decorated with scattered bits of fried egg. The dish encompasses an appetizing fragrance that leaves you with endless cravings later on. 

單吃炒飯乾?那再來一碗蘿蔔湯吧肉跟排骨不同,裹粉炸過的肉條衣吸收了湯頭的鮮甜,湯水融合了炸物的油香,一口湯接著一口炒飯,這是屬於台灣小吃獨有的層次感。米食的變化多元,鼎邊就是一例。用在來米漿沿著鍋邊趖一圈,大片大片的鼎邊就下鍋了,吃起來彈牙燙口爽度十足,阿蘭的鼎邊配料特別多,不只有少見的金針和筍絲,還有豬肝蝦仁跟肉!滿滿的料一碗就能吃飽。能在同一攤位吃到米的不同型態,就是阿蘭獨有特色。 

Rice can be cooked in countless forms, and ding bian cuo is a case in point. Ding bian cuo is made by spreading indica rice milk around the sides of a pan. There are many other ingredients in A-lan’s ding bian cuo, which includes not only daylily and bamboo shoots, both of which are interesting additions, but also pork liver, shrimp, and lean meat. In addition to this specialty, A-lan also serves up many other rice-based dishes. 

在街邊樹下悠閒地吃個午飯,是大稻埕的療癒日常。 | There's a row of street food stalls in front of Cisheng Temple, where the food reminds locals of a bygone era. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
在街邊樹下悠閒地吃個午飯,是大稻埕的療癒日常。 | There’s a row of street food stalls in front of Cisheng Temple, where the food reminds locals of a bygone era. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)

最知名的配角,沒有名字 | The Golden Chicken Roll With No Name 

來慈聖宮不管吃什麼,一定要再切條雞捲來配。炸得金黃酥脆的雞遠近馳名,多少食客慕名而來就為了這一口酥脆多汁。有趣的是它沒有名字,招牌上只大大地寫著雞兩個字,最知名的小吃卻沒有名字,久而久之大家都叫它「無名雞」。雞裡面其實並沒有雞,內餡包裹著的是洋蔥及肉,炸得酥脆的外皮切下,熱騰騰的洋蔥汁水配著肉香流出,蘸上甜辣醬入口的滋味鮮美,單吃已經夠味,若是配著滷肉飯一起那更完美了。吃完才能理解為何這幾十年來都沒有名字的味道能讓人牢牢地記得,那當然也不需要名字了。 

No matter what kind of food you like, you must try the famous golden chicken rolls when visiting Cisheng Temple. What’s interesting about this famous little shop is that it doesn’t have a name. The sign only says “chicken roll” in very large characters. As time went by, everyone came to call it “Nameless Chicken Roll.”  

Chicken rolls don’t actually have chicken inside, but they’re filled with onions and lean meat. The crispy, deep-fried skin is dipped in a savory sweet chilli sauce. Only after swallowing it can you understand why a dish that hasn’t had a name for decades sticks in people’s minds. 

保安街49巷內的美食保留了最純樸的人情,也有著最純樸的台北味道。慈聖宮的廟口如同台北靜止的時光,數十年不曾改變。你可以找個悠閒的上午漫步過來,就著陽光、小巷、裊裊香煙和煮食的氣味,和老闆閒話家常,點幾樣愛吃的菜,坐在廟的桌椅上,靜靜地吃一碗台灣的、台北的、屬於大稻的早午餐。 

The food in Lane 49 of Baoan Street retains the simplest human kindness in its skilled preparation. The entrance and square of Cisheng Temple is a Taipei institution suspended in time, which has not changed for decades. You can take a leisurely morning stroll, chat with shop owners, order a few favorite dishes, sit on the tables and chairs in the temple square, and quietly eat a bowl of Taiwanese, Taipei-style and Dadaocheng-style brunch.  

慈聖宮美食 | Locals will have four-herb soup with a meat bun, which is an unique combination in Taipei. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
慈聖宮美食 | Locals will have four-herb soup with a meat bun, which is an unique combination in Taipei. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
鼎邊趖 | Ding bian cuo showcases the diversification of Taiwanese rice culture. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
鼎邊趖 | Ding bian cuo showcases the diversification of Taiwanese rice culture. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
四神湯配肉包 | The shop that sells chicken rolls in Dadaocheng doesn't have a name, yet the dish’s crispy texture impresses people again and again. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)
四神湯配肉包 | The shop that sells chicken rolls in Dadaocheng doesn’t have a name, yet the dish’s crispy texture impresses people again and again. (Courtesy of Undiscovered Taipei/Ryan Hong)

By Ryan Hong | Translation by Joe Henley 


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