Nov 3, 2021

Preserved Mustard Tuber and Taiwan Free Range Chicken - See How Forchetta Transforms Local Ingredients to a Pasta Course

If you ever or going to visit Taiwan sometime, for the city part, on top of the capital city Taipei, maybe you can also spend a day or two at the central Taichung city. At the moment we have Michelin-rated restaurants in Taipei, and Taichung was also included to the Michelin Guide starting 2020.

Taichung Forchetta's handmade pasta

Indeed, Taichung is a city mixed with old and new, including the local food scene. Forchetta, the one I visited was famed one Michelin star. Located in possibly the most well-planned area in Taichung, there you'll find Forchetta situated in the heart of many fancy tall household buildings in the 7th Redevelopment Zone.

Taichung Forchetta

Unlike its neighbors, the restaurant building is rather petite, only two or three floors, where the main dining scene happened on the 2nd floor. 

Taichung Forchetta dining area

It has a balcony with plants throughout, so even the restaurant sits few steps away from the main greenery park in the area, dining there still make customers feel like surrounded by the trees, an easy relaxing vibe so to speak.

Taichung Forchetta dining area

Forchetta's lunch menu and dinner menu look similar, with only main course options listed. The slightly more expensive price for dinner is mostly due to more dishes offered on top of the main.

Taichung Forchetta's lunch menu

All you have to do is simply pick out the entrée of your liking. Drink-wise, talking about water, Forchetta only offers mineral or sparkling water, no tap water available. Since it's bottle service, I went with my mom's preference - sparkling water, and we picked out the fancy bottled rain water from Australia Cape Grim. 

Taichung Forchetta's drink menu

I've also added a simple three-glass wine pairing. Don't drink and drive. Since I brought that up, me and my mom actually took the Taiwan high speed rail from Taipei to Taichung, which only took around one hour. Also from the station to restaurant, if taking taxi, that's extra 15 minutes ride, pretty easy to get around the area.

Black olive country bread - 

Black olive country bread by Forchetta

The texture is close to slightly denser focaccia, dry but not tough. In fact, the bread was rather soft, with a simple tear and it'll break apart easily. 

Tomato salsa and garlic aioli by Forchetta

I can see the black olive bits, but can't really taste it. Worry not, both the garlic aioli and tomato salsa were there to boost up the flavors. The waitress recommended us to use both, one provides more moisture with a refreshing touch, and the other adds a kick to it.

Black olive country bread with salsa and garlic aioli by Forchetta

Taro winter melon soup, a gentle warmth to slowly awaken the senses -

Taro winter melon soup by Forchetta

Think of it as winter melon soup, but the winter melon used was a specific variety that carries the scent of taro, that's why the name "taro winter melon." We sat by the entrance, but with a glass in between, where you can see that the restaurant actually arranged some fresh taro winter melons outside - 

Taro winter melon at Forchetta

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granita - 

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granita course by Forchetta

To name it Peruvian, not because the granita was originated in Peru, but chef's interpretation of the Peruvian flavors he tasted. Similar to ceviche, with a punch of citrusy acidity yet a slight sweetness in the seasoning.

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granite by Forchetta

First wine pairing came just in time, Greek aióra white -

Greek aiora white at Forchetta

This wine has a bright acidity, to match the granita and thinly sliced pickled lotus root.

Amberjack, lotus root, Peruvian granita by Forchetta

Local deep sea fish -

Deep sea fish with kale crisps and green chili foam by Forchetta

Didn't get the exact name, but I think it should be some kind of deep sea catfish. The fish texture is quite bouncy, almost chewy, just a tiny bit. Taste-wise, the fish itself didn't carry much distinctive flavor, the main character lies on the hearty bite instead.  

Local deep sea fish with kale crisps and green chili foam by Forchetta

To counter-balance such full body of the fish, chef used kale crisps, green chili foam, and soybean sprout to go along. The green chili foam especially, like a light brush of minty and bell peppery note, attaching more characters to the fish.

Deep sea fish with kale crisps and green chili foam by Forchetta

Giant button mushroom -

Giant button mushroom by Forchetta

Considered one of the signature dishes of Forchetta, but the preparation and presentation vary from time to time.

Juicy giant button mushroom by Forchetta

You'll find silky smooth truffle mashed potato poured on top and flew all the way to the bottom. It's like a mushroom on top of mushroom, earthy and packed with umami power. But what wowed me the most was how juicy the button mushroom was.

Right after I made a slit on the mushroom, just a little pressure, the juice kept flowing out, just like pressing down a well-soaked sponge. In the end, it almost felt like a soup course (in a good way) with all that moisture released from the mushroom.

California centra coast Calera chardonnay at Forchetta

Second wine paring came along to go with that velvety mashed potato, California central coast Calera chardonnay.

While my mom was praising how homey the service is at Forchetta, the waitress brought over the handmade pasta for the upcoming course -

Handmade pasta by Forchetta

Basically the service should be up to par for a Michelin-rated restaurant, but the reason why I pointed out is because that my mom isn't a person easy to please. So be able to win her over, it takes more than just professional and courteous performance. She especially said that all the servers that day made her felt welcomed, like really caring and chatting with someone they know, instead of a stranger customer.

Handmade pasta by Forchetta

I did notice that during half of our meal, my mom was trying to move the heavy chair to get to the restroom. Well, she mentioned that the chair was heavy when we first sat in. The waitress must aware of that, so once my mom made a tiny movement, the waitress quickly came over and helped her with the chair.

Handmade pasta with preserved mustard tuber and Taiwan free range chicken by Forchetta

The service was great, so was this handmade pasta with Taiwanese preserved mustard tuber, white beech mushroom, and local free range chicken. The preserved mustard tuber can be quite salty sometime, but that strong flavor was much needed here, to act like a backbone for the entire dish. On top of that, unlike plain salt or anchovies, it's Taiwanese' take on how to incorporate other salty element to a dish.

Bird's eye chili oil from Forchetta

But not just the salty part, a hint of sweetness also surfaced from the preserved mustard tuber, creating layers of flavor to the pasta. Even though its seasoning was already spicy, if you'd like, asked the server for extra chili oil made with bird's eye chili. The spiciness won't kill you if you can normally take on some heat, it'll further bring out that hidden sweetness from the preserved mustard tuber.

Handmade pasta with preserved mustard tuber and Taiwan free range chicken by Forchetta

One element that I enjoyed a lot is the use of local free range chicken. It felt like the essence, more so the fine oil from the chicken was released and clung on every single pasta. When you took a bite, you can actually felt something slightly sticky that was packed with umami covering the pasta, and it's very addicting. The chicken itself was bouncy and tender at the same time. Look closer, you can almost see some chicken fat leaking through every fine grains of meat, no wonder why it tasted so good. Definitely my favorite course of the day.

Third, also my last wine pairing Vivaldi Valpolicella Ripasso, which will go with the main course coming up -

Vivaldi Valpolicella Ripasso from Forchetta

We picked US SRF rib eye steak and Australia wagyu hanger steak as our main. The red wine actually worked better with hanger steak, with its meatier and fuller taste.

Hanger steak by Forchetta

Both steak came with the same sides. Let's look at the chicharrones fritos-looking thing first. It's actually beef tendon that's been stewed for one day, then fried just when the main course is about to be served. Interestingly, it doesn't taste like beef anymore, more like a Thai shrimp cracker instead.

Fried beef tendon by Forchetta

The black sauce in the center was made with local fermented garlic, also known as black garlic. Imagine garlicky aroma being condensed at least tenfold, with molasses-like dense sweetness to it. There're also grilled okra, eggplant, and baby corn. The dark mass on top of baby corn is Taiwanese "sacha" sauce. If you ever had Taiwanese hot pot before, you'll find sacha sauce served in most of the hot pot places, think of it as Taiwan's version of barbecue sauce.

US SRF ribeye steak by Forchetta

That marked the end of our savory dishes, here's a little in-between before the actual dessert course -

Mulberry white boba and red heart guava sorbet by Forchetta

Mulberry white boba and red heart guava sorbet.

Single espresso by Forchetta

Our meal also came with coffee or tea in the end. Mom asked for single espresso. Tea-wise, there're iced or hot hibiscus tea, or no-caffeine hot tea flavored with cocoa shell. Sounds interesting, of course I'm opting for the cocoa shell tea.

Cocoa shell tea by Forchetta

The tea strainer reminds me of Pikmin.

Cocoa shell tea from Forchetta

If blind-folded, judging by the scent, I bet most people would guess it's really a cup of cocoa, the unsweetened kind because that chocolaty aroma was more like an airy brush to the nose. Such a heart-warming tea, especially the comfort associated from all the past chocolate-related memories. 

The finale dessert was also chocolate themed -

Grating 100% chocolate over dessert served by Forchetta

The server helped grating some 100% chocolate that's located grown and made in Nantou, Taiwan. Yes, we have our own local chocolate too. In fact, there's this Fu Wan Chocolate, a local bean-to-bar chocolate maker that have won many International chocolate awards.

Chocolate dessert by Forchetta

The main part of the dessert used 70% chocolate, served with sabayon. Inside you'll find semi-translucent filling, that's jelly made with cocoa pulp, I think it tasted similar to rambutan.

Jelly made with cocoa pulp at Forchetta

We had a wonderful time at Forchetta. To me, the pasta was definitely the highlight of the meal. It incorporated many local ingredients and perfectly showcased Taiwanese flavors. Not just a mix between the west and the east, but the one that truly turned the pasta like a finely crafted local dish.

One extra side benefit about Forchetta is that it's within 5 minutes walking distance to National Taichung Theater. The theater was designed by Japanese architect Toyo Ito in collaboration with Cecil Balmond at Arup AGU. Once walking towards that direction, the sight is hard to miss. 

I would suggest you to spare some time and take a walk after Forchetta. Since you're already there, go to the roof top garden in National Taichung Theater to take in the view of the surrounded 7th Redevelopment Zone. City-wise, in a more modern approach, I think that's the best part of Taichung City. 


Forchetta currently holds one Michelin star status. 


2F, No. 36, Huizhong 7th St, Xitun Dist, 

Taichung City, Taiwan

+886 4-2255-8111

Restaurant website:


Opening hours:

Daily lunch  12:00 noon ~ 2:30 p.m.

Daily dinner 6:00 p.m. ~ 9:30 p.m.

No comments:

Post a Comment