There are myriad Japanese Cuisine shops in Taipei.
Among them is the Tien Tsai Japanese Cuisine, which was described by a famous Taiwanese writer Yu-fu as "private home dishes for the traditional Taipei people."
There are two Tien Tsai Japanese Cuisine Shops; one is on Wu-chang Street; the other is on Kai-feng Street. We came to the one on Kai-feng Street.
Right behind the Head Office of First Bank, this shop is located next to the Street of Photography Equipment.
The shop sign reads "established in 1957," letting you know that the flavor has been passed down for 60 years now.
There are quite a few cram schools around the area, and inexpensive gourmet restaurants stand in great numbers. The famous Hua Nan Spare Rib is next door.
Red lanterns are hung high outside the Tien Tsai Japanese Cuisine storefront. Donburi Meal Combo items are posted on the glass window next to the doorway.
It encourages the passersby who are not familiar with Japanese Cuisine to come eat inside without having to worry about what to order.
Walking through the front door, you can see several large-sized Gyotaku prints, showing off the owner's abundant knowledge of the fish market.
There are two rows of menus made of genuine wood in the seating area brimming with Japanese allure.
Upon coming into the shop, you can also see a long freezer, neatly displaying various types of fresh food ingredients.
Coming to Tien Tsai Japanese Cuisine, you can opt to sit at the bar.
It's quite a treat to chat with the chef while eating the freshly made Nigiri Sushi by a whole freezer of fresh food ingredients!
This type of practice is only available at high-end Japanese restaurants. US President Obama had such eating experience at a sushi shop in Tokyo while visiting Japan.
According to media coverage, this food practice allowed President Obama to see very distinctive food culture.
We also saw a customer on site inviting the chef to drink a liquor collection that was deposited at the shop.
If you don't plan on solely eating the freshly made Nigiri Sushi, you can choose a regular table next to the bar.
Without the firsthand interaction with the chef, the quality of service is still the same.
At the forefront of the bar table, there is a large red lantern with "Oden Cuisine" written on it.
Some people in Taiwan refer to Oden Cuisine as Tian-bula, resembling the pronunciation of Tempura; they are actually two different types of food.
Tempura is Japanese, meaning fried food.
Interestingly, Tempura originated from Portugal. It was a type of food introduced to Japan by a Portuguese Catholic priest in the 16th century.
It was actually fried fish, which was deep-fried fish coated in flour.
You can see "Tempura" either on the Tien-Tsai Japanese Cuisine menu or on the wooden menu hung on the wall.
For instance, there are Vegetable Tempura, Fish Tempura and Shrimp Tempura. Don't mistaken them for Tian-bula or Oden Cuisine.
Go to the bar if you like to order Oden Cuisine. These are dishes that can only be seen at traditional Japanese Cuisine shops.
There are many items for you to choose from inside the large rectangular stockpot, such as Taro, White Radish, Burdock, Boiled Egg, Water Bamboo and Cabbage Roll.
We picked Burdock, White Radish and Tian-bula.
The Burdock was deep fried with fish paste before being cooked in the stockpot.
The Burdock here is thicker than usual. Upon taking a bite, it's full of juice and sweet taste. It's absolutely delicious!
Aside from Oden Cuisine, we also ordered Teriyaki Squid, Japanese-style Salad and Tuna Roll.
Tuna Roll is a tuna-rolled sushi. There is a slice of raw tuna fish stuffed in the middle, wrapped inside the vinegar rice and coated with green seaweed.
Why isn't it literally called "Tuna Roll" in Chinese, instead of "Iron Fire Roll?" The color of the seaweed is akin to the color of iron. Tuna is red, resembling fire. It's therefore called "Iron Fire Roll" in Chinese.
為何中文字面上不叫「鮪魚壽司捲」, 而是「鐵火卷」呢? 海苔顏色就像鐵的顏色，鮪魚是鮮紅色的，就像火一樣，所以中文叫「鐵火卷」。
What makes the Tuna Roll from this shop unique is its jumbo-sized tuna slice compared to other shops!
The color of Teriyaki Squid is not that much different from Blanched Squid, yet the burning aroma makes it taste sweeter.
Through the chef's cooking skills, the common and fresh food ingredients become delectable gourmet dishes.