Shihlin

"If you cannot afford to visit Taiwan, you can still enjoy its delicacies at the Shihlin stall." While the entrepreneurs of Shihlin want to convince you so, our Taiwanese friends are crying heresy to this heinous remark.

Nevertheless, let's see what this mall-omnipresent franchise, Shihlin Taiwan Street Snacks (士林台湾小吃), has to offer. The outlet that I visited is located at Queensbay Mall, just across the Aeon grocery supermarket.

As the name implies, Shihlin is modeled after the popular Shihlin Night Market (士林夜市), a popular night market in northwest Taipei. Do note that the actual night market offers way more delicacies than our local franchise has to offer, but the latter can only carry a limited menu due to operational difficulties.

One item that stands out in the rather short menu, is the Happy! Ricebox Set (开心便当, RM10.00). The main feature of this meal is a piece of deep-fried crispy chicken, tossed over spicy plum powder and chopped to smaller pieces.
Honestly, nearly every similar shop can serve the crispy chicken equally well. In my humble opinion, the only way to differentiate against competition is through price vs. quantity, which Shihlin does reasonably well.

Another feature of this ricebox meal is the cold egg tofu served with diced century eggs. The ingredients are flavored using Taiwanese-style thick sauce and then garnished with spring onions. Despite the novel appearance, the taste is just normal.
The rice used is the short-grained variant, commonly found in Japanese restaurants.

As for the drinks, which I picked the Chilled Soya Milk (美味豆奶, RM2.50). The brand is V-Soy, available in most grocery stores for around RM1.50.
I also tried the Sweet Plum Potato Fries (甘梅地瓜, RM4.00). It is served in a paper bag even though I am dining in. Anyway, there is nothing really special about its taste.
Overall, Shihlin is the type of go-to Taiwanese finger food, but don't expect something particularly gratifying.

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