A-Gei (阿給) restaurant, Danshui

Danshui is a well known tourist attraction north of Taipei.  It sits along the Tamsui river and is a nice, relaxing place to have a small getaway.  Like every touristy spot in Taiwan, there is an “absolute, must try restaurant” that no trip is complete without.  I’ve grown used to these, and most of the time it’s just some dumpling soup, or noodle dish that you could probably get in any restaurant, but it’s supposed to be THE BEST at said location.

With this in mind, I went to A-Gei restaurant, which serves a dish (called A-Gei) that originated in Danshui.  It’s supremely famous – supposedly the first, original restaurant that started selling this type of food.

I’d never heard of it, and of course, wanted to try it.

It was easy to spot the restaurant because, like any popular store in Taiwan, there were hordes of people milling around it.  Taking a look inside:

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It was very crowded – no sitting room.  So we were ushered up the stairs to the second floor which was also packed:

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All these people increased my interest in trying this dish.  We waited for about 10 mins then a spot was cleared for us.  Sitting shoulder to shoulder with strangers, we ordered 4 portions of A-Gei.

A-Gei is basically a large piece of tofu hollowed out and filled with glass noodles – the clear ones made from some sort of starch (potatoes etc).  Then it’s sealed with something called surimi, which is a cooked fish paste that hardens to a sort of fish cake thing when ready.  The dish is topped off with some kind of sauce.  In our case it was a pinkish-red sauce that tasted a bit sweet.  Here’s a look:

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A-Gei contained nothing new in it, but the assembly was something I’d never had before.  The texture of the tofu skin was great, glass noodles always good and the surimi was flavourful.  I enjoyed it, although the sauce was too much.  Granted, it doesn’t look incredibly appetizing, but I’ve come to learn that some foods may look like crap, but they taste great.

Because the restarant is so busy, they use a food elevator to transport orders upstairs.  The dirty dishes go down and the fresh food comes up, thus eliminating the need for the servers to battle hungry customers up and down the stairs:

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Like a lot of cheaper restaurants in Taiwan, customers definitely do NOT come here for the ambiance.  The place was pretty loud, crowded and dirty.  This is a place to come eat the food quickly and head back out to the fresh air.  It speaks volumes about the food that customers flock here despite the crap dinig room conditions.

A-Gei is located on the walkway that runs along the bank of the river.  You can’t miss it.  It’s pretty much opposite this structure:

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and the front sign of the store looks like this:

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So the next time you head over to Danshui, give it a shot.  It’s super cheap, and a nice snack to fuel your walk through Danshui.

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