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Peace Hotel Restaurant II

Medium / The China Post
Date / 1997.07.25
Writer / Maxie Gamboa

Peace II defines the Chinese dining experience

From the very first day of the doors of Shanghai's Peace Hotel swung open to welcome its first guest, this icon of luxury, decadence scanda - you name it, it's been it - has influenced more than a passing traveler far, far from the banks of the Bund. From travelers to writers to aristocrats, everyone who has visited this Shanghainese empress, or even those who have just heard rumor of the good ol' days, find their imaginations going into overdrive trying to imagine what life must have been like there at the height of its glory days.

Taipei's restaurateurs have also succumbed to the powers of the Peace Hotel, as the ever-expanding Tedesign Entertaining Association opened its second Peace restaurant - Peace II -just two weeks ago.

The art nouveau design on the outside hides the warm, Chinese decor and furnishings on the inside. Intricately carved redwood tables and stools inlaid with mother-of-pearl stand upon the rich oak and willow floor, creating a warm and traditional - yet at the same time modern - atmosphere.

According to the owners, the restaurant serves mainly Shanghainese dishes. However, I felt the menu had been influenced more by Sichuan dishes than oily Shanghainese cuisine.

Cleanly split into beef, pork, chicken, seafood and dessert sections, the menu lists dishes in Chinese and English along with a brief description of each dish.

My companion and I opted for stir-fried beef in orange sauce - tender shreds of beef fried in a rich, sticky orange-based sauce. Though very tasty and slightly sweet, the dish - as with most Shanghainese dishes - was quite oily.

To complement this, we ordered sweet and sour pork-ribs and celery which was a treat.

Figuring two meat dishes were enough, we browsed through the seafood section. Many of the dishes in this section consists either prawn or cod cooked in various styles.

We ordered cod fillet covered with deep-fried ground dried beans. The large cod fillet would ordinarily have been difficult to finish had it not been so tasty.

We also tried empty-heart vegetable stir-fried with fish fried served in thick sauce. Served with plain rice, our choice of dishes proved very tasty and filling.

Most dishes at Peace II are medium to large-sized affairs, so you really have to be careful so your eyes don't become bigger than your belly. Depending on what you order, the price of most dishes runs between NT$180 and NT$500. Our meal, including a round of drinks, cost just over NT$1,000, putting the restaurant in the mid-price bracket.

Peace II also carries a large selection of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails which go down well after a late supper (the restaurant stays open until 11 p.m.).

For afternoon shopper seeking refuge from the fierce summer heat and a place to recuperate before embarking on their evening hunt for bargains. Peace II offers a Chinese tea time between 2-5 p.m. A pot of tea costs NT$70 per pot, and can be ordered with various Chinese snacks from the menu.