Yuan Yuan @ The Grand Hotel [圓苑 @ 圓山飯店] (Taipei, Taiwan)

One of our tour destinations had to be The Grand Hotel, which is built in a traditional Chinese pagoda-like style.  The hotel was commissioned by the wife of President Chiang Kai Shek, and the interiors are as grand as the exteriors, with red and gold as the theme.  The ceilings are decked in Chinese "paper" lanterns and statuettes with five-clawed golden dragons (imperial ones!).  Since it's December, there was also a Christmas tree in the center of the broad, carpeted walkway.

This "hotel" also had, and still has, a club where members have access to an Olympic size swimming pool, tennis courts, and even a movie theatre that used to play American movies in the 1970's!  Nowadays, things have obviously changed a bit, but the traditional Chinese surroundings are maintained.  Yuan Yuan is just one of the few Chinese restaurants that The Grand Hotel houses, serving a la carte dishes which include dim sum (up to 2pm), noodle dishes, and random snacks of all sorts.

We ordered the sticky rice cakes with pork, which is one of my favorite dishes of all time, but it was a bit of a disappointment.  It wasn't bad, but it just didn't stand out in any way.  Neither did the pan fried noodles, but it may be that I'm also not used to the slightly fried and hard noodles that they sometimes do in Cantonese cuisine.  The spring rolls, which are nothing like Vietnamese spring rolls or the ones you find ordinarily, was surprisingly tasty!  It was a bit salty, but it was pretty delicious and wasn't over-fried!  The daikon pastry was a bit salty, and in my opinion, didn't have enough daikon and had too much other filling in it, but the pastry part was nevertheless good.  I don't know how I really feel about this place, as the waiter gave me the impression that he was just recommending whatever for the sake of recommending dishes, but I liked the simple 'Chinese attic' appearance, a little like how street vendors look, except cleaner.  (Although, my mom hated it)
Daikon Pastry
Spring Rolls
Sticky Rice Cake with Pork and Veggies
Pan Fried Noodles
Five-clawed Dragons on the ceiling!
Price: 200 NT$pp or depending how much you eat | $$
Rating: 3/5

Yuan Yuan [圓苑] Website
#: (02) 2886-1818

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