EXCLUSIVE: We Found The Coziest Western Cuisine At Taipei’s Biteology 咬學問

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Traveling influences the way chef George Chen cooks.

Walking into Biteology 咬學問, there’s a line of prêt-à-manger dishes. Lush red carpet, the aroma of braised ribs sings along the beats of sizzling hot pans. Inside its open kitchen is Chef George Chen, he’s in his zone, fearlessly doing exactly what he wants.

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His philosophy is simple. George wants his guests to enjoy their meals as if they’re at home. It’s no surprise that Biteology does just that. Listen to the murmurs of his guests, they speak English fluently. They’ve been traveling. They want a cozy spot to indulge in really good Westernized comfort food. With refinement, of course. They’re the sophisticated business bunch.

Without any formal training, George started cooking at a restaurant in Taipei’s Tianmu district. Later in England while living abroad, he further experimented with home cooking and innovating from recipes by transforming them into his own. He officially started in the food business by selling Westernized lunch boxes. When the office space became vacant, Biteology was born in 2014.

Biteology’s original concept was a deli, similar to those in Europe. Walk in, everything is ready. Point and order dishes made with the highest quality. But the Taiwanese clientele wasn’t ready for a higher-priced deli, when they’re still used to spending less for more. So Biteology morphed into the intimate hidden gem it is today.

Earlier this year in April, he visited the Netherlands for a marathon which was simply an excuse to travel. Even though he had been there before, the chef came away with profound reflection:

Compared to most Taiwanese chefs, I’ve traveled a lot more which influences the way I cook. Many chefs in Taiwan don’t travel, and it’s a shame because experiences abroad can open your eyes.

His Westernized menu changes once every two months. It’s mainly European influenced, sometimes even Moroccan. He takes fresh produce locally grown in Taiwan and combine them with international quality goods, including meats flown in from New Zealand. Don’t miss: Beer Braised Ribs with Seasonal Vegetables and Pickled Pear, Chicken Roasted with Marsala and Grapes, Grilled Iberico Pork Shoulder with Mango Salsa…and so much more.

Back in 1980’s, Western cuisine barely existed in Taipei never mind in the rest of the country. Japanese cuisine, for example, has existed for a longer period of time and in many ways, it’s a saturated market. Or rather, an expected industry with the same players. Western cuisine, however, has refined over the years mainly due to Taiwanese themselves who have vastly traveled around the world. The demand for Western cuisine in Taiwan has risen over the years, thus a restaurant such as Biteology caters to an experienced clientele looking to explore.

George explains,

For Taiwanese, Western cuisine was very linear. People wanted spaghetti or steak. If a Western restaurant didn’t have those, they would walk away. But the scene has changed in Taipei in recently years. There’s a multitude of desires wanting to experiment with different types of Western dishes.

For him, this restaurant isn’t about making the most profit or creating a massive franchise. The humble chef  thinks of this place similar to any other ambition in life, it’s about working hard. For a man who never dreamt of being a chef as a child, today he is living happily and deliciously. Now, the dream of owning a deli still lives on. We’ll be there when that day comes. Soon, we presume.

TASTE FOR YOURSELF!

Biteology 咬學問

No. 9, Alley 8, Lane 172, Section 2, Dunhua S Rd, Da’an District, Taipei City, Taiwan 106 (map, website)

Photos: Facebook/Biteology

Where’s your favorite restaurant in Taipei? Share with us in the comments.

Wendy Hung

CEO, FOUNDER, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and Russia because they were all so different! St. Bart's was pretty amazing too (wink)!

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