Taiwanese Dim Sum At Taiwan Cafe
I had lots of fun at the Taiwan Cafe today, because,
A) I was with a bunch of friends who would try anything! and
B) We let BenC order off the DimSum menu, only available Sat and Sun, til 2.....
Nothing like lots of starch and fat, bound tobether with some tangy protein.(VBG!!!)...Clearly, the overindulgence is still showing...
In addition to the front page dim sum items, Ben ordered typical Taiwanese brunch dishes, some of which were off the regular menu...
My favorite, spicy and salty soymilk....The soymilk is full of dried shrimp, sesame oil, and chili paste, as well as having the crullers (forget the Cantonese...) sliced into it....LOVE IT!!!!! So rich and salty and intense; I had it the first time at Captain King in Queens, fell in love there...Dare I say it? I liked this version even more; less oil, more spice...Any other places where I can get this during the week?
Oyster Pancake, made with mung bean starch(?), as well as egg...With whole raw oysters folded into the batter, when it just starts to crisp, the oysters are done to a perfectly juicy turn...Man, when Taiwan Cafe gets oyster pancake right, we all sing hosannas...(NB, BenC says the word on the grapevine is that different chefs cause the quality to fluctuate here..I thought this oyster pancake was WAY better than the last time I was there, so you'll have to try it a few times..:) )
I had stink-y to-fu, I had stink-y to-fu, and I loved it! BenC says it was not very good, because it was too fried...Maybe that was why I liked it, because the extreme fermentation was cooked out of it..Hmmm...We could not smell it from across the room..True afficianadoes will, of course, question this. The cubes of fermented, fried, tofu were served with chili-pepper paste and pickled cabbage...I was a virgin, so I will have to do it again....
There was a sauteed liver dish with lots of scallions that got scarfed up quickly...
There was a ground chicken and spices wrapped in tofu-sheets with a dipping sauce that went quickly....
Taiwanese Stir-fried Noodles with Eel. Surprised even Ben!! Lovely long egg-noodles, big strips of little, yellow eel and scallion...We were SO happy.
Hearty Soup with Calamari Fish Drops...Everyone liked this but me...Clear broth with strips of ginger, but I didn't like the thickener in the broth...I also thought there was a pork element in the squid balls...(Not that that's a BAD thing...)
The biggest, doughiest (in a GOOD way) freakin' turnovers filled with daikon radish and dried shrimp...Ben thought they needed more white pepper..They could have used a dipping sauce..I'm lucky I didn't go into shock from all the lard that must have been in the pastry...Oh yeah, don't ask, don't tell...It COULDN'T have been lard, could it????
Some weird croquettes that Limster assured me were the turnip cakes cooked in scrambled egg that I was searching for. (Quan's Kitchen used to make them...) Wrong! But they were turnip paste with salted egg-yolk inside, fried...Hee, hee, hee, were they good! Clearly, I am being made delirious from excess fat intake, AND I DON'T CARE!!!!!!!! Go, eat, have fun, spend $10 a person!!!
BTW, there were other pastry-like pancake things that involved ground pork and some sweet element, but i didn't eat them, so i don't care (But I'm sure that some hound with better manners than I will chime in and describe them in luscious detail!)
re: croquettes -- miscommunication on my part -- I thought they were going to be a sweet taro paste with salted egg yolk, turned out it was such, except that they came in a croquette form.
I mistook that for a version that is served as a paste, not fried, with gingko nuts.
I was surprised by the eel noodles as well. It was completely different from the fishy version I had the last time. There was mention that the place can be very inconsistent -- we'll need to find out when the good chef is on.
Some comments ;-)
I was really harsh on TC because that is the food I grew up and eating for more than 15+ years... A lot of subtle differences prob won't matter to those who was not "bred" on these food.
1. There are gingers in the calamari ball soup.
2. There are pickeled daikon (very important) in the soy-milk
3. That raddish pastry needs a healthy dose of white pepper, salt, and LARD! heehee
Otherwise, today's food was not too bad =)
It`s postings like this that make me miss Boston. Or anywhere with Taiwanese food for that matter. If anyone is ever bored, try to research where I can eat dim sum (or anything like it) in Santiago de Chile. I wish you luck. IN the meantime, I`ll keep searching and reading postings from the U.S.
Don`t worry, I`ve been busy....there are a couple posts of mine on the Int`l board, take another look.....the food in Chile is great, Santiago is chowhound heaven, just not for Chinese food. But in the meantime I`ll keep eating empanadas, sopaipillas and mariscos!