Jacko's Chops (Taiwanese pork chop shop) Milpitas
(Typo corrected in thread title by mods)
This place has no relation to the Wacko prefix Michael of Neverland Ranch and Hamburg baby dangler fame (plus other scandals). A sign from outside in Chinese claims to bill itself as the Taiwanese king of pork chops, a boastful yet curious statement that finally lead me to give this place a try today.
The owners were nowhere to be found and the kitchen staff stayed well behind the scenes. There was one server/cashier person and he did the best he could, though he didn't speak any Chinese.
The menu is 2 pages, has some Taiwanese small eats (meatball, gong wan, fishball in soup) and their signature offerings, pork chop, fried chicken chops over your choice of rice, noodle soup, or "dry" noodle (in quotes because it is not fully dry but the style).
I ordered the signature pork chops to see if they are worthy of the name king. My order came out within 10 minutes, probably less. The bowl of noodles came in a square shaped bowl, rather elegant looking. The pork chops were two modestly sized pieces, uncut and whole with bone, and not too thick. Taste wise I would say this place is above average compared to other restaurants trying to do the same kind of dish, but in Southern Calfornia where there's a huge Taiwanese expat population and thus competition, this restaurant might not garner much interest. It is not as good as A&Js in Cupertino who make the best fried pork chops (Taiwanese style), though not as delicate as the bento version in Won's Stew House (also very good). Though the marination is not bad. My 2nd piece felt a little bit dry, but the first piece was done nicely.
The noodles... very interestingly done. They call it dry noodle, but it has been blanched in a very flavorful broth, with some of the broth at the bottom of the bowl. Served with thinly sliced julienned cucumbers and a dash of minced pork. The noodles were very ramen-esque kind of noodles, cooked just right, and served almost hot. Ay Chung Noodle in the same complex towards the other sidemakes a very tasty rendition of this dish too, though with more generous toppings.
They have beef noodle soup too, so I might try that out next time. They have a picture of it on the menu, and strangely it looks almost like the Wei Chuan brand of frozen beef noodle soup that you can get at 99 Ranch or Marina Supermarkets (which is also excellent as a late night home snack, but high in MSG, sodium, and quite authentic), at a measly $2.50 a box (microwaveable too).
This place was not busy at all today as well as other times I've passed by previously. This place could have some potential, but as it is on the other side of the mall, overshadowed by the newer E-noodle and Ay Chung which is excellent in its own right, they'll
have to do a lot more to get folks excited about this place.
P. and I went here for lunch on Wed 10/25/06 and was surprised to see the set up like a fast food place. There is a soda fountain near the counter, and you order at the counter.
It's a Cash Only place.
The menu is pretty big for this small place. These are what we ordered:
1. stewed tofu $3.50-tofu served w/ special sauce. I couldn't tell what kind of sauce it was, just a sweet brown sauce.
8. garlic cucumbers-$2.25-I liked this dish, lots of cucumbers cut up and sprinkled w/ raw garlic, hard to screw this up.
Chops & noodles
16. calamari chop-deep fried calamari steak seasoned w/ Jacko's seasoning. $7.99. My friend got this an enjoyed it, he also got a soup noodle that's a big bowl separate from the fried calamari steak.
#17. Taiwanese stewed pork-pork stewed in a rich broth served over rice. $3.25 This was not very good. Too much rice, not enough meat. And the meat is just little cubes if that sprinkled over the rice. Had to eat lots of the garlic cucumbers and the stewed tofu to make me full.
Total $20.02 Cash Only. Maybe the other dishes are good, hard to say. We were the only table from 11am-12 noon.
#17 sounds like the minced stewed pork (belly?) over rice that usually comes with diced yellow pickles or preserved veg. Some places might serve a marinated hard boiled egg in soy sauce (lu dahn) with this at some Bay Area restaurants. This dish is also known as lou rou fan (marinated pork rice).
But bottom line is that this is meant to be a small portion, hence xiao che, or small eats. Typical comfort/street food snack. The real deal would have maybe a bit of diced mushroom in it (depending on the region of Taiwan), but yes very heavy garlic flavor and soy.
Some pics of the real deal:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/lion1980... (this one's a whole cut of pork belly instead of mincing it, would make the kurobota ramen fanatics jealous!)
and my personal favorite: http://www.flickr.com/photos/danburgm...
at Keelung's Miaokou's night market (over 200 food stalls).
PS Flickr kicks arse.