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Apr 2, 2007 02:49 PM


Any rec's for Taiwanese in or around Montreal? I'm craving a bowl of niu ro mien and some xia long bao.....

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  1. I'd love to know too. Maybe you can try the Maisonneuve/Fort strip where there are is a bubble tea place, a Taiwanese comic bookstore and (I think) some other restos. I hope someone can point you to a more precise direction.

    1. Haven't been to either, but there's a popular Taiwanese food stall on the third story food court at the Faubourg Ste-Catherine. And vegetarian Yuan (400 Sherbrooke East, corner St-Denis) is said to be Taiwanese.

      2 Replies
      1. re: carswell

        I work right near Yuan, and I have been meaning to check out their lunchtime vegetarian buffet. I will try to check it out soon, and I will let you know how it goes.

        1. re: Keramel

          I live near Yuan and I'm a vegetarian, so it was one of the first restaurants I tried when I moved here. I went there with the Vegetarian Meetup group for a Saturday lunch buffet. Although most of the folks at the meetup raved about it, and many said it was their favorite vegetarian restaurant in Montreal, I thought the food was generally pretty awful. I don't know that I've ever had Taiwanese food before but I've had lots of Chinese food and this place ranks pretty low. Despite my negative experience, I decided to give the buffet a second try today for lunch again, because I was starving, the place was pretty packed, and quite a few items on the buffet looked really good. Unforunately, however, my experience was almost the same as the last time 6 months ago.

          They started me off with a bowl of won ton soup, which I enjoyed both this time and last time. The broth was clearly made with fresh celery, and was quite delicious--an unexpected surprise since vegetable broths are often tasteless or overpowered by MSG. They also have hot and sour soup which isn't bad tasting, but is too cornstarch-y for my tastes. It has a lot of nice mushrooms, but some of them are very tough.

          Most of the hot dishes are made with various kinds of fake meats. Now, I don't have anything particular against fake meats (I really love the mock duck at Chu Chai for instance), but I found most of their fake meat dishes to taste odd and have strange textures. The sauces were generally no better: they were too oily, too sweet, neither distinctive nor tasty. The vegetables were almost uniformly overcooked and tasteless. (Of course, overcooked vegetables are to be expected in a buffet situation and they might be more crisp when ordering a la carte.) I think I tasted 8 hot dishes today, but with one exception I only took one bite of each. I did go back for a bit of yuba from one of the dishes (I'm a sucker for yuba).

          In addition to the fake meat dishes there was vegetable fried rice and some fried noodle dish. Both were greasy but flavorless. They also offered egg rolls, which had a nice light, relatively non-greasy wrapper, but unfortunately the filling was (again) totally tasteless.

          Yuan also has a cold section of the buffet which includes cold vegetables salads, veggie maki rolls, fruit and desserts. Last time they had a fresh sesame asparagus salad that I quite enjoyed. Today there was a zucchini salad which was fine but not exciting, a too-old tomato and cucumber salad, and a seaweed salad which I didn't try. I liked their maki rolls quite a bit both this time and last time, as well as their rice balls covered in yuba (tofu skin). They even had pickled ginger and wasabi. For a place that doesn't specialize in sushi I thought their maki rolls were surprisingly good.

          The baked desserts are uninteresting, but I enjoyed the fresh pineapple and especially liked the very thinly shaved sliced of green mango that they served today. I'm not sure whether or not it was supposed to be unripe, and it didn't taste anything like mango, but it had a lovely balance of sweet and sour that helped to counteract all the grease and salt I had just ingested.

          The only dish I've ordered a la carte is a bowl of peanut noodles, which were fine. I wouldn't recommend them but I might order them again in a pinch.

          The front of the restaurant where the buffet is located is rather boxy and although it's decorated with all kinds of Chinese tchockes it doesn't have a lot of ambience. However, when I went to the restroom today I discovered that there's a very large section in the back of the restaurant with booths, low tables and cushions, almost Japanese in style. There was nobody there, and it didn't seem like you were even allowed to sit there, but it seemed quite pleasant and more atmospheric than the relatively boxy front. Perhaps it is used for private parties?

          I'll probably head back to Yuan just because it's so convenient, but I won't try the buffet again. I'll get a bowl of soup and some maki rolls, or perhaps try something off the a la carte menu. If anyone can recommend any particular dishes that would be helpful.

      2. Student-types I know usually go to the Faubourg place, if only for its proximity to schools like Concordia; as for the bubble places and comic store tarteaucitron refers to, they're closer to St.Marc: one bubble place (Tapioca The) next to BattleNet on de Maisonneuve, the comic store directly underneath said-bubble tea shop, then a new bubble place right across the street (Magic Idea or MI, offshoot of sister shop in Chinatown; warning, bring ear plugs....) The food is mostly snack-y and non-descript; these are mostly places to hang out.

        1. There is a nice restaurant on St-Marc and de Maisonneuve called le Roi Wonton. They serve a variety of Taiwanese food. Their noodles are made in house, very fresh. There may be another one on Mackay, called Cactus that has a few Taiwanese items.

          2 Replies
          1. re: reactionman

            Avoid Cactus at all costs. Their bubble tea might be delicious, but their food is bad, bad, bad. I've rarely eaten anything as disappointing as the meal I had at Cactus, last year. It was the most generic, badly prepared chinese food I've had outside of an all-you-can-eat buffet.

            The place in Faubourg is OK. It's really nothing fancy, but it's tasty.

            I ate at Tapioca Thé many years ago and was not overwhelmed. It was alright.

            What about the bar in Chinatown on La Gauchetière west of Saint-Urbain? They advertise Taiwanese food, but I've never tried it. Anyone know what I'm talking about?

            1. re: SnackHappy

              I have no useful info, but..

              It looks like all bubble tea places in North America (Canada, US etc.) serve only simple, semi-decent and usually overpriced food. This is probably because they know the place is typically frequently by those who just want to hang out, and they don't really care too much about the quality of the food.

          2. The only decent Taiwanese places I've encountered in Montreal are both near Concordia: Wonton King on St. Marc near de Maisonneuve (on the ground floor of a big apartment tower) and Tea Stop in the Faubourg.