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TK Noodle in Cupertino

Melanie Wong May 13, 2007 05:29 PM

Foiled in our attempt to try the newly relocated Fatima in Cupertino last Sunday, I drove around the corner to the always welcoming TK Noodle in the Target center. Dad and I had an early dinner sharing two items.

The duck curry noodle soup (subbing egg noodles for rice vermicelli) had a deliciously spiced, creamy base stock with more heat than I expected here. The wiry egg noodles were perfectly cooked with a bouncy chewy texture. Falling-off-the-bone braised duck meat on the leg and portion of breast was completely devoid of flavor. But the deliciousness of the soup portion almost made up for it.

A small sized order of taro rice cakes is still pretty big here. Stir-fried in a hot wok to give them a nice singe, they’re mixed with scrambled eggs and sweet preserved mustard green hearts. They don’t have much taro taste to them, but the preparation method and the dipping sauce of sweetened vinegar make this dish.

I also had a salty plum lemon soda, pour your own here with a Canada Dry club soda. We were in and out in just a little over 30 minutes. Not the best food around, but this local chain offers the right combination of speed and value for the occasion. Cash only. Good aircon.

Image of duck curry noodle soup and taro rice cakes -
http://farm1.static.flickr.com/200/49...

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  1. h
    Humbucker RE: Melanie Wong May 13, 2007 07:23 PM

    It looks like you may have gotten turnip cakes, not taro cakes, as the taro cakes are usually more grey/purple-ish.

    That duck curry soup looks ALMOST good enough to make me consider trying TK Noodle again after vowing to never eat there again due to many times when I was forced to eat there as a child. I used to hate TK Noodle with a vengeance, and I'm still not convinced that they actually serve palatable food, but your apparently your descriptions and pictures can make anything seem delicious!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Humbucker
      Melanie Wong RE: Humbucker May 14, 2007 10:02 AM

      I thought the same thing when the plate was served. I asked the server and she confirmed that these were the taro version. They didn't taste like daikon either.

      I know what you mean. I've had a lot of fair to middling meals, but at least you don't pay much here. I was mightily impressed by how the noodles came out and that broth.

      Anywhere else in that neighborhood that you recommend? Still can't believe no one has reported on the new Fatima yet.

      1. re: Melanie Wong
        wchane RE: Melanie Wong May 14, 2007 09:59 PM

        Hah...this post brought a slight smile to my face Melanie. TK was the last thing I expected to find on chowhound yet here it is, I like many have mentioned was semi-raised on this stuff (hot pockets and bagel dogs being the other), I was also good friends with their son who unfortunetly passed away a few weeks ago in a car accident.

        I like many avoided TK, especially the Cupertino location, for the longest time. Out of sheer 'what's the worst that can happen?' mentality I decide to go to TK, and it tasted just as I left it. I'm glad to report if it's one thing TK's good at it's consistancy. The McNuggets I devoured on the way to LA sure didn't taste like the McNuggets I had as a kid, and the orange chicken at Panda Express? A mere shadow.

        This being said, there's no good and no bad to TK, but I'm glad I have it as an option. I know I'd miss it if I were stuck at a TK-less area.

        1. re: wchane
          Melanie Wong RE: wchane May 15, 2007 08:33 AM

          It has been interesting to hear from those of you who dislike it because you were forced to eat there as kids vs. those who love it because they've been eating there since childhood. i checked the website and TK says it's been around for over 20 years . . . yes, it is a local institution.

        2. re: Melanie Wong
          512window RE: Melanie Wong May 30, 2007 11:38 AM

          It probably was taro. I work with a bunch of Samoan ladies who have described different kinds of taro. I think there's taro beyond the purple poi type.

      2. l
        lj2899 RE: Melanie Wong May 13, 2007 07:55 PM

        This place has been one of my favorites since I was about 10 and my family had started going to the one in Lion Plaza off Tully in San Jose. I can always suggest the crispy fried noodle or chow fun to friends who are unfamiliar to this type of noodle house, but have personally been a fan of #1, the combination rice noodle soup (or sometimes the one with won tons, maybe it's #3 on the menu)...sometimes I'll crave the curry duck dish mentioned above, and I agree, the duck meat is just so so, but that soup is soooo yummy. When it's just my husband and I we get the daikon cake, but when family is in town we always get both the taro and daikon. I think over the years the sate (a chili and peanut based soup with thinly sliced beef) has lost it's punch, but just yesterday when we went, my husband ordered the beef stew noodle and asked to add won tons, and I think he and I both agreed that was the best idea he's come up with in a while! The won tons were even better after being soaked in the tomato-ey beef broth. I believe he's found his new favorite!

        Thanks for reminding readers this place still exists...though this isn't a place you go for great service or ambiance, I think it's a great place to get a good meal for under $5 a person.

        And ps-the Cupertino TK is one of the more consistent locations...Daly City for instance can be hit or miss...not sure about the other locations. You can find them all listed at http://www.tknoodle.com/

        7 Replies
        1. re: lj2899
          Melanie Wong RE: lj2899 May 14, 2007 10:00 AM

          This was my first time to the Cupertino location, thanks for mentioning that it's more reliable. TK is the McD's of the noodle world around here, and for me, the food is preferable to a Big Mac but rarely entirely satisfying. I do recall a poster in the tri-valley a while ago lamenting the lack of noodle houses out there and wishing that a TK would open. The base material for the taro or daikon cakes isn't great, but I like the Southeast Asian style of prep with egg and they're fried well.

          1. re: Melanie Wong
            l
            lj2899 RE: Melanie Wong May 14, 2007 09:20 PM

            You know, I am a huge daikon cake fan...and this is the only place I've ever had it at that makes it with the preserved salted vegetables...most all other places make it dim sum style (which is good too, don't get me wrong).And yes, I agree...now that I live up here in Sonoma County, I would do anything for a non-Vietnamese noodle house. *sigh*

            1. re: lj2899
              Melanie Wong RE: lj2899 May 14, 2007 09:35 PM

              Well, TK is Viet-Chinese.

              At least Sonoma County's Vietnamese noodle houses are pretty good. Have you tried Tai Yuet Lau in Rohnert Park? I stopped by there once between meals and it looked promising, but I haven't eaten there.

              1. re: Melanie Wong
                l
                lj2899 RE: Melanie Wong May 29, 2007 03:31 PM

                Going to school in "RoPo", I found Tai Yuet Lau to be the worse Chinese food I experienced...and it was expensive considering it was only a bad attempt at American favorites. The only place I could find anything close to what I had at home or in San Jose was China Wok on East Cotati. They did a wonderful job with their beef and bean curd dish. They were one of the few places I could find tofu cooked with meat...most places use tofu merely as a meat substitution, rather than the wonderful addition it is!

                1. re: lj2899
                  Melanie Wong RE: lj2899 May 29, 2007 08:26 PM

                  Sorry to hear that about Tai Yuet Lau, but I thank you for saving me from a visit.

                  I was inspired to make steamed daikon cake (then pan-fried before serving) at home a couple days ago. Don't know why I don't do that more often.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    l
                    lj2899 RE: Melanie Wong May 30, 2007 08:58 AM

                    Do you make the daikon cake fresh? To me it seems like it would be a laborious process...unlike the ease of making the onion pancake or other yummies. The closest I've come is buying the blocks of it at the grocery store, and then pan frying at home...care to share your recipe? :)

          2. re: lj2899
            jenni RE: lj2899 May 14, 2007 11:49 AM

            We are TK Noodle fans too - basically lived on it in college. I went to SJSU and there is one just north of campus and one just south of campus. We don't eat it very often anymore, but pretty much always enjoy it when we go.

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