Cafe Idol - Taiwanese in the South Bay
I checked out Cafe Idol in the Torrance Crossroads and was pleasantly surprised at their menu of Taiwanese food. There's lots of great Japanese food in the area, but I haven't been that impressed with the Chinese food.
Anyway, Cafe Idol has a good selection of Xiao Chi(llittle eats) that I wouldn't expect to find outside of SGV or other large Chinese enclaves. Stuff like(and I'll apologize now for my funky Taiwanese romanization) wah gueh(steamed rice cake in a bowl), mi shua(thin noodles in a thick brown soup), bah wan(meatball in glutinous wrapper), etc. Most of the items I tried were fairly decent renditions. I'd advise against the o-ah tsen(oyster pancake), though. I honestly haven't had any oyster pancakes in the US that compare to the stuff from Taiwan. On the other hand, I liked the Taiwanese sausage. It's even served with sliced raw garlic.
The more common dishes like pork chop rice weren't bad. Haven't tried their niu rou mian or the other noodle dishes yet, but I plan to next time I'm there.
I don't know that the food is better than other Taiwanese places in SoCal, but it's very authentic and generally pretty good. It will mostly appeal to those who've been to Taiwan who want to try some dishes that aren't so easy to find here in the US. Or perhaps just to people looking for something different from all the Japanese food in the South Bay.
Thanks! I'm always on the lookout for Taiwan "small eats." Was the o-ah tsen at least better than most in LA, or just plain not worth trying? I know it's impossible to get a truly fantastic one in LA, but I'd settle for pretty good. I think Ah-Chung in Focus Plaza is pretty poor, as is YiMei the breakfast place, but 3.2 Class in the Nogales 99 Plaza is okay. Any opinion on that front?