Mandarin Wok in Kensington, MD
I did a search on this board, but couldn't find any results, so I wanted to post a brief report on our experience with their Taiwanese cuisine. I found this place through the ads in the local Chinese newspaper and was curious about it, so I asked if my mom could accompany me this Friday afternoon.
It's in the Shoppers Food Warehouse Mall off of Nicholson Lane and has a very limited seating area (can't remember how many capacity). We only tried their Taiwanese cuisine because we were craving some, and Bob's can be hit-or-miss. My mom and I split 4 small eats foods:
Oyster pancake (o-ay jian)
Glutenous rice sausage (nuo mi chang)
Yilan sausage (yilan xiang chang)
Glutenous meat patty (ba wan)
Dietary disclaimer: my mom and I can't have garlic, onions, or scallions, so the following were omitted. It will taste better with those extra seasonings, especially since the rice sausage sauce is garlic-plentiful.
We thought it was as close to the real thing as we can get here. My mom, having not had these foods in a long time (since there's no real good Taiwanese cuisine out in Chicagoland area), said it's pretty close.
The oysters in the pancake were a bit fishy, but the pancake had that wonderful, not too slimey texture to it, with real fresh tasting spinach (or did they use another leafy veggie -- sorry, sort of forgot). The sauce had a hint of spicyness to it that gave the oyster pancake a good kick.
The glutenous rice sausage is close to the Taiwan made, but no boiled peanuts in it. It did have the dried shrimp in it. The casing was good-chewy and the glutenous rice wasn't overcooked, giving the whole thing a good bouncy flavor. I imagine it could be enhanced with the garlic sauce that is supposed to accompany it, but see above disclaimer.
The sausage was awesome! A little bit dry, but it's not supposed to be oily like lapchong. It's a good Taiwanese sausage flavor that I don't know how to describe, other than it would pair really well with rice.
Finally, the Ba-wan. The shell was Q! It was good chewy, good bounce and good texture. Not dry, not too moist. The only downfall is that they make it with ground pork (a big no-no because it's supposed to be with shredded small bit pork). It was filled with mushrooms and bamboo shoots, and again, supposed to be with a garlic sauce, but we had a nice sauce to it too. My mom and I just like chewing on the gluten shell (good chew!).
They offer other certain specialty Taiwanese cuisine items just on the weekend, such as Intestine Vermicelli (Da chang mian xian), that I'm interested to go back to try, as well as typical Chinese-American fare (which I didn't try). But the Taiwanese fare is an everyday thing.
Thanks for reading! I'm not very good at these reviews, so let me know if I've left something out.
Mandarin Wok Restaurant
5268 Nicholson Ln, Kensington, MD