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Feb 14, 2008 05:10 AM

CH dinner wrapup: Asia Cafe

Six of us met last night for some tasty eating at Asia Cafe last night.

Our order:

Ma Pa Tofu
Pickled Long Beans
Flower Tofu (sambamaster's off-the-menu order)
Shredded Pork with green chives (they were out of yellow chives)
Water Spinach
Spicy Fish Fillets
Twice Cooked Sausage w/Garlic shoots

Judging by the leftovers I'd say the Flower Tofu and Twice Cooked Sausage were the biggest hits and the water spinach and shredded pork were the least liked.

Personally, I found the Ma Pa Tofu spot on as it almost always is--spicy and porky with a great texture. While I found the Long Beans unique, I still don't appreciate their flavor or texture. The Flower Tofu was terrificly spicy and complex and I wish they had it on the menu. The Shredded Pork was average--sambamaster says the yellow chives version is much better. It was also noted yellow chive season is short lived so ask for the next time you go as you might not get a chance for another year.

The Water Spinach was there as the veggie alternative. While I love Asia Cafe's veggies this dish can be a bit hard to like due to the large amount of fibery stems. The Spicy Fish is the dish I've found to be the most inconsistent at Asia Cafe. Sometimes it is super crisp and spicy and other times it is more soggy and the sauce is more brown than red. Last night I found it to be pretty disappointing and am curious what others thought about last night. Finally, the twice cooked sausage was super tasty though I found it to be pretty tough to chew. I'd probably order the other version ("once cooked"?) the next time.

All in all a successful meal with interesting conversation about food. Special thanks to sambamaster for bringing some beers (he tipped the chef with 3 or 4 beers throughout the night). We look forward to your return visits to Austin.

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  1. Thanks for the report. Wanted to join you guys but had a work event last night. Another time...

    1. Thanks to those who appeared. However, the "facilitator", MPH was a no-show--maybe stopped for speeding....MPH? Where the hell were you? Perhaps this line from Dante is appropriate: "Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself In dark woods, the right road lost." (Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, mi ritrovai per una selva oscura...) You pass out from hunger after fasting all day? Hope you can make the next one...

      The food was good as always, as Carter says, some better than others. The yellow chives with pork is far more sublime than the flowering chive version and is recommended...sad it wasn't offered last night. First time for the fish so I don't have anything to compare it to but the beef which I still prefer. The water spinach was ok, but I like the pea shoots better.... Ma Po tofu was superb as noted above. I like the sausage and don't mind the's rare to find sausage that isn't ground into mincemeat, so the large, chunky stuff gives me great pleasure. And the pickled long beans...the thing about their version is the "pickle" taste isn't pronounced enough in my opinion...should have a bit sharper flavor...when i make it, i use gin in the brine which helps with that...

      All in all, it was lots of fun. Too bad there were not more people there, but it was short notice. Hope y'all do more of these.

      And MPH, you are a very bad boy for not showing your face.

      4 Replies
      1. re: sambamaster

        Sorry that I couldn't make it either. I wanted to try the duck tongue and frogs legs!

        1. re: rudeboy

          Wow, rudeboy, I almost typed the exact same damn thing you just did. We'll have to get together for those treats.

          Sounds like it was a good outing, despite us bailers.

          1. re: Nab

            There was a discussion about ordering the duck tongue but we decided not to. Extra bonus chowhound points to the first person to add pictures of these two dishes.

        2. re: sambamaster

          They had the yellow chives with pork yesterday for lunch and man did we enjoy it. Much better than the green chives dish. Very soft texture and subtle but nice taste. Lo and behold my friend's spicy fish order was way better than the CH dinner. I also tried the steamed sausage but it too had too much "beef jerky" texture for me to enjoy the flavor.

        3. My humblest apologies to sambamaster and all attendees. Just before the dinner, MPH hit a hellish metaphorical speed-bump that derailed all my plans for that evening and the day after. It's still too depressing to think about the fun I missed. My only consolation is that it sounds like everyone ate well and had a good time; thus, at least I was able to help facilitate a good experience for some fellow 'hounds. Sambamaster, I hope our paths cross soon. And when they do, I'll bring the beers.


          P. S. Has anyone tried the pork viscera dishes at Asia Cafe?

          2 Replies
          1. re: MPH

            Below pic #1 is one of the pork dishes (anyone recognize it?) I can't remember which one, but I really liked it.

            Next pic is of my favorite green bean dish. I get an order to go and snack on it all weekend.

            And don't let that MPH kid ya, That rascal was probably dining at Chuy's, his favorite tex-mex of 2007!

            ;-) !!

            1. re: sweet100s

              Those green beans are probably one of my favorite foods in the entire world. I just wish I didn't feel so awful every time I ate at Asia Market. Why does something so good make me feel so bad? I'm jealous of all of you who get to eat there!