Gu Xiang – Still Serving Good Home Style Taiwanese Food
**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2011/05/gu-xiang-%E2%80%93-still-serving-good-home-style-taiwanese-food/
Gu Xiang is one of my favorite Taiwanese restaurants in Flushing, I’ve written about them twice on chowhound. However, I wanted to do a more full review with pictures as I think they’re worth talking about.
When most people think about Taiwanese food they usually think about street food and while street food is certainly a part of the cuisine, there is a large part of the cuisine that is just as good and maybe better inside the owner’s home. In fact the best meal I’ve ever had in Taiwan was in a tiny restaurant that was located in their home. Gu Xiang gives you a small glimpse into that type of Taiwanese cuisine as the food tastes more home style. You come here for the regular dishes not their street dishes.
The restaurant is pretty small. The front part sells bian dang food (lunch box) to go and another part of the restaurant sectioned off to the left that sells bao zi (steamed buns) and also has some extra seating.
The service is brisk, but the people are pretty nice. I’m not really sure how well they speak English, but menu is written in English, so you can always point. Also, they also have a ridiculously good deal where you get 1 soup + 2 dishes for $15, it’s a ton of food and can easily feed 3 people.
Here’s what we got:
- Clam Soup (Ge Li Tang): This is a light clam soup flavored with ginger, white pepper and scallions. It’s very simple with the flavors of the ingredients all standing for themselves. I like this soup as it’s refreshing and is very much the type of thing you could eat at home all the time. 7.75/10
- Sliced Lung By The Married Couple (Fu Qi Fei Pian): This Sichuan dish sounds really weird in English, but it’s delicious. It’s a cold dish consisting of sliced beef, tripe, tendon and other offal parts in a ma la sauce (spicy and numbing). The actual pieces of meat were pretty decent, but the sauce was too weak. It didn’t have enough numbing (ma) or spiciness (la). You can get better versions at any of the decent Sichuan restaurants in NY. 6.75/10
- Oyster Omelette (O Ah Jian): Although I don’t generally order street dishes at Gu Xiang, a friend wanted this so we ordered it. O ah jian is a dish that is pretty hit or miss even in Taiwan. The version here was better than other versions I’ve had in NY as it wasn’t too gooey and was a bit crispy, the oysters tasted fine and the sauce was pretty decent. Although that’s not saying much as the version I’ve had at other places is just bad. End of the day the version it doesn’t hold a candle to a good version in Taiwan, but this is better than other versions you find in NY, which are generally pretty bad. 6.5/10
- Sauteed Water Spinach (Kong Xin Cai): Kong xin cai is a great vegetable that is like a better version of regular spinach. We asked for it prepared sautéed with oil, garlic and salt. The vegetable tasted fresh and was not overcooked, this was an excellent version. 8/10
- Beef with Spicy Green Peppers (La Jiao Niu Rou): This is my favorite dish here, the dish is sliced beef stir fried with spicy green peppers. It has this great flavor you get from cooking it correctly in a wok, I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s great. The beef is tender and the spicy green peppers give it such a good flavor. This is the exact type of thing you eat at home and they really prepare this dish exceptionally. 8.5/10
- Spicy Squid: This was slices of squid, onions, basil, carrots, mushrooms and red peppers stir fried in a light brown sauce that was slightly sweet and spicy topped with minced cilantro. This almost tasted Thai, but not as spicy as a Thai dish would be. This dish was pretty self explanatory, but I thought everything went well together and the whole table liked this dish. 7.75/10
- Three Cup Chicken (San Bei Ji): This is a very typical Taiwanese dish consisting of chicken on the bone cooked in a sauce made of soy sauce, rice wine and sesame oil (hence the three cups). It also has sugar, basil and ginger in it. This was the first time I’ve ordered it at Gu Xiang, but I’m sorry I didn’t before. This is hands down the best version I’ve had in NY. This is pretty similar to what you get in Asia. The chicken is tender and the sweet and saltiness of the sauce combined with the basil is so good. I highly recommend this dish. 8.5/10
- Scrambled Eggs with Shrimp (Xia Ren Chao Dan): This is another home style dish consisting of scrambled eggs, shrimp and scallions. It tastes exactly like what it sounds like although it’s been cooked in a wok, so it’s got a bit of that wok flavor. This was quite good, the egg was perfectly, the shrimp tasted fresh and the scallions added a nice flavor to the dish. 8/10
- Sauteed Corn, Peas and Tomato: I like these types of dishes although a lot of people at the table complained they could cook this at home in two seconds. That said it tasted good, it’s simply corn, peas and tomato sautéed with oil and salt. I liked this, but I think it might be a little too simple for some people. 7/10
- Sha Cha Beef with Kong Xin Cai (Sha Cha Niu Rou Kong Xin Cai): Sha cha is a sauce that is made of soybean oil, garlic, shallots, chillis, dried fish and dried shrimp. My friend asked for this as it’s not on the menu, it was sliced beef sautéed in a brown sauce that uses sha cha sauce put over kong xin cai. I thought it was pretty good although could’ve used a little more salt. 7.5/10
- Tea Smoked Duck: To caveat this, I don’t like tea smoked duck as a dish. One of my friends ordered it and I ate some because it was there. The duck was nice and tender, the skin was nicely crispy as well, but the smoky flavor of the tea leaves and camphor aren’t my favorite flavor although I will eat it if it’s in front of me. The mantou were a little dried out, but this was a decent version of the dish. 6.75/10
Overall, I really like Gu Xiang for their more home style Taiwanese food and I’d highly recommend trying it out. When you go, I’d avoid their street food as most of it is just okay. Stick to a lot of their stir fries and in particular I recommend getting the beef with spicy green peppers and the three cup chicken.
135-40 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354
> In fact the best meal I’ve ever had in Taiwan was in a tiny restaurant that was located in their home.
Can you please share the name and/or the location/phone of that TW family restaurant you mentioned? Going there soon, I know I will be putting on 10 pounds or more :-) I know it's off-topic, sorry.
i wish i knew, this was circa 2002-2003 and it was close to a friend's family's place and we happened to stumble upon it, literally 3 plastic tables in the bottom floor of some duplex in an alley, can't remember if the family had recommended it to us. far before my blogging days, so i didn't keep track of stuff back then....wish i could tell u where it was, was basically like walking into some family's kitchen and getting a full blown home cooked meal, ridiculously good
if you check my blog, click on taipei and you'll find some recs, but i wasn't there that long last time. i will highly recommend the taiwanese breakfast place on my blog (by a long shot the best taiwanese breakfast ive had even my gf who doesn't like that stuff liked it) and the hu jiao bao at rao he night market was awesome
here's a blog i found helpful last time (partly b/c it's in english, i can't read enough chinese to read a full blown blog and partly b/c it's got alot of recs): http://hungryintaipei.blogspot.com/