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Asia Gourmet in Concord: Very Good Taiwanese

On my way to see a friend at Emerson Hospital, stopped here for lunch. Very pretty little room, unexpected from the outside (it's on Elm Street just before Route 2 in what looks like a desolate tiny strip mall). Even better, the food was excellent. We always steer clear of lunch menus, so we tried several Taiwanese dim sum items: the best salt and crisp chicken I've had, very good noodles with beef and watercress, and very good sesame chive and egg fried cake. The vegetarian hot and sour soup was subtle, with a lovely balanced flavor. I took the menu with me and we can't wait to go back to try some more Taiwanese specials. Very fine addition to the Concord area.

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  1. Its actually called Asian Gourmet and its a free standing building not a strip mall. We go there sometimes. Been there for several years. We prefer it for takeout as the Hibachi stuff can make the room rather smokey we have found. Dishes are hit or miss, some tend to be VERY greasy especially any of the spicy ones. The hot and sour is decent, just had it a few weeks ago.

    Here is the menu http://www.asiangourmetma.com/uploads...

    Which was the fried chicken you got? Was it the 3 cup chicken? Would like to try that

    18 Replies
    1. re: hargau

      Actually the original Jo Jo Taipei chef and family took over some months ago.

      1. re: tatsu

        we had the bone-in salt and pepper fried chicken (on the dim sum menu). We didn't find any of items we ordered greasy and the chicken was crisp, spicy, and not at all greasy. The vegetarian hot and sour soup was not spoiled by excessive thickener, had very good balance, and was far more subtle than this soup has become at most places (Jo Jo Taipei still does it well and tatsu's point about the new owner being the former chef at Jo Jo's makes perfect sense, as our reaction was similar to the pleasure we felt when we first discovered Jo Jo's).

        1. re: teezeetoo

          interesting. I didnt realize there was a new owner. About 1-1.5 years ago they revamped the place and went to the current menu. Before that it was all very Americanized. I have only been once in the last few months so will have to try it a few more times.

          1. re: hargau

            Right, that menu was pretty specialized, lots of kidneys and green mustard, etc. The menu itself was pretty good but the execution was hit and miss. There was some discussion about it here.

            The current menu can't be more than a few months old. It is completely different. It's basically a Jo Jo Taipei or Formosa Taipei menu.

            1. re: tatsu

              I dunno.. I just got a menu from them about 3 weeks ago and its exactly the same as the one i have had for over a year and it matches the website.

              1. re: hargau

                This is the old thread. It points to a menu dated Sept 2010. I swear it is not the current menu.

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/802742

                Also the old website looked like this:
                http://web.archive.org/web/2010091809...

                Finally I remember the old menu being a green letter sized tri-fold. The new owners changed the signs outside too. They changed the chinese name but not the english name.

                It's different, trust me!

                    1. re: hargau

                      Sorry the link I posted is bad. However, I found a quick view cache and saved it to my docs.

                      https://docs.google.com/open?id=1ZlVi...

                      1. re: tatsu

                        Ok i checked my menu drawer in the kitchen and i have both menus here. You are correct they are different. What threw me was the new one has alot of the unique things the old one had that i dont see at many places. The old menu was very confusing with multiple sections and alot more specialty items as you mentioned

                        1. re: hargau

                          The "old" menu i was thinking of was even older. Back when it was all Americanized food. May have had a different name then,cant recall.

                          1. re: hargau

                            This is like the last episode of star trek TNG where all 3 Enteprises meet at the same place and blow up, ha ha. Except we are looking for menus not time space distortions, lol.

                            But at least we get good chinese food, good ending!

                            1. re: tatsu

                              i look forward to going to try it again. When we had it a few weeks ago for takeout we didnt get too many things. Hot&sour soup, house special rice cakes and dumplings in chili oil. All of it was quite good. Especially the rice cakes.

                        2. re: tatsu

                          Is the file attached from cache the current menu? I just realized that we are in the area tomorrow and it might be a nice takeout lunch.

                          Thanks so much!

                            1. re: hargau

                              Thanks hargau. I changed permissions so the old menu is not out there. Makonna, enjoy your lunch! You might stay in for some Taiwanese brunch style items, always a treat.

                1. re: tatsu

                  In another thread you say its the Formasa Taipei chef??
                  I used to like that place in Nashua and was bummed they closed. Hoping its them.. Have not been to the lexington one though.

                  1. re: hargau

                    Yep he worked at both places. To me, Jo Jo Taipei and Formosa Taipei still kept up the quality. I visit them all really.

              2. Got some take our of the juicy pork buns and the peking meat sauce noodles and both were very tasty. Had big dinner plans, so didn't explore more of the menu. I did notice that at lunch time (12:30ish), most of the partons were Chinese. Can't wait to go back and try more.

                4 Replies
                1. re: makonna

                  we're hoping to go soon for the duck. the juicy pork buns- bao?steamed or baked?or are these the soup dumplings? thnx!

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    On their menu anyway, "Steamed Mini Juicy Pork Buns" (item TT29) are written as 小龍湯包 or "little dragon soup buns", that is, the comon name for Shanghainese soup dumplings. These are very common in modern Taiwan. In fact, several of my Shanghainese friends prefer Jo Jo Taipei and Taiwan Cafe's renditions to that at Shaghai Gate.

                    1. re: lipoff

                      We went today and we had the tt29 and they are in fact the soup dumplings. Quite good.
                      We also had the salt/pepper fried chicken app, chive/pork dumplings (too similar to the soup but without the soup), the daikon radish cakes (excellent), hot& sour soups (excellent) and the house special rice cakes. Everything was really good. Saw many dishes on other tables that looked excellent too.

                      1. re: hargau

                        i'm so glad you liked it. I was excited to find such a good little place in a rather difficult area. and i'm still a big fan of Jo Jo's, even after the various changes, so I'm happy that tatsu pointed out the relationship. we're looking forward to going back and trying out other things on the menu. we liked the room and the staff too.

                2. We ate here for the first time tonight and it is a wonderful addition to the area. We ordered 7 dishes from the dimsum portion of the menu. Salt and pepper chicken - I couldn't stay away from this one even after I was full. Crunchy flavorful and juicy meat. Soup dumplings were good and new to my family. Potstickers were as expected but with a tasty spicy dipping sauce instead of the usual soy. The beef wrap in scallion pancake kind of reminded me of Mulans but the pancake was thicker. Not too greasy and one I went back to for seconds. The daikon cake was nicely brown and my husband proclaimed it the best he'd had - he's not usually a big fan of those. The noodles with sha cha beef and watercress were good but not particularly memorable. Steamed pork buns were probably my least favorite - more like a meatball inside and I prefer the BBQ pork ones that have minced up stuff inside. But they were eaten! Overall not a stinker in the bunch and Asian gourmet will go into the regular rotation. Thanks for the recs!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: MrsCheese

                    We went today as well.
                    Braised pork over rice. This was disappointing.. basically a bowl of white rice with some small bits of pork fat and some fatty drippings over it. Had a small bit of pickled veggies on top as well.

                    Hot & sour soup. Tasty as usual..

                    Spicy noodles in soup with beef sirloin. Im not a fan of the five spice flavor of this dish but thats just a personal preference. The noodles were very good and maybe homemade/hand cut, hard to say. The beef pcs were odd, some being very fatty or just large chunks of vein.

                    Seafood dumplings from the specials menu. these were not too good. fishball sorta middle with no real flavor kinda spongy.. Should have stuck with the soup dumplings but we were trying to try new things..

                    1. re: hargau

                      Is this the place next to Papa Razzi?

                  2. I have passed by here thousands of times while driving on route 2. I'm so happy to hear that the food is good - and even more happy to find out that the chef used to be at Jo Jo Taipei. Menu looks terrific. Will have to stop there sometime when I'm out that way.

                    1. Sooo happy to have read about this restaurant here; we went for dinner on Friday and it just made my life brighter to have a good place to go now to eat here. Started with the dried anchovies with peanuts; salty and spicy with a nice crunch, I could have eaten another bowl. Steamed juicy pork buns were good, as others here have said, full of hot soup. Pickled mustard soup with fish was delicious. The fish itself was bland, but the veg in the soup was sour with a mustard tang that made me want to eat it all, so good. Salt and pepper chicken was crispy with a good peppery kick, would definitely order that again. Shredded pig ear was next, with a sesame flavor. I stripped the meat away and ate it, spouse ate it cartilage and all. The hostess said that they also do a spicy shredded pig ear, which I'd like to try next time. Sticky rice
                      was dark brown, like it was made with soy sauce, but no soy flavor. Thought we ordered too much food for two adults and a kid, but we made a "victory dish", as my grandparents used to say. Such a delicious meal, I'm looking forward to returning.
                      to try more of the Taiwanese specialties.