So my mother was a judge at a kid’s chinese speech contest in Newton MA [I think it was for GBCCA] saturday and she had “bian dang” aka “餐盒” aka lunchbox — which, in chinese culture is usually protein, veg, soy sauce egg, pickled veg and rice or noodles :] YUM! — btw I LOOOOOVE the Taiwan High Speed Rail [台灣高鐵] Lunchboxes- or any chinese train ride lunchboxes for that matter hehehe………
Sexy example NOT from my photo albums..:
ANYWAYS… so she had her lunchbox from this new Taiwanese cafe from Newton. OBVIOUSLY we’re always looking for good Taiwanese food and while I’ve been to a few around town, in Boston I’m still partial to Taiwan Cafe – teehee biased – but this new place is pretty good. What is it called? Sweet Potato Bistro – cute name. Mommy immediately decided to buy a few things from them, including 油 條 – you tia – [Taiwanese Fried Dough] which I don’t have a pic of cuz I ate them too fast, but they’re SUPER GOOD…. SO MUCH SO that she went THIS morning to buy some of their dim sum. SO?! Review!
Jelly Fish Salad
The first order I had was SOOOOO salty…. apparently cuz they put in unsoaked jellyfish on accident, but the second time I had it was SOOOO YUM! Crunchy, fresh, garlicky with lots of fresh cucumber! Crunch crunch crunch and refreshing – but I had MAJOR garlic burps after ;D #sexy
Traditional processing methods, carried out by a Jellyfish Master, involve a 20 to 40 day multi-phase procedure in which after removing the gonads and mucous membranes, the umbrella and oral arms are treated with a mixture of table salt and alum, and compressed. Processing reduces liquefaction, off-odors and the growth of spoilage organisms, and makes the jellyfish drier and more acidic, producing a “crunchy and crispy texture.” Jellyfish prepared this way retain 7-10% of their original weight, and the processed product contains approximately 94% water and 6% protein. Freshly processed jellyfish has a white, creamy color and turns yellow or brown during prolonged storage.
In China, processed jellyfish are desalted by soaking in water overnight and eaten cooked or raw. The dish is often served shredded with a dressing of oil, soy sauce, vinegar and sugar, or as a salad with vegetables. In Japan, cured jellyfish are rinsed, cut into strips and served with vinegar as an appetizer. Desalted, ready-to-eat products are also available.
Pan Fried Turnip Cake
Turnip aka Daikon – which is kinda radish/carrot-y too
Turnip cake is a Chinese dim sum dish made of shredded radish (typically Chinese radish ordaikon) and plain rice flour. The less commonly-used daikon cake is a more accurate name, in that Western-style turnips are not used in the dish; it is sometimes also referred to as radish cake. It is commonly served in Cantonese yum cha and is usually cut into square-shaped slices and sometimes pan-fried before serving. Each pan-fried cake has a thin crunchy layer on the outside from frying, and soft on the inside. The non-fried version is soft overall. It is one of the standard dishes found in the dim sum cuisine of Hong Kong, China, and overseasChinatown restaurants. It is also commonly eaten during Chinese New Year, since radish (菜頭, chhài-thâu) is a homophone for “good fortune” (好彩頭, ho-chhài-thâu) in Hokkien.
This was sooooo goood.. just wish there was more texture, cuz I’m all about the texture. it doesn’t taste powdery like some Dim Sum places BUT… grated texture would’ve been amazing!!! YUM… the sauce they give with it looks like poop but it’s good :] I add my favorite chili oil to it and UUUBER YUM
Also tried the Taro Cake [芋頭糕] which I thought which was a bit too dry… LOVE Taro but def needs more fat/moisture in it – yep suggesting fat – fatty pork perhaps?! :D
Chicken Bean Curd Skin Roll
and the vegetarian one 素卷 [Vegetarian Bean Curd Skin Roll] – whcih was filled with mushrooms and yumminesssssss… Liked both. Though they were nothing spectacular – but nom nom nom good. Good spices, texture, flavor, etc…. def a must order – PLUS mommy LOOOOVES the chicken one!
Pan Fried Chive Pie
I think of it more as a giant pan-fried dumpling or/aka samosa or literally chinese chive boxes BUT anyways. So the best ones I’ve ever had is my exes’ mother’s – the only good thing that came out of the relationship was that his parents were FABULOUS cooks… his dad was the first person to get me to eat TONS of lamb and enjoy it.. and his mom would make these and I’d eat 20-30 at a time :]
I wish there was more filling.. I like the super thin vermacelli in these… while I did enjoy the super thick rice noodles….. needed more chives and eggs.. and you could even throw in some dried shrimp or pork to PUMP IT UP – but it was a bit flimsy. but the crust was DELICIOUS! Pan fried to perfection, nice and thin… just needed more loving when you bit in…..
Julienned Pig Ear Salad Cold Cut in Hot Chili Oil
Very delicious. Thinly sliced, crisp, and spicy… not over seasoned or overly salty – phew – I loveeeee pig ears but sometimes ppl cut them too thick and they lose that…. crunch/chew to it and it gets TOO chewy and TOO MUCH… these were perfection! NOM!
Soup Dumplings aka Xiao Long Bao
Yes the infamous obsession of mine. I’m always scared of getting these for takeout but I was still curious about the flavor of the filling – I was surprised that there was NO soup at ALL and they were completely dried out…. filling was okay, underseasoned but it was fine with the black vinegar/ginger it came with – BUT kinda disappointed. I LOOOVE Taiwan Cafe… and I actually get XLB from there a lot – and while the skin goes lacking and it’s a little less juicy, there’s soup and chew… these were BONE DRY AND… no soup leaked out in the container :[
Pan Fried pork Buns
Also tried the steamed ones…. 菜肉包 [Steamed Pork Buns]
Filling was great.. love both.. pan fried has some crunch and grease on the outside, steamed has delicious chewy tender 饅頭 [mantou] bun. JUST the filling is a tiny ball :[ NEED MORE MEAT! I’m a meat girl, need more!
Taiwanese Oyster Omelet
Oyster Omelet made with Eggs, Tapioca Starch and served with sweet and mildly spicy sauce
The dish consists of an omelette with a filling primarily composed of small oysters. Starch (typically potato starch) is mixed into the egg batter, giving the resulting egg wrap a thicker consistency. Pork lard is often used to fry the omelette. Depending on regional variation, a savory sauce may then be poured on top of the omelette for added taste.
I LOOOVE this… in taiwan.. but here it’s so disappoining.. too much, not much egg and while the oysters were HUUUUGE – freshness was questionable and the spinach was fresh…. the sauce wasn’t the red I was used to and just SOOOOOO much starch like ALL starch, no egg and it was just piled on top of spinach and oysters, not cooked into an omelette! :T I ordered this despite the fact I had been told it was not good :T Sad that I still need to go to Taiwan for the best.. authentic… real….. this was not even close :[
Sticky Rice Ball
Not a huge fan….. this was complimentary and I was disappointed in it :T I ate the cilantro off of it tho… I love cilantro haha… the rest was just subpar
Five Spiced Beef in Shao Bing
SOOOO GOOD.. while the bun could’ve been flakier and thicker… it was just a nice crunch.. you could chew thru the layers… the beef was good and perfectly seasoned and the scallions were fresh and crunchy. ADORED
And of course an order of the regular 燒 餅 [Sesame Thousand Layer Cake (Shao Bing)]
Soy Bean Custard served with Light Ginger Syrup
In Taiwanese cuisine, douhua is served with sweet toppings like cooked peanuts, adzuki beans, cooked oatmeal, tapioca, mung beans, and a syrup flavored with ginger or almond. During the summer, douhua is served with crushed ice; in the winter, it is served warm.
:] Good, fresh, and while I usually don’t eat peanuts in this, it was good :D This is one of my favorite asian desserts – minus the sweet potato dip in ice water or black seasame balls in red bean soup or shaved iced…. but yeah this is def in the top 5 :]
All in all it was pretty good Taiwan food, I’m glad it opened…. I def need to try it THERE in person and not takeout :] So keep that in mind, takeout food is never AS good as THERE! — of course then there’s leftover pizza & chinese takeout which is SO much better a day or two later HEE HEE – NOM ;D
Heard their 排骨飯 [Pork Chop over Rice], Taiwanese staple, is pretty tasty… the 夫妻肺片 [Beef/Triple in Hot Chili Oil], Taiwanese staple 彰化肉圓 [Ba-Wan – Large Taiwanese Dumpling made from a gelatinous dough and stuffed with pork, mushrooms and bamboo shoots] which you’ve seen if you’ve read my blog ;D KINDA freaks me out that they have “Thai Dishes” on their menu cuz seriously?! Taiwanese and Thai is SOOOOO different…. BUT… hopefully we can get some off the menu REAL Taiwanese food :]