I hadn't been to the mall since Ay Chung opened and was almost going to eat there, but decided to get lunch at 168 instead. This is a large restaurant with some Taiwanese items in addition to typical dishes, probably more of a northern bent. Most of the tables were occupied by Asians, the table right next to me were 3 men, one of whom spoke with a Beijing accent (they talk really fast). The restaurant features special healthy soups on a table menu under the glass top. I saw several people ordering the ginseng and chicken soup. There is also bitter melon soup, etc. Most are priced at $4-5 each for a large single serving.
I was not looking for healthy food. I ordered the zhajiang noodles, scallion pancake and the shengjian bao (pan fried buns). The noodles came out first - thick noodles, not handmade but cooked about the right texture with a little chew. There was a generous portion of sauce that had bits of pressed tofu and soybeans, topped off with a bit of finely sliced cucumber and chopped peanuts. It was hot and tasty, enough for 2 people. All it needed was a little chili sauce, which I added. Next up was the pancake. I recall a thread asking for decent scallion pancakes. Here it is done medium thin and crispy, but could use a little more green onion flavor. It was better than the one I got recently at Lily's House in Lafayette. Finally, after an extra 10 minute wait, the shengjian bao arrived. Eight to a plate for $5.95, an excellent deal as the buns are filled to the brim with a tasty pork and cabbage mixture and the bottoms were crispy (though next time I will ask for browner bottoms). The top of the wrapper was pleasantly chewy, and they put a little shredded ginger on top, but I would ask for more. I was pretty happy with the meal overall. I've never been here for dinner, and I saw they have set menus so will have to give that a try sometime.
After wrapping up my leftovers, I went back to Ay Chung and ordered some items to go. My son was in Taiwan this summer and had been jonesing for Taiwanese street food, so I order the house steak special, which comes with a fried egg, spaghetti noodles with either a black pepper or mushroom sauce, and a pounded piece of steak. A side of fish ball (2) soup and dish of lettuce with some kind of mayo dressing comes with the meal. Also got the fried chicken plate, which for $4.95 is a good deal, kind of reminded me of a Hawaiian plate lunch. My son liked the steak, but next time would ask them to go easy on the sauce, it was a bit too gooey.
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