Whew... just got back from the Matrix: the chowhound matrix! - actually back from reading a series of threads that took more than an hour, starting innocently from "Dinner at Great China" thread which took me to discussions of Chinese wasabi that went on to the search for the best Zha Jiang Mian and how to pronounce it, and eventually to of all things Kao Fu! And I even discovered a fellow Korean-Chinese poster who talked about the origin of Korean-Chinese food. That's truly the power of chowhound.com! Although many doors led me to the wrong place, I was able to find "the ones" (the correct links). (Yes, I just watched the movie.)
Anyways, back to the topic. Upon walking into the Tea Station, I was immediately teleported to Taiwan. The decoration, the furnitures, the entire ambience reminded me of similar type of cafe that are very common in Taiwan. Even after sitting there two hours, I still felt very much like I was in a cafe in Taiwan. Ok, enough hallucination. Their main specialty is the Pao4 Mo4 "bubble" Red Tea and similar drinks, although they also serve some light meals. And it is the meal which drew me into the store originally. They have a nice variety of items, all of them shown with pictures on the menu. I ordered a very common Taiwanese dish - pork chop with rice.
The entree arrived in a big round plate, with Rou4Zao4(roasted ground pork) topped rice in the middle, several types of green veggies to the side, and a large piece of deep fried pork chop. The pork chop was a bit greasy, and it was not breaded as much as what one would normal expect of this dish. The bone-in meat was generally tender, with small parts being chewy/fatty. Flavor was ok but not great. Overall it was an ok version of this popular Taiwanese dish. The best version of this dish I had was at the now closed Good Times Cafe in Milpitas.
Other interesting items on the menu included Taiwanese Tempura (which is similar to Japanese Oden, not tempura), Niu Rou Mian (Beef Noodle), Ba Wan (Meat Ball(pattie)), Yen Su Chicken, etc. and many, many other small eats.
Though the pork chop w/ rice was not the best, I do look forward to visiting again to try some of their other dishes. They also have tons of Chinese magazines which makes it feel even more like cafes in Taiwan.
Tea Station is located in a mall which is "behind" the New Park Mall, south of Mowry off of 880 in Fremont/Newark. I'm not sure the original anchor store, but there's sign for a new Lions Market coming soon. The menu indicates that they're based in the LA area with several locations there. This mall is definitely one of the better, up-and-coming malls with the new Lions getting ready to open. Other restaurants in the same mall include: Vung Tau III, Lee's Korean Tofu/BBQ, MyTho Vietnamese, New Tung Kee, Tapioca Express, as well as several Indian restaurants which I don't remember the names of.
One surprising discovery I made is that next door to Tea Station was a restaurant called Formosa. However, upon examining the menu posted on the window, I discovered that it is a Korean-Chinese restaurant! It had all the usual suspects: ZhaJiangMian, TsaoMaMian, GanPong Chicken, etc. I'll have to try it out soon, before Han beats me to it!
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