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Thoughts on Taiwan Cafe

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Thoughts on Taiwan Cafe

nick smith | Jan 15, 2003 10:54 AM

I moved from New York to New Hampshire to teach at UNH, and I've been loving it up here except for the chow situation. I'm feeling opitimistic after last night's trip to Taiwan Cafe.

In New York, New Green Bo is the king of homey Shanghai grub, and is proably the all-around best Chinese (over Grand Sichuan and Funky Broome). I was missing it terribly, but from what I tasted last night I may prefer Taiwan Cafe.

1. The mini steam buns (soup dumplings) were plump balloons of dense broth. At NGB they would often be a bit deflated. The dough had just the right spring. A wonderful dish executed with care.

2. The "special mustatrd greens with edame and fresh bean curd" actually features bean curd skins, which is included in its menu name at NGB. A wonderful dish at both places, but again at Taiwan Cafe the edame were more plump and bountiful.

3. I was expecting the oyster pancake to be a version of Korean pa-jun, which it definitely wasn't. A bit heavy on the gravy, but what a distinctive texture. Soft, softer, and softer yet.

4. The eggplant with basil strikes me as something you think would find at many of the lame pan-asian places in New York, but don't. Its so obvious, but I don't remember having it anywhere else. Is this type of Thai basil common in Taiwan, or is this just their invention? Superior to any eggplant in garlic sauce I've had.

And the service was friendly. I have a list of other dishes to try, and I'm feeling very thankful.

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