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Greater Boston Area

First Time at Taiwan Cafe


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Restaurants & Bars Greater Boston Area

First Time at Taiwan Cafe

EATTV | | May 8, 2007 02:03 PM

Ever since I traveled to Hong Kong a few years back I have been dreaming about Xiao Long Bao (soup dumplings). It was the day the red Sox became World Champions which my friends in China called "The World Serious". It was and so were the Bao. I had them at the Jumbo Floating restaurant which has some of best and elaborate Dim Sum according to some. The Jumbo is just that...huge. Onboard I was introduced to dumplings filled with crab and pork and magically: Hot Soup. Genius! But how? In a tour of the kitchens I learned that a soup stock is cooked down until very concentrated then chilled until it gels into an aspic. When wrapped inside the bao with the filling then steamed the soup reconstitutes. To eat the Xiao Long Bao one must pick it up in a spoon and with chop sticks balancing the bao, daintily bite off a small corner and suck out the soup without causing a geyser o'broth to annoint you or someone you lunch with. Fun and flavor adrift in HK. So where do we get em' round here? Joe's Shanghai in New York does them but until I had them for lunch today at the Taiwan Cafe no bao has come close here in the Hub. There was a short wait but the friendly hostess took our order and it flew onto the table as we sat and went something like this:

a clear soup
Crab Xiao Long Bao (bigger than your standard bao, hot and delicious with a perfect blance of crab and a flavorful but not too greasy broth. Run don't wok.)
Grilled Taiwanese sausage (sweetly spiced lap cheung w/lettuce and whole garlic cloves)
Sauteed Little neck clams w/basil and black bean sauce (nice'n spicy over white rice)
Oyster Pancake w/gravy (a little sweet but a perfectly fried crepe with plump oysters)
Pea tendrils stir fried w/the free world's supply of garlic (like butter)
Taiwan style flat noodle w/seafood & vegetables (caught enough of the wok fire to be fresh and tasty but get that bit of char.)
Tall Tsing Taos

Although Taiwan Cafe was very busy the service was cheerful, helpful and efficient. A perfect lunch on a beautiful day. Let's always go here.
(Note to self: Find a friend from Taiwan and return and really crack this gem open)