The name might throw you, but Formosa Bento House is a straight-up Taiwanese joint, with the beef noodle soup and authentic house-made Taiwanese drinks to prove it, says K K.

That beef noodle soup shines because of its broth, a light yet complex blend that is made with 20-plus ingredients—including green apple—but no MSG. Noodles are nice and chewy, similar to those at Queen House in Mountain View. The beef is sliced very thinly, the spinach is cooked to perfection, and “the whole bowl just flows great together.”

“For those looking for something Mom might make back in Taiwan, this would be a nice change of pace. Die hard fans of A&J who can’t have anything else, might not enjoy this as much.”

Chicken fried rice is also good, and then there’s the bento box meals, which consist of a main item like fried pork chops, chicken leg, curried meat, or eggplant; rice plus a nicely done minced meat and sauce; and stir-fried yet juicy vegetable mix.

You help yourself to drinks from the fridge near the cashier; look for the ones in the plastic cups with English labels, says K K. Typical offerings are longan drink, hibiscus sour plum drink, ginseng oolong, and Japanese green tea mix. All are sweetened with fruit juice, no sugar or artificial sweetener, the owner says.

Longan drink is excellent and refreshing, says K K. “This is the Taiwanese style prep where it is cooked for some time until the solution looks dark brown in color. For some reason it tasted a tad bit herbal, but had a nice natural sweetness to it.”

Hibiscus sour plum has a nice natural fruity sweetness, followed by a hint of sweet-and-sour, with a gentle aftertaste of the sour plum. Ground hibiscus flower ends up at the bottom of the glass—the mixture is supposed to aid digestion and calm the senses.

There are also boba tea drinks and pretty good ice cream in tropical fruit flavors. Coming soon: specialties from the owner’s native Yilan province, in northeast Taiwan, such as huan duan (Taiwanese style won ton soup).

Formosa Bento House [Peninsula]
2660 Broadway Street, Redwood City

Board Link: Formosa Bento House RWC–great Taiwanese drinks and beef noodle soup

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