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Chou dofu at Joy in Foster City

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Chou dofu at Joy in Foster City

David Sloo | Jan 23, 2006 06:11 PM

Other hounds have written about the Taiwan-style potstickers, justly praising them. The staff explained how they are just pan fried, without adding any water to the pan to steam them. The bottoms of the six roughly cylindrical, non-crescent-shaped potstickers meld together into a crispy, brown, starchy wafer. The filling is simple, coherent, and meaty; gingery sauce adds some sweetness. These are a fine variation on a familiar snack.

Chòu ('stinky') dòfǔ was evenly fried, and certainly not as pungent as what I've had from street vendors in eastern China. A large serving -- maybe a dozen big pieces -- came with ample chilli sauce and a pile of lightly vinegared cabbage. The chilli sauce, unfortunately, is a watery and sweet kind, but the crunchy, sour cabbage makes a great foil for the rich fried flavor of the tofu. Does anyone know about this style of chilli sauce? Is it common? Does it have merits that I couldn't detect?

The total bill was $12.

I recommend asking for the Chinese menu, since it lists lots of things that aren't on the English language menu. (Bring a dictionary if you don't read well.) Joy was not at all busy at 2 on a Monday afternoon, and the staff was willing to help me with the characters that I didn't know. Joy would be a good introduction to chòu dòfǔ if you haven't had any; just keep in mind that the character for chòu is a nose above a dog!

Joy Restaurant, 1495 Beach Park Blvd, Foster City. (650) 345-1762.

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