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Taiwanese Snacks a.k.a. Windsor Fish & Chips

Lillian Hsu | Nov 6, 200407:31 PM

Six chowhounds gathered for lunch at a Taiwanese snack shop in Sunnyvale. Located in a strip mall, next door to Famous Food (cantonese), the snack shop still bears the Windsor Fish & Chips sign and still has the fish and chips menu posted inside.

What we ordered:
Four Spirit Soup
Zhong Zi (Chinese tamales)
Oyster pancakes
Dan Dan noodles
Bamboo shoots with strips of pork
Fried pork chop
Chinese sausage (Lop Chong)
Pig's ear
"Stuffed" Tofu
Deep fried & braised meatballs

The Four Spirit Soup was a light-colored broth with barley and bits of pork stomach. The fragrance of rice wine came through strongly in this soup.

I did not care very much for the zhong zi. They were stuffed with chunks of fatty pork. (I have no objection to fatty pork in and of itself. My grandmother's zhong zi always include a few choice chunks of fat, but these chunks had little flavor or juice.) The zhong zi came drizzled with sweet hot sauce and a few pieces of cilantro.

The oyster pancakes, which arrived with the same sauce, were appropriately gooey but lacked that certain smokiness which makes eating them so memorable. They contained a substantial amount of mustard greens, and Yimster gave a thumbs up to the oysters.

The Dan Dan noodles were thin (definitely not hand-made). In addition to the ground pork, it came with a few shrimp and a hard-boiled egg cooked in soy sauce. The dish had very little peanut flavor or spice.

The stuffed tofu, which turned out to have no stuffing, was juicy and had good texture. The bamboo shoots also had nice flavoring, not too salty.

The meat offerings were generally well-liked by the group. The duck was reasonably tender and meaty. The pig's ears were chewy with only a slight crunch. The giant meatballs, which had a dark crusty outside, were quite flavorful and juicy. Slivers of some vegetable gave them a little bit of a crunch. The Chinese sausage was juicier and plumper than those you buy at Asian grocery stores, though Yimster noted that it was definitely not homemade.

I didn't have any strong impressions of the breaded fried pork chop. On an aside, I had hoped that this snack shop would offer the fried breaded chicken breasts that are so popular in Taipei right now. (They pound the chicken breasts until the pieces are thin and tender, then bread and deep-fry them.) If anyone knows where to find this treat in the Bay Area, please share.

All in all, it was a pleasant lunch, though none of the dishes was a knock-out. The total came to a bargain $10 per person.

Before heading back home, my fiance and I stopped in the Indo-Pak-Fiji grocery store in that same strip mall and picked up some tasty mango ice cream. (The store carries gallons, pints, and small cups of ice cream from Real Ice Cream in Santa Clara. Interesting flavors including saffron, lychee, pistachio, and kulfi.) The store also has a healthy selection of packaged snacks.

Taiwanese Snacks (Windsor Fish & Chips)
876 Old San Francisco Rd
Sunnyvale, CA

Sharda Spice House
854 Old San Francisco Rd
Sunnyvale, CA
(408) 732-9540

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