Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Bahhston, part 2: Taiwan Cafe

Catch up here! Bahhston, part 1: Pho Hoa, No Name, Finale
There's no better way to start off a day, I think, than with a Taiwanese-style breakfast. TL and I, after waking up the next morning, headed once again over to Boston's Chinatown area, this time for a savory meal of Formosa's classics at Taiwan Cafe.

Above, a bowl of sweet soy milk, a bowl of salty soy milk (with chunks of fried cruller floating on top), two flaky, pork-filled buns, and a large mantou filled with lettuce and cold slices of five-spice marinated beef. Thumbs up on the pork buns, but the beef-filled mantou was a mistake: too much bread and much too dry; nearly flavorless until I added hot sauce. The salty soy milk was good, flavorful and just a little bit spicy. Typically people ask for a whole cruller alongside and tear off large pieces to dunk in it, but I didn't order one as we also had a few other items.
Above is an egg pancake, which I try to order whenever I see it. In most cases it's something like a scallion pancake that has a layer of beaten egg adhered to one side; you eat it rolled up and cut into pieces. I love the chewiness of the pancake paired with the fried egg, and I always douse the thing with some Sriracha if I can get my hands on it. This version was just okay.
I am aware that it looks like a bun threw up here. But if you can get past that idea, you can see the dish for what it is: pieces of meltingly tender braised pork belly scattered with chopped pickled mustard leaves, sugar, and crushed peanuts, all tucked into a soft and fluffy steamed bun. It sounds weird, I know. But the combination is actually quite delicious.
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Stuffed (to the gills—geddit?) with Taiwanese food, we hung out at the New England Aquarium for a few hours before heading to the bus terminal to catch our ride back to NYC.
The bus station was chaotic, packed with all the people heading out at the end of the weekend. It was a minor miracle that TL and I still managed to get seats together, which I'm sure he must have regretted once I ate one of the leftover pork buns from Taiwan Cafe, not realizing until too late that its fragrance was basically wafting over the entire back area of the bus.

Whoops…well, at least I hadn't tried to eat any stinky tofu, right?

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