It has been a long while since I had been to Taiwan Tea House. My BFF regularly frequents the place and was more than happy to go with me the other day. I still like the simple décor and the real plates and bowls they use—and they’re actually pretty dishes, unlike the standard Chinese restaurant ware. Our server is very friendly—one of the owners I am sure, as he has been there every time I have been. Sometimes the communication is a bit lacking due to the language difference, but we managed.
I ordered the fried tofu ($2.75) to start, based on someone’s recommendation on one of my last posts. And I do like some good fried tofu. I wasn’t sure how I felt about it when I first saw it, because you could tell it wasn’t going to be really crisp and it wasn’t really, but it had a great taste. I really liked the soy-based sauce that they drizzled on top. The crust on the tofu taste good too even if I would have preferred it a little crisper. I couldn’t stop eating just a little more.
For my lunch, I ordered the mapo chicken ($6.99). This is my BFF’s favorite dish, and her usual order, but she wanted to try the spicy wonton noodles instead, so I got it. To start with, they bring you a bowl of soup (really, really hot as in temperature). It’s a simple soup, but I nice was to start especially on a very cold day. There are some nice chunks of tofu and some egg as well as some tomatoes and black pepper.
The chicken dish was a little disappointing actually—the chicken was cooked a little too far making it not just a bit tough, but giving the edges an almost crunchy texture. Both the chicken and the veggies just seemed like they were cooked over too high a heat. I do like the flavor of the sauce though—had a nice balanced taste with soy and some garlic and ginger perhaps. A touch on the oily side, but still good. The entrées each come with two crab Rangoon as well. I like the version they do here because they are nice and crisp and not oily at all. My only complaint was that one of them wasn’t quite warm all the way through. Assume they make them and then just heat them quickly before serving.
My friend’s spicy wonton noodles were good—they are really quite spicy—lots of little bits of garlic and chili in there and some stuffed wontons mixed in. They can’t really make the dish less spicy because he said they make the sauce in advance, and it has a fair amount of heat. They can make it spicier if you want though which would be too much for me, but I am sure some of you guys would like it that way.
All in all, an ok experience. It’s not a bad place to have nearby, and they do use a lot of fresh ingredients. I think my dish was a little off on this day, but it wouldn’t stop me from trying again.
Taiwan Tea House
3746 E. 82nd Street