34 Oxford St, Boston, MA 02111
Taiwan Café is a great little restaurant. And like many restaurants in Chinatown, that means it can get very busy during the lunch rush. The Divas always head out to lunch at 11:30 am when we are going to Chinatown. That way we generally are able to get a seat immediately and beat the worst of the crowds.
We went to Taiwan Café last year and had two dishes that we enjoyed very much: Soup Dumplings (which are called “Mini Steamed Buns” here) and the highly recommended Szechuan White Fish. This time, in addition to these we ordered the Roast Beef Scallion Pancake Roll (which we saw many customers ordering on our last visit here) and Sautéed Spinach (because we love it and wanted to see how it compared to the Spinach at Dumpling Café).
Taiwan Café serves a soup appetizer before your main course during lunch. Unfortunately the soup here did not stand up to the delicious broth we had at Café de Lulu. It was more interesting, in that it had some bamboo shoots and a bit of meat in it but, in fact, the best way to describe the taste of it was a combination of miso and wet dog! We moved the bowls out of the way to make room for the dishes we ordered.
The first dish to arrive was the Sautéed Spinach, which is one of our favorite dishes to order in authentic Chinese restaurants. It is also a dish that is not terribly hard to mess up. In this case, the spinach had better texture (not overcooked) but not as good flavor as the spinach we got at the Dumpling Café.
The Szechuan White Fish came out next and it was as good as we remembered, if not better. The fish was delicate and flaky, served on a bed of crisp lettuce and smothered in a savory, spicy red sauce. Now, despite the fact that it is called Szechuan and the sauce is quite a fiery red color, it is not in fact too terribly spicy. I would not be worried about recommending this dish to someone who doesn’t like spicy food. The flavor of this dish is remarkable and it is not surprising that Taiwan Café has become known for it.
We were looking forward to the Roast Beef Scallion Pancake Roll a lot, because last time we came here we saw almost every single table ordering it and felt very left out. It is a scallion pancake slathered with hoisin sauce, sprinkled with MORE scallions, layered with thin slices of roast beef, rolled up, and then sliced into four manageable pieces. This was very good – – not the mind blowing experience I expected when seeing the rate at which it was ordered, but very good. Imagine a delightful roast beef and scallion doughnut and that will give you a pretty good sense of it.
And then, finally, FINALLY, the soup dumplings. To be truthful, it has been hard to find bad Soup Dumplings. And these were by no means bad at all, in fact they were delicious. They were not as good as the dumplings at Dumpling Café but they certainly held their own. I think maybe one drawback was that the skins were a bit thicker than would be desired.
Taiwan Café has a very extensive menu and the Dumpling Divas have only cracked the surface. That being said, be sure to get the Szechuan White Fish and you really can’t go wrong with Soup Dumplings or the Roast Beef Scallion Pancake Roll.
P.S. Notice the marvelous quality of the pictures? I decided to stop using the camera on my phone and use a real one. And I must say I am very happy with the results!