A while back, my sister went to a Chinese restaurant with her friend in the city. She was really skeptical at first, but after eating there, she deemed it decent enough to tell my family about it. Curious, we gave it a try back in July:
The first thing we noticed was how...pink the restaurant is. Pink on the outside. Pink on the inside:
Bizarre, though not exactly surprising with Chinese establishments. And there were enough older Chinese folks dining within to make us feel slightly more at ease.
As typical of my mother, she zeroed in on the green beans ($6.50), a favorite dish of hers:
Super salty, but also super addicting.
We also ordered the sesame paste and meat sauce noodles ($6.75):
As well as the "Taiwan country favorite spareribs" ($9.95):
On the sweet side with a hint of basil, these were spareribs I've never heard of in Taiwan, much less that it's a favorite of the island. It was delicious though, so who cares about semantics?
We saw some potstickers on another table that looked appealing, so we ordered a plate for ourselves ($5.25):
If you like thick-skinned potstickers, you'll definitely like these.
The one thing my sister wanted us to try was Taiwan Restaurant's steamed red bean bun. But when we tried to order them, we were told that they were out. We settled instead for the red bean cakes ($3.95):
It certainly wasn't lacking in red bean filling, but the outside was a bit too dense and not flaky enough for our liking:
We couldn't forget about our foiled steamed red bean bun attempt. Less than a week later, we were back again. This time for breakfast and with my sister's friend KY in tow.
We hadn't actually planned to be back so soon, but my sister had her phone stolen the night before, so up to the city we went to pick her up and bring her back home to get a replacement.
During our second trip to Taiwan Restaurant, we had ourselves a Taiwanese breakfast. My mother and my sister got the hot sweet soy milk ($1.45), but my father and I got the salty soy milk ($1.95):
To make soy milk savory, just add some pickled veggies and a couple slices of youtiao (Chinese donut). The key is to add a bit of soy sauce and a couple drops of vinegar to slightly curdle the soy milk. It sounds weird, but it tastes good. Trust me. When have I ever led you astray?
Taiwanese breakfast isn't complete without youtiao ($1.50 each):
The best way to eat it is to rip off a chunk and wrap it in a sesame bun. Or as Taiwan Restaurant calls it, "petal bun" ($1.95 each):
I have no clue where the "petal" came from as it's nowhere in the original Chinese name. Mysterious...
Probably overkill, but we couldn't help adding a bowl of chili oil dumplings ($5.25):
Aaaaaand shredded white turnip cakes ($3.95):
It's all about that savory shredded turnip filling:
And finally, we got our steamed red bean buns ($3.95):
So much red bean!:
Like most Chinese restaurants in the States, Taiwan Restaurant has a bit of an identity crisis. While it does offer some Taiwanese dishes on its menu, it also offers a whole bunch of stuff that, well, isn't Taiwanese at all.
No complaints here though. Everything that we had at Taiwan Restaurant was solid. Maybe not amazing, but definitely solid. And so cheap!
Taiwanese or not, if I lived in San Francisco, I could see myself going back to Taiwan Restaurant again. And again.
445 Clement St
San Francisco, CA 94118