A coffee a day keeps my friends near, spontaneity keeps my heart clear. I lack sometimes the steam, to pursue the never-ending dream.
Published November 11th 2013
A dish with its own annual festival?
Mention Taiwan and people will leap up offering where and what street foods I must try. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to even step into Taiwan, much less try their famous street snacks. But, with Taiwan Cafe in the heart of Melbourne, I don't need to go far to find something tasty.
Taiwan Cafe is huddled between Maccas and another restaurant at the junction of Lonsdale and Swanston Street. Instead of the iconic roadside stalls or carts that you would find in Taiwan, this cafe is a modest place that houses the Taiwanese street food phenomena all in one place.
In fact, this place can get a little overcrowded during lunch and dinner time, which does add to the ambiance of eating street foods if you like the hustle and bustle.
I was told that the snack menu contains pretty much what is sold in Taiwan, except for one notorious item: the stinky tofu. Not surprising since the infamous reputation of stinky tofu has travelled further than its stench. It's made using fermented tofu and the locals believe that the smellier it is, the tastier it is. But, I like the snack menu the way it is, without stinky tofu.
The snacks start from $4 and I would recommend trying all the items with the "thumbs up".
I have tried almost all the recommended dishes and my favorite is the Taiwanese XL Crispy Fried Chicken. If you are wondering what XL is, it means extra large and it does not disappoint.
For a set meal, the fried chicken can also be served in a bento set (~$11.50) with stewed mince pork rice. If you like the stewed mince pork rice enough and would like a second helping, it can also be ordered separately as a snack.
Taiwanese famous x-tra large fried chicken served with stewed mince pork rice
I came across an interesting fact about Taiwanese beef noodles in the menu. This popular dish is the symbol of Taiwanese food culture. So valued that chefs all around Taiwan pit their recipes against one another in the annual Beef Noodle Festival.
A dish so good that it has its own annual festival