We had just come back from Taiwan a few month ago and was craving for some authentic Taiwanese food. As we just so happened to walk past the Taiwan Cafe, we decided to stop and grab a small bite to eat.
We arrived around dinner time, the cafe was full but there was just a short wait of around 5 minutes.
The restaurant is long and narrow, as they try to fit in as many table as they can. There is no privacy here as you are so close to your neighbours that you can taste their food. However you do not come to these type of restaurants for intimacy or privacy but for good honest, authentic cheap eats, and that was exactly what we were after – good cheap eats.
Pork Belly Bun – The are Taiwanese burgers where the buns are steamed and then stuffed with this delicious soft marinated piece of pork belly that is then topped with chopped peanuts, sugar and coriander. I first had these in one f the night markets in Taiwan. The buns of these burgers were not as soft and fluffy that I was hoping for. The pork belly was fairly fatty which I ended up disecting to remove as much of the fat that I could. What meat that had remained was nicely marinated in a sweet, thick, dark sauce. The accompanying grounded peanuts and the freshness of the coriander provides an added texture to the burger. However I do rate this burger over the one from Ippudo.
Oyster Omelette – small oysters mixed in a batter made from potato starch and egg, giving the resulting egg wrap a thicker consistency, then a savoury sauce is poured on top. As expected. but nothing to rave on about. The omelette was nicely cooked, where it was chewy and starchy.
Taiwanese Xl Crispy Fried Chicken – golden and crispy on the outside which was nicely seasoned. the chicken was succulent and juicy as one would expect from a fried chicken. However in saying that, I do prefer Hot Star Fried Chicken just down the road.
Wontons in Chilii Sauce – not the best I have tasted. The sauce was fairly thick and savoury tasting as opposed to chilli oil. The skins were fairly thick. It was topped with the same toppings from the Pork Belly bun of grounded peanuts and corriander.
The Taiwan Cafe serves good Taiwanese street food, and is perhaps the only one or one of a handful of Taiwanese restaurants located in the CBD. During peak lunch and dinner expect long queues. So I suggest either going early or late to get a seat without the long wait.
Location: 273 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Australia