I had walked by the Taiwanese eatery Bao Dao on several occasions wanting to try it, only to be deterred by the queue outside. Having dined there, I now understand that the queue isn't just due to the small interior, but also because their food is delicious and great value!
There's a two page menu showcasing pictures of each dish and ordering is done at the counter. We started with a couple of small plates. The Braised eggplant was a cold appetiser - soft and gooey with a tasty sauce, we devoured it in a flash.
Next was the Stewed tofu in a soy broth, which had a lovely velvelty texture.
The Taiwanese, like the Koreans, also love a food fried chicken. I loved Bao Dao's take on it, with incorporated fried basil. The batter was very light, the chicken very tender with just the right amount of seasoning.
The Handmade pork dumplings were also a highlight. It was clear they were freshly made - with an almost translucent skin and a plump filling, these dumplings were just what was required in this cold weather!
The portions are small (and cheap) so you can order a lot of different things to try. It's a great place to go to experience some authentic Taiwanese dishes. I will definitely be back to try their pork buns next time!
Taiwanese food is not something I have had too often in Sydney so I was excited to try Taipei Chef in Artarmon for a colleague's farewell.
Smoked chicken is one of their signature dishes and it's easy to see why. The flavour was spectacular - it had a distinct smokiness from the smoked tea leaves without being too overpowering and the meat was so moist and tender. A small tip: there are only a limited serving per day so don't go too late!
Sweet potato fries with plum powder was completely addictive. I had to exercise a lot of self control to not gobble down the entire dish. Crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, the plum powder gave it an extra flavour boost.
The slow-cooked pork belly is melt-in-your-mouth soft. The broth consisting of star anise, garlic, chilli and soy packed a ton of flavour and went wonderfully with the white rice.
The Mongolian chicken on the sizzling plate was very aromatic and tasty.
The salt and pepper tofu had a great crispy texture but was lacking a touch of seasoning.
More satisfying was the soft shell crab. A generous serving, the batter was light and crispy.
The deep fried mushrooms were so juicy that a couple of us nearly burnt our tongues when we bit into it. The crunchy basil leaves were a nice touch to the dish.
Friendly service, delicious food and good value - Taipei Chef is definitely a neighbourhood gem. I will definitely be back for the smoked chicken and sweet potato fries!
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