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Taipei Tokyo, Rockville MD July 18, 2015

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants.
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Back to this restaurant west of I-270 in Rockville again despite several very damaging reviews on Yelp.

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Very nice. Thin skin, tasty inside and perfectly fried. Looks good too.

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榨菜肉絲麵。很道地。

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非常好看只不過甜了點。沒什麽豆瓣醬的味道。

China Bistro乃媽媽水餃也 June 30, 2015

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants.
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I can’t think of any connection between China Bistro and 媽媽水餃 but they are in fact one Chinese restaurant in located in Rockville, MD.

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It is a small restaurant with about 15 tables and several appetizers on the menu are on display in a deli case.

Of course the specialty of the restaurant is 水餃, or dumplings. There are at least 10 varieties on the menu. They also have noodles and a good numbers of Chinese stir fried dishes. Lunch specials have about 20 items which are priced around $7.50 each.

We ordered a plate of 媽媽水餃 for about $10, a cold noodle and a bowl of fish and Chinese green veggie plus 2 appetizers: boiled peanuts and marinated dry bean curds.

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Both are nicely done: peanuts are seasoned with Chinese spices such as 5 spices and anise. Dry bean curd is chewy.

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Very spicy and somewhat numming. Goid sauce with some sweetnesd in the end.

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12 to an order. Hand made. Great with soy sauce.

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Pork, shrimp and Chinese cabbage.

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Silky smooth and very tasty.

We will come back for sure.

Taipei Tokyo September 28, 2014

Posted by hslu in Chinese Food, Restaurants.
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南北和 is its Chinese name. This Shady Grove branch is in a more affluent shopping center west of I-270 in Rockville, MD. It looks much better than the other places with the same name in Rockville on east of I-270.

This restaurant has a busy lunch crowd and most of them ordered off the special lunch menu such as bento box lunch or combo Chinese plates.

Our young Korean waiter has only been here for two weeks and every dish we have ordered off the Chinese menu was a first for him. He did A good job: courteous, patient, personal and didn’t make any mistake.

Here are our orders:

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Reasonablly good. Beef tendor was better.

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Eggplant was great. Peanuts and bean curd was ordinary.

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Too much filler. Needs more dried bean curd.

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上海小餛飩 except the small wonton was still too large. It is no where close to the 西塘陸氏小餛飩 we had in 西塘老街.

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Another wonderful dish: very tender fish filets in savory sauce.

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An authentic 梅菜扣肉: both 梅菜 and 扣肉 were professionally done. One of the best we have had in the east coast. Well worth the money.

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Black sticky rice with red bean paste. This was beautifully done. My only complain is: I will keep the sauce clear to highlight the purple rice.

Bottomline: worth going back to try more dishes.

Taipei Cafe, Rockville, MD January 17, 2014

Posted by hslu in Restaurants.
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Rockville, MD  has many Chinese restaurants and most cater to Chinese customers. Taipei Cafe, 顶鲜台湾料理, is no different from the others. The fact that we drove more than 20 miles from VA to sample its food says something about the allure of a new Chinese restaurant. Their ads started to appear on free Chinese Newspapers about 2 to 3 weeks ago. We took our Dad there because he likes to try new Chinese restaurants too.

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I have to give Taipei Cafe a thumb up because it is difficult to make it in Chinese restaurant business because All-You-Can-Eat buffets squeeze out all the margins from the top and rising costs, seafood and labor cost in particular, eat their profit, if there is any, like it is a free lunch.

Taipei Cafe probably didn’t cost the owners very much to open because there wasn’t any decoration to speak of. Well, most of the Chinese restaurants are like that. I was surprised at the size of the restaurant: 3 separate sections including a 30-40 people party room, a main dinning room with 60 to 70 seats and some tables in the front. But the latter probably won’t get used other than lunch time on Saturdays and Sundays.

It was somewhat busy when we were there on a Thursday evening about 7:20 PM: there were about 50 customers in the dining room before us. A few more came right before we left the restaurant at 8:20 PM or so. I know people come for 台湾料理 “Taiwanese cuisine” but they won;t come back if it is not authentic. There is another Taiwanese restaurant about 1/4 of mile away.

Well, competition is always good for the customers. They are cut throat among restaurants; especially Chinese restaurants. The reason is simple: not very many Americans will come and there is no Latinos at all. Very few Indians come for Taiwanese food either.

I hope they can make it.

Now, let’s take a look of the restaurant and their food:

I have seen similar display at a popular Taiwanese restaurant in Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan.

I have seen similar display at a popular Taiwanese restaurant in Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan.

You see this when you walk in the restaurant. It means:"When you are having a meal, you are as big as an emperor."

You see this when you walk in the restaurant. It means:”When you are having a meal, you are as important as an emperor.”

I am not too sure what this means. It's Taiwanese.

I am not too sure what this means. It’s Taiwanese.

It says: "I am afraid of my wife." I am not sure who the "我“ it is referring to? Is it trying to make a statement? Hmmm....

It says: “I am afraid of my wife.” I am not sure who the “我“ it is referring to? Is it trying to make a statement? Hmmm….

We had four appetizers and three main dishes, My wife also ordered a bowl of 尤鱼羹 “squid in thick broth.”

As usual, we ordered way too much for the three of us.

The four appetizers were:

1.   豆腐干 Sliced dried bean curds in soy sauce with sesame oil, some vinegar and sugar. I couldn’t taste any special spice in this dish. Kind like what I had 40 years ago at a food cart, usually after midnight with a friend or two, not far from our university in Tainan. This dish reminded me of those days when we had a bottle of 高粱, a small plate of 豆腐干, a small plate of 卤海带, a few pieces of duck neck 鸭脖子and a bowl of 阳春面 plus a 卤蛋。

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2.   臭豆腐 Stinky tofu. There are four things that need to come together to make this a memorable dish: a) the stinky tofu shouldn’t be fried for too long, 2) the pickled cabbage (with some carrots) should be on the sweet side so that it would complement the deep-fried tofu, 3) the sauce that goes with the tofu shouldn’t be just some soy sauce and a few drops of sesame oil, and 4) it own;t complete until hot sauce was added right before you eat them together. The stinky tofu was okay; slightly on the side of staying in the deep fryer a little too long. The pickled cabbage was bad: it was under marinated and I could taste the raw cabbage in my mouth. It was too spicy and there wan’t any sweetness, at least I didn’t taste it. We has to ask for hot sauce because it wasn’t offered on the plate.

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冰镇蹄膀 Cold Pork shoulder meat: nothing to write home about and will not order this again. The slices were too thick and poorly seasoned. The name was better than the dish itself.

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凉拌海蜇 Jellyfish cold plate: A good dish to order but it came after we already started our main courses. If I have to complaint, I’ll say the sauce wasn’t sophisticated enough.

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Three entrées were:

1.   香芹豆干 Dried bean curd with Chinese celery. I knew I has dried bean curd for appetizer already but I couldn’t pass this dish on because I like the combination a lot. I like this dish and the Chinese celery wasn’t tough to chew either. Not overly salty and the bean curd had the right firmness.

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2.   韭黄牛肉 Yellow Chinese chive with shredded beef. Again, lightly seasoned like what it should be and beef was tender too. If a few slices of red bell pepper would make it even better.

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3.   砂锅鱼头 Fish Head in a Clay Pot: It is important to prepare this dish so that it doesn’t smell like a fish dish to begin with. I think Taipei Cafe accomplished that. The hearty soup was not salty but quite tasty, the fish meat, if you could find it, was so tender that it almost melted in my mouth, Chinese cabbage was well cooked, a few pieces of taro root were also well-cooked, the deep-fried tofu was a bit small and to my disappointment, there wasn’t any green bean cellophane noodles at the bottom. When the big clay pot was bought to our table, it didn’t come with a ladle  and three small bowls. We had to ask for them and the wait staff was very quick to bring them to us though.

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My wife also order a side dish of squid in thick broth: 尤鱼羹。Well, I didn’t like it because it wasn’t like what I had at any of Taiwan’s night markets. The squid wasn’t coated with fish paste and the broth was too dark. It also need more black vinegar and white pepper too. I may be picky because I like my squid coated in white fish paste floating in alight colored broth with cilantro coarsely cut in similar lengths. To Taipei Cafe’s credit, some enoki mushroom was added to the broth which was a plus.

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The quantity was very good. The prices were reasonable. The service was quick. The kitchen was very efficient putting out dishes. The wait staff was courteous and friendly. A couple of Latinos were very friendly as well and they did smile a lot.

We will for sure go back to try more dishes at Taipei Cafe even though we have to fight the awful traffic on the north loop of the notorious Washington Beltway. It would be a good place to have some lunch too.

La Limeña November 29, 2010

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A few days ago when we walked out of a near by Chinese restaurant on a Saturday afternoon, we saw a group of people coming out of a  restaurant smiling and happy. I peeked into the restaurant and a lady of the group said to me:”This is the best Peruvian restaurant in town.”

I immediately took note of that comment because they were Latinos and I noticed that the name of the restaurant is La Limeña.

Well, we had a chance to try it out and we liked it.

The restaurant had simple decoration but pleasant. The waiters were very friendly and attentive. The service was prompt and not intrusive. I had a very good first impression of this place.

We had a bottle of Casillero del Diablo 2008 Melot from Chile for less than $20. It was a very good deal and the wine was very drinkable. However, since we couldn’t finish the whole bottle we asked the restaurant if we could take the rest of the wine home. The waiter said that it would be no problem only if he was the one who bought the bottle to our car.

We ordered ceviche mixto for $12.95, a seafood appetizer, including fresh shrimp, scallops and slices of fish, served in a lime juice.  It was refreshing and a wonderful way to start our meal.

We also had Tamales de Maiz because I like Talmales of any kind.

For entrees we had Lenguado Frito which was deep fried whole flounder served with fried yucca and sarsa criolla. Although the fish was slightly over cooked, it was fresh and very tasty. I didn’t care for the deep fried yucca because it was too filling but we finished the whole fish quickly.

Lomo Saltado was beef strip sauteed in olive oil, onion, tomatoes, and spices served on a bed of french fries and a side of rice. It was a good hearty meal and tasted like a home made dish than a production from a kitchen of three-star celebrity chef.

La Limena also has sopas, salads, chicken, sandwiches, a collection of side dishes and rotisserie chicken. These dishes had to wait until the next time.

When it came to dessert, we had to order their flan. The sauce was savory; the flan was smooth and tender. The temperature was just right. The portion was adequate but could be bigger if I was allowed to be greedy.

 

We liked La Limeña very much because it was just liked what the menu said:

Where Tradition and Great Taste come together.

I might also add this to the end:

“At a great price.”

You should go and it was worth the drive from Northern Virginia.

Sichuan Pavilion, Rockville, MD May 10, 2010

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My sister gave me a copy of the menu of 巴山蜀水 (Sichuan Pavilion) in Rockville, Maryland and it looked interesting.

Bao had to work on Mother’s day so I took her out to lunch two days earlier on Friday afternoon (5-7-2010) after work.

The restaurant looked busy judging from number of yet-to-be-cleaned tables after lunch rush hour. While we were there, a few more guests came by too. It appeared that the restaurant was very popular with locals. There were more Chinese guests than American guests though. The white table cloth surprised me because most Chinese restaurant do not use table cloth let alone using it at lunch time.

There were very many items on the menu and it was difficult to order just a few for two people. We decided on:

香茶熏鸭 ($6.50)

Not greasy. Tender duck meat with a hint of tea. A few drops of sesame oil and cilantro garnish would be even better.

红油抄手 ($4.95)

One of the best we have tried in Northern Virginia and Rockville. It was comparable to A & J’s半亩园 “ban4 mu3 yuan2.” We agreed that Jingjing will enjoy this like we did.

凉拌干丝 ($3.95)

干丝 was fresh and it tasted very good. The chef did a good job. Good color too. Very reasonable on the price.

尖椒牛肉丝 ($10.25)

There was a bit more sauce on this dish. It will be much better and tastier if the chef could thicken the sauce a little more by reducing it for 10 more seconds in the wok. Beef was tender. Pepper was fresh but not spicy enough for me. Good pepper taste though.

香干中芹 ($9.25)

The chef allowed the bean curd cooked in hot oil a little too long because it was chewier than it needs to be. 豆腐干过油过的太久了 “dou4 fu3 gan1 guo4 you2 guo4 de1 tai4 jiu3 le2.” Chinese celery was tender and fresh. Price was a bit too high.

豆花鱼片 ($13.25)

Tender tofu , savory fish fillets, not as greasy as other restaurant’s version. Good amount of chilly pepper and Sichuan pepper made me numb and hot. Very good with rice but not the best I’ve tried.

There are more dishes I like to try and we’ll come back for other dishes.

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