Thursday, March 31, 2011

Taiwanese pork chops and fried chicken (便當 Bian Dang Truck)

The truck

I bet you thought that I'd lost interest in writing about Chinese food that comes from trucks since I haven't done it in forever. HA were you wrong! My favorite kinds of food are Asian foods, and the best foods always come from trucks. Fact. Luckily for me, the 便當 Bian Dang Truck combines both of those things. Their niche? They make "traditional" Taiwanese bento boxes from which you can choose either pork chop, fried chicken, fishcake, or several other appetizers my forefathers often delighted in like 粽子 (zong zi). Basically they have several things going for them... the nostalgia factor, the fact that they make food from the Orient, and the fact that they do it all from the back of a flamboyantly colored truck (the greatest kind of coloring). Basically this is a truck that fries pigs and chickens and puts it over rice. In theory, this truck is packing so much win. When I caught wind that they were selling their pork chop and fried chicken dishes for $5 one week, I felt obligated to at least try it.

The menu

The menu! Again, The main things are the fried chicken leg and the pork chop over rice. They have 甜不辣 (tian bu la) too, but after trying it at Food Gallery 32... let me safely say that it tastes like crap. Do you know why people don't eat erasers? Because they don't taste good. That is basically what you're eating, an eraser that is brushed with oil and reheated in a microwave. If that sounds good to you, more power to ya! Get the fishcake. Otherwise, steer clear. The rest of the menu is pretty conservative in terms of Taiwanese fare. Sorry, I'll never be able to tell you how the 滷肉飯 (minced pork over rice) is solely based on principle. A dish that costs 60 cents in Taiwan should not cost $4. I don't care if it's NYC, that just doesn't gel with me.

Pork chop over rice

Ah yes, the special of the week and the star of the menu. The pork chop over rice. There's not much to complain about in the base of this delicious construction. The rice is cooked properly, and when combined with the pork sauce/pickled veggie mix... well, it's awesome. There's not much to say about that. The pork chop is no slouch either, not the deep-fried kind you'll find at Hua Ji, 便當 Bian Dang Truck's version is tender, juicy, and slathered with a subtle yet noticeably sweet thick soy sauce marinade. Cooked long enough for the meat to separate easily from the bone, but short enough to maintain structural integrity, these guys know how to cook their pigs. At $5, I liked it enough to change my clothes, go back, and circumvent their whole "ONE DEAL PER CUSTOMER" nonsense. Yep, the stupid things I do for food.


Everyone knows that meals that consist of multiple types of meats are the best kinds of meals. Turducken, bacon chicken narwhals, McDonald's McNuggets (god knows what goes into those...). The Bian Dang Truck also serves something not listed on their menu known as "Porken." You're probably wondering... "what is this shit, and why isn't on the menu?" Well, it's basically a combination of their two most popular dishes, the fried chicken and the pork chop. Starting with a pillow-y soft bed of white rice, you drizzle on a heap of pork sauce and pickled vegetables, then you get half-a-piece of the fried chicken and half-a-piece of the pork chop... all for $8 (note: this deal used to be so much better when they'd give you the whole pork chop/chicken). Admittedly, it's not that great. The pork chop is definitely good (as it should be), and I've never met a bowl of rice w/pork sauce I didn't like, but the fried chicken was just... meh. It was crispy, but it was also flavorless and sort of dry. Add in the fact that the portion size to cost ratio isn't even close to that of other places in Chinatown, and I was a little bit let down. It's like eating an Entenmann's donut for the price of Doughnut Plant. I enjoyed eating it, I just wished I paid less for it.

Anyway... I'm not sure how to feel about the 便當 Bian Dang Truck. I think it's pimp that Taiwanese food is getting well deserved attention in NYC, and for sure they make a rockin' pork chop, but I really can't agree with the pricing structure (at regular price). I can understand that things in Manhattan naturally cost more, but man... I'd go back all the time if they toned back their prices just a bit. Also, they need to fix their fishcake. That shit is wack.


Monday, March 28, 2011

When is a burger not a burger? (Rub BBQ)

Monte cristo burger (Rub)

A few weeks ago, when I was in NYC yet again, I had a mini pow wow of the burger brain trust with Robyn and Damon (the roving contributor of AHT). The destination of choice... Rub BBQ. The reason... the "Monte Cristo" burger that was being served as their weekly special on Monday, a sandwich consisting of a beef patty, layers of smoked barbecue turkey, more layers of barbecue ham, and Swiss cheese, all sandwiched between two thick pieces of French toast. Oh and you get raspberry preserve and some mustard to dip it in. Basically it's a heart attack layered with heart disease sandwiched inside another heart attack with some diabetes for you to dip it in. Sure it's bad for you, but do you care? It sounds delicious... unless you're vegetarian or something crazy like that... but I'm pretty sure only two vegetarian people read my blog, so we'll go on with the assumption that it is PILES OF DELICIOUS.

Layers of assorted meats!

Piles of meat = piles of delicious. Because meat = delicious. Trust me, I'm an engineer... it checks out. This sandwich is exactly as advertised... a charred and smoky burger patty (which isn't cooked to order - everything comes out medium according to them) stacked with alternating layers of shredded ham and smoked turkey, all of which is tucked neatly in between two oily pieces of moist French Toast. Which is to say it is awesome. I ended up ignoring the mustard and slathering raspberry preserve over the entire thing, so it ended up tasting kind of like the Wawa Gobbler, meaty goodness interrupted by pockets of tart sweetness. The French toast was fantastically moist (yet light), the turkey and ham kind of melded into a glorious avian-bovine blend of meat, and the beef patty lent a certain smokiness to accent the overall flavor profile. This sandwich is borderline overwhelming (it was a fork and knife affair for me), but it works. like Robyn said in the AHT review - it's a mountain of meat - there is no reason why it should taste bad.

Piles of overflowing meats...

But this brings up the question, can you really call this a burger? This question actually really bothered me the entire time I was eating. To me... eating a burger should not involve utensils. It should be a beautiful construction of beef and bun such that my hands and mouth are the only things being utilized (yep, not even my brain).

Wiki seems to think so with its rather loose definition of ground meat inside of bread, but if you showed me a picture of the monstrosity known as the "Monte Cristo" burger, I'd call it a sandwich. A sandwich that happens to have ground beef inside. While I'm kind of sad I'll never get to have this meat-mountain sandwich ever again (it's not on their standard menu), I'm glad I no longer have to torture myself with thoughts on how to classify this... thing.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Garlic mayo and burgers (Race Street Café)

Components... assemble!

I wrote about Race Street Café's burger a couple weeks ago on AHT, and honestly it's been on my mind ever since I took my first bite of it. There's not much I can add here that I haven't already said on Serious Eats, but amongst all the burgers I've had in Philadelphia, it's probably one of three (try guessing the other two!) that I could see myself craving/returning to Philly just to have... it's just that good. It's nothing innovative or new, it's not dressy or gaudy, it just feels... right. Everything about this burger screams perfection, from the delicate and firm crust on the bun to the perfectly melted and integrated cheese, all culminating with the gorgeous pink innards...

Burger insides

Love at first sight. It's okay to admit it... don't lie to yourself. The thing is, Race Street Café never really shows up on anybody else's favorite burger lists. You get your usual suspects of Village Whiskey, Good Dog, Monk's Café, etc. - which is really a shame since for the most part, they all pale in comparison imho. I've had all of them... and even if I'm nitpicking, there was something wrong with every single one of them. If you asked me what was wrong with this burger, I would be speechless. Probably because I was too busy ignoring you while shoving gigantic bites of burger in my mouth.


What's messed up is that the burger isn't even the best thing I ate there. It was the garlic mayo. Disgustingly enough, if you told me I could buy a bottle of their house mayo and squirt it into my mouth like some deranged fat kid... I would. Inevitably I'd end up spraying some on my clothes, but you know what? I wouldn't even bother cleaning it off. I would relish the opportunity to walk around town smelling like a garlic and fat-based emulsion. It'd be pretty boss. I know what you're asking... "but wait! What about the picture of the fries... how are they!?" Answer - they're just there to sop up the garlic mayo. Fact. Anyway, I know what I'm doing next time... I'm slathering the mayo all up inside that burger. Oh god, what a mighty sandwich that'll be.

Race Street Café is home to one of... no, my favorite burger in Philly. The only downside is that you'll leave covered in burger "love juices" and speckles of mayo all over yourself. No amount of shame would stop me from going back though.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Beef brisket sandwich (Tommy DiNic's)

Brisket sandwich

Last time I went to Reading Terminal market, I did the touristy thing and went straight to DiNic's to get a roast pork sandwich. While I still fully believe that most things that are tourist attractions end up being pretty second rate, that sandwich was supremely good... juicy, flavorful, and filled with pork so tender that it'd tempt even the most orthodox of Jews. Oh yes, it's like the Moses of sandwiches (not that he tempted anyone into doing anything inappropriate... I don't think?). But as I walked up to the counter to pay for my sandwich that time, something caught my eye... a beautiful slab of fatty beef covered shamelessly with a layer of burnt crust. My knees grew weak as buyer's remorse set in. I knew I had to have that sandwich.

Fast forward four months and I finally go back to Reading Terminal Market since my sister and her friends were visiting Philly (I really have no reason to go there by myself). Like a man possessed, I bolted to DiNic's. I didn't care what anyone else said... fuck everything else in the market, we were standing on that stupid-ass line no matter how long it spanned, and we were getting me a beef brisket sandwich with provolone and broccoli rabe. End of story.


I patiently stood on the line for thirty minutes, fidgeting around like a little kid who has to pee really bad (out of excitement). I imagine my face looked something like this when I got to the counter ಥ_ಥ (tears of happiness). I was then told there were no more greens. Whoa whoa whoa... hold up. But the person before me got them! Are you telling me that if I had clenched my butt cheeks, thrown down the hammer, and sauntered just slightly faster to the line that guy could've been me? Seriously, f7u12... insert rage guy. I begrudgingly accepted sweet peppers and paid with my head down ಧ_ಧ to conceal my tears of disappointment.

Except it really isn't that bad either way. The sweet peppers themselves are absolutely delicious, I was just really curious about how the greens would play out against the flavor of the provolone. So it's not like the kind of disappointment where your parents forgot your birthday, but where they got you the wrong flavor of cake or something. It's really just me being a bitch about something insignificant. The bread is the same, which is to say average and suitable for the job... nothing noteworthy or memorable. The beef though, it delivers. A fine mixture of delicately shredded fat laden beef sits atop a base of provolone, just stewing in its own beef juices, this is what all sandwiches should be built like. Combo'd with the peppers and you get a mildly sweet and savory flavor profile packed in a dense hoagie of meat.

Yep, the beef brisket at DiNic's is another sandwich that'll have you changing your pants. The juices... they are inevitable.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

The true value of a doughnut (Doughnut Plant)

Outside storefront

In case I you haven't heard the news (you NEVER listen to me *cries*), I'll be working for Google next year. This is awesome to me for several reasons: Duh, winning... it's Google, I never have to pay for food ever (ice cream sandwiches -, I get to move back to NYC where 99% of my friends are, and as icing on the cake, the office is just a few blocks away from the new Doughnut Plant location, the happiest place on earth not filled with pedophiles dressed in mouse costumes. But wait, this doesn't make sense. "Aren't you a champion of mid-quality and questionably low priced food products" you say? Why certainly. I love my Wawa's doughnuts with a fiery passion that burns like gonorrhea, and yes... I can buy half a dozen doughnuts there for little more than the price of a single creme brulee doughnut from "the plant," but it's just not the same. Doughnut plant makes doughnuts that break my value function in ways I can't explain.

But I'll try anyway! Dunkin' Donuts and Wawa both sell doughnuts by the half-dozen for $3.99 on a fairly consistent basis. That's six generic doughnuts at a cost of roughly 67 cents each. I have a fairly sizable appetite and that proves to be a pretty decent meal. My utility curve probably peaks at around the third one, flattens by the fourth, starts going down at five, and is borderline regrettable at six. Now the alternative is say... a place like Donuts Plus, where the curve broadens and only starts diminishing at the sixth doughnut (based on quality). But doughnut plant is like crack. After the first doughnut at $2.25-3.00 my pleasure vs. cost ratio actually gets steeper. I MUST HAVE MOAR. So I buy another one... and curiously enough, I feel the need to consume more. In the case of Doughnut Plant, my pleasure never plateaus, I'm simply limited by the amount of cash in my wallet or vacant real estate in my stomach. While I do end up spending upwards of $10 on four doughnuts, my mind doesn't think of it that way. Pleasure to cost ratio is basically asymptotic. While I would never spend more than 75 cents on a doughnut from DD or Wawa, I would spend ungodly amounts at Doughnut Plant.

Blackboard specials

Last time I went was actually around Chinese New Year w/Robyn and Tia (to give you an idea of how slow I am at blogging), hence the existence of the crystallized ginger doughnut on the menu. I guess they were trying to attract Asian people to the store, but it kind of failed (except for us). Most of them were several blocks West at the parade.


Also the standard menu in case you've never seen it. I know... doughnuts should not cost $1.50 per bite (as is the case with the creme brulee one), but if a poor cheapskate idiot like me is willing to pay that, then you know you probably should pony up too.

Crystallized ginger doughnut

I am Chinese. I am obligated to get the Asian doughnut. Despite my aversion to ALL THINGS GINGER, this wasn't bad, but it was pretty forgettable. It really is just a standard glazed doughnut that has a coating of ginger syrup and specks of candied ginger instead of the traditional glaze. Like I said, it was okay, but I'm glad it's not on the regular menu wasting oven space that could be reserved for shit like...

Blackout doughnut

The blackout cake doughnut. Imagine a super dense chocolate cake doughnut thats glazed with chocolate, sprinkled with chocolate crumbs, and filled with chocolate cream. It's the most sensual ring of dough I'll ever insert into my mouth. Truth. What's weird is that I didn't used to like it. I thought it was too chocolate-y if that makes sense. This time it was spot on. A slight bitterness from the cake balanced by a smooth sweetness from the cream led to a nice evenness to the flavor, while simultaneously providing three differing layers of texture from outside to center. It's like layers of happiness made with chocolate.

Creme brulee

Fucking $3 doughnut. It is all of two bites. I actually split this with Tia, which was an awful idea since, well... it is all of two bites. I assure you that those brief moments of chewing are of pure ecstasy. From crunching through the thin outer crust of sugar all the way through to the delicate and cream filled center, the entirety of the cross-section is pleasing in one way or another. Do I feel bad that I basically shoveled a dollar bill and two quarters in my mouth? Yeah, a little bit. Is there buyer's remorse? Not at all! The creme brulee doughnut is the bees knees when it comes to the selection. It is hedonism at its finest.

There's not really much left for me to say about how awesome doughnut plant is that isn't already obvious. Basically, their doughnuts are fantastic and worth every penny. Even to a poor graduate student like myself. I think everyone should go there and get fat?

Oh, and this is a note to all my female friends... ladies, please stop referring to Doughnut Plant as DP (I know they do, but I swear they're trolling everyone). I am insanely childish, and while I know what you're talking about, there is a very inappropriate second abbreviation that should never be associated with baked goods.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Burgers and cake (Veselka)


There's something about the cheeseburger at Veselka that makes it one of my favorites in the city. Perhaps it's the incredible char they get on the crust combined with the delicate pink nether region sandwiched in the middle, maybe it's the deep smokiness that comes from expertly removing the patty just before it burns, maybe it's the seeded bun that pairs oh-so-perfectly with flavor of the beef, or maybe it's the cheesecake I get right afterward. It probably has a lot to do with the last one, but one way or another, as someone who eats more than his fair share of burgers... Veselka does it right. Their burger is erotic to my taste buds, gettin' them all tingly and aroused.

Pink innards

Look at that thing. Such a wanton burger. Just sitting there exposing its pink innards to everyone without shame. What a slut. The Veselka burger is exactly what a burger should be at its most raw and visceral form. Bread, meat, cheese (AMERICAN at a Ukranian diner = ironic)... done. Yet every part of that equation is done properly. As mentioned, it all starts with the perfectly cooked patty - smoky yet simultaneously juicy and delicate - a slice of fully melted and integrated cheese all sandwiched inside a voluptuous seeded bun that's filled with a cavernous nook of airy pockets. It's a cheap $9.50 that pleasures your mouth for a quicky... anytime you need it.


Then after you've finished your happy time with the burger, you turn to... the dessert menu. After a few minutes of creeping, you inevitably get drawn to her full bodied friend - the cheesecake. At $4.50, the value to price ratio is so high that it almost feels illegal. It's cheap, it's delicious, and it's heavy as fuck. Given the heft, halfway through you'll wonder if it was such a good idea to cheat your taste buds by two-timing with the cheesecake, but I assure you it is. It's just a standard cheesecake topped with a thin layer of sour cream topping, it's probably not the best you'll ever eat, but it pairs well with the burger for sure.

Veselka artwork

Yes indeedy, Veselka is love... if you're idea of love is a 30 minute torridly hot love affair with burgers and dairy-based desserts. This is probably wrong of me to say, but it's basically a whorehouse churning out pleasures one plate at a time. Does it feel wrong to be paying someone in exchange for a world of pleasure? Sure. Do I feel dirty rubbing beef juices all over my face? Yes. Do I go back time and time again? Like the Kool-Aid man says... OH YEAH.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Where I get my cheese and sauce on... (Motorino Pizza)


Sorry Philadelphia, you do plenty of things well... cheesesteaks, burgers, shit - even Korean food served from trucks! Shamefully, Philadelphia sucks the big one when it comes to good pizza (not the stuff that tastes good after drinking, since, let's be honest... it all tastes good after drinking). If you disagree with that statement, buy me a slice and prove me wrong, I'm not gonna waste more money on that endeavor. Basically I'm slice abstinent when I'm at Penn. That's months at a time! For shame. I just have no desire to eat shitty pizza when I have better options at hand. As a result, I get super excited every time I go back to NYC, where even the most mediocre pizza is better than the nonsense I can get from Allegro's. The last time I visited, I got mah cheese and sauce on at Motorino Pizza... home to what many consider the most sexual pizza pies in Manhattan. Oh lordy.

Like the bootleg lighting btw? I don't know why they can't turn on some damn lights inside. Maybe it's a "village" thing. Maybe harsh lighting hurts the delicate eyes of hipsters everywhere, and they have to accommodate for their local client base, but either way, I was super sad I had to make do with a candle.

Motorino's pizza menu

And then I had to change my pants. There's lots of opinions on Motorino's pies, but the general consensus is that 1. they're good and 2. they're probably one of the best in the city. I tend to agree with both those assessments. Although the one comment I will add is that it's a bit too rich for my tastes. I mean... $16 for a pie the size of a dinner plate? It'd take at LEAST three to constitute a full meal. I'm not made of money! I like my pizza cheap and greasy! I will make an exception occasionally for exceptional pizza though, and this stuff is the shit. You know how you know it's good? Because the pies all have funny names that I can't really pronounce. That's the mark of quality - truth.

Final tally of the damage... margherita, soppressata piccante, brussels sprouts & pancetta, and cremini & spicy sausage. That's right... four pies, because there's no point in eating if I'm not eating a lot. In any case, the order was split between five people... so it's not exactly me being a fat bastard all by myself. In reality, I didn't even get to have that much pizza...

The margherita was pretty erotic to be honest. It's nothing complex, just plain good crust... thin, chewy, and beautifully charred, supporting a sea of amazing cheese, sauce that was perfectly sweet yet tart, and pungent basil. The flavors blend together magically. If there's a comparable experience... it'd be similar to the first time you taste pizza - regardless of how shitty it was - it just tastes... right.

Brussels sprouts and pancetta

Brussels sprouts and pancetta... what is there to say about this pie? It's vegetables and what's basically flavored bacon. It basically rapes your mouth with flavors in ways you're not even sure you like (but I promise you will). Same great crust, slightly more in your face with the saltiness, it's really like a pizza combined with bacon salad on top. That sounds good to you too right?

The other two pies were good too... maybe too good. I never actually got a chance at photos before they were violated indecently by other people. I did like the spicy sausage (although it wasn't very spicy) and the soppressata (kind of like the pancetta sans the healthy part). Since they're all built on the same familiar formula, there's not much downside to any of them. I like Motorino. Sure I could buy 75 McNuggets for the same price, but I don't think it'd bring me the same sort of pleasure as rubbing mozzarella laced basil all over my face.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Soup dumplings for breakfast (King 5 Noodle House)

Soup dumplings

Growing up, I never understood why American breakfast sucked so much. All I ever heard in school was that breakfast was "the most important meal of the day," and that we had to eat healthy to get our day started off right. Whole wheat toast... eggs... orange juice. Bunk. It's a huge load of crap. It's all just a ploy by your parents and the man to keep you from being a hyper little asshole during class hours. Thankfully Taiwanese people don't really believe in this whole "eating healthy" nonsense. Nope, you start your day off with deep fried sticks of dough, sugar-laden soy milk, and soup dumplings. Like a boss. If you want to eat lighter, that's fine... you can scale back your meal with some pan-fried dumplings. Breakfast to Taiwanese people isn't something to be taken lightly. It is serious business.

It's been five months since I last experienced the hot torrid affair that is fried carbs sandwiched inside of baked carbs, so when "The Girl Who Ate Everything" mentioned that she was super curious about a Taiwanese place in Flushing, I was more than happy to oblige - even if it meant getting up at 8 AM on a weekend to take a train out to Flushing. Food > sleep in my ideology. After some last minute emailing, a fellowship of bloggers - consisting of Robyn, her friend Alex, Melissa, Yvo, and Noah - was formed... to travel deep into the depths of Queens to um... eat stuff?

I was told to order anything I felt was appropriate. When you say stuff like this to me, it goes in my ear as such, but parsed as "ORDER EVERYTHING ON THE MENU." I happily obliged as my heart fluttered at the thought of being reunited with Taiwanese food.

Salty soy milk

Then the food came. All at once. It was like an avalanche of plates filled with carbs, enough to shame Dr. Atkins entire family. For some reason the salty soy milk ended up in front of me. I'm not the biggest fan of the savory variant, but in the past I've been okay eating it. I'm used to it having pork floss, scallions, and the 油條 (fried cruller), but the dried shrimp part bothers me. I know some people like it, but 1. I am allergic to shellfish and 2. they have eyes. THEY ARE CONSTANTLY LOOKING AT YOU. It creeps me the fuck out. Pass.

蟹殼黃 scallion "sou bing"

Luckily I ordered like 10 different dishes, so I wasn't screwed. We also got an order of two 蟹殼黃 (scallion "sou bing"). What's not to like? It's a layered pastry that gets shoved full of scallions and baked until flaky. Tis' beautiful ಥ_ಥ. I never really order it though... because they're kind of inadequate in size for the price. The value curve is off even if they're absolutely delicious. King 5's were... not that good? I mean they tasted okay, but if you have scallion in the name, it's kind of deceptive if there are only two pieces inside. Admittedly, no one aside from a bunch of bloggers would be idiotic enough to cut it open to investigate, but still... I feel kind of cheated.

scallion pancakes

The scallion pancakes were slightly better. I counted at least three pieces of scallion. I always preferred the thicker street cart variant... the ones that started life as a giant ball of oily dough before being pounded into a disc and deep-fried in more oil. Those things are the shit... crispy, crunchy, savory, and chewy, they have it all. The scallion pancakes served here are pan-fried, so they have more of a homemade feel, if that makes sense. I think I actually ate four of the six pieces. Sorry to everyone who didn't get to have it. You can live vicariously through my crappy description here!

pot stickers

Of course I ordered 鍋貼 (potstickers). I know some people don't consider these to be a breakfast food, but I don't care. They're sensually tasty anytime of day. I'm not going be constrained by the clock as to when I can have fried dumplings. That's just silly. Plus they were on the breakfast menu, so... it's okay. Externally they look normal. They're open-ended and elongated dough wraps glistening in oil. Everything checks out. Internally though, they blew my mind. When I get potstickers in Taiwan, I'm usually greeted by something that's 70% dough... 30% meat, but these are hefty as hell. Higher cost is offset by more meat. This is okay with me.

燒餅油條 (oil sticks and sesame pancakes)

Then the mindfucks continued! When they brought the 燒餅油條 (shao bing you tiao), I was floored by the size. These things are basically like oil sticks on HGH, at least twice as large as the ones I get in Taiwan. But wait, something else was wrong. The bread thing... why was it sitting on the side looking all sad like? And the oil sticks, why are they exposed to the air RAPIDLY LOSING MOISTURE CONTENT? King 5 Noodle House... y u no put oil sticks inside the bing? As I happily crushed an oil stick and shoved it inside the bing, everyone else looked at me like I was an idiot. Apparently no one else was aware that's how it's served in Taiwan. Everyone else was just dipping their oil sticks in soy milk. FOOLS! Everyone must know the glory of fried carb inside baked carb sandwich! King 5's were pretty decent. An okay substitute for when I'm jonesin'.

韭菜盒子 (chive pastries)

This was a dish that Robyn requested. It's called 韭菜盒子 (jiu cai he zi), which translates literally to chive box. Yeah, awesome name. If I had to explain what it is... it's a mixture of vermicelli noodles, chives, egg, and sometimes pork/dried shrimp shoved inside a pocket of carbs (big surprise there). It's kind of like a fart flavored hot pocket. Chinese people love stuff that smells weird, so this was a natural progression of flavors.

Oh yeah, about those soup dumplings at the top. Another reason why I love Taiwanese breakfast is the acceptance of eating pork buns at 6 AM. Too legit to quit. No, the dumplings aren't wrapped with the thinnest of skins, they aren't overflowing with pork juices, and they aren't even stuffed with quality pork, but they do hit the spot if they're the first thing you eat in the morning. Similar to the potstickers, their soup dumplings had a larger nugget of meat than I expected. That kind of upsets the balance of soup vs. meat, but whatever... I'll take it.

King 5 Noodle House isn't the greatest Taiwanese breakfast place I've been to - that'd be in Taipei of course - but considering that it's infinitely closer, it's not too bad. The food is a moderately authentic, oversized, and cheap as shit (like $8 a person). I kinda want to try their beef noodle soup now...