A few months ago, I had mad cravings for Taiwanese food - stinky tofu, oyster pancakes, oil sticks, and a bunch of other shit that most white people aren't even aware of - but there exists the problem that there really aren't any incredible Taiwanese restaurants in Manhattan. Solution: go to Flushing? Evidently not. Instead of finding some dope-ass Taiwanese cuisine, all I gained was a very important life lesson: that you shouldn't eat at a restaurant solely on the basis of it having an awesome name. Even if it's a name as awesome as "Gu Shine." Unfortunately, I don't really think this is a case of the owners being massively pro at trolling people... I'm pretty sure it's just another case of fobbish translations gone demented since the Chinese name of 故鄉 is actually pretty quaint (ps - it means 'home'). What exactly is wrong with Gu Shine?
I guess... technically nothing. It's not as if the food they serve is ass-crack vile, it's just that what they serve isn't an exact reproduction of what exists in the motherland. Know that demotivational poster of "retarded ice cream?" Gu Shine is like that. They get 90% of the way there, then they do something weird and you end up with retarded versions of your nostalgic Taiwanese classics.
Shit son, it's fuckin' oyster pancakes. I love me some fuckin' oyster pancake - so much that I'm willing to break out in hives in order to eat them. Totally worth it. But what Gu Shine did wasn't right. Sure, the requisite ingredients of potato starch, egg, and oysters (as few as there were) were all there... something wasn't quite right. This... is what oyster pancakes should look like - not a plate of placenta explosion as seen at the top. To be entirely fair, their rendition of eggs, starch, and oysters wasn't all that terrible in terms of taste. While the omelette part was kind of nondescript in terms of texture (it should be somewhat gelatinous) and bland in flavor, the sauce was pretty bangin'. But if you're thinking about it that way, you're more or less paying $4 for a plate of sauce. Does that make sense? Probably not, unless you're either rich or stupid.
There are only two things I enjoy more than shoving fermented pieces of curd that smell like asshole into my mouth, one is Reddit, and the other is probably inappropriate for public knowledge. You're probably thinking... lucky you, Gu Shine has your third most enjoyable thing in the world! Wrong. The perfect plate of stinky tofu has a pungency that offends your olfactory glands from blocks away. The scent possesses a certain endearing charm I can only assume is exactly the same as when male dogs sense a female in heat. Texturally, it should be no different from blocks of fried silken tofu - a skin that's crispy and eerily resilient with a center that essentially melts upon contact.
They look like blocks of foam that got refried...
Theirs... is none of that. I was neither offended with the smell nor was I impressed with the frying. It kinda tasted like... eating blocks of semi-fried mozzarella sticks that were starting to go bad. Don't get me wrong, I still ate all of it, but my cravings weren't exactly satisfied. If nothing else, I was just confused about what I was eating. Again, it's not entirely bad, just not what I expected.
tl;dr - The search for legitimate Taiwanese food in NYC continues. Gu Shine serves Taiwanese food almost authentic enough to make you want it more, but also mediocre enough to entirely disappoint you if you've had the original. Sweet name though.
135-38 39th Avenue, Queens, NY 11354