Seen the name at CTown Summer Nights and Taiwanese Food is one of my favorites. My mom is from Taipei, and I am very fortunate for all the trips to SGV growing up. So this food means a lot to me. My Grandma on my Mom’s side is also a very good home cook, so I am lucky in that aspect as well.
Lao Tao is on the 2nd floor of the Far East Plaza. I think for a lot of American Born’s in the LA area, the Far East Plaza is pure nostalgia. We have memories of this place. Of course in the past few years this Plaza has gotten very popular with Chego and Howlin Rays. I like how it is now, a mix of the New and Old. Where else can you get Fish Ball Noodle Soups and Leek Cakes at Kim Chuy, Vietnamese snacks next door, Shanxi-style Chinese Food at Qin West, Chego and its Stoner Bowls of Mexican and Asian Fusion, Nashville Hot Chicken at Howlin Rays, Tea-based drinks at Ten Ren, and upstairs pure Hong Kong at Fortune Gourmet with its white cut chicken, water spinach, shrimp and scrambled eggs and daily soup (Cantonese Soups are underrated) or across the way for HK Western Food. Now there is Taiwanese!
The Ban Mian. Beef is nice and tender, with a light “lu wei” flavor. Noodles were QQ and wide. Didn’t get much Bone Marrow from the sauce. Solid. Homemade pickled veggies/suan cai.
The Pork Belly Bowl or their version of Lu Rou Fan. Pure Taiwan Soul Food. This was a huge miss for me. The pork? Why is this not darker? It is braised, low and slow, in soy sauce, wine, rock sugar, and other spices, or it should be! This is very watered down and it is missing the richness that makes this a soulful dish. The Egg/Lu Dan is pretty bland, and again you can tell by the color.
The Sausage. I liked it. But not better than Sinbala. I actually prefer my Chinese Sausage more sweeter and garlicky. Take a pack of sausage and throw it in the rice cooker, and blanche some Chinese greens is a perfect meal for me. I probably wouldn’t order it again.
The Oyster Omelette. I think it was missing starch? (corn/sweet potato/tapioca). Sauce was sweet with a hint of spice, you get briney from the oysters, but the egg lacked flavor.
It is a good intro to Taiwanese food and I am glad they are here, but for me, it was a little average. Others will appreciate the lighter flavors. I’ll be back to try other items.