Restaurant: Taste of Formosa
The Stew: Ox Tail Stew
Other Food Ordered: Taiwanese Dumpling, Pork Belly Rice, Stinky Tofu, Fried Pig Intestine, Black Sesame Pudding,
(New!) Server’s Choice: Ground Pork with Bamboo Shoots
Of all the Fox Stew meals we’ve had so far, this one was definitely the most exotic. We all stepped out of our comfort zones just a little bit and had the great pleasure of tasting some completely new flavors (and smelling some completely new smells) that are unlike anything we’d experienced before.
We ventured to the inner richmond district to a restaurant called “Taste of Formosa” that was guaranteed to have the closest thing to authentic Taiwanese food San Francisco has to offer. Several dishes were recommended to us as “must-haves”: The stinky tofu, ox tail stew, and pig intestine. But while we were ordering we decided to included a new tradition: “Server’s choice”. Every restaurant we’ve been to so far has had native servers who are (obviously) very familiar with their culture’s foods and restaurant’s menu. So who better to ask for an additional entree dish than the server?
These recommendations combined with our own choices left us with a great variety of foods at our table: ox tail stew, taiwanese dumpling, pork belly rice, stinky tofu, fried pig intestine, and ground pork with bamboo shoots. Additionally, we ordered desserts including black bean soup and a tofu custard with red bean paste.
We started with the soup and dumpling. The dumpling was surprisingly very different from a chinese dumpling in that it was much larger in size and therefore meatier inside. It made for a perfect starter to share. The ox tail stew was extremely popular. It was what every stew should be: comforting, warm, and rich. We were definitely not disappointed by these appetizers!
The dish that made people most uncomfortable was definitely the pig intestine. Luckily it was deep fried, so the flavor was more mild than usual and the fried greasiness added a familiar touch. It was actually one of my favorite dishes and had a nice earthiness to it. Another difficult dish for us was the stinky tofu. Also fried, the difficult aspect of this dish (as you could imagine) was the smell. It was tasty with the included sauce, but otherwise, it was difficult for most of us to get past the unique smell.
The more popular dishes were the ground pork with bamboo shoots and the pork belly rice. Pork belly can never steer a food lover in the wrong direction! This was a great dish that everyone enjoyed. The pork with bamboo shoots were very similar but had a more unique flavor that made it my favorite dish of the night, just beating the pork intestines!
Finally, for dessert we had two custards: a warm black sesame soup and colder custard with red bean toppings. These desserts were unusual for our palettes, and difficult to finish to be honest. The black sesame soup was not very flavorful or sweet, but instead had an earthy flavor to it and the other custard was also pretty flavorless unless paired with some of the red bean topping which was the best part of the entire dessert.
Overall, Taiwan showed us an extremely unique cuisine that I can’t wait to experience more of one day! While some dishes definitely took some getting used to, we had a great meal together and finished everything on our plates with smiles, good company, and new experiences under our belts.
Dan’s Favorite: Taiwanese Dumpling
Iraina’s Favorite: Pork Belly Rice
Ned’s Favorite: Ox tail Soup
Gabi’s Favorite: Pork with Bamboo Shoots (But the pork intestines were a close second!)
Taste of Formosa, 2428 Clement St. San Francisco, CA 94121