I have a strange relationship with Taiwanese food. Is it wrong to say that I really enjoy Taiwanese food, except when in Taiwan? I visited my aunties in Taipei a few years ago and found the cuisine overwhelming. (Ee-Ees, if you are reading this, I am so sorry, and thank you for looking after me). There were a lot of strange textures and overly pungent flavours, which I struggled with.
But there are several Taiwanese eateries (e.g. My Kitchen, Momo Tea, J’s Tea) that have done well in conservative NZ, and I think the main reasons for this are the toned down flavours, the variety of snack dishes (basically Chinese tapas) and bubble tea. My Kitchen has two branches, one on Dominion Rd, and the other at the Somerville shops, Meadowlands. I have visited the Dominion Rd branch many times, as the extensive menu lends itself well both to an after-work drink and snack, and a full meal. The furniture is getting a bit worn and tattered though you can’t tell from the photo.
The menu at My Kitchen spans the esoteric (pig ear, tripe, stinky tofu, coffin toast) and also the familiar (dumplings, noodles, teriyaki meats). There are helpful pictorials to go with each menu item, which was great for my Dumpling club colleagues who I was inducting into the Taiwanese cuisine.
One aspect of Taiwanese food I love is that their main dishes come with several side dishes, typically an egg dish and a couple of vegetable dishes. These change regularly, so you never know what’s coming. The spicy beef on rice ($11.90) came with tender beef cooked with dried chillies, a seaweed soup, rice with minced pork, a tomato egg dish, pak choy and bean curd skin in a sesame oil dressing. There was even a wedge of orange for dessert!
The pork and vege thick soup ($5.90) consisted of pork strips and preserved mustard vegetables in a delicious broth.
My dining companions were keen to try the stinky tofu ($6.90). This is deep-fried fermented tofu served with pickled cabbage and chilli sauce. The version I grew up with (and groaned every time Di ordered it) is so highly pungent, you could smell it several feet away from the table, so I was not exactly keen. However, to my relief, this is a mild version, and was really tasty. The fermentation process develops a depth of savoury flavour.
For dessert, I am addicted to the fried soft buns served with sweetened condensed milk ($5.90). The bread crispy with a pillow soft centre, and makes a great mopping vessel. I always ask for extra condensed milk.
They also serve a wide range of bubble tea and iced drinks. Another great thing about My Kitchen is that it is always open. If I want to catch up with someone after work, this is a great place to get a drink and a snack.
My Kitchen Taiwanese Cuisine
543 Dominion Rd, Balmoral, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 6309600
Open 7 days: 11:30am until late
Shop E12, 119 Meadowland Drive, Howick, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 532 9888