New York has its share of hotspots restaurants to pick up homey Taiwanese food, like Taiwan Bear House, Formosa Cafe, or Win Son, and now, the sisters behind hip, Instagram-friendly restaurant Mimi Cheng’s are adding to the mix. The Village Voice reports that Hannah and Marian Cheng plan to add more classic Taiwanese dishes like beef noodle soup to the Nolita location of their restaurant.
Their restaurants have always served Taiwanese food, but the focus has largely been on organic dumplings, including ones with less conventionally Taiwanese fillings like kale. Now, the Chengs plan to expand the menu to include a wider swathe of more traditional dishes that they love from their childhood or from visits to Taiwan.
First to be added to the menu is beef noodle soup and lu rou fan, a braised pork over rice dish that the Chengs call Formosa’s Pride. Both are hallmarks of Taiwanese food. Here’s how the Cheng sisters serve it, according to Village Voice:
Their riff on the classic [lu rou fan] has the ground pork braised with shiitake mushrooms in a soy-based sauce, resulting in a pleasantly chewy, sweet umami-laden rush of flavors, served over a clean bed of baby bok choy and steamed white rice.
For a dish that has a festival named after it in the homeland, the sisters were determined to come up with a version that deserved “to be called Taiwanese beef noodle soup,” says Cheng.
Their rendition simmers bone marrow to make the rich broth that envelopes the fresh wheat noodles and leafy Taiwanese greens that turn pulpy as they sit; pickled cabbage and thinly sliced scallions top the dish, providing a fresh, reinvigorating hit of flavor.
The new items are offered at the location at 380 Broome St., between Mott and Mulberry St. Here’s a look at the beef noodle soup:
Taiwanese restaurants aren’t nearly as common or popularized as Cantonese or Sichuan food in New York, but the influence of Taiwan cuisine is probably more prevalent in New York than you realize. Popular shaved iced shops like Snowdays — where the lightly sweetened, icy treats are made up of thin pieces of ice — are directly inspired by Taiwanese food. Bubble tea, also called boba, is also an invention from Taiwan. Chains like ViVi Bubble Tea offer other popular Taiwanese snacks like popcorn fried chicken.
Mimi Cheng’s is one of a whole slew of younger Taiwanese Americans doing locavore takes on classics of the cuisine. Win Son offers the Williamsburg-hip setting for Taiwanese food, and the Boba Guys from SF have opened several outposts of their artisanal version of bubble tea.