Taiwan Bear House: A Taste of Taiwan
Hi Everyone! Today, I want to quickly share with you a cool Taiwanese spot in the heart of Chinatown, NYC. My Taiwanese friends go crazy about this place because it reminds them of their Formosan heritage. When Steph and I went for the first time in May 2016, I could tell that Steph was super happy as she reminisced of Taiwan and its Night Markets.
For those of you that don't know, Taiwan is renowned for its night markets, which feature stalls selling clothes, goods, snacks, as well as some carnival-esque games. Some of the most popular eats include deep-fried chicken, grilled Taiwanese sausages, scallion pancakes, and oyster omelets. For a casual traveler like myself, there is a good amount of pleasure derived from just walking around a bustling foreign area filled with mystery and culture, especially when it involves some hardcore snacking. For that reason, I am a huge fan of Taiwan's night markets.
Anyway, Taiwan Bear House's menu is quite simple. There are several "snacks" that include Fried Chicken Leg, Night Market Crispy Leg, and Golden Crust Pork Chops. These snacks can be upgraded into a "Bento Box", each of which include a hard-boiled egg, a dry cube of tofu, garlic cabbage, and a sea of rice drenched in a respectable amount of simmered minced pork. Steph explained that, in Taiwan, they're called bian dang and are treasured for their convenience and deliciousness! Taiwan Bear House sells each of these boxes for about $10 and seriously packs the food into a dense arrangement of ingredients.
MUST TRY: Get the drink combo for a more legit experience. You can choose between Milk Tea, Fruit Tea, Taiwan Apple Cider, and Taiwan Root Beer. I recommend either the Taiwan Apple Cider (Apple Sidra) or the Taiwan Root Beer (Sarsaparilla). Every time Steph's family has house parties with 40+ Asian people (most of whom are from Taiwan), there are always several cold packs of these two drinks lying around.
Would definitely come back!
Steph got the Fried Chicken Leg Bento Box. Super tender. Super flavorful. It's fairly similar to the actual Hot-Star Fried Chicken you can get at the Shilin Night Market. How is it similar? It's basically just a huge, flat piece of fried chicken with a moist, juicy interior and a crunchy exterior drizzled with some five-spice powder! The main difference is that Taiwan Bear House uses the chicken leg, while the Night Markets use chicken breast.
Taiwan Bear House's powder is pretty spicy! But, I loved it. Five-spice powder is popular in Chinese cuisine. It's usually made with Cinnamon, Star Anise, Cloves, Sichuan Pepper, and Fennel Seeds. I got the Night Market Crispy Chicken Bento Box, which was a little bit more like boneless chunks of popcorn chicken. It's nothing fancy but it gets the job done. I was rendered comatose the rest of the afternoon. Goal achieved!