Friday, March 30, 2007
Facing East: Taiwanese Cuisine in Bellevue
At my husband’s request, this is our second time visiting Facing East in one week. We made the mistake of coming at around 6 p.m. on a Saturday and faced a wait inside the crowded tiny restaurant located in a strip mall next to the Bellevue Post Office. The second time we came in at around 5 p.m. on a weekday, and there was no wait. I’ve been eating Chinese food for a long time, but Taiwanese cuisine is new territory for me so I asked the friendly server for recommendations in addition to the favorites my husband had ordered.
We started off with the Citrus Fruit Tea, a refreshing medley of fruit flavors in an eye-catching array of lemons, oranges and green apples floating in a clear teapot that can be served hot or cold. I spotted these on almost every table during our first visit and inquired about it immediately. We ordered it hot the first time on a cold and rainy day, and the second time, ordered it cold after a day at the park; both are delicious. The Sweet Potato Flour Dumplings with Pork Stuffing (sold out the first time we went) arrived next, followed by the Taiwanese Style Chow Mein, Spiced Pork Stew over Rice (a popular favorite), Five Spiced Fried Chicken with Basil Puree, Pork Pottage with Noodles (husband’s favorite), and the Taiwanese Pork Burger.
Because I am not a big fan of black mushrooms and bamboo shoots, I passed the Dumplings over to my husband as the stuffing contained a generous portion of the above. The Taiwanese Style Chow Mein ($8.25) is great for the kids. The Spiced Pork Stew ($2.75-small, $3.99-large, pictured) is incredibly flavorful; rice topped with minced fatty pork and bathed in a delicious broth-something to be had every once in awhile before you’ll start needing a prescription for Lipitor. My favorites are the Five Spiced Fried chicken with Basil Puree ($5.25)—bits of chicken deep-fried with basil, and the Taiwanese Pork Burger ($2.75)—another luscious and fatty slice of pork with bits of preserved vegetable and an indescribable sauce, sandwiched between traditional white flour bread. The Pork Pottage with noodles ($4.99) is nicely done according to my husband; large chunks of pork steeped in fish paste and suspended in a starchy sweet broth. There are still many other items to be had on the small, yet comprehensive menu. Next on my list to try: the Salt Pepper Shrimp and Broiled Cod with Miso Glaze.
ETA: Favorite dishes are now: Broiled Cod with Miso Glaze, Shrimp Rolls (delicious, and you must ask for their chili sauce), Taiwanese Shaved Ice (not on the menu) for dessert.
Closed Mondays; credit cards $20 minimum
1075 Bellevue Way NE (inside the Belgate Plaza)