Thursday, March 18, 2010

[台北市] - 波記茶餐廳 - Boji Hong Kong Cafe (Taipei)

Boji, or simply Bor's place in translation, was opened by a Hong Kong expat living in Taipei upwards of 6+ years ago when the local market for Cantonese cuisine centered mostly around dim sum (some restaurants offering supposedly less than authentic fare and open upwards of 24 hours!), jook (congee/porridge), and BBQ (cha siu, roast duck etc). Since then many competitors have opened up. I'm told a majority of them have closed, and Boji is one of a few still standing.

Three key aspects and criteria should apply to any HK style cafe worldwide: Variety, Quality, and Value. All three are and can be relative, but VQV is pretty much the golden standard at such places.

Boji definitely does 5 star work in variety, as Bor touts upwards of 17 kinds of drinks, 5 kinds of street food snack items, 10 kinds of sandwiches including French Toast, 9 kinds of HK style snacks, 19 kinds of stir fry, 17 kinds of rice plates, 2 kinds of green veg dishes (haha only TWO), 6 kinds of congee, 12 kinds of instant noodle (soup and stir fry!), Cantonese "old fire" slow cooked soup of the day, 10 kinds of stir fry noodles (egg & rice noodles), 11 kinds of lo mein, 3 kinds of dessert, 4 vegetarian dishes, 6 kinds of curry rice, 5 udon based dishes, 6 dishes with a ham & egg theme, 6 kinds of non slow cooked soups.

The interior looks rather run down and old, and I believe this was entirely on purpose to make it look old school and historical. So in that regard, the owner didn't really have to do much! This included the cracks on the walls at random, chips and wear n' tear around the chairs.

What is cool about the interior is that the owner tips his hat in tribute to 王家衛Wong Ka Wei's films with movie posters for Days of Being Wild and 2046. Coincidentally Days of Being Wild had some scenes filmed inside Queen's Cafe in Hong Kong (also a HK style cafe, but for the anal retentive, it's Shanghainese style Russian food).

Here are the restaurant's supposed specials that claim to represent their best:

*silk stocking milk tea - a mixed leaf blend placed inside a cheese cloth filter in a large tall metal teapot. Hot water is poured in then after straining the liquid is poured back in another teapot with the filter, 4 to 5 times.

*Yin Yang milk tea - red tea at the bottom, coffee is poured in. Add milk and sugar...

*HK style French Toast - peanut butter, add egg, deep fry, add honey and butter

*HK style desserts of stewed milk and egg white, add fresh fruit

*fried pork intestines (for you nasty bit fans) - after cleaning, marinated with honey, white vinegar, red sauce, rock sugar for 12 hours, hang dry for a day and deep fry that muthafugga.

*spam with 2 fried eggs over rice (eggs are cooked halfway) and served with old soy and sugar based special sauce.

*shui gow dumpling Fung Shing style - salted duck egg based dumpling skins, and insides are fresh shrimp, woodear funghi, bamboo.

*XO sauce stir fried instant noodles - doesn't get wackier than this

*satay skewers with Thailand Jasmine rice

*Soup of the day (Cantonese style slow cooked, limited to 30 bowls a day)

Didn't get to try much here, as I ate dinner at Ningxia Night Market before coming here and was already 80% full where most people would stop. But heck I was on vacation, a little more binging never hurt anyone right?

Shared and ordered:

Curry Fishball skewer - ok so this is supposedly one of their specials. Perhaps I'm used to the kind that's not been deep fried first and even so it tasted nothing like my childhood. Thankfully no diarrhea occured after eating this. The curry had mild to virtually no kick. A great effort but for Taipei this was surprisingly disappointing.

HK style silk stock milk tea on ice - I'm not sure what to think of their rendition. It tasted a bit malty at the same time, and well very different than HK style cafes in the San Francisco Bay Area (at least some of the nicer ones). Perhaps it is a flavor I'm not used to, but it certainly was not a 5 let alone 7 leaf blend like at Charles Phan's Out The Door version.

Pineapple bun with butter slab - First of all the bun wasn't fresh out of the oven, it's been sitting for a while (granted not baked, but reheated to order). The sugary top crust was not golden brown but more of a dark red hue that wasn't as visually appealing. The amount of butter they put inside was absolutely criminal (way too thick) which luckily did help improve the enjoyment of its consumption a wee bit more. The thickness however didn't help as not all of the butter melted like it should in concept.

If this is the best Taipei has to offer, it is definitely a very low standard indeed. Not bad but not great.

Perhaps there are better selections off the menu. Alas this once again proves that solid Cantonese (or HK style western) is actually quite rare in Taipei.

波記茶餐廳 (Boji Hong Kong style Cafe)

北市延吉街70巷8號 - Taipei City, Ting Ji Street Alley 70, #8 (near Zhongxiao E Rd 4th portion

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