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Taiwan Noodle

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If it had not been for one of our readers, who knows when we might have stumbled upon this little gem. Taiwan Noodle is located at 218 Central Avenue in Albany, in the space formerly occupied by Saso's Japanese Restaurant. I hadn't known another food establishment had moved in. Now I know!

Taiwain Noodle's cuisine boasts everything from dim sum, to noodle soups, lo mein, rice dishes, and more. What's more is that the value just can't be beat. Rest assured, if you're looking for your typical, blah, run of the mill Chinese food then this is not the food you are looking for. However, if you're looking for cuisine, at a deal, that's also a great experience, then I think you'll be pleased with Taiwan Noodle.

Brian and I arrived, and though the establishment was quite busy, there were still a few open tables. Tea was served, and then we began to order. You can not go without dim sum! Shame on you if you skip the dim sum! We ordered the Steamed Pork Buns ($3.25), Fried Wontons ($5.45), and Soup Dumplings (which aren't listed as Soup Dumplings on the menu. So you have to ask. I can't remember what it's actually listed as). For an entree, Brian ordered the Spicy Noodle with Meat ($4.95), and I ordered the Chicken with Chinese Sausage Rice Basket ($7.95).

Be warned, and prepared, that there will be a language barrier if you have questions. It's just the nature of the beast, and happens more often than not with international cuisine. Most times, there will be someone on hand who speaks better English than the rest, but it's  still a good idea to know what to expect upon embarking.

A couple of minutes after ordering, Brian and I were served soup. Wow, what a delicious soup! It took a couple of tries to ask, but we finally discovered it was a seaweed soup with egg drop. We were so tempted to order more, but we knew food would be coming en masse.

Starting with the dim sum, the fried wontons were absolutely out of this world. We don't know what the mixture was, that was inside. What we did know, was that it was amazing. The soup dumplings were also delish, but the dumpling itself was much thicker than expected. More dumpling equals less soup, but it was still flavorful. The steamed pork bun was an acquired taste. It's a thick bun, with a small pork mixture inside. The bun itself doesn't have flavor, but it takes well to having flavor added. After applying some soy to the bun, I found myself enjoying it more. Brian was less of a fan, so I gladly finished the buns while leaving him to attack the remaining soup dumplings.

The entrees get mixed reviews. The noodles in Brian's dish were perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of chew. However, the spicy meat mixture had a lot of ingredients Brian tends to pass on and hadn't known they were in the dish. At first I thought his dish to be too spicy, and in a less than flavorful way, but much of the meat mixture wasn't mixed into the taste that I had. That said, I think it could have used some soy doctoring as well.

For my dish, the cut chicken pieces, though moist and wonderfully tender, had a lot of fat that should have been rendered and didn't really lend itself well to a steamed preparation. Fat on meat is something that has to be handled delicately, seared to a 'melt in your mouth' texture. Steamed, and congealed just isn't appetizing to the palate. I also learned that I'm not a fan of Chinese sausage. This isn't the fault of the sausage, as I believe that's just the way the product is, but it had a sweetness to it that was almost jam like.

Service was fast and friendly, and while I probably wouldn't call Taiwan Noodle my top contender in the realm of dim sum, and Chinese cuisine, I can definitely see going back. Their dim sum was enjoyable, and I'm intrigued enough by the cuisine that I had, that I'd to try their soup dishes as well.

(More pictures after the review)

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Spicy Noodle w/Meat Chicken w/Chinese Sausage




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Fried Wontons Steamed Pork Buns
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Soup Dumplings