I have always loved a good stack of spring rolls to start off my Asian, Asian fusion, Asian-influenced, AsianÂ what-have-you meal. That love, however,Â has just transcended to a whole new level of appreciationÂ thanks to Lukshon’s Duck Popiah.
Since you can’t have a good burrito or taco without a good tortilla; the same applies to their Asianfied counterparts.Â The overall quality is owedÂ in no small part to the wrapper – the freshness of which was apparent from the moment my dining companion and I observed the Chef de partie rolling the skinnyÂ scrolls from our seats at the bar of Lukson’s beautiful, open kitchen. The balmy textureÂ of the wrap made it undeniable thatÂ the skinsÂ were battered and rolled in-house. It made me yearn for the makers of even the best Chinese beef rolls I’ve had in San GabrielÂ to trade in their often dry, flourÂ wraps for these.
And theÂ freshÂ cilantro, the pickled jicama,Â all those vibrant flavors coming together with the rich bird that isÂ duck, and altogether dressed in aÂ house-made hoisin chile sauce. So delicious. The collapse of that soft shell revealed the crunch of bright, pickledÂ flavors paired with tender duck meat, all of which is dressed in sweetÂ and spicy. The popiahÂ were pretty much my favorite thing at Lukshon during my first and only visit thus far. I enjoyed my other dishes (and also loved the cocktails), but I still feel unqualified to say what they were until I visit a few more times. But the duck popiah and its refined execution on all levels…I already know this one is a wash. A favorite. Rinse, repeat.Â
I’ll be back for more, dear Lukshon. As for you, go – and report back on what your favorites are.
Mon – Sat
5:30 PM – 10:30 PM
Lukshon 3239 Helms Ave. Culver City, CA 90034 310.202.6808
It was one of my last nights in Taiwan when my mom and I met one of her old childhood friends at Su Hung, a restaurant surprisingly located in a shopping structure adjacent to a subway station. As we ascended the stairs, a hot pot restaurant caught my eye – but I was ever lucky that Su Hung was the one that came recommended.
I had decided to resist the hype of Din Tai Fung, further dissuaded by word of endless waits and an eagerness to avoid being lumped into the “eating tourist” demographic. After all, why settle for the merely better-than-Arcadian version of the restaurant chain, with possibly an even worse wait? I had a bloodline to honor.
Su Hung offers not pork soup dumplings, but rather loofah-greens-and-shrimp soup dumplings. You can eat more of these than the very popular pork version and you’d be hard-pressed to find a more specialized soup dumpling anywhere else in Taipei – much less in America. There is less soup in these, but they’re a nice departure for diners looking for something lighter, a little different and less obvious.
There are plenty of other dishes at Su Hung that will quench your appetite for the savory, including the very delicious tofu dish which comes in a stone pot immersed in a broth made with braised crab eggs. Though I enjoyed pretty much everything that came out from the kitchen, this was my favorite preparation of tofu during my entire Taiwan trip (and you can guess that with all the meals shared with relatives, vegetarian and non-, there were a lot). Never the brave one to crack the middle innards of a crab shell open (I’m a leg woman), I really appreciated this delicious sauce and barely fried tofu with a texture that was silken yet could hold its own to the temperature. Boiling stone pots never fail to excite me as they approach the table – and this one far exceeded even my expectations.
If you’re looking for a unique yet delicious noodle dish, order the Simmered Noodles – a simple bowl of wheat noodles-in-chicken-broth that attains its complex taste and texture by, you guessed it, simmering for a long time. It’s dressed with tiny dried shrimp and green onion, and was perfectly comforting for that rainy day we happened to eat at Su Hung. Divy up that medium-sized bowl with your dining partners, and your seconds and thirds will show you that you wished the portion was even bigger. Guess you’ll have to order another, or another of their specialties.
And of course, the title picture may evoke memories…of the East Village. Rather than being portioned out individually at Momofuku for $9 a pop, you’ll get enough green onion, wilted cilantro (just like New York) and braised pork belly to fill 6 “bao” tacos for NT $360 (USD $12). You actually are given only 4 shells to begin with, but the waitstaff will graciously bring you more should you have more honey-braised pork belly to stuff them with. Of course, this is an unfair price point and cost-of-living comparison, but it’s just one more reason this dish is a definite must-order when you dine at Su Hung. It’s your favorite Hunan-style hamburger, ever that much closer to the source.
No meal is complete without dessert, and Su Hung has the perfect version of your typical red bean-filled sesame rice balls you would otherwise see being wheeled around, cold, on carts at San Gabriel Valley dim sum. This version comes hot and flat, like a freshly-made, sweet rice crepe, with the red bean oozing out from all sides at which it is cut.
Su Hung offers unique and well-executed dishes that will surely enrich your Taipei dining experience. It was ironic that the Taipei Times’ review of the place published online on the very day I dined there. It had mostly favorable views, consistent with my pleasant experience.Â It seems as though the businessmen that line their tables are really on to something – and those looking for a solid meal, period, would serve themselves well to take their cue.
11:30 AM – 2 PM 5:30 PM – 9 PM
Su Hung Restaurant 2-1, Jinan Rd Sec 1 Taipei City, Taiwan 02.2396.3186