20 June 2013

Taste of Cho ~ Taiwanese - Market City, Haymarket/Chinatown

One of our readers put us onto this crazy popular Taiwanese stall on the first floor of Market City shopping centre, Chinatown. We thank you. Oh, how we thank you.

We've been to Taste of Cho at all hours of the day and it's always busy, we are yet to see it empty. Even in the 3pm restaurant dead zone a crowd of hungry punters can appear out of nowhere like zombies at a Mensa convention.

The big drawcard is the wonderful bainmarie of precooked homely dishes that are fresh and ready to go.

There's also a bunch of super fresh side dishes you can add alongside your meal in small takeaway containers.

Ordering can be a little confusing the first time you visit. Join the queue as it stretches back towards the IGA supermarket. Tell the nice lady what you want and she will hand you a ticket.  We've seen 30+ customers waiting for their meals at lunchtime but we've barely ever waited more than a few minutes. The cooked-to-order dishes can take a bit longer of course.

$9.50 for choice of three dishes on rice (or $7.50 for two). We have pork trotters in a sweet brown sauce, pig intestines with pickled cabbage and garlic shoots with slices of hard pressed tofu, served with a generous amount of rice. The pig trotters leave a slightly fatty sticky residue on your lips when you munch down on the jelly like skin.

Another three choices on rice for $9.50 - smoky eggplant, prawn omelette (seems to be a classic dish in Taiwanese joints around town) and braised chicken drumsticks with a light sweet sticky sauce with hits of star anise and a little chili.

Back again for more three choices with rice for $9.50. Prawns in chili, garlic and basil. We dig the flavours but we can never quite appreciate prawns cooked in their shells, we grew up peeling the buggers. The pork and mushrooms has a nice salty hit.

Special mention must be given to the sweet and sour pork, it is insanely good: thin slices of swine coated in a little something and fried to a light crunch, and covered with a dark rich sweet sauce, more like plum sauce, the sugars have caramelised giving it a lovely toffee note. Yeah baby.

We see a lot of folks buying containers of this stuff to take away, you can get a small container for $4 - bargain.

Chili fish fillet mix'n'match meal box. Fried fish with not much chili and a couple of side dishes with rice. The fish was ok but we reckon the fried chicken or pork chop would be tastier. A good deal for only $8.50 (or $10 with lu lo fan pork'n' rice; or $10 with cold noodles).

Curry box with deep fried pork chop (or fried chicken wings, chicken fillet or fish fillet) - $10. Deep fried boneless pork chop on rice with some Japanese style curry on the side. You know it's good.

Lu lo fan - $5. Pork and rice from the 'light' section of the menu (you can also have this with the meal box).

A side of chili and anchovies - this is the dish that made us want to come here in the first place. $4. It's nice and fishy without being overly fishy, and the chilis are mild.

A side of tofu skins, cool, sweet and refreshing. $4.

Ice tea with pudding for an extra $1. The pudding is like a firm custard, you can have it in your tea or on the side.

Taste of Cho Menu.

Taste of Cho menu.

We feel kind of bad that we use so much plastic packaging each time. We should bring our own utensils and ask to forgo the bag but it's a bit hard when they're so busy. Say farewell to the Monorail in the background.

Taste of Cho is predominately a takeaway joint, most folks get their food and scuttle off elsewhere. If you wish to dine in there's a small counter and a few stalls along the back of the stand. We can usually get a seat here, otherwise there's more seats at the top floor food court.  Or if you feel like a bevvy with your feed they will let you bring food into the Macau Bar, it's a dinky sports bar but they often have good deals on Tiger on tap. Put a fiver on Harry's Boy at Sandown for us while you're at it. If it's a nice day head outside for the seats next to the Entertainment Centre and commune with the seagulls.

Taste of Cho is on the first floor of Market City Shopping Centre, in front of the big, awesome IGA supermarket. Market City is above Paddy's Market, 9-13 Hay Street Haymarket NSW 2000.

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  1. Looks excellent! Will have to try this out. Taiwanese is some of my favourite food. A few comments in particular: the Taiwanese love their fried pork/chicken, so it's great to see they're doing it well here! Also, i pretty much never peel prawns anymore - this stems from being lazy at childhood and eating fried prawns (fried so that the shell becomes soft-ish) but as I grew up i realised that the shell added an interesting texture + taste + it captured most of the sauce/seasoning/batter + high in calcium..

    The main thing i want to try from here is the Lu Lo Fan (in fact most other places, especially in Taiwan, spell it Lu-Rou-Fan as is the proper pinyin), Do they only use mince or do they have actual stewed pork belly?

    1. Taiwanese is fast becoming a favourite for us as well. We tried the Lu Lo Fan and it was with small diced pieces of pork instead of mince.


Thanks for your comment joy - please keep your musings happy - if you want to complain about a restaurant please do it on a restaurant review site (or your own blog) - we're all about celebrating cultural diversity and the great eats that come along with it :-)

Our ethics: We pay for all our own meals and travel (though sometimes Mum shouts us).