Friday, December 29, 2006

chinese: i don't recommend HWA YOUNG GOURMET AND BANQUET

(02) 2175-3888


visit reviewed: 11/18/2007

sau mai, chicken feet and shrimp balls

When the Miramar Mall or Mei Li Hwa first opened a few years ago, it was a popular destination for its shopping, movies and IMAX theater, but mostly the ferris wheel (the third largest in Asia). Families, couples and tourists waited for over an hour for a 17 minute ride in a private seat for a sky high view of Taipei. Nowadays, you can hop on the ferris wheel for less than a 10 minute wait.

While visiting Miramar, our family wanted to eat somewhere decent, but not at the food court. While checking out our options on the 5th floor, there was a 20-30 minute wait at Hwa Young which seemed packed with customers eating amidst dim sum carts, a Japanese restaurant and a steak place. We ended up putting our name on the list for Hwa Young- thinking it must be worth the wait- it must be good if that's where everyone is eating. The wait sped by as we shopped nearby and waited for our cell to ring.

The inside was booked with a wedding, so the seating was limited to the outside seating area, sort of like a patio that provided a view of the escalators and the mall. After checking out the website, apparently much of their business is offering wedding banquet services.

The extensive menu, in English and Chinese, had a lot more to choose from than I expected- lots of main dishes, dim sum options and specialty appetizers with nouveau sounding names. We stuck to dim sum with a few side dishes- kon ching tsai vegetables, fried tofu and duck.

I was excited by the first few bites of duck, but overall the dim sum was a disappointment. Partially because I expected more with the higher mall prices, but everything tasted flat and lacked the right flavors. I wouldn't go there again and I wouldn't recommend it to others.

rice noodle

The sauce inside the cha sau bao or bbq pork bun was so thick and overly sweet while the bun was dry that I couldn't finish it after one bite.

The vegetables were not bad, though the fried tofu was totally not what we expected- not the classic cubes of deep fried tofu. Instead, it was if the chef mashed the tofu into chunky bits, reformed it with some vegetables and then pan fried it. It would have been okay if it tasted good, but it didn't.

kon ching tsai

chinese broccoli

fried tofu?

I don't know if it was because they were busy making the better food for the wedding banquet, or if that is just the style of their dim sum or if we just ordered the wrong things off the menu, but I'm sure there are a lot of other better options to choose from nearby. The search continues... any recommendations?

sesame balls and puff balls

other locations

at 101 Mall
No. 45, Shih Fu Road
(02) 8101-8666

No.209, Sec. 3, Civic Blvd.,
Jhongshan District, Taipei
(02) 8772-9666 


Ron Wu said...

I have not tried any of the 24 hours Dim Sum places along Tsung Chiau Duen Lu. They were always crowded when I go there. I like the Pearl River (Tzen Tsu Fang)on the second floor at The Howard Hotel (Fu Hua). Corner of Ren Ya Lu and Fu Shin Nan Lu. You order off the menu not from a cart like some of the places.

Chubbypanda said...

Bad dim sum makes me a saaad panda.

The fried tofu dish is familiar, but even the good incarnation aren't terribly appealing.

- Chubbypanda

Anonymous said...

The tofu dish you had is pi pa tofu (sorry, I don't know pinyin)--it's supposed to be mashed tofu mixed with mushrooms, meat, or other items, formed into oval balls, and fried.

Rich said...

Hi Joan,

To satisfy my dim sum cravings in Taipei I've been to Hwa-Young half a dozen times. While there are arguably other spectacular dim sum joints around the city, I have to say this one is a safe choice for me as it is consistently good and hits the mark every time. I strongly urge you to give the place another go.

My only tip is order dim sum from the menu and avoid the trolley at all costs.

A regular reader of your blog and keen Instagram follower.