Sunday, December 16, 2012

My First Take on Taiwanese Food

This is probably a good time to remind you that I am not a food critic or food journalist of any kind - I'm just a guy who likes food. So with that in mind, what follows is my take on Asian Legend in Ann Arbor. If you're anything like me, you've walked passed Asian Legend (on William next to Cottage Inn) a bunch of times and probably never noticed it. At first glance, the ambiguously named restaurant might look like any other mediocre Chinese takeout place where you can get your fill of General Tso's and Kung Pao chicken. In fact, you can do exactly that at Asian Legend if you want, but you'd be missing out on some delicious Taiwanese food.

Prior to going to The Legend, I was under the impression that there was a double secret Taiwanese menu that you had to ask for. However, when I flipped the menu open, the first two pages were of Taiwanese snacks and entrees - looks like the secret is out.

Knowing that I was going into unfamiliar territory, I turned to the internet to see what the popular dishes were. Most reviews pointed out the handmade Pork Pan-Fried Dumplings that are served with what seemed like a ginger soy dipping sauce. These bite-sized pockets of pork goodness were a perfect start.

Next up was the Pepper Salt Chicken Wings. The battered wings were probably the crunchiest wings I've ever had - in a good way. They were somewhat plain though and I found myself using the wing as a mop for various sauces in all of the other dishes (don't knock it until you've tried it).

The first of our main dishes was the Shredded Pork with Dried Tofu  and Celery. I thought it was fine, but in a meal of other highlights, this didn't stand out too much.

One of those highlights were the Wuxi Ribs. I was expecting something along the lines of a Chinese BBQ type of preparation for these ribs, but instead, they were melt in your mouth tender due to a long braise. The ribs were intensely rich, simmered for a long time in a dark soy broth.

Finally, we ordered one of mine and Mrs. T's favorite Chinese dishes - the face-melting Mapo Tofu with hunks of tofu suspended in a spicy red broth and topped with numbing Szechuan peppercorns. The Legend's version of Mapo Tofu wasn't the spiciest I've come across, but it got the job done. I think I've found my new favorite spot when that craving for spicy Asian food hits.

Asian Legend
516 E. William St.
Ann Arbor, MI

No comments:

Post a Comment