Little Taipei Review
Food in Taiwan is awesome, it costs nothing, it’s often made fresh right in front of you and the flavours are so beyond your local Asian take-away that ever since getting back to Australia I shudder at the thought of what we try to pass off as authentic.
There’s two things in particular that I’ve been hankering for since visiting the island, dumplings (Jiaozi) and Ji Pai (say it like G-Pie) which is like KFC’s pop corn chicken but oh so much better.
Enter Little Taipei, a bizarre upstairs back alley food court in Sunnybank.
The word sketchy is the first that comes to mind when I think Little Taipei but somehow that isn’t quite right. I realise that I’m putting any credibility that I may have on the line by reviewing a food court but the dumplings here are the best I’ve had in Brissy and damn it to hell I’m going to review them.
It’s also the only place that has done a reasonable take on Ji Pai and for these two reasons I’m going to give Little Taipei 15 seconds in the spot light.
After climbing two flights of stairs and making a right through an unmarked door, you find yourself in a large enclosed space with about 40 tables and room for 8 or 9 vendors. But there’s only 4 shops – the rest are empty counter tops.
You choices are now Taiwanese, Korean & Northern Chinese Style and EasyWay Bubble Tea.
A large plate of fried dumplings and a large plate of salt and pepper chicken will leave you with a couple of dollars spare from your 20. Which would be ludicrously expensive in the real Taipei but at least I don’t have to factor in the return airfare.
The dumplings are goooooooooooooood. Hot little parcels of pan fried goodness that combined with a little dipping sauce make for gastronomic delight. The contents is a ground up mix of pork and vegetables the specifics of which are a mystery and the dough skin is holds it all together without being chewy. Apparently this style of dumpling has been around for about 4000 years so I guess that explains why they’ve managed to evolve into the little package of happiness that appears on my plate.
The chicken, while not authentic Ji Pai is the closest thing I’ve found to date. It’s basically shredded chicken pieces battered and deep fried and then covered and salt and pepper. Sounds simple – but there is elegance in simplicity. The chicken is heaped on a plate in such a way that mocks KFC’s idea of ‘large popcorn chicken’ and it provides the ideal dish for grazing while discussing the latest APEC sub-committee report on education standards.
On the off chance you like neither dumplings or chicken (in which case why are you even reading this?), other things on the menu include:
- Set meals of fried chicken / fish with pork rice, thin soup, some tofu and asian greens
- BBQ lamb on BIG metal sticks
- Shallot pancake which are pretty good!
- Sizzling Korean steak
But for me it’s all about the Jiaozi.
Market Square Shopping Centre
317 Mains Rd map (<-- you’ll need it)
Open ’till 8pm