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The most popular of the new Taiwanese noodle shops is probably Ay-Chung Flour-Rice Noodle in San Gabriel Square. The cold appetizers are nice: slivers of pressed tofu or sliced pig's ears drizzled with thick soy sauce. I like the rice plates, which include a fried chop or luscious stewed belly pork with two different kinds of Chinese pickles, half a tea-steeped egg and a bowl of soup. But Ay-Chung is all about the mien hsien, skeins of superfine vermicelli made of wheat, rice or bean flour, tossed into a glutinous broth flavored with soy sauce, bonito flakes, vinegar, chile and plenty of garlic, a big bowl of pungent goo that hits your palate like a slap.
The Taiwanese noodle shop is a peculiar animal, devoted to noodles, thick soups and a never-ending selection of small refrigerated appetizers. There will usually be a deep-fried item or two, and a fairly comprehensive roster of boba drinks.... More »
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