At Wu Wei Din Chinese Cuisine in Plano, a casual restaurant gives us the food of an island. Opened three years ago by Taiwan native Todd Hung, its soul is dedicated to Taiwanese wontons, dumplings, fried rice, and noodles.
There, you will find some of our city’s best spicy wontons, flopped in chile oil spiced beguilingly with cinnamon and star anise. The filling, if you choose, is shrimp and ground pork. Each parcel is plump, endearing, and wonderful. A list of appetizers makes it easy to fill the table with cold drunken chicken, a roulade of tender meat in a broth flavored with Shaoxing wine, with its aroma like sherry; garlicky golden kimchi, flavored with sesame oil and flecks of carrot and earthy from fermented tofu and sesame paste; and scallion cakes, thick and oily, but zesty with green.
It’s not terribly easy to find Taiwanese food in Dallas. Options include Taiwan Café, also in Plano, where you’ll find the classic breakfast of salty or sweet soy milk and cruellers on weekends. King’s Noodle in Richardson has its own spicy wonton, shaved ice, and noodle soup following. Taipei Station Café in Plano showcases Taiwan cuisine’s funky fusion. And a smattering of spots entice with boba tea and rolled ice cream.
But the college students and regular devotees who frequent Hung’s restaurant come for bowls of the beef noodle soup that is a coveted national dish, choosing the kind of noodles they prefer (thick or thin) and the kind of broth. Order it in a tomato broth with thick noodles, and it’s reminiscent of boeuf bourguignon. The brisket slice laid on top is fall-apart tender; bok choy and pickled mustard greens spring on the surface; and the ruddy broth has body. It’s the epitome of soulful, savory balance. Or try the dan dan noodles, which are Taiwanese-style, not Sichuan-spicy, but freighted with sesame and peanut pastes and a rubble of peanuts and ground pork. The sauce that pools is earthy, nutty, and satisfying, and the chewy, springy noodles catch it up. Finish with oolong tea—it’s another Taiwanese treasure, after all.