A New Generation of Chefs Reframes Taiwanese Cuisine in America
When Richard Ho opened Ho Foods, a tiny storefront in the East Village last year, his goal was to serve the best possible version of a single Taiwanese dish: beef noodle soup. His goal was not to become the host of what his employees describe as Manhattan’s first Taiwanese food community center. But because the dish is so beloved, everyone from Chinatown aunties to fellow Taiwanese-American chefs to curious tourists showed up to see if his soup was up to their particular standards. “Every Taiwanese mom who comes in tells me a different ‘secret’ to the broth,” said Mr. Ho. “Apples, cilantro stems, star anise.”
Beef noodle soup is widely considered the national dish of modern Taiwan, assembled from the island’s tumultuous history, celebrated with an annual festival in Taipei and fought over in a cooking competition with multiple winning categories. But it is only one of countless dishes that make Taiwan’s cooking remarkable and rewarding.
ImageRefining a recipe means re-examining every detail. Mr. Ho makes stock from scratch, pickles mustard greens in the basement and tosses the noodles in beef fat just before serving.CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times