I am not normally a religious person, but I might be inclined to believe in a higher power after discovering Taiwanese cuisine in Canberra. Ever since I moved here, I have searched high and low for the nostalgic dishes from the mother country. With no luck, I began wishing someone would open up a Taiwanese restaurant in Canberra. I was beginning to give up hope when I stumbled across one last week on my way back from the dentist!
Fun Ma Cafe, describes itself as 'Canberra's first Taiwanese cuisine' on their Facebook page, and is only around the corner from my work! Hurrah!
On discovering the cafe, I was overwhelmed by the menu. Mind you, it wasn't because the menu was particularly extensive, it was because all the items were so familiar to me that I couldn't choose what to order! The dishes that jumped out at me were the pork chop with rice, the Taiwanese style chicken nuggets with rice, Taiwanese style beef noodle soup, unagi with rice and the three cup chicken with rice.
After much consideration, I finally decided on the pork chop with rice (below) for my first visit. It would give me a good indication on how "Taiwanese" this cafe really was.
I wasn't disappointed. The pork chop was well seasoned with spices and had a good crunch everytime I took a bite. I loved that they put some stewed (pork?) mince on the rice to give it that extra flavour. The stewed egg was also delicious and reminded me of Taiwan.
The salt and pepper chicken nuggets (above) were also seasoned well. I would say that the nuggets don't compare to the ones in Taiwan, but it's nice to have the option there.
The meals come with a black tea or wintermelon tea. I tried their pearl milk tea but unfortunately the drink didn't have a very strong flavour and the pearls didn't have the right "chewiness".
I absolutely love having three cup chicken (三杯雞), which is a popular dish in Taiwan. The three cups refer to the three cups of sauces that the chicken is simmered in.
As soon as the dish was place in front of me, the familiar aromas of ginger combined with garlic and basil floated up at me and invoked nostalgic memories of Taiwan. There were large pieces of braised garlic and ginger in the dish that were packed full of flavour! I would definitely say this was my favourite dish so far.
I have one of their business cards and noticed a few dishes that I didn't see on the menu: omelette rice, braised pork belly, grass jelly dessert...I hope they remedy this soon!
While the cafe lets in a lot of natural light and has a nice view outside, I think if they played some Taiwanese music in the background, it would bring a lot to the atmosphere of the cafe.
Watch this space for more reviews - I don't think I'll be able to stay away from this cafe!