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Eat This Now: Taiwan Cafe in Plano

Sesame Chicken

Ever since the Chinese New Year, I made a Chinese New Year’s resolution to find some exceptional Chinese food. Pretty creative idea, I know. If I’m being completely honest, I have never been too impressed with my experiences in the past, and many of this town’s apparent favorites were a bit of a let down for me.  After probing many friends, both Asian and non-Asian, about their stand-by establishments, I was pointed to Taiwan Café, an incredibly humble joint in a strip mall in Plano.  As the suburbs north of Dallas seemed to be the most celebrated areas for Asian cuisine, I thought this was probably a decent option, and when I found out it was cash only, this was only an affirmation of its legitimacy.

Another location of Taiwan Café exists in Richardson, and at one point they shared the same owner, but since that time, the Richardson location was sold and ownership changed, the name, however, stayed the same.  So, I can’t speak for this second location, but the grub at the Plano joint is better than any other I’ve had in Dallas.

Beef Lo Mein

Walking in, you are immediately confronted with a double isle of cafeteria-style traditional Taiwanese dishes from a long buffet-like set-up.  I probably could only identify half of the items in the line-up, and the sprawling 20-ft menu board written primarily in Mandarin was not much help.  But I steered away from the cafeteria trays in favor of ordering from the less-advertised, made-to-order items on a small folded paper menu on the counter.  I am fairly sure I made the right move.

Pork Potstickers

Every item I had was hot, fresh, crisp and delicious.  Nothing was overly greasy, yet a necessary greasiness was found in places I expected. The sesame chicken came out slightly sweet, with a crisp exterior, and not an ounce of sogginess.  The fried pork potstickers were brilliantly done, salty, porky, and a true stand-out when accompanied by their spicy chili-soy dipping sauce. The beef chow mein was a bit on the greasy side, but I expected this, and it only helped things slide down my grateful throat all the more easily. Don’t pass up the famed scallion pancake either, a delicious chewy, herbaceous concoction.

My search for exceptional Chinese food is far from over, but discovering Taiwan Café has helped fuel my passion for simple but elegant Asian cooking.  It was a packed house on a Saturday night, so this place is obviously not a secret to the local community. The entire experience was reminiscent of my recent trip to Chinatown in New York City, and that’s no laughing matter.

Taiwan Cafe
2747 W 15th St
Plano, TX

Scallion Pancake

5 comments on “Eat This Now: Taiwan Cafe in Plano

  1. The scallion pancake is a good order, but WHY BOTHER ordering the rest? If you want to order stuff you find at bad Chinese buffets, then just go to a bad Chinese buffet.

  2. Really? Sesame Chicken and Beef Lo Mein? The pot stickers look very good, but don’t overlook the buffet style pans. Those are pretty good and some of the best Taiwanese style dishes in the area.

    Sesame chicken!

  3. I thought this was supposed to be about good Chinese food. Not Gringo-nese. People in China have never heard of this crap.

  4. I live across the street and this place also has a few other awesome dishes and perks….

    The Chicken Noodle Soup: I first ordered this when I was really sick. I had no clue what it would consist of exactly, but I remember my old coworker would make this amazing Asian Chicken Soup whenever we would get sick, but still have to drag our butts into work. For $5, the kind lady working the counter advised it would take about 10 minutes. I ordered my husband a dinner to go where you select 3 dishes- we opted for a spicy chicken dish, a bean curd dish & a broccoli dish.

    My soup came out piping hot alongside with a huge to-go box (?). We were intrigued. We got home & opened it up to find a HUGE box with 2 pieces of Fried Chicken laying on top of a large batch of freshly cooked noodles. The fried chicken was crispy and well-flavored. The broth was dark with green onions & had amazing flavor. The $5 soup was enough for 2 portions plus leftovers.

    With every order, you get a free milk pearl tea as well. They have a variety of bubble teas, ice slurpees of all flavors & also fresh baked sweet buns (made in Richardson).

  5. I just wanted to clear up some confusion in the article and in the comments. Yes, Taiwan Cafe started out in Richardson, and then moved to Plano when they sold the Richardson location. However, last summer they reopened a 2nd location in Richardson next door to Maxim’s, this one called “TC2″ (and a bunch of Chinese words).

    The cafeteria-style food (which is their house special = $6 for 3 items + rice) is actually what they’re known for, and I think that the writer should have given that a try, instead of resorting to the most American-style items he could find on the menu. Noodles and dumpings are mostly $5.50 now, house specials are $6, and with any meal you can get a pearl milk tea for half off, not free.

    I think it’s great that this establishment is finally getting some recognition among more English speakers, but I really do recommend that you try the food laid out cafeteria-style!