Gu-shine Taiwanese Restaurant Review: Gu Shine Restaurant
It arrives a few feet before the dish actually is set down on the table. Your olfactory nerves is ready to shut your mouth before you even get a glimpse of what the foul smelling soy globules look like. Innocuous and somewhat plain looking, stinky tofu isn’t a food for everyone. Famous in Taiwan, the dish isn’t even popular amongst the entire population. As American as apple pie couldn’t really be translated to as Taiwanese as stinky tofu. With everyone else, it is strange and foul. I lost respect for Andrew Zimmern when he couldn’t stomach it on his show. He’s eaten way worse on the show but a little fermented tofu? Come on man! It’s also important to mention the phonetic translation of the name… it would be something like “chou dofu.” I’ve said before, it’s important for Asian cuisine to start using its phonetic name instead of translated to English names. As a food lover, I know how to spell and sort of pronounce “guanciale” because Italian food is big here in the states. But it’s only big because the people who love it will push the real name on ya. So chou dofu it is.
Steph and I tried the aforementioned stinky tofu at Gu Shine Restaurant in Flushing. It’s a small Taiwanese restaurant that is pretty awesome. Maybe it’s not as good as what mom makes but I think that it’s pretty good. Where else are you gonna get Taiwanese food? As for the taste of the tofu, it really doesn’t taste too different from other tofu. You fry something and I’ll probably like it, even if it smells like gym shorts.
We followed that up with some liver. I don’t remember which animal this came from (maybe chicken? maybe pig?), but it was only decent. Not enough to convert indifferent liver eaters. The sauce that came with it can only best be described by a stupid American as “brown sauce.” I can tell you however, it goes great with Sriracha when you eat it from the doggie bag at home.
And then we come to the dou ban yu. Again, as a really bad Chink who doesn’t know his Mandarin/Chinese, I have no idea what dou ban means. Yu = fish. Basically what you do is take a wok, heat it up, add some oil, add some bean paste, then add scallions, garlic, and ginger. Then then fish. And that’s what you get with dou ban yu. It looks like it’d be super spicy but really it’s kinda mild. Addictive to eat and fun to pick apart, this is a dish meant for fish on the bone. But I’ve had it with tilapia fillets as well and basically it’s hard to screw up this dish. This version was delicious.
Lastly we have san bei ji. Again, excuse my poor pinying. This translates to three cup chicken, but please, start calling it san bei ji. This movement would of course, never catch on here in the states. It is said this dish is made with one cup of soy sauce, one cup of rice wine, and one cup of sesame oil. You also add chunks of ginger and lots of basil. Of all the Taiwanese dishes, this one is most easily liked by non-Taiwanese folks. The version at Gu-Shine restaurant was really flavorful, although some pieces of chicken were dry. That was probably because they reduced the sauce and the chicken’s moisture got reduced along with it.
The dou ban yu really made the meal special and I would go back just for that and the san bei ji. When it comes to Taiwanese food in New York, it’s like bluffing to win a hand in poker. You know you don’t have the best stuff, but you’re hoping to convince the other guy it’s the best. It’s always pretty good because I don’t eat this stuff very often, but just how good is it? It’s hard for me to tell because I love eating it so much. Maybe someone else out there can tell me…
Gu-shine Taiwanese Restaurant40 39th Ave.Queens, NY 11354
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