170 University Ave W.
Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3E9
If you ever wonder what, other than the western fast food, people eat in Taiwan when they are on the go, try Home Garden. Home Garden is located in University Plaza (the one closer to the UW campus). We haven't been to this restaurant for a while so we decided to go this evening.
The owner greeted me sincerely as usual. He told us that there were some new items on the menu but I had a craving for their deep-fried pork chop and J is never keen on satay so we still ordered the usual stuff.
The "lunchbox" (or "bian dang" in Taiwanese or bento" in Japanese) normally comes with a main dish, a stew egg (spiced egg) and two side dishes. OK, I KNOW stew egg sounds crazy but here's how it's made. Basically you put hard-boiled eggs (without the shells) in a pot along with water, soy sauce and your "secret ingredients", let it simmer for "a while" then you get flavorful hard-boiled eggs. If you leave the shells on and you put all the above ingredients plus some tea leaves, you get "tea-flavored" eggs. I don't know if it's a Taiwanese specialty but you can get it anywhere in Taiwan, even in 7-11. The two side dishes today are cauliflower stir-fry and ma-po tofu (spicy tofu). Both are heavily thickened with corn starch.
The main dish is worth one paragraph all by itself. The deep-fried pork chop is thin, crispy outside and juicy inside. The seasoning mix for marinating the meat and prior to serving is normally considered a trade secret. The owner once told me that his wife (aka the chef) actually spent more than 10K to learn the recipe. And boy! They got it right! Now when my brother brags about the Taiwanese eateries in Vancouver, I can proudly say that we also get AUTHENTIC Taiwanese food here.
Most of the items on their menu are quite authentic, including the bubble tea. I like their tapioca because it is chewy and prepared with brown-sugar simple syrup. If they have combos which include bubble tea at a lesser price, I'll probably order it more often.
BTW, the touch screen order system was setup by one of his sons. Both of his sons go to UW to "study computers" (direct quote from the owner). That is probably one of the reasons that this couple opens a restaurant in the University Plaza.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
170 University Ave W.