Monday, December 24, 2007

Walk This Way

REMINDER: Blog Party #3 is being planned! Join the fun!

I went to work this morning and finally hauled in my diplomas and paintings. Then I cranked out a letter to opposing counsel and called it a day. Woohoo!

Mr. Monkey and I went to Pa Pa Walk (227 W Valley Blvd., San Gabriel) for lunch. If you've never had Taiwanese "small eats," this is a great place to de-virginize yourself. If you'd like a guide, I would love to introduce you to the comfort food of my peeps.

Taiwanese "small eats" are somewhat like Chinese dim sum or Spanish tapas. Dishes are sized to be ordered in mass quantities and shared. Pa Pa Walk's decor is sparse and cheerily strange. Giant footprints and rainbow paper pepper the goldenrod walls. Traditional favorites, such as stinky tofu ($4.50) and oyster omelets ($4.75), come out in droves, and patrons move in and out quickly.

Mr. Monkey started with a yogurt slush ($3.00), which is basically a giant frozen Yakult. Tangy. Milky. Icy. Yummy.

One of my favorite foods is ba-wan (in Taiwanese) or rou yuan (in Mandarin). Pa Pa Walk calls it "Taiwanese meat ball" ($2.50) -- juicy pork and bamboo shoots enveloped in an oh-so-delicious chewy rice skin and saturated with a wonderful, gooey, slightly sweet sauce.

Pa Pa Walk's luo buo gao, or pan-fried turnip cakes ($3.50), are little crispy rectangles of carb-y happiness paired with a thick garlicky soy sauce.

Niou rou mien, or beef noodle soup ($7.50 large, $5.95 small), is a Taiwanese staple, and Pa Pa Walk's version has spinach noodles with a great "bouncy" consistency. The beef could be more tender, but the broth is rich and flavorful.

Even though they're not Taiwanese, xiao long bao, or steamed mini pork buns ($5.75), reside at Pa Pa Walk. (They're a welcome guest from Shanghai.) The skin isn't top-notch, but the juice factor is up there, so you get a little party in your mouth with each succulent bite.

The true pièce de résistance of our midday repast was the cream soup in fried toast ($5.75). Yes, that's right, folks. FRIED TOAST. Are you drooling yet? You should be. Open your personal toasty little chest to reveal a culinary soupy treasure steeped with shrimp, chicken, ham, corn, carrots, and peas. This thing puts clam chowder in bread bowls to shame. To shame!

The cream soup in fried toast operates like a taco salad in a glistening flaky tostada shell -- the vessel is the best part! We demolished our toasty little treasure chest.

If you go to Pa Pa Walk, make sure to save room for a dessert of shaved ice with your choice of five toppings ($4.00). We opted for red beans, green beans, boba, rice balls, and condensed milk. We gleefully conquered our giant edible Matterhorn.

And we had plenty of leftovers to boot.

Other dishes at Pa Pa Walk that are Monkey-approved include the Taiwanese sausage with rice ($5.25), fried pork chop with rice ($5.00), deep fried tofu ($3.50), potstickers ($5.25), spicy wontons ($4.25), deep fried slice rolls ($2.50), and popcorn chicken ($3.50).

Don't forget. The Monkey maintains her offer to be your personal guide to Taiwanese "small eats." The Monkey is here for you. The Monkey is just that giving.


  1. pa pa walk is also one of our favorite places for small treats. that's so funny to find you blogging about it! we really enjoy their beef stew - not too greasy but oh so yummy! =P

  2. cream soup IN fried toast? o.m.g. they're my favorite comfort foods while staying with aunts in the motherland, but the taiwanese are genius for combining them.

    so sad i don't live close to 2nd china/taiwan/hong kong anymore. :(

  3. I've never been to pa pa walk but the soup in toast alone may make me drive out that way!

  4. wait a second.

    i'm supposed to SHARE my dim sum eats?


  5. this looks fun! we will have to do this.

  6. I'll take you up on that offer, Monkey. Even though I'm so American that I'll probably be squeamish to try half of what you mentioned. ;)

  7. i like dim sum. i like tapas. i'm guessing that i'd like small eats.

    so, when can we go? :D


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