One sure-fire way to find great Asian cooking is to go to the places where Asians eat. Such is the case with Mom’s Kitchen, an unassuming little restaurant dishing up the bold, authentic flavors of China.
Mom’s Kitchen is thusly named for the two moms who run the place: Mama Chen and Mama Zhang, who hail from Taiwan and Beijing, respectively. The cuisine at Mom’s Kitchen reflects the owners’ backgrounds, with a great selection of Taiwanese dishes (similar to Fujian fare) as well as food from Northern China that you’d encounter from street vendors in Beijing.
Oodles of Noodles
The latter means you’ll find oodles of nifty noodle dishes at Mom’s Kitchen, and I’m especially partial to the dan dan-style noodles served cold with spicy peanut sauce and julienned cucumber ($6.99). It’s the best version of dan dan noodles I’ve eaten outside of New York City’s Chinatown. Other good noodle options include Beijing-style noodles with ground pork and brown sauce or the tofu and bean thread noodle soup ($6.99). You’ll also love the pan-fried dumplings with pork and scallions. Here, they’re rectangular with a crispy exterior, not the “beggar’s purse” shape you normally associate with Chinese dumplings or potstickers.
One of my very favorite Chinese dishes is Ma-Po tofu ($8.99), which is silky, tender tofu chunks bathed in a rich brown sauce with minced pork, red chili peppers and green onions – it manages to be both hearty and light, simultaneously.
An Appetite for Adventure
There is a lot to entice the adventurous eater at Mom’s Kitchen, with provocative menu items like griddle-cooked pig intestines ($10.99), Hakka-style stir-fried pork and squid ($12.99), spicy BBQ lamb with cumin ($10), boiled fish with sour cabbage ($12.99) and “Taiwanese-style pig intestines and blood in pot” ($12.99). If you’re in search of flavors that are new, this is the place.
For customers looking for foods more familiar, the moms have you covered, as well. I love their kung pao chicken and shrimp ($12.99), with just enough heat to wake up the taste buds. The scrumptious leek pie ($5.99/2 pieces) is also outstanding, as is Mom’s Kitchen’s stir-fried flat rice noodle with a choice of chicken, shrimp or pork ($7.99). And, their fried rice offerings are second to none, including kimchi fried rice.
Service at Mom’s Kitchen is always very friendly and helpful, especially if you require assistance in navigating the lesser-known Chinese menu items. Whatever dishes you choose to indulge in, be sure to finish off your meal with an order of shaved snow ice or fried ice cream. For those who don’t have a Chinese mom to cook for us, thank goodness for Mom’s Kitchen!
Culinary quote of the week: Governing a great nation is like cooking a small fish – too much handling will spoil it. — Lao-tzu
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