dine | TABLE TALK
SOMETIMES A RESTAURANT’S MENU doesn’t divulge all
the kitchen has to offer. Such is the case at Hollywood East Café in
Wheaton. In February, Janet Yu, owner of the longtime eatery now
located in Westfield Wheaton mall, prepared a Taiwanese lunch
comprised of dishes representing the island’s culinary evolution
and historical influences. The feast was hosted by Les Dames
d’Escoffier, a women’s organization devoted to promoting the
The bad news: The Taiwanese dishes are not featured on Yu’s
regular menu. The good news: With three days’ notice, she will
gladly prepare them for you.
These items are worth making that call:
Taiwanese fried chicken, an homage to the street foods found at
Taiwan’s famous night markets. Yu’s chicken, redolent of five-spice
powder, is a plateful of golf ball-size nuggets covered with a light,
crunchy coating. “The secret,” says Yu, “is sweet potato starch.
It makes the chicken crispy but still tender.”
Fresh lily bulbs, snap peas and wood-ear and black mushrooms
sautéed with ginger and garlic. Dried lily bulbs are often used
medicinally in soup; they are said to be mind-calming. Fresh,
they are slightly sweet, delicate and delicious.
Hakka-style stir-fried cuttlefish and vegetables in Yu’s house-made XO sauce. The sauce is prepared with dried shrimp and
scallops, bacon, cured ham, garlic and peppers.
11160 Veirs Mill Road (Westfield Wheaton mall), Wheaton,
Janet Yu of Hollywood East Café cooks Taiwanese
fare, including snap pea, mushroom and lily bulb
stir-fry (left) and Taiwanese fried chicken.