I am on a holy quest to search out decent Chinese cuisine wherever it might be hiding. After living with Chinese roommates for over 3 years my husband and I found that we were no longer able to tolerate what American restaurants deem “Chinese food”. ESPECIALLY as vegans! I was so sick of goopy, sweet sauces covering bland, unseasoned tofu cubes. Any time our roommates would mention a place that had “authentic” Chinese food we went running! They were kind enough to show us a few incredible restaurants and this one in particular still keeps us coming back for more!
Tao’s Home Cooking, as you might have guessed, prides itself on a family-style atmosphere with no small tables and a help-yourself mentality. Want a drink? They’re right in the fridge. Need some rice vinegar or soy sauce? It’s on the counter. While it is a breath of fresh air to be able to get myself more water, instead of waiting for a server to finish helping six other tables, this was a bit difficult for my American sensibilities to handle at first. I still don’t feel comfortable walking behind the counter to get rice (though I was expressly given permission to) and I find myself hunting down our server to tell them when I’m taking a drink from the fridge (it still feels like I’m doing something wrong!). For the clientele who are not as angst-ridden as myself, though, these small things seem to add to an overall sense of enjoying a meal in the comfort of your own home. Not a small feat.
A few of the must-trys?
1. Seaweed in garlic sauce (this is a garlic-lovers dream! $4 and an absolutely HUGE portion!)
2. Shredded potato with hot pepper (every cook has some dish that they try and try to replicate at home to no avail. This is mine. Potatoes julienned and cooked to soft, yet crunchy, perfection, tasting of a wondrous blend of sour, spicy and salty. Oh, and $7 for a plate?! Do NOT miss this dish!)
3. Tofu Home Style (warning: make sure you ask for no meat! That out of the way, I have a love affair with fried tofu when it’s done well and they do it incredibly well! The tofu is crisp but still chewy and it soaks in all of the delightfully spicy flavors of the sauce. I cannot get enough of this stuff!)
4. Hot Pot (there aren’t many restaurants that serve this little wonder so when you find one that does take advantage of it! Hot pot is simply a pot filled with a spicy, delicious broth, that you dip raw veggies, tofu, etc. into. Think of it like fondue but better! At Tao’s the hot pot is unlimited and they are more than happy to pile on bok choy, bamboo, tofu skin, fried tofu, raw tofu, bean sprouts, noodles and more for those of us who abstain from the flesh. Just be warned, this stuff is HOT so try some of their wonderful options for dipping sauces found at the counter! If you don’t know what it is, just ask! The staff is amazingly helpful.)
Are you salivating yet? Well what are you waiting for? Go to Tao’s Home Cooking for a delectable taste of China, in a comfortable setting, at an affordable price. What’s not to love?
Tao’s is located at 1310-7 Middle Country Rd in Selden, NY. For their website go to www.taoshomecooking.com.