One of my oldest and dearest friends was in town for the week and we decided to meet up in Chinatown for a little dinner nosh. She suggested Hong Kong Cafe which I like a lot and so as I was waiting, I got a call from her "I'm on my way, but how would you feel about Taiwan Cafe instead?" I was down for it but being that I just came from work, I was schlepping a huge amount of heavy things with me and I needed to find an ATM for some cash. Most places in Chinatown are cash only, which would be fine, but there is not an ATM in chinatown, ANYWHERE!!!
I walked down the few blocks to Taiwan Cafe where HyeJohn was waiting and she said "um, I need an atm too". Oh boy, so a few minutes later we decided to go to Peach Farm instead. Not a huge loss at all. Lucky for us Chinatown has a plethora of really good food options. And lucky for us, Peach Farm takes credit card.
We walked down the stairs to what looks like a sketchy basement rec room. It's got beaten up carpet and the walls are coated in layers of food grease. The air is thick with lots of food being cooked up and lots of people. They also have the required huge fish tanks of live seafood. I gotta say, I know the idea is to show the customer exactly how fresh the food truly is but sometimes those tanks kinda bum me out. The fish look awfully bummed out. I mean, yeah they are about to eaten and who would be happy about that, but I dunno, I guess I like to be under the illusion that my food is kinda happy and content before become dinner. Whatevahs....
Luckily for me HyeJohn likes to eat as much as I do. How else do you think we could be friends for so long.
There was a bit of a wait for a table and as we waited, HyeJohn moaned about how hungry she was. Well, I had topped at a cute newish Vietnamese sandwich place diagonal to the Hong Kong cafe and got a beef sandwich to try. I offered it to HJ and before I could really explain why I had the sandwich or anything really, she had taken the bag from my hand and was munching away on the sandwich and said it was good. I'll post about the sandwich place another time. Anyway, it was quite amusing to watch her wait for dinner while eating a contra ban sammie.
So as you know HJ was hungry and so was I. We decided on having a seafood dinner set for 2. I also wanted some dumplings b/c I had seen some get served up to a table as we waited to be seated and they looked delicious. I also watched some oysters get served up to another table and was able to beg HyeJohn to let us order oysters too but she said "um Leah we can't order everything!". Um why not?
Alright so the food started coming fast and furious. I like that everything comes out piping hot as it's ready. Yum!
We started with the crab and maw soup.
This was my least favorite of the dinner set. Whatever maw is it's "spongey" as HJ put it. Yeah, she's right. The soup relied heavily on corn starch to thicken it up and I tend to hate soups that are falsely thickened that way.
Next came the dumplings, which you can see above hiding behind the clams in black bean sauce. They were quite delicious. Nothing extraordinary but decent and being dumplings they certainly hit the spot.
Next came the star of the dinner, the crab cooked with ginger and scallions. Messy and hard to eat but really yummy and worth the sticky fingers!
The clams and the Chinese broccoli in oyster sauce were my favorite of the entire meal. The black bean sauce was so good. I seriously wanted to just scoop up the sauce and put it on everything! Black bean sauce on toast, black bean sauce on chips, black bean sauce on...well, you get the picture. And the broccoli was perfectly cooked. It was still crisp and the sauce to veg ratio was perfect!
And this was the dinner set for 2! It was a lot of food and the couple who shared the table with us looked both amazed and a little disgusted as we plowed our way thru the entire meal. Seriously, we ate it all! But it was really good. I like Peach Farm because the food is better than decent, fresh and yeah a little greasy but seriously perfectly executed.
HyeJohn and I left after making little piggies of ourselves and laughed that everyone there probably thought "damn those Koreans can really eat!" And the truth is yes, yes we can.