East Hanover, NJ 07936
- Cost: $$
- Credit Cards: No
- Alcohol: BYO
- Parking: Public Lot
- Take Out: Yes
January 15, 2016
There aren’t that many New Jersey restaurants serving Taiwanese food. A & J Bistro in East Hanover, NJ is an excellent place to sample some of Taiwan’s favorites dishes.
Taipei is a popular global food destination. Iconic Taiwanese dishes like braised pork (lou rou fan), beef noodle soup, steamed bun sandwiches (gua boa) and shaved ice desserts with condensed milk attract hungry fans worldwide. The flavors of Taiwanese cuisine tend to be a little sweeter, the noodles and dumplings a bit starchier, and the meats fattier than the Cantonese or Sichuan food you may be used to.
The menu at A&J Bistro features many noodle dishes (both soups and entrees), a variety of pan fried buns and pancakes, and beef and vegetarian main dishes. The beef noodle soup here is similar to a Vietnamese phò, but less complex to my palate, with fewer fresh herbs. A hard-boiled egg braised in soy sauce accompanies the traditional lou rou fan braised pork over rice. Try the Thousand Layer Pancake for a flaky and chewy savory appetizer. Shredded dry bean curd with hot sauce is a very good, not too spicy, vegetarian option. While the menu is overwhelmingly Taiwanese, a few Sichuan dishes, like spicy wontons, are mixed in. We neglected to ask if any stinky tofu available.
The restaurant, right next to Saigon Pho on the side of a Route 10 strip mall, is decorated simply, with a dozen or so tables. A&J Bistro is cash only and BYO. The menu lists two other A&J locations, in Rockville, MD and Annandale, VA.
EthnicNJ has found a few spots serving Taiwanese food in Middlesex County. A couple further south toward Philly are also on my list to try, like CHUlicious in Mount Laurel. If you find others, or can recommend a Jersey source of “stinky tofu,” let me know.