After returning from Taiwan (see here and here) I was kind of craving some Taiwanese food here in NYC. My friend Sophia, who has family in Taiwan and was in the country the same time I was, recommended that we meet up at TKettle, a Taiwanese snack joint on St. Marks in the East Village. TKettle is her go-to place for Taiwanese snack food in the city (Gu Shine in Flushing is her recommendation for a full Taiwanese meal). Above you see the appetizer plate, a great introduction to some traditional Taiwanese dishes. Top left you see preserved eggs, with a concentrated eggy flavor. Top right is cold pressed tofu, with a slightly sweet flavor. And at the bottom is the cold cucumber salad, which is amazing — loaded with spicy garlic, these crunchy cucumber chunks are at once shocking and refreshing.
You can also select from a variety of items to be fried. We selected tofu, green beans, and king oyster mushrooms. All three items are lightly battered and deep-fried, then sprinkled with a magical concoction referred to as pepper-salt. I guess it’s not so unusual, but the combination of spicy chili flakes and, um… salt… elevates the flavor of everything it touches. The varied textures of the ingredients were showcased here; crunchy green beans, silky smooth tofu, and chewy mushrooms.
TKettle also has a huge menu of Taiwanese bubble teas, with loads of flavors and an assortment of add-ins. It’s not quite the same as being in Taipei, but it’s the next best thing.
TKettle — 26 St Marks Pl, NYC