Day 1: Bian Dang Taiwanese Lunchbox
As some of you may know, I’m not a big fan of breakfast. It’s not that I don’t like breakfast type food (I’ll eat bacon & eggs all day if I could), but I just don’t like eating in the morning. It makes me groggy and super sleepy until lunchtime – so for most of the 30 days, you’ll most likely see me eating my first meal around noon. But if I can find a breakfast cart open that late, I’ll gladly grub on a B&E sandwich!
So my first meal came from Bian Dang Taiwanese Lunchbox. They were one of my very first reader NOMinations, so it was fitting as the first truck to visit. I asked Ronald and Stanley at the window to give me their best seller, and got an order of fried pork chop & chicken with pork sauce over rice. My first bite was of the pork chop. It was juicy, tender (but still had a substantial bite to it), and the flavor profile was mildly savory, which allowed for that natural pork flavor to shine. When I reached the edge of the chop, I found where all that deliciousness was hiding – inside a thick ribbon of fat. It was crisp yet melty and I tasted pepper, soy, and some kind of sweet – probably sugar. The accompanying tea egg tasted just like a hard boiled egg, but with a hint of soy sauce.
The chicken was easily my favorite. The skin didn’t taste fried, and reminded me more of a rotisserie chicken. Flavors were similar to the pork chop, but I found a light note of garlic here. The rice was covered in pork sauce – little chunks of pork and fat swimming in a thick clear broth. There were pieces of pickled vegetable that I couldn’t really eat by itself, but when mixed in with the sauce and rice, worked wonderfully. The bitter was balanced with the sweet/savory/fatty sauce and the rice was the perfect canvas to hold it all together.
I had an awesome first meal from Bian Dang! For $8, I got a humongous platter of delicious grub so the value is great. I found Diana in the kitchen, and although she was ridiculously busy, was nice enough to take a few minutes to tell me about neighboring Cinnamon Snail on Park (bet 47th and 46th) when I mentioned my difficulty in finding good breakfast trucks. I’m obviously not vegan, but when I hovered over to their truck, I saw some super big smiles waiting in line, so I’ll be pinning that to my map! Thanks again Ronald, Stanley, and Diana @ Bian Dang! Now for dinner!