Asian Legend opened last year, just around the corner from the Maynard Street Parking Structure on William Street. We finally dropped by to sample its promise of better-known Chinese dishes and special “Taiwanese snacks” – which are indeed quite special (even if you’re not supposed to eat pork).
Kimberly Chou: Taiwanese food is either really good for you, like fresh bamboo shoots and light soups, or really bad for you. Really bad. Most of the snacks found at night bazaars and street-food vendors, in my opinion, seem to be fried. I don’t know who told the first green-onion pancake hawker that hot oil would be the difference –
Zachary Meisner: – but it was totally ingenious. I wish all of my pancakes could be fried. We ordered these savory pancakes wrapped around sliced beef off the Taiwanese snack menu. Really good. We also got the pork dumplings, which were basically potstickers filled with minced pork and vegetables, also pan-fried.
Peter Schottenfels: The pork dumplings were Asian legendary. I tried to eat them with the bright pink “plum” sauce on the table, but thankfully there was this ginger-soy-shallot-vinegar dipping sauce that came with it. Crisis avoided.
Michael Passman: I don’t think my rabbi would have approved, but whatever. Kim asked for this noodle dish – crunchy noodles topped with chicken and mixed vegetables – in Chinese, even though the waitress suggested we order from “the other menu.” But they made it.
KC: She was worried! But we tried to order outside the box.
ZM: I’m not even going to make a joke here. The sauce was really saucy but, you know, I’m cool with that.
KC: The thing with eating Chinese is that it all gets really heavy sometimes, especially if you’re ordering dishes with thick, starchy sauces like the Cantonese noodle dish Passman liked – and Asian Legend made it with lo mein noodles instead of the thinner, vermicelli-type, so it was even heavier. I like to order a side vegetable to lighten things up. I maintain that Asians are the only ones who can cook greens well – all you need is a little garlic. Maybe I’m biased.
PS: Sure. Mmm, those marigolds were good.
KC: I think they were morning glory stalks.
ZM: I don’t like vegetables.
PS: Whatever, I eat flowers – it’s my secret shame.
What we ordered:
– Green onion pancakes with beef (snack menu)
– Pork dumplings (snack menu)
– Cantonese-style pan-fried noodles with chicken and vegetables (requested)
– Morning glory with garlic (requested)
– Spicy chicken (with peppers and celery, regular menu).