What happens when you have 5 Chinese people having dinner at a Taiwanese restaurant? You order weird food!! Flipping through the menu at Maji and we basically picked out some of the weirdest items there.
OK, so it’s “weird” in terms of Canadian standard but the ingredients were no stranger to the 5 of us. Did you know you can order just chicken skin as a dish? The Crispy Chicken Skin was basically Chicharrón with chicken. It’s like eating chicken-flavoured chips. It was crispy, crunchy, seasoned with some garlic, salt and pepper, and a little bit of heat from the sliced chili peppers. It reminded me of the Taiwanese popcorn chicken, except it’s all skin. And because it was really just the skin, there was no fatty bits and it wasn’t too greasy either. Perfect to go with beer!
The Five Flavour Squid was very refreshing. The squid pieces were beautifully scored so they curled up to a nice presentation. They were blenched just right, not chewy, and with a hint of sweetness in the meat. Then they were mixed with a “five flavour” sauce, which had the savoury, umami flavours. The cucumber slices were lightly pickled, so it’s a perfect starter to whet your appetite. It looked simple but a really tasty dish.
Having had Fried Pork Intestines for quite some time, and I forgot how good they could taste! The intestines were fried to a slight crisp outside, while it’s still tender and not overly chewy inside. Not the best I’ve had, but still enjoyable. I always like the sweet & sour dipping sauce they serve alongside the fried pork intestines.
Pork Kidney is known to Chinese for offering great health benefits to women. Truth or myth, I don’t know, but it sure tastes good! The texture is similar to pork liver, but less grainy and more pleasant to the palate. The pork kidney here is first stir-fried with sesame oil and ginger, then add in some broth. So it looks like a soup, but technically not a soup. Because of sesame oil and ginger, as well as rice wine, you can’t taste the gamey flavour in the kidney and the heat from the ginger makes it quite comforting to enjoy this dish.
The Pan-Fried Oyster was a little bit of a ripoff, in my opinion. There were 2 big oysters, at most 3, cut up in chunks, and the rest of the plate was filler such as tofu and onion. I liked the use of black bean sauce, and that it’s served on a sizzling pan, but I really wished there were more oysters.
San-Pei Chicken, aka Three Cup Chicken, is a signature Taiwanese dish. The one here was quite good; chicken pieces were nice and moist. They didn’t fry up the Thai basil, though, so the fragrance of the herb didn’t come through as much as it should, and they could definitely use a few more pieces of Thai basil.
Lastly, does the name “century egg” gross you out? How about “thousand-year egg”? haha I couldn’t control my laughter when the competing teams on a recent Amazing Race episode gagged over eating one of these. They’re not thousand years old! Here at Maji, they serve a Deep Fried Century Egg. The creamy texture of the century egg was still there, and I liked the addition of small fried egg pieces to bring out the egg flavours. First time having century egg this way, and I quite liked it!
Lastly, we rounded out our dinner with an ordinary dish, the Taiwanese Style Stir-Fried Noodles. And it was just, ordinary. It tasted good, and I liked that there were plenty of shredded pork. But compared to everything else we had, nothing really stood out from this dish.
As you can see, most if not all the dishes we ordered would’ve been perfect to go with beer. We were going to order some Taiwan Beer, and they have many fruity flavours, but they were all sold out on that day. We could only enjoy the dishes with some hot tea. Sigh. Another time.
First time here and I really like this place. Interesting menu, tasty food, and affordable price. This would be a great restaurant to hang out with friends over a couple of imported Taiwan Beer, munching over a bunch of deep fried weird goodness.
Maji Restaurant 麻吉台式熱炒
1180 – 8391 Alexandra Road, Richmond