Pix From Island of Taiwan in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn–Revised


Served picturesquely in a crock, the legendary three-cup chicken is one of Taiwan’s most notorious recipes. The basil in the dish comes as a surprise.

This week, Counter Culture invades Bay Ridge a few blocks south of Sunset Park Chinatown to visit Island of Taiwan, a new Taiwanese (well, duh!) restaurant. The food is often superb, filled with diverse influences from the mainland, from Japan, from the U.S., from Southeast Asia, and from the aboriginal Formosans. The food will change your ideas of Chinese food, and many of the flavors are surpassingly pungent.

Stinky tofu, beloved of Taiwanese, is a challenge to outsiders. While it smells like a combination of puke and poop, the savor in the mouth is actually mellow and mild. My advice: Hold your nose and down it. The sauce and pickles that come with it are fantastic.

“Famous spicy beef noodles soup” is well deserving of its fame.


The English menu describes this dish as “spicy minced pork,” while the Chinese menu facetiously calls it “fly heads.”

Taiwanese tempura has one thing in common with Japanese tempura: Both are fried.

The vegetarian mushroom medley at Island of Taiwan.

The delightfully crisp radish omelet.

We concluded the meal one evening by comparing our CSA shares (left to right: Jui, Cathy).

The other side of the table responded with one perfect tomato (left to right: Francis, Winnie, Matt)