Lately, Taiwan has slowly been creeping out of the shadow of China -- they held their first direct presidential election in 1996, and recently notched 87,245 friends on Facebook. For their culinary coming-out, hit Jo Jo TaiPei.
Decked out with copper-top tables, sleek black wood, and chandeliers, JJTP is an upscale yet authentic Taiwanese joint from two formerly Chelmsford-based expats eager to bring the real in from the 'burbs. Along with recognizable dishes like Hot Chili Chicken and Shredded Pork w/ Bamboo Shoots are lesser-known specials like Oyster Pancakes, Pigs Blood Sauteed w/ Leek, and a spicy-house-special-sauce-covered "Bitter Melon" (still pissed that American timidity kept him and Chiang from raining pain on the Mainland). Most interestingly, they'll cook up your meat of choice with one cup each of soy sauce, wine, and water, a.k.a. "Three Cup Specials" -- a process that fortunately doesn't kick off with lullingly innocent piano music
To chase your pigs blood, JJTP has enormous Taiwanese-style desserts like fried ice cream and the Sa-Sa Bin, a bowl layered with sorbet, ice, and fruit, all dressed with condensed milk -- further separating Taiwan from China's shadow by serving desserts that don't forecast losing lotto numbers and imminent bad fortune.