Like its, more famous neighbor, 鼎泰豐 Din Tai Fung, 高記 KaoChi is known for it 元籠小籠包 Shanghai Steamed Pork Buns, also known as Xiao Long Buns. But locals know Kao Chi for it 上海生煎包 Shanghai style fried pork buns.
A friend, who lives just down an alley close by, told me when he was a kid, that he would get 5 of these fried buns for NT$10, now 10 for NT$180. From when the owner used to sell from a street cart, things have changed like the spacious three story restaurant, the expanded menu, and the prices. Though I had a great meal, my friend no longer goes to Kao Chi, since he feels the food wasn’t the same as it once was before.
As you walk in, you see the old traditional street cart with leafed sticky pork rice wraps – I wasn’t sure what to call them. There’s a counter with desserts and these sweet & savory wraps. I knew I had to order one when I walked in. The cuisine, with heavy influence from Shanghai, reminds a little of Cantonese Dim Sum restaurants with the potstickers or xiao long bao, and little dishes.
We had the Shanghai style fried pork buns, with an order of the steams pork & goose buns, stir fried garlic cabbage, sesame radish balls, soup, and of course the leafed sticky pork rice wrap. The sesame radish balls, were always a favorite for me as a kid. I would pick the little sesame off the balls – one by one. And at Kao Chi, they were just right, not too salty.
We then had the stir fried garlic cabbage, which was unexpectedly good. Miss S and I couldn’t stop eating this, till we realized we had other dishes coming. The garlic, fried and slices, stood out. I liked the crunchy big bits of garlic.
Next up was the soup. I didn’t particularly care for this soup, with pieces of tofu and egg. Sort of an egg drop soup with tofu, it was to thick, of starch. Yet, Miss B, being a little sick, needed the soup.
The star of the night, was the Shanghai style fried pork buns. Slightly bigger than the steamed ones, with the puffy dough, the fried pork buns oozed with juices. Carefully, each one has to be handled, with soy sauce and vinegar, so that none of the pork fat dripped away before entering your mouth. The spoon technique seems to work well in this case, as it does with steamed ones from Ding Tai Fung.
The pork & goose steamed buns were fine, yet I probably wouldn’t have ordered it, if I knew I was going to snack on other things nearby. The leafed pork sticky rice wrap was good, but needed more flavor, like proper Taiwanese versions. Keep in mind, next week – the 3 week of June, is Dragon Boat festival time, in which these wraps, Bazhang or Zhongzi, will be consumed in mass quantities.
Anyways. . . all is all, KaoChi is a really good place to bring friends from out of town, foreigners, and for special events.