When it comes to Taiwanese cuisine I hardly ever think of bread or buns unless it is in the context of gua bao, the pork belly bun topped with sweetened crushed peanuts and pickled greens that’s as popular a street food, in Taipei as it in Flushing. And I almost never think of sweet buns, but all that changed at Elmhurst’s Happy Stony Noodle last night when I tried a Taiwanese specialty called zhá yín sī jüǎn, or deep-fried silver thread roll, that I honestly can’t stop thinking about.
The English name—fried bun—on the menu is decidedly less poetic, but one look at the pair of golden brown buns lashed with condensed milk and I wanted to write a sonnet, or, at the very least, not share them with my dining companion.
“Is that egg inside?” he wondered aloud as we examined a cross section filled with fluffy yellow layers. The buns taste even better than they look. A crunchy burnished exterior that calls to mind a zeppole gives way to pillowy innards. I asked a Taiwanese friend about this dessert and she said that as a child she would unwind them, eating one strand at a time to prolong the pleasure. I’ll have to try that strategy next time I visit Happy Stony. Did I mention that I can’t stop thinking about these Taiwanese buns?
Happy Stony Noodle, 83-47 Dongan Ave., Elmhurst, 718-335-0500