11/20/13 10:45am

The Taiwanese Fried Chicken Gua Bao, an Exercise in Excess


Nothing quite exceeds like excess.

Ever since I saw the ad for Subway’s Sriracha Chicken melt sandwich I’ve been strangely fascinated by it. I had every intention of covering it for this week’s Sandwich Wednesday, but couldn’t bring myself to pull the trigger. That’s how I found myself in Flushing casting about for a sandwich idea and settled on trying the gua bao ($2.50), or Taiwanese pork belly sandwich from Taipei Hong, my secret Taiwanese fried chicken connection. And then it hit me. “Let me have a Number 1, spicy,” I said giving  the secret password for the off-menu fried chicken, “and a gua bao.”

I giddily rushed across the street to the New World Mall food court to assemble what was to be my first, and very likely last, Taiwanese fried chicken gua bao. “Surely this will be better than that Subway sandwich,” I thought as I heedlessly piled fried chicken on top of the pork belly, sugared peanut, and mustard green sandwich. I don’t know what possessed me to gild the porky lily with fried chicken, perhaps I was emboldened by my brilliant invention of the sukati roll. (It should be noted that while I invented the sukati roll I did not prepare it.)

People, I am here to tell you that there is such a thing as flying too close to the sandwich mashup sun. Taipei Hong’s chicken–extolled by U.K. food critic Richard Vines who I recently took on a whirlwind tour of Queens–should be eaten by itself in all its crunchy, juicy glory. Right about now that Subway sandwich is sounding kind of good. Hopefully my heartburn will subside by lunchtime tomorrow so I can try it.

Taipei Hong, 136-55 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing

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