Try This: Famry Gives us a Taste of Home-Cooked Taiwanese Comfort FoodOctober 27, 2017
We’ve all got our favorites from Hole in the Wall—The Beef for juicy burgers, Posporo for shawarma, Scout’s Honor for milk and cookies—but Famry, one of the Century Mall food hall’s newest opened concepts, is out to provide diners with a taste of specialties from a cuisine we’re more than happy to explore: Taiwanese.
Taiwanese food of the home-cooked sort is the name of the game for Famry. “We didn’t want to change too much, we just wanted to do really traditional Taiwanese food well,” shares culinary director Talia Cortez. “But we wanted [it] to be non-fussy . . . [and] super accessible.” Though meant to be easily appreciated, the Famry team wanted to make sure they’d get all the flavors right, traveling to Taiwan to do research and taking their time to work on recipes that’d properly reflect that of the said cuisine. The result is a selection of dumplings and bowls that you can tuck into and enjoy, any day of the week, and which juggle the comforting heftiness of familiar favorites with the more robust profile that’ll transport you straight to the night markets of the East Asian island.
The short but succinct menu zooms straight into their specialties and takes the guesswork out of ordering (a refreshing change from the typically lengthy menus at other restaurants), but there are a couple of items you especially cannot miss. Here are our favorites:
BunplingsKnown as sheng jian bao, these dumplings can be thought of as a cross between xiao long bao and Japanese gyoza, featuring the soup-filled interior of the former and the pan-fried bottom of the latter. Getting the dish right proved to be a challenge—especially when it came to the thickness of the wrapper. Leaving the wrapper on the thin end would make it easy for the soup within to leak out, while a thick wrapper made the dumplings tough and chewy (“we didn’t want it doughy that it becomes like a siopao!,” she explains). But the Famry team’s perseverance appears to have paid off, with a skin that’s just slightly heftier than that of a typical xiao long bao, tender while retaining a bite where it’s steamed, and perfectly crispy where it’s fried. An order gets you six orbs of Bunplings that arrive plump and steamy, with chopped spring onions and sesame seeds that pop out against their off-white outer surface. Enjoy these just as you would xiao long bao: first take a nibble and either slurp or let the soup flow on your spoon or straight to your tongue and revel in its warm essence (it’s made with duck broth, which makes for a subtle but deep and savory sort of meatiness); then go ahead and enjoy the remaining dumplings and enjoy the contrast of the part-soft, part-crisp wrapper with their meaty, flavorful interior.
Jianbing typically refers to a stuffed, crepe-like “sandwich” often eaten for breakfast, but Famry injects their own creative spin on the classic dish. This version retains the same contrast of savory filling and crisp exterior, interpreted in the form of what Cortez calls a “Taiwanese [inspired] Jamaican patty”. Juicy char siu, tinged with soy and five spice before being shredded a la pulled pork, fills a dough disc that gets fried for a crisp, golden-brown exterior. Surprisingly hefty, you can split with a friend and take these as an appetizer or heavier snack, or scarf one down solo as a portable main.
Crispy Duck Rice
You can’t do Asian food without rice, and Famry’s selections do not disappoint. This particular bowl features minced pan-fried duck, meaty and juicy with a welcome char in some areas, and whose juices dribble down to help flavor the fluffy rice underneath. Topping off the bowl, too, is a sheet of fried duck skin that amplifies the poultry’s crisp, salty profile; soy egg halves for richness; and pickled cabbage that makes for a refreshing, zingy antithesis to keep you digging into your bowl.
A kiosk at food hall Hole in the Wall serving Taiwanese home-cooked specialties and street food classics.