Lao Tao

Restaurants, Taiwanese Chinatown
Recommended
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)
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Lao Tao
Photograph: Jakob N. Layman
Century Egg Tofu Salad at Lao Tao

Lao Tao is a Taiwanese street food concept helmed by chef David Wang, a small, 25-seat restaurant decorated with retro, grade school posters and wooden planks depicting the Chinese characters for various spices. Though Wang is from China, he grew up primarily with Taiwanese classmates, who instilled in him a love for Taiwan's rich and varied street food. At Lao Tao (which means food monster or, roughly, "foodie") you'll find Taiwan's national dish, Beef Ban Mian: flat noodles coated in an eight-hour marrow sauce and topped with five-spice beef shank, Taiwanese napa cabbages, pickled veggies and green scallions. The Sea Land Tofu Skin Roll is perfect for sharing in a group; it features six slices of a tofu roll stuffed with pork and fish paste, the filling also includes minced vegetables and water chestnuts, plus HaiShan sauce on the side.

Two of Wang's best dishes are the Chao Shou—pork filled wontons—and Century Egg Tofu Salad. The wontons are bursting with perfectly spiced pork rolled in hot chili oil, then topped with homemade Hong You sauce, peanut powder and green scallions. The tofu salad could hardly be considered a salad—instead, silky tofu cubes are accented by that same Hong You sauce, and surrounded by rousong (a pork floss that has the texture of cotton candy) and century eggs, a blackened delicacy that looks far more intimidating than it tastes (and it tastes incredible). 

To drink, there are a couple refreshing beverages on the menu: ginger lemonade with chia seeds and a sweet, iced Osmanthus Oolong tea. 

 

Posted:

Venue name: Lao Tao
Contact:
Address: 727 N Broadway
Unit #207
Los Angeles

Opening hours: Tue-Thu 11am-3pm, 5:30-9pm; Fri 11am-3pm, 5:30-9:30pm; Sat 11am-9:30pm; Sun 11am-9pm
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Haley S.
tastemaker

Delicious (if somewhat inconsistent) Taiwanese food on order just a floor above the insane three hour line that is Howlin' Rays.  Value your time and eat here instead.  If you're a fan of spicy, there are tons of delicious sounding dishes here that I WISH I could eat.  If you're more for mild, the popcorn chicken rice bowl is out of this world.  At least, it was the first time I went there--the second time it was inexplicably doused in hot seasoning and I could barely eat it (and then felt sick when I did, I'm really not good with spicy food sadly :( ).  Probably all that needs to happen is that regardless of whether ordering a spicy dish or not, just specify your spice preference.  Refreshing beverages, filling food and good prices, and a beautiful decorated space--what more could you want?