I’ve been disappointed with Taiwanese places in Atlanta. One serves very inconsistent food and the other one is, well, totally forgettable. When Kan Pai opened, I went a couple of times and tried the meat bowls. I never liked any of them and I still don’t. These bowls are confused — they’re a cross between Japanese and Taiwanese/Chinese flavors and, for me, they just don’t work. Avoid them at all costs.
What is really, really good here, however, are the small plates. The street food items that are common in Taiwan. The Taiwanese sausage is my favorite here. It is slightly sweet and salty, with the texture of firmer kielbasa. It’s served warm, sliced, and with a side of fresh garlic. Skip the garlic and savor the flavor of the sausage. It’s best eaten with steamed rice. Oh, so yummy, I could eat three orders of this.
The Beef Wrap is fantasticness in chewy bites. They come in these thick, chewy, rice flour wrap that’s lightly fried and filled with loads of tasty stir-fried beef, cilantro, and lettuce. It’s like dim sum on steroids.
A Taiwanese street food staple, the Taiwanese Glutinous Meat Ball will make your taste buds so happy. It’s a meat ball — in the sense that the meat is encased in a ball. The ball, a dumpling of sorts, is an extremely sticky, extremely chewy, extremely gelatinous, translucent tapioca flour dough that’s filled with stewed beef. It is topped with sweet chili sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil. The stew is salty-sweet with tender chunks of beef. Aah, this is one tasty street food. And fun to eat, too.
The skewers are Taiwanese style. The meats are lightly flavored with five spice powder and basted with chili-soy sauce similar (but not the same) as teriyaki sauce.
The Braised Beef Noodle soup, the national food of Taiwan, is very good here. The deep broth is the result of many hours of boiling beef. Thick, flat noodles are used which have enough texture for the broth to cling to. Yummy.
Lastly, did you know? Taiwan claims they invented the popular boba aka bubble tea in the late 80s. But I disagree because similar drinks with tapioca balls have been around for ages all over Asia. In any case, I’m warning you. Under no circumstances should you make a mistake in getting a boba here. Don’t. Ever. You’ll regret it. There, I warned you.
Now go get some sausages and beef wraps.
Kan Pai Cafe
3466 Holcomb Bridge Road
Norcross, GA 30092