This year we're marking the hundred-day countdown to Best of Phoenix 2015 by sharing some of our favorite dishes at restaurants all over the Valley. Have a suggestion for a dish you'd like us to try? Leave it in the comments section or email email@example.com.
98. Beef Roll at Taiwan Food Express
Asian food enthusiasts, put on your stretchiest pants and head to Mekong Plaza in Mesa. That's where you'll find the small, fast-casual restaurant called Taiwan Food Express — but also a handful of other counter service and casual restaurants serving everything from bun thit nuong (that's Vietnamese pork over vermicelli) to Filipino lechon kawali and lumpia shanghai.
As you can imagine, with so much variety it can be difficult to settle on one cuisine, but one of my favorite things at the food court is the Taiwan Food Express beef roll.
It's such as straightforward dish — just a scallion pancake wrapped around pieces of meat — but the combination of flavors is immediately comforting. The fried pancake exterior, made from a simple "flour + water + salt + scallion" dough, is delicately crispy outside but retains a nice doughy-ness on the interior. And those strips of beef, stewed in hoisin sauce, are little nuggets of umami flavor. Fried, meaty, oily, and hot, this beef roll is exactly what you want at the end of a bad day. Or just any day. Or just any time.
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Best of all, this dish (and many of the others on the restaurant's dim sum menu) will cost you less than five bucks, meaning you should have plenty of cash left to continue your exploration of Asian cuisines at the plaza's other restaurants.
The 100 Favorite Dishes so far...
100. Waffle at Matt's Big Breakfast