Whenever I am in a slump, or I’ve eaten too many non-Asian meals, I find myself gravitating to Formosa, a little hole-in-the-wall in Lake Forest which provides me with a lot of comfort. I’m not sure whether it is because Charlie and Vivian, the couple who runs the joint with Charlie’s brothers, are just so warm and treat us like family, or, whether the food tastes like something I make but am too lazy to.
My son and I came for brunch over the weekend and it is one of my child’s favorite Chinese places. He starts with a bowl of Salty Soy Milk ($1.65) which I take a few spoonfuls of. I generally like mine a little thicker than this but it suffices when I’m not in the mood to make my own or when I run out of the condiments which go into it.
When I forget to order the home-made Taiwanese Sausage, Vivian quickly reminds me to do so. After all, my son has been coming here for years and his dining repertoire never changes. Soy milk, Taiwanese sausage and a few other items he can’t do without. Sorry, we’ve eaten this for years and I still don’t know how much it costs.
My son is addicted to Scallion Pancakes ($2.50) because he’ll eat really bad scallion pancakes as well. He’s not fussy when it comes to that. Luckily, the ones here are pretty decent.
I like the Chinese Beef Pancake ($2.75) — weird name for them because they’re more like Chinese beef sandwiches. Five spiced beef is tucked between sesame pockets and topped with cilantro, scallions and pickled vegetables.
For me, I like to order off the lunch specials menu which is available every day of the week and is served with fried or steamed rice. Dried Beancurd with Pork and Bamboo Shoots ($5.95) is my son’s favorite. The ingredients are julienned and stir fried in soy sauce with scallions. It’s one of those dishes my mom makes and so comforting.
Salt and Pepper Shrimp ($6.50) comes shell-on, crispy and salty. I like to chew on the shrimp head and then slowly make my way to the body, savoring all the flavors stuck on the shell.
I’m a bit of an eggplant fiend, so I always end up ordering it. Eggplant in Hot Garlic Sauce ($5.95) isn’t authentic but it’s good. But then again, I like eggplant no matter how you cook it so maybe I might not be a good gauge? But seriously, it IS very tasty!
A meal at Formosa will never set you back too much. You will be completely satiated, tummies full and for me, it’s a taste of home without having to make it myself.
Formosa Chinese Restaurant
inside the Comfort Inn
23702 Rockfield Blvd
Lake Forest, CA 92530