Taiwan Tex-Mex

The world’s best barbecue ribs are not found in Texas. Sorry. No, to taste these, you must travel to Taiwan, to Smokey Joe’s Restaurant in the city of Kaohsiung. Call for directions: (07)226-0833.

Smokey Joe’s has a huge menu, full of plenty of good traditional Tex-Mex style dishes, an assortment of other American style comfort foods, a complete Chinese menu, and a full-sized dessert and liquor menu. If I were a full-time expat living in Kaohsiung, I would probably frequent this establishment on a weekly basis. I had been to this restaurant before, back in 1996, but it seems much improved now.

For appetizers, we ordered the fried mozzarella and the buffalo wings. You can’t go wrong with fried cheese when you’ve been eating nothing but noodles, scallion pancakes, and tofu for the past week. The buffalo wings were quite good, with more of a Texas flavor than the traditional Buffalo, New York variety, but delicious nonetheless.

I ordered their Cheeseburger, which had a specialty recommendation on the menu, Yingwen got a Korean Hot Pot, and her brother got the ribs. The hot pot was as spicy and delicious as one would expect. They brought it out fresh and it was cooked on a burner right at our table, and we dumped the ingredients in and it was super yummy. The burger was as good as any you could find Stateside, with a nice thick layer of cheese, bacon, veggies, and a sesame bun. Good goddamn burger.

When the ribs came out, it was apparent that this was the way to go. This was the only dish we could not finish, because it was freakin’ huge like a side of brontosaurus. Taiwan’s chief food export is pork, for which it’s quality is quite renowned in east Asia. Some would argue that Taiwan’s pork is the highest quality that can be found worldwide. After these ribs, I would have to agree. This case goes to show that it doesn’t matter what your recipe is if you don’t have the finest basic products to back it up.

I have photos, but it’s late and I have to try and get some sleep because tomorrow morning we take the express train to Taipei at 7 AM. More later…