The first part of my Birthday celebration begins here! If you started reading my blog around this time of last year, you might’ve remembered that I eat out pretty much all week with my Birthday as an excuse. I also celebrate with different groups of friends due to schedules and what not so just the one Birthday meal won’t do! Anyways, it’s really just an excuse to eat out as much as I can at all the places I want to. Today’s lunch was with my bud, L, who is not a foodie but is super picky as she has traveled to and eaten at many parts of the world. However, she doesn’t like to spend much $ on food so when I eat out with her, it better be a cheap place! I picked O’Cup b/c it fits in with her criteria and it’s in Chinatown, so only a few minutes from work.
O’Cup has taken over the spot where the Dessert House used to be a while back (now they’re just across the street!), and they have been opened since last November. It’s a casual little eatery that serves up specialty drinks and a small selection of Taiwanese snacks. I never jumped on the bandwagon for bubble tea as I never developed a taste for it – even when I get a bubble tea drink I always substitute the “bubbles” for lychee jelly. Anyways, I was here to try their fried chicken, as well as one of their specialty drinks. Funny that when I was in Taipei back in 2011, I didn’t bother to try the fried chicken there once. Yet now that I’m in Calgary, I try it wherever it’s available.
Here’s what we tried today:
This was my drink. I love the strong taste of matcha in this milk tea and instead of bubbles or jelly, a generous amount of red beans paste was in place. The drink was on the sweet side for me but I really enjoyed it. I was also quite happy with the large size that was served. Unfortunately I forgot to ask for it to go so I had to drink the whole thing and as a result I didn’t eat much of my lunch.
This was L’s drink. I don’t remember what the main flavor was but if you’re wondering why it’s called Panda, look the bottom of the cup. Topped with whipped cream and sprinkles, L said it was pretty tasty. She remembered to ask for it to go after looking at my drink.
Curry Fish Balls – $2.99
This is one of the snacks we chose. Five fish balls in a mild curry sauce – plain and simple but also tasty.
Fried Bean Curd – $3.99
This was not what we thought. We were expecting those puffy tofu pockets and instead we got deep fried firm tofu squares. These definitely should come with a dipping sauce as they were quite bland. We kept dipping them in the curry sauce from the dish above.
Taiwanese Fried Chicken with Rice – $7.99
L doesn’t eat pork, so imagine her surprise when this was served with minced pork sauce. So a warning to those who don’t eat pork – ask for it without as it’s not stated on the menu! The staff did offer to remake the dish for L though. This was a big portion for an entree – a good amount of lightly fried dark chicken chunks, marinated bean sprouts and vegetables sitting on top of a bed of rice. L thought the chicken was under seasoned and didn’t really like it.
Crispy Chicken with Rice – $8.99
Since I do eat pork, I didn’t mind the minced pork sauce (it’s under all the food on top of the rice). The difference between my dish and L’s is the chicken – mine was like a bone-in steak form. The chicken was prepared the exact same way between both dishes and I found the chicken a bit under seasoned as well. I wish there was a sauce served with it although that wouldn’t be the Taiwanese way. However, I took home the leftovers and reheated it in the oven for dinner and the flavors came out a lot more – something of a salt and pepper plus five spice mix.
Service was overall pretty good – food did take quite a while to come out even though we were the first customers. L and I will be back for drinks and snacks for sure. I will order the chicken again but only as a snack and not as a meal, especially if I get a drink as well since that is pretty filling itself. They serve a thin noodle soup with intestines on Monday and Tuesdays and that is something I still need to try! Note that there is free wifi when you eat at the restaurant – I can see a lot of students coming here.