Taiwanese dining experience at Evergreen

kathleen ambre

Embedded in an ethnic haven on the “eat street” of Nicollet Avenue, beneath Hanguyen International Supermarket, Evergreen emits a very casual atmosphere and authentic Taiwanese dining experience. Fading watercolor wallpaper trims the walls alongside deep ebony tables and chairs, framed artwork embellishes the apparent simplicity, and polite servers seem to walk silently on the tips of their toes.

Established in 2003 by Taiwanese owner Paul Honj and his wife, Evergreen has maintained familiar crowds of customers on a weekly basis and a sustainable business for the time being. Prices have lowered recently and fewer waitresses remain on the payroll, but faithful customers and carefully-worked authentic dishes keep the family-owned business going.

Most of the meals are comprised of a “five spice powder”: cinnamon, star anise, cloves, galgangal, and fennel seeds. In addition, the complex “Chinese satay (sha cha) sauce,” spices, seafood, peanuts, and miscellaneous ingredients, the sauce is known to be a laborious culinary creation. As for the heat of the meals, the spicy szechuan pepper is either blended into a creamy curry or hearty broth.

The lengthy menu spans a range of cuisines including well-known favorites like sweet and sour chicken and egg rolls, as well as the more authentic Cantonese style rice platters and Taiwanese specialties. Many of the dishes are adapted for vegetarians and vegans and therefore specifically grouped on the menu.

High-esteemed specialty, bamboo and pork belly stew, proves to be a customer favorite. To make the dish, the pork is first fried and steamed, and then stewed with baby bamboo shoots in a soy sauce base. The bamboo augments the salty zest, and the result, a sigh of contentment.

As for vegetarian customers, most have taken to the house style eggplant with basil. Coated with a basil and garlic brown sauce, the Asian eggplant withholds a pungent anise-flavor that saturates a lasting aftertaste that appeals.

Vegetarian or not, any customer looking for a considerable diversity of flavors and old-time techniques—alongside a simplistic vibe and affordable cost—will find that Evergreen Chinese Restaurant is just the place to go.