Lao Tao: A Pictorial Essay

A relative newcomer to Chinatown (in the newly-hip Far East Plaza, no less), Lao Tao labels itself as a straightforward Taiwanese street food diner.

Ginger limeade with organic chia seeds…

Food’s here!!!

Cucumber salad… Garlic notes and a hint of heat serve as counterpoint to the inherent coolness of these crunchy cucumbers - Yummy appetizer!

Beef Ban Mian… Slow-cooked beef shank in marrow broth, with flat noodles, mustard greens, tomatoes & scallions. The house-made red chili & peanut oil add to the complexity of the bowl…

… and mixed up, it looks even better! The bone marrow broth infuses well with the noodles and makes the whole dish so nicely.

Rub-A-Belly… Basically lu rou fan: Stewed and braised pork belly in a rice bowl, served with sweet corn, tea egg, cucumbers, and scallions, and topped with pickled daikon & cilantro. Absolutely terrific.

… the stewed pork au jus is a natural fit with the rice - A great, great bowl.

Dessert time!

“BaoScream”… Fried housemade bun with ube ice cream, custard, and peanut sauce - Delectable.

Though prices here aren’t exactly Taiwanese street food prices, I felt the quality of preparation of each dish was really solid, and definitely worthy of return trips. The new Chinatown dining scene is really heating up.


Lao Tao
727 N. Broadway, #207
Los Angeles, CA 90012


Damn, between Chinatown and a short ride to GCM, the bang^nth possibilities are more than ever.

That beef bowl and pork bowl look pretty tasty. How were the noodles as far as texture?

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I went on the soft opening. I thought it was average, and was pretty disappointed with the lu rou fan. Might have to go again, your bowl looks a lot better than mine.

Went when it first opened.

Beef Ban Mian was not savory enough, and too sweet, and why in the world do you have diced, raw tomatoes? This is Taiwanese street food, not a taco from a taqueria, or a salad from Souplantation.

The texture of the oyster omelet was off, not gooey enough, and the basil and leek while interesting added a bitter taste to the dish that clashed with the hoison-chili-like “Haishan” sauce.

Pork belly rice also lacked flavor, which is rather a big failing given the fattiness of the pork. Bland fat is never a good thing. Reminded me too much of that blubber chapter from Moby Dick.

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You’re a funny guy.

Maybe they’ve worked out the kinks since some of you have eaten there. I also thought the tomatoes seemed out of place in the dish. I could see if they were in-season and delicious and the chef couldn’t resist, but that’s not so. Anyway, I think the meal and your descriptions look great! I love your pictures.