It was only eight months ago that I wrote a full review for Formosa Bites, a Taiwanese street food truck that had just launched in December 2021. I was super smitten by their red chile oil wontons, and enthusiastic too about their sweet potato fries, popcorn chicken and pork belly sliders — which is to say everything on the small menu. I kept an eye on their progress, and was sorry to hear their truck had broken down in mid-July, when a blown tire on the highway sent rubber shrapnel into the undercarriage, damaging parts. I was even more sorry — shocked actually — to hear that these many months later, the truck remains out of action, with auto shops claiming they’re unable to find replacement parts, says Formosa owner Terry Lim, adding that he’s having a hellish time with his insurance field adjuster with long delays between correspondences — as if the company seems not to realize that Formosa’s dead in the water.
If You Go
Well, almost dead. To maintain income, Lim decided to pivot. Remember that pandemic word? He’d been laid off after years of corporate work when COVID hit, which paved the way for Formosa’s launch, his first re-creation. Now, as a stopgap, he’s been offering take-and-make potstickers out of The Link Commissary (6620 Delmonico Drive, Suite B). That’s where, by texting orders ahead, you’ll now meet Lim during weekly pickup slots (updated on their Facebook page).
A couple months back, on our own time, we ordered Lim’s original pork potstickers and had a blast searing rounds of them with my girlfriend’s teenagers at home. The instructions are super easy: splash a little oil in a 12-inch pan; add the frozen dumplings; add water to cover one-third of them; cook on high, covered, until the water boils; then on medium, without the lid as the water thickens; and gently scrape them off the pan after the water’s evaporated. The texture will be browned and crunchy on the bottom, and still soft and doughy on the top. Your palate will recognize that these are indeed from homemade dough — delicate and delightful.
More recently, Lim announced new potsticker flavors: chicken, and vegetarian, which are actually vegan. Of course we had to try them, and placed an order: $22/bag (25-28 pieces) for all flavors; chile oil, $7/4-ounce or $12/8-ounce; potsticker sauce, $10/8-ounce or $18/16-ounce. The vegan flavor consists simply of fine-chopped green onions, chives, garlic, carrot, cabbage, dried bean curd, and mung bean vermicelli. That bit of thin noodle is for texture, says Lim, and the rest of the stringy filling reminds me of a satisfying vegetable egg roll flavor. It’s mild, allowing the sauces to shine, and I add recommended fresh minced garlic (from my own garden) at home when I plate the dumplings. I almost overdo it on the addictive chile oil, which never gets too spicy despite the quantity of crushed red Asian chile peppers and Sichuan peppercorns, spiked also by ginger and garlic, and balanced by sugar.
The chicken potstickers hold more umami thanks to shrimp minced in with the chicken, green onion and prominent garlic, all of which form a compressed sausage texture. Here, the soy-forward sauce, with its vinegar edge and sesame oil essence, really punches up the meat’s flavor and makes for a potent bite, though again I don’t shy from liberal chile oil usage. I’m just as happy as I was the first night I found Formosa Bites at a brewery. You know something special when you’re eating it. I sure hope Lim’s truck trouble ends soon, because the Springs is a better place with his Taiwanese treats.