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Restaurant review: Tainan Mr Bean in Causeway Bay – street fare from Taiwan’s south

With big fluorescent light boxes inscribed with the names of dishes hanging on the walls, a corner in the back alley behind Lee Gardens in Causeway Bay has been transformed into a vibrant night market of the kind that is seen all over Taiwan.

Following in the footsteps of Yuan is Here in Sai Ying Pun, Tainan Mr Bean recently opened on Lan Fong Road, serving the kind of Taiwanese street fare that is hawked in night markets in Tainan City.

While Yuan is Here has only a handful of seats and long queues waiting outside, Tainan Mr Bean is more spacious. The ambience is right, and there are friendly waiters speaking Mandarin. Many of the ingredients, including the sauces, are from Taiwan.

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The menu is large. We liked the braised pork rice (HK$28 for small), which had theright proportion of fatty and lean meat and a slightly sweet flavourful sauce. The shrimp and pork ball noodle soup (HK$42)had a generous amount of ingredients in a rich broth.

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The sesame oil chicken (HK$65) was disappointing as the chicken flesh was not tender enough andhadn’t absorbed the sauce, making it bland.

We enjoyed the pineapple and bitter gourd soup (HK$38) with carrot and dried shrimp. The soup had light taste with a slightly bitter flavour, making it taste like a soothing tonic.

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For those who think street fare is unhealthy, there are many vegetable dishes on offer. We liked the sweet potato leaves (HK$45) cooked with garlic.For indigenous Tainan dishes, we ordered the Hsinchu vermicelli(HK$55) – chewy rice noodles which came in a big portion with many ingredients such as pork, shrimp and vegetables.

Tainan Mr. Bean, 19 Lan Fong Road, Causeway Bay, tel: 2217 0520. Open: noon-3pm, 6pm-10.30pm