Hidden away in the Lions Plaza of Newark near I-880 and Mowry is another Korean-Chinese restaurant where owner/chefs are Chinese from Shandong. Like Palace Chef in near-by Fremont, it serves traditional Shandong-based dishes such as Zha Jiang Mian and Chao Ma Mian. But why they named the place “Formosa” is beyond me. Formosa usually refers to Taiwan. But this place is not a Taiwanese restaurant. But coincidentall, the Tea Station next door is Taiwanese. Close enough.
The purple-colored menu says in big Chinese characters for hand-made noodles and hand-made dumplings.
They seem to have a lot of stir-fried chaomian (chow mein) noodle dishes besides the traditional soup based noodles.
First up was the Shandong Chicken (山東燒雞). This dish is the original Chinese Chicken Salad. The chicken is fried and then steamed and marinated with a garlic soy sauce dressing. A good version of the sauce will taste like garlic heaven with tons garlic bits. The chicken will sit on a bed of crushed, lightly pickled cucumbers. The juicy chicken meat and the savory sauce, along with the crunchy cucumbers makes this a refreshing summer dish.
However, it seems that this is not ordered often enough here so the chicken did not taste as fresh as those found else where such as Tong Soon Garden in Santa Clara. (Grade: C )
Next up is the 3 Seafood Deluxe Chao Ma Mian (三鮮炒碼麵; third item on first menu). The broth looks spicy but was not very spicy. It was flavorful but still lacked the garlic undertone that really makes the soup.
The hand made noodles were good and stayed firm through most of the dish. (Grade: B )
The Shandong Zha Jiang Mian (炸醬麵; last item on second menu) came with sauce and noodle in separate bowls. The sauce was pretty much standard for bits of onions and pork pieces.
After mixing the noodles, I find that the overall flavor also lacked the fragrant found in the best versions of this dish. (Grade: B)
Overall this is a good place to grab a bowl of noodles since there’s no many other Shandong restaurants around, with the closest one being Palace Chef and further off, Yen Ching in Fremont. Their huge variety of chao mian noodle are also worth exploring. An alternative to noodle lover is QQ Noodle, also in Fremont.
Formosa Chinese Restaurant (都一處)39119 Cedar Blvd (In Lions Plaza)
Newark, CA 94560