With one of the largest populations of Taiwanese-Americans in the United States, the Bay Area is home to some of the country’s top authentic Taiwanese cuisine restaurants. One of the more notable establishments is the Taiwanese-owned China Bee Restaurant in San Mateo (31 South B Street). From the first sip of its homemade sour plum drink, with its smoky flavor, diners know they have found a place that can satisfy their craving for real Taiwanese food.
When the Bee family first emigrated from Taiwan in 1977, Mrs. Bee quickly earned a reputation for her cooking. Many encouraged her to open a restaurant and she finally did so in 1992. Today, the restaurant continues to be a family-run business. On most days, Nancy, Mrs. Bee’s daughter, is there to welcome customers with a warm smile. About 75 percent of the diners are regulars and many she knows by name or recognizes. Growing up in her parents’ restaurant, Nancy says the customers are drawn to the China Bee because their flavors are stronger, with less oil and salt.
After 21 years, the restaurant continues to be a popular destination for Taiwanese people seeking the familiar comforting taste they grew up with and a new crop of foodies looking to try a good stinky tofu dish. The restaurant is especially crowded on weekends, when diners come from all over the Bay Area for its weekend brunch dishes. Among their popular daily dishes are spicy beef noodle soup, stinky tofu, pork chop rice plate and an assortment of other favorites shown below.