Pan-Asian fare at Vora offers Taiwanese dim sum

September 21, 2013 (CHICAGO)

And while there are some similarities with the more popular Chinese dishes, the menu still takes a few alternate routes.

The steamer runs pretty much non-stop at the new Vora, hidden away on Clark Street, next to a Dave & Buster's franchise. The pan-Asian menu covers a lot of ground, but it's the daily Taiwanese dim sum that rings true for the Taipei-born owners.

"To have my friends come here and hang out with me and be able to have food that I enjoy going back home in Taiwan," said Paul Ko, co-owner of Vora.

One dish he missed the most- gua bao. The puffy steamed bun is opened like a fat taco, filled with crushed peanuts, a few slices of braised-and-steamed pork belly, plus a healthy spoonful of pickled greens and a sprig or two of fresh cilantro.

"And the gua bao is like a Chinese hamburger but very healthy," said Lisa Hung, Paul's mother, and co-owner of Vora.

The Ba-Wan is essentially a Taiwan-style meatball, stuffed into a steamed dough shell, and the Wa-Guei, or savory steamed rice cake has a sturdy bottom layer made from sweet potato flour that steamed beneath a crown of ground pork. Thin strands of somen noodles fortify a thick stew with shucked oysters, and for dessert, a traditional bowl of shaved ice, topped with your choice of red beans, taro root or mixed fruit, plus sweetened coconut milk.

"It's a great dessert to have. It's refreshing, shaved ice with lots of ingredients on top. You can even have mocha on top, fresh fruits, it's really good," said Ko.

Even though Taiwan is the birthplace of the famous bubble tea - which is all over Chinatown - if you do come to Vora, make sure you try their authentic drink, which is a warm glass of soy milk, with some of those boba - or tapioca pearls - down at the bottom.

1028 N. Clark St.
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