BeBe Fusion is a Taiwanese restaurant in Southern California named after the owner’s children, Belinda and Benjamin. The menu features Taiwanese comfort food, and a smorgasbord of family-style dishes like braised pork belly and Dungeness crab over sticky rice. The stinky tofu, a signature Taiwanese dish, is one of the most authentic in the city, fried up in French fry form and with heaps of basil. As is typical of traditional Taiwanese food, there are a lot of seafood offerings, like whole squid, oyster omelets, and lobster drizzled with kewpie mayonnaise.
The cuisine is a personal favorite of mine—heavy on the oysters and sweet-leaning sauces. Taiwanese food is a motley collection of mainland Chinese, Japanese, Hakka and indigenous influences. It’s the food of my parents and an irrevocable part of my identity. The island is especially renowned for its night markets, open-air bazaars heavy with deep-fried treats and meats on sticks.
BeBe Fusion has all of the above, and is a favorite of mine in Alhambra, a city that’s already chock-full of Taiwanese eateries that cater specifically to the Taiwanese diaspora. It is the perfect place to take your Taiwanese in-laws or parents. The owners don’t skip on quantity or quality, and they also have Taiwanese beer on tap for the nostalgic.
The Three Cup Chicken here is especially savory. Its name is derived from the three key ingredients used in the sauce: black sesame oil, soy sauce and rice wine. It’s a dish that reportedly originates from the Jiangxi province of southern China but is most prolific in Taiwan. In Southern California, many versions of this dish are thin on flavors, but BeBe Fusion’s rendition has a thick, addictive sauce meant to be ladled on white rice. The sauce isn’t exclusive to chicken, and can be used for squid or frog, as well.
The basil adds an extra kick. Once in Taiwan, a prominent chef told me that adding basil to the dish was an American-Taiwanese touch that was taken back to Taiwan and popularized.
Monica Wu, the owner of BeBe Fusion who is from Taipei, has been perfecting the recipe since childhood, and she says the key is to use a thick soy sauce. She also uses organic chicken, and adds that this recipe can be made with chicken wings or thighs for those cooks who don’t want to use a whole chicken.
Three Cup Chicken
Cooking time: 15 mins
BeBe Fusion: 201 E Bay State St, Alhambra, CA 91801