7455 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90046
Sun, 05/31/2015, 7:00pm walk-in
Pingtung: A city in Taiwan and home to chef/owner Li Ping. Ping (who has the last name that conveniently includes the name of her restaurant) was raised in Pingtung as well as Tokyo, Japan. The menu is a combination of Taiwanese, Japanese as well as Vietnamese. It is an eclectic mix that ranges from dim sum, to banh mi sandwiches and ramen. A large tea selection is available, which I appreciate.
|The dining area
PingTung is casual with a small dining room. In the back sits a large, outdoor patio eating area with decorative chairs and wooden benches. It is a warm, simple yet comfortable meeting area with an ambiance that is evocative of Thailand.
|Another section of the back patio
|MY FAVORITE DISH. CHICKEN ROLL ($6.95): The chicken roll is similar to a Taiwanese beef roll but filled with chicken instead of beef. The chicken was moist and its marinate was sweet. The flatbread was crispy and the scallions added a nice touch. The textures and flavors meshed well together and this was comprehensively, a good dish.
|CRISPY SCALLION PANCAKE ($4.95): I love scallion pancakes. It's one of my favorite things to eat on the menu at a Taiwanese restaurant. They are crispy on the outside with flaky, crisp layers that make the perfect snack item. So when I got the pancake here, I was disappointed. The pancake was dry. Forget the layers...it doesn't exist! This was probably one of the worse tasting scallion pancakes I've had. Sorry, just being honest.
|GYOZA-PORK DUMPLINGS ($6.95): This is what I expected when I ordered the pot stickers...not the gyoza. The gyoza had a nice, crisp exterior wrapper and the pork was succulent. There were bits of shrimp along with the pork filling that I felt should have been noted on the menu (especially for those who have a seafood allergy). This was probably one of the better dishes.
|TUNG TING OOLONG ($5.95): This was a great loose leaf tea. It had a slightly bitter flavor which went well to cut through the richness of the pan-fried dishes. I absolutely adored their version of the teapot as it kept the tea from over-seeping.
|PINGTUNG SWEET FLATBREAD WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM ($5.95): The flatbread was crisp and dry. It reminded me of the scallion pancake, but thicker, denser without the scallions. The ice cream was ok. Together, it did not go well. It is definitely not one of my favorite desserts.
Overall, PingTung Eat-In Market is a cute meeting spot to have with friends. The food is mediocre and it lacks authenticity. I appreciate that chef Li Ping offers dishes from various regions of Asia, but I was hoping that the food would have more flavor (maybe I'm spoiled with eating in the San Gabriel Valley when I want good Asian cuisine). The service was a bit slow and could use a bit of improvement on speed. Word of advice: Stick with the flatbread rolls.
Notable dishes: Chicken Roll and Tung Ting Oolong Tea