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BeBe Fusion: A smorgasbord of Taiwanese street food and family-style dishes

Name of restaurant: BeBe Fusion. A mash-up of the names of the owner's kids -- Belinda and Benjamin. The fusion component comes from plans to eventually offer Japanese food on the menu.

Chefs: Joe Wang and identical twins Danny and George Hong. They're all Taiwanese-born chefs who have been cooking for 30-plus years.

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What dish represents the restaurant, and why? The basil stinky tofu. Cut into French-fry-like strips, this dish stinks up the premises whenever they whip up a fresh batch. The tofu is fermented in weeks-old shrimp brine and comes with a garlic dipping sauce. Hold off on ordering this if you're on your first date. BeBe's tofu is unapologetically foul, but it's just part of the charm of this restaurant. The chefs stick to tradition.

Runner-up: The "three cups" squid with equal parts black sesame oil, sugar and rice wine mixed with a hearty amount of basil, garlic and ginger. It's served in a clay pot that keeps the dish sizzling and hot throughout the evening.

Concept: A smorgasbord of street food and large, family-style dishes by way of Taipei. As is typical of traditional Taiwanese food, there are a lot of seafood offerings. Taiwanese beer is also on tap for the nostalgic.

Who's at the next table? Families with their ah mas and ah gongs (grandma and grandpa in Taiwanese) in tow enjoying savory oyster pancakes and boiled pig intestines.

Appropriate for...: A family reunion for those accustomed to the cuisine. For all others, a crash course into some of Taiwan's more unusual dishes such as braised offal and pig feet with bamboo.

Uh-oh...:

There's a strong stinky tofu scent that will permeate the dining room and undoubtedly make some people uncomfortable. Also, you might have to wait to snag a seat. There are only 10 tables but reservations are gladly taken.

Service: Friendly. All the servers are bilingual.

What are you drinking? Taiwanese beer, or fresh wintermelon juice.

Info: 201 E. Bay State St., Alhambra, (626) 284-1288.

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The Scouting Report is a quick look at restaurants worth a visit. Scouts were selected by restaurant critic Jonathan Gold, who may or may not agree with a single word.

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