Tuesday, September 1

東北 cuisine

before Sandlot and i started dating, i didn't spend a lot of time in Flushing. the most exposure i would get would be when my parents went to visit our relatives in Fresh Meadows. and when we went out to restaurants with them, i never really paid attention to the restaurant we went to/the food that we ate because i was in perpetual "little kid" mode, where you just tag along to wherever your parents take you and eat whatever they order for you.

now that i'm older, i'm appreciating the restaurants and cuisines my elders are taking me to, like Golden Palace. Golden Palace serves northern Chinese cuisine, which i have no knowledge about, except to say, after tasting it, that it varies in its use of vegetables and the way it prepares its dishes and meats. well, that and it's delicious.

if you're looking for savory, full flavored punch in your food, then  東北 cuisine is definitely the way to go. they have a Spiced Beef Shank ($10.99) which is a specialty of the house and is only available for a limited number of servings a day. it's available warmed or cold. although usually i would opt for the warm version, the cold version is just as good. although the meat's been cooked, cooled, and then sliced, it retains a moist texture. with the accompanying garlic soy sauce, it's hearty and delicious.

similarly, the 大拉皮 Green Bean Sheet Jelly ($9.99) is a tart and cooling dish with cucumbers and carrots, like a cold salad. The 尖椒肥腸 Intestines in Fresh Hot Pepper ($8.99) packs a punch of spice and is a great accompaniment with rice. fair warning, the green peppers are very spicy.  

One of our favorite dishes was 酸菜粉絲 Sour Cabbage with Vermicelli ($7.99). the stir fried sour cabbage provides instant umami inside your mouth, and the vermicelli adds heft and contrasting texture to the crunchiness of the cabbage.

an interesting dish is the 血肠 Blood Sausage. i've never encountered it before, although Uncle informed me it is a very authentic dish that has died out in most restaurants. it's essentially a sausage casing filled with pigs' blood that is steamed and then sliced. it's served with a garlic soy dipping sauce. i love eating offal, but i found the texture of the dish... unpleasant. the inside is just too mushy and off-putting for me to enjoy.

there are also some dishes that, unfortunately, i can't recall the name of but are a house specialty. a vegetarian stir fry consisting of wood ear mushrooms, bean sprouts, and carrots is served with handmade pancakes, raw sliced scallions, and the brown sauce usually served with Peking duck to be wrapped like a tiny burrito. every table orders this dish so i recommend giving it a shot. if anything, you'll feel healthier for having done so.

Dishes we could have done without: 焦溜茄子 Eggplant with Brown Sauce ($7.99). i'm a huge fan of eggplant, and while the eggplant was properly tender, the dish felt overly greasy and lacked the flair of the other dishes. a similar problem occurred with the 回鍋肉 Sautéed Sliced Pork w. Pepper & Chili $8.99). the 蒜蓉空心菜 Sauteed Chinese Watercress with Garlic ($9.99) lacked any uniqueness of flavor, but then again, it was mainly ordered to provide some much needed green vegetables to our growing table of dishes.  Uncle was a big fan of the 肉絲炒乾豆角 Sautéed Sliced Pork w. Tofu ($12.99) but i found it a bit salty. according to him, the dish was extremely authentic and i did like the dried tofu sheets, which i rarely see used in the Chinese cuisine served at restaurants. 

another warning: the portions at this restaurant are pretty epic. my mother's side of the family tends to over-order when they go out, but our table was pretty daunting and the servers kept running out of room to put each new dish that arrived. which reminds me: the service is friendly but not the best. it seems to be 1 waiter and 1 busser for the entire restaurant, and neither can keep up with the speed in which the dishes come out of the kitchen. so be prepared to have empty dirty plates on your table for the duration of your meal or to have clean plates stacked upon old empty dirty plates.

as if we hadn't stuffed ourselves enough, after finding out that they make their dumplings fresh on the premises, Uncle ordered a plate of 三鮮水餃(蒸) Seafood Dumplings with Pork ($8.99). as with all dumplings that are freshly made, the filling was succulent and juicy, and the skin retained the fresh dough snap, although a little on the thicker side.

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