Brooklyn Chinatown for New Year
Any suggestions for celebrating the Chinese New Year in Sunset Park or thereabouts? A friend recommended "the place across from Silver Palace" but can't remember the name. Other suggestions?
Miriam--Flushing and Manhattan Chinatowns are so close, and Sunset Park's quality lags so far behind...I know this isn't what you asked for, but may I encourage you to take a short trip for maximal deliciousness?
If it's got to be Sunset Park, Chinese Ocean (5806 8th ave 567-8686) is probably your best bet. But I just hate to see you "settle" when you're planning a big special meal (or, for that matter, a little trifling meal).
Haven't been to any of the Chinese places in Sunset Park--the lukewarm comments here scared me off. (Did have some very good pho and awesome pork chops at Gia Lam, though.)
But I was in the neighborhood last weekend, and have one idea for you. The branch of Nyonya out there (at 54th St., I think) is serving yee sang--an elaborate Malaysian Chinese New Years salad. They've set up a station in the middle of the restarant to assemble it--it a big plate of crunchy noodles and dried yam and candied ginger and mysterious, lovely brightly-colored bits. It's served with a plate of raw salmon to mix in, I think.
I say "I think," because I screwed up: the waitress asked, "Do you want the special Chinese New Year salad?" and I said "Of course." The she asked, "Do you want the salmon?" I thought she was asking about some special whole-fish entree, and I said no. Later, as I peered around the room, I noticed other diners were getting an extra plate with their salads. When I got home and did some research, trying to figure out what I had just eaten, I learned that yee sang is a raw fish salad. I had had just the garnishes. I'm still kicking myself.
Even so, it was really tasty. And very festive: it comes with a red paper packets of salt and five-spice powder: you spinkle over the top and toss the whole thing together dramatically.
Wish I could say the rest of the meal lived up to it, but the roti canai was just OK, and the prawn sambal way too sweet. Maybe just bad ordering.
The salad, though--especially if you did it the right way and didn't say no to the salmon--was something really special, and set just the right holiday tone. If you're set on being in the neighborhood, I would think that this would be the ideal only-once-a-year kind of treat.
(Extra question: anybody know if the other outposts of the Penang/Nyonya conglomerate are serving this? Wednesday night I went to the Malaysian restaurant in the arcade off of Bowery in Chinatown, thinking maybe all Malaysian places in town might be serving it and I could finally get my stupidly missed salmon. No such luck. A much better meal otherwise, though.)