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Amazing Fujian Menu

k
KRS Aug 3, 2006 03:18 PM

Sheng Xiang Seafood Restaurant has just opened at 5318 8th Avenue near 53rd Street in Brooklyn, (718) 633-3383. The food is Fujian (a/k/a Fu-chien, Fukien, Foukien, Hokkien, etc.), from a part of Canton on the east coast just opposite Taiwan.

The first good sign was a dozen water tanks in the front, filled with clear water and fish actually moving around, plus living shrimp, crabs, lobsters and turtles.

The menu is full of items like Crispy Pork Intestine, Fried Duck Tongue, Rabbie (rabbit?) Fuchow Style, Goose Intestine in Wine Grain Sauce and Pork Blood w/ Any Style. (How many styles of pork blood can you name, offhand.)

There was an initial freebie of boiled peanuts with a light glaze -- lovely and interesting.

We had Fuchow Dumpling Soup (i.e., Suey Kow), which was quite good. Rather than half-moon dumplings, these were super-size wontons, with only a small amount of meat -- basically pasta flavored with meat The broth was pork-based and quite good.

Sauteed Snow Pea Shoots were predictably excellent, with just the right amount of slivered preserved ginger.

House Special Noodles were basically Dan Dan Noodles with no meat but lots of diced mushrooms -- again, excellent.

Curry Beef Casserole was long-stewed miscellaneous beef plus onions, taro, bell pepper, ginger and greens. Food for poor peasants, but amazing.

For dessert, Sweet Taro Pudding was battleship gray and only slightly sweet, but very good.

All of this came to $40 for two, including a generous tip, with enough to take home for two more meals.

The place is brand new and rather raw. Decor is non-existent. There’s no salt, pepper or soy sauce on the tables; individual plates are only 6 inches across; the chopsticks are lacquered and slippery, and you have to ask for a fork. Service is good, but self-conscious.

The dishes are not adapted to American tastes. The broth in the soup was unsalted and took a moment to get used to. The beef in the casserole was the cheapest possible cuts, including gristle and blood vessels, cooked forever to make it chewable.

Get there quick, while they’re serving the food as they themselves would eat it.

  1. n
    noisejoke Aug 3, 2006 06:20 PM

    Great post! Thanks for the report. I've only had Fujian from tiny storefronts in the city.
    I look forward to experiencing the cuisine near to home in both a trad. restaurant setting, and as you say "food...as they would eat it."
    You're a true 'Hounder, old school!

    1. jen kalb Aug 7, 2006 02:21 AM

      There seem to be a growing cluster of new Fujianese restaurants in this area ripe for exploration- I picked up a menu today from one call Ming Jiang 17 5121 8th, just up the street from the Tofu store which has a ton of interesting looking stuff on its menu too - great to see a fullish menu (not all the the stuff youd want to try on the Chinese menu) with rabbit and mutton noodle soups,even a goat casserole, in addition to a lot of seafood,frogs leg, interesting veg dishes, etc etc.

      Update: there is another new place called Wan Cun Jo Seafood, between 49th and 50th that looks newly opened too, on the same strip.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jen kalb
        Ike Aug 9, 2006 10:04 PM

        I noticed Wang Cun Ju the other day when I was exploring this neighborhood for the first time. What a name. The menu I grabbed indicated they had two locations: 49-22 8th Ave. and 56-09 8th Ave. It also says they're open 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

        It has some fascinating stuff on it, including Sauteed Tortoise Meat. (A Taiwanese friend tells me that this may be a bit of a mistranslation -- not tortoise as we know it, but a similar critter with a soft body, not a hard shell, and a triangular head [I think] rather than a more oval-ish head.)

        Other unusual items on their menu:

        - Fish Head w. Sour Vegetable Soup
        - Fish Stomach Soup
        - Cattles Viscera Soup
        - Bak Bo Winter Melon Soup
        - Lamb Belly w. Thin Noodle Soup
        - Pork Liver w. Thin Noodle Soup
        - Turtle w. Thin Noodle Soup
        - Clam & Glutinous Ball w. White Noodle Soup
        - Pork Bone Noodle Soup
        - Country Style Aromatic Mixed Place (?)
        - Conch w. Boneless Duck Soup
        - Chinese Snail w. Black Bean Sauce (but this is in the "seafood" section of the menu)
        - Salt & Pepper Chinese Snail (" ")
        - Steamed Cruian (is that a fish?)
        - Steamed Stone Fish
        - Steamed Arrow Head (?)
        - Elephant-Nose Conch Served w. Two Ways
        - Braised Turtle
        - Goose Intestine w. Chinese Celery
        - Sauteed Anchocy w. Pepper
        - Fish Head w. Bean Curd Casserole
        - Sam Bo Rice (seriously)

        Some of the more ordinary-sounding dishes that appeal to me:

        - Seaweed & Crab appetizer
        - Crispy Pork Intestine appetizer
        - Anchooy in Foo Chow Style (I assume they mean anchovy)
        - Black Mushroom & Bamboo w. Brown Sauce
        - Steamed Eel Fish w. Black Bean Sauce
        - Salt & Pepper Jumbo Shrimp
        - Tasty Crab w. Special Vinegar Sauce
        - Ginger & Scallion Crab
        - Hot & Sour Squid Soup (marked as spicy)

        If I get back to the neighborhood anytime soon, I hope to try this place.

        1. re: Ike
          Brian S Aug 11, 2006 06:10 PM

          There's a Fujian place with a menu similar to that on 40 Rd in Flushing... I've always meant to try it but haven't yet. I thing the biggest concentration of Fujianese is in Manhattan Chinatown, along E Broadway and Ludlow.

      2. bobjbkln Aug 11, 2006 05:48 PM

        The two of us went to Sheng Xiang last night. This is definitely an interesting place. Here are some observations. The staff was very friendly and helpful, including insisting on going out with us to our car to hold an umbrella over us when we left. We didn't have any conversations with them, but there was absolutely no language problem for ordering. They are all cash and serve beer. As KRS stated there are no condiments on any of the tables. They only serve white (not brown) rice. The interior is very clean and plain. There is a large plasma TV on one wall, but the sound was down and it was not annoying at all.

        We both ordered the Dumpling Soup. At $2.50, we figured we needed a bowl each. Mistake: the $2.50 bowl could easily serve two or three. Next time we will split one of their fancier soups. We had the Spicy Fried Frogs Legs and the Salt Baked Pork Ribs. Both were served dry with a salt/pepper/ spices mix (no sauce, no vegetables). Both were huge and tasty, although not spicy at all. The frogs legs were breaded and fried. The pork ribs were more like thin pork chops with almost no bones at all. Next time I think we will will order one vegetable dish instead of a second meat/poultry/seafood.

        I hope others try this place and report back. Like to hear from people more knowledgeable of this cuisine than we are.

        A boiled peanut starter, pot of tea and Watermelon slices at the end were all complimentary. This huge meal, including two beers, came to $41 with tax and tip.

        1. designerboy01 Sep 6, 2006 07:43 PM

          The food is Fujian (a/k/a Fu-chien, Fukien, Foukien, Hokkien, etc.), from a part of Canton on the east coast just opposite Taiwan.

          Its not in Canton Province or better known as Guangdong Province. Fujian is its own Province that neighbors Guangdong.

          Thanks for the tip. I'll have to try that place out. I have been looking for a good Fujianese restaurant.

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