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Review: The Two Best Fuzhou Restaurants

scoopG Jan 28, 2008 09:28 AM

There are two Best Fuzhou Restaurants in Chinatown. Which one is the best? At both their customers are predominantly Fujianese, who from morning until late afternoon mostly order Congee ($1.00) and some assorted Chinese pickles, salted peanuts, scrambled eggs or perhaps dried shrimp (.50) The ambiance in both is at best nouveau peasant. The patois: the Fuzhou dialect.

Best Fuzhou Restaurant at 71A Eldridge Street (Hester) 212-219-3328 Chinese Name: Song Bo Yuan.
I’ll have to warn you first. The first time I managed to get a seat in this 30-seat spot it was full and 3 Chinese men next to me were smoking as they ate and swilled beef from small glasses. Subsequent visits during the week have proved much less crowded and smoke-free. Their English menu has about 75% of the Chinese dishes translated. One of their two waitresses speaks English and the other one doesn’t. Start off with the Xiao Long Bao – 8 fine steamed pork dumplings for $3.75 with no soup inside - Fuzhou style, with no black vinegar/soy and ginger dipping sauce. Also worth trying is their Fried Taro Cake, a pie-like wedge of taro deep fried (.50) and Fuzhou Dumpling Soup: 12 pork dumplings served in a clear broth with scallions for only $3.00. Add a touch of vinegar if you like. For main dishes the Clams in Black Bean Sauce ($9.95) were tender and juicy and Sautéed Cauliflower ($7.95) was hot and crunchy. The Zui Pai Gu (Drunken Spare Ribs) or Spare Ribs with House Special Sauce ($7.95) and some tomatoes and taro were more bone than meat. A Fuzhou specialty seems to be Qing Chao Tong Cai (Clear, Stir fried Water Spinach) in garlic which was delicious. When not busy, the waitresses are sorting and packing this veggie at one of the front tables. Fuzhou being famous for its soups and stews they offer plenty and I only tried their $5.95 Fuzhou Zahui (translated as Assorted Placates Soup!) but which is really a delicious mixed-soup with some type of fish!

It greatly helps here to speak Mandarin or be able to read Chinese at the next Best Fuzhou Restaurant!

Best Fuzhou Restaurant at 68 Forsyth Street (Hester.) Chinese name on the awning says Qing Yuan. If you get here after 12 noon or so, there is one waitress who speaks some English! It seats only 18 and the aquariums are empty. Try their #122 - Li Zhi Rou (Lychee Pork) the famous Fuzhou version of sweet and sour pork. Usually sweet and sour pork is not a dish I order as it’s usually too sweet but this is the best in Chinatown! Piping hot pork served with potato, green peppers, carrots, garlic, scallions and hot pepper flakes that was closer to the sour side than sweet. And it had the right proportion of sauce to ingredients. I've had this at three other Fuzhou spots but this was the best. Normally the dish costs $6.95 but at lunch they served me a smaller portion (I didn’t ask them to) and was only charged $4.00! Even cheaper is Yu Ren (Fish Ball Soup,) 10 huge pork-filled fish balls served in broth with scallions for only $3.00. On another visit I wanted to try their #11, Zha Hao Bing (Fried Oyster Pancake) and #12, Zha Yu Gao (Fried Taro Cake) but was told they don’t have it. They also list XLB on their menu but never have it! For the cheapest eats try their Dou Jiang (Soy Juice) and 3 Zhu Bao (pork belly filled Mantou) for only $1.50 - an excellent pre-lunch snack!

-----
Best Fuzhou
71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

  1. c
    cimui Jan 28, 2008 07:33 PM

    This is an EXCELLENT review, scoop. Many thanks!

    But you never answered your own question: Which one is best?

    I really can't wait to try some of that fried taro cake. . .

    1 Reply
    1. re: cimui
      scoopG Jan 29, 2008 04:13 AM

      Thanks cimui. Well I like both but have to give the slight edge to 71A Eldridge Street because they do have live seafood (aquariums in the back,) is a tad larger and a shade more upscale (if you could call it that!) and they seem to serve more of the items actually listed on their menu. But it is worth stopping in the 68 Forsyth Street BF for their Li Zhi Rou and Zhu Bao! I should add that upon my first visit to these places I was greeted with some trepidation (Oh oh gweilo alert!) but after that it is more like "He's back" or "Long time no see!"

    2. cmballa Jan 29, 2008 08:15 AM

      I've been extremely hesitant to check out Fuzhou restaurants (language barrier ...) but this is good information (Chinese names of dishes are helpful). Curious about that lychee pork !

      1. Brian S Jan 29, 2008 08:54 AM

        I'm really glad you posted this. I've posted reviews of four or five Fujianese restaurants but I haven't eaten at either of those two. I've looked in on the 71 Eldridge St location a few months ago, and they didn't have an English menu. So I guess that's a recent addition.

        1. eatfood Jan 29, 2008 11:43 AM

          Awesome post, much appreciated. Thanks!

          1. scoopG Jan 29, 2008 01:21 PM

            cymballa, The name of the dish Lychee Pork comes from the fact that the pork is supposed to be cut to look like lychees - but only at Amerian East Fuzhou on East Broadway did I find that they did that. Still #122 Lychee Pork at BF at 68 Forsyth was the best so far!
            BrianS, BF at 71A features 9 Casserole Dishes of which 7 are translated into English, including a Stewed Lamb Chinese Style and Dou Dou Frog's Leg! (Do Do Frog's Leg is their translation!) Their casseroles start at $8.95. Also just down the street is another Fuzhou spot at #84 Eldridge called Fu Ke Yuan but they only have a Chinese menu.

            All in all worth visiting since NYC seems to be the only place in North America that can claim to have these authentic Fuzhou style restaurants.

            1 Reply
            1. re: scoopG
              Brian S Jan 29, 2008 05:20 PM

              I walked by today and got a menu. Almost ate there but I decided to go to Flushing instead. One of the two untranslated casseroles has intestines, the other one I dont know but I think it's some kind of fish.

              I usually go to Good Good Taste http://www.chowhound.com/topics/334386
              or Ah San www.chowhound.com/topics/450128

            2. r
              RawTunaFan Jan 29, 2008 05:57 PM

              Thank you so so much Scoop, for your post. I must say, whenever at 68 Forsyth, I have also tried to order the fried oyster pancake and they never have it! I was initially reluctant to try the "Lychee" pork, becuase I have an aversion to the texture of Lychee, but now that its been explained, I think I'm heading there for lunch tomorrow! I'm also going to try the pork belly bao!

              THanks!

              1. Brian S Feb 5, 2008 08:31 AM

                I took your recommendation last night and went to the restaurant on Eldridge. (The one on Forsyth has changed its name, by the way. It's no longer Best.) And though the name Best is an exaggeration, I had a good satisfying meal. Big pieces of fish in a reddish sweet garlicky sauce with tomato and cauliflower. It's a fun neighborhood place. Guys would stop by for a big bowl of soup, families and groups of friends snagged bigger tables and ordered a parade of Fujianese dishes. I'll probably go back.

                -----
                Best Fuzhou
                71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                2 Replies
                1. re: Brian S
                  scoopG Feb 5, 2008 11:39 AM

                  I should have pointed earlier that at 68 Forsyth Street, the awning says "Ying Qian Fuzhou Restaurant" from an earlier owner but on their menus they say "Best Fuzhou Restaurant."

                  1. re: scoopG
                    Brian S Feb 5, 2008 05:33 PM

                    The awning did say Best, but the Best appears faded or painted over. As Yeats famously said, "The Best lack all conviction, while the Ying Qian is full of passionate intensity"

                2. Brian S Feb 19, 2008 07:27 AM

                  On Sunday night the Best Fuzhou Restaurant on Eldridge earned its name. The meal I had was so far superior to the mediocre meal I had the week before that I still can't believe it came out of the same kitchen. I ordered the $8.95 casserole which is written in Chinese only on the menu. The waitress' face scrunched up in a big EWW! She had me circle my selection in pen so I couldn't claim I had ordered something else. And then I waited, happy to wait since the restaurant was very lively. Tables of happy groups, all more or less drunk. One guy, hot, took off his shirt and sat there smoking a cigarette. And then the food came. It was in a wok with a burner underneath. Using my napkins as potholders, I tried to move it and the napkins burst into flames, to the great amusement of all drunks. I put it out and then ate.

                  It was so good! Sour crunchy vegetables, pig blood cakes and intestines in a red broth that was layered with flavor, more like Sichuan than Fujian. Lots of pepper heat, a bit of sweetness, some allspice, and fermented black beans. I've had this dish twice before years ago in Queens, once at David's (now Lin's) Taiwanese and once at the Golden Monkey in Flushing. And this version blew them away. Truly, the restaurant earned its name.

                  -----
                  Best Fuzhou
                  71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: Brian S
                    l
                    Lau Feb 19, 2008 08:18 AM

                    do u know what the dish was called in chinese? (or at least what some of the characters were?) it sounds pretty tasty

                    1. re: Lau
                      Brian S Feb 19, 2008 09:08 AM

                      The characters translate as: five [something] intestine hotpot.

                      At Lin's Taiwanese in Queens, it is translated as Zesty intestine hotpot, which captures the spirit of the dish.

                      1. re: Brian S
                        c
                        cimui Feb 19, 2008 09:23 AM

                        anything that includes the words "zesty" and "intestine" i gotta try. even if it were chocolate covered zesty intestine.

                        1. re: Brian S
                          k
                          kobetobiko Feb 19, 2008 01:10 PM

                          Hi Brian S,

                          You must be talking about this dish 五更腸旺~

                          Does this look like what you had?
                          http://blog.yam.com/homeeconomics/art...

                          This dish is very common in Taiwan which has a large population of Fujianese. It might be originated from Sichuan, but it is definitely the Taiwanese who made it famous. It usually has pig's intestines, duck blood cake (which I think was substituted by pig's blood cake in your case as I have yet to find duck blood cake (and any good version of blood cake for that matter) in NYC), sour cabbage, and different types of chili like Sichuan peppercorn and dou ban chili.

                          1. re: kobetobiko
                            Brian S Feb 19, 2008 04:41 PM

                            That's what I had! Same name in Chinese, same dish as in the photo.

                            1. re: Brian S
                              scoopG Feb 19, 2008 06:05 PM

                              Thanks for that! The dish is Wu Geng Chang Wang - which roughly translates as "The 5th Watch Intestines Brilliance." The 5th watch is about the last watch of the night, or the time just before dawn. Perhaps a spicy dish to help keep one awake?

                              That other casserole not translated is "Jiang Cong Hong Xun" or "Ginger, Onion (or scallions) Red Sturgeon" dish. Can't wait until you try that one!

                      2. re: Brian S
                        l
                        Lau Mar 4, 2008 03:40 PM

                        Brian S - btw what do you think of the best fuzhou restaurant vs good taste / ah san?

                        1. re: Lau
                          Brian S Mar 4, 2008 05:28 PM

                          I don't know. I used to think good taste and ah san were better... until best fuzhou blew me away with the fifth watch brilliant intestine. I ate at Best a few days ago and had a nice plate of sauteed stomach with cauliflower in a white wine sauce... not in the same league as the fifth watch but still very good. And there's another new Fujian restaurant, no English menu, at 30 Market that I like.

                      3. l
                        Lau Mar 4, 2008 03:31 PM

                        btw, you mention they serve dou jiang, does the best fuzhou on forsyth serve xian dou jiang? just curious b/c i've (and many others) have been desparately trying to find a place that serves xian dou jiang / you tiao breakfast type stuff in manhattan (china fun on the UES is the only place that serves it)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Lau
                          buttertart Mar 5, 2008 10:13 AM

                          Man would I be happy to find another place serving Northern Chinese breakfast in Manhattan...Flushing is just too far from Bklyn for morning meals. The doufu hua dishes at the Grand Sichuans help to some extent (somewhat similar to the dounao of happy memory).

                        2. c
                          chefravi Jan 5, 2009 02:24 PM

                          Okay this is my sotry. I gave a friend the express directions to find a restaurant in Chinatown where we would not be able to read a large proportion of the menu. Best Fuzhou on Eldredge was the choice. We entered to a wonderful welcome. Of the 10 tables 4 were occupied. We asked about the menu with only the prices and no descriptions and the waitress was unable to explain the menu or the writing. So we took a stab at the menu and ordered the crysanthemum fish, lamb casserole hot pot, water spinach, and duck tongue sweet and sour. Each dish was magnificent. Very rare to not really know what was being ordered bur to have all the dishes to be a winner was great. I can't wait to return.

                          -----
                          Best Fuzhou
                          71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: chefravi
                            jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 03:02 AM

                            No English on the menu....is what you want, there is one with virtually no English, and all the people do not speak any English, and when I first arrived they related this to me in very limited English. They do speak Mandarin, and you will find that most Fuzhou people in Chinatown do not seem bothered when you address them in Mandarin 漢語 ’hanyu’ or 普通話 ’putonghua’. This place has a full menu and it is further down towards the Synagogue Museum on Eldridge, and about across the street form the Synagogue. It is down stairs and open after mid night perhaps till 2 AM. I do not have the menu with me now, but I would say it is 19 Eldridge St. to be correct. I had a beer for 2 dollars and a boiling at the table pot of beef with tons of uncut dried hot chilis and broth. It was hot, and called 水煮牛肉 (Shuizhu Niurou). The only English on the menu is for these rice dishes with meat or fish or tofu that they sell for lunches and are daily food, what the Chinese call "lunch box" . For the sit down meal one would order with famliy or friends, with a few dishes or just one or two for 2 people, the menu has no no English at all. I would check the place out. It is really local. The Beef that I got , 水煮牛肉, was brought out with a portable gas burner on the table and the meat much and was really tasty. I did not want rice, and thought the broth was much so I asked if they had one of those bags of instant noodle (called 泡麵 or 快麵 in Chinese) that I could add to the boiling hot pot cooking at my table, to augment my meal of beef. She accomodated me with my request for one packet of instant noodles, and it turned out to be a delicious meal. I would definatey go to 19 Eldridge Street, downstairs, with a window and door all glass in the front. In New York the closest I came to no being able to communicate with the people in the place through language was at Casa Adela 66 Avenue C, for real Peurto Rican food. "Casa Adela is a small hole in the wall located in the East Village, Manhattan. Once upon arrival the first thing your notice are the cute old ladies that work the counters and the tables, but their not those sweet old ladies who like to hold your hand as they take your order." (http://cheapassfood.com/eats/show/46-...

                            )

                            -----
                            QQ Taste
                            19B Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                            1. re: jonkyo
                              l
                              Lau Dec 9, 2011 07:22 AM

                              really? i was able to communicate with the people at casa adela just fine (my spanish is straight CA mexican spanish), their mofongo was pretty decent...i was to try that arroz con pollo you got, it looks delicious

                              btw when you're talking about 19 eldridge is that QQ taste? b/c i dont think that is best fuzhou, best fuzhou is further up the street

                              1. re: Lau
                                jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 08:33 AM

                                Best Fuzhou is up the road, 71 Eldridge, I ate there last night.

                                My point in introducing this restaurant that is located at 19 Eldridge the name I do not know, and very little infor on the net about, was to point out that there is virturally no English on the menu save for lunch special that is meat / tofu / fish over rice and sent out in a tin box.

                                There is nothing on the internet about this restaurant, where when I was there, no one spoke a bit of Ebglish. It is 福州菜 Fuzhou Cai and its address is:
                                曼哈頓華埠愛列治街十九號. But I now realize it is perhaps 17 Eldridge St: 曼哈頓華埠愛列治街十七號.

                                Anyway, I lost the menu and that is the problem, the restaurant I went to was not Double Dragon, nor the Ah San (阿三福州小吃 ah san fuzhou restaurant). I will just walk there. It take 6 minutes.

                                I loved the food at casa adela, but there is a part of Brooklyn I went twice years ago, when you walk down the long street it is just filled with Latin store, travel agents, and small shops selling really cheap in a no frills atomsphere food some of which is already prepared hot in trays waiting to be dished out to customers. That was more authentic thn Casa Adela, but I forgot where that area is.

                                -----
                                QQ Taste
                                19B Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                                1. re: jonkyo
                                  l
                                  Lau Dec 9, 2011 08:57 AM

                                  yah it might be QQ taste, been meaning to try more of these restaurants although i frankly don't know alot of fuzhou cuisine, but i know alot about minnan and chao zhou cuisine and i figure there must be good fuzhou cuisine

                                  i went to double dragon a while back and it was surprisingly good
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/714304

                                  you want to go eat sometime? ive been looking for someone go try these fuzhou places, but its too hardcore for most of my friends and i only have a handful of friends who can read fluently

                                  -----
                                  Double Dragon
                                  13 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                          2. l
                            lenb Nov 28, 2009 05:32 PM

                            The 五更腸旺 was awesome. I was intrigued by an entire section of the menu which was not translated. I'm attaching a scan of it in the hope that someone will translate.

                             
                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lenb
                              jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 04:07 AM

                              It is quite easy.
                              清炖類 (qing dun lei) is


                              "Clear Soup Selection"

                              炖 (dun) is soup or stew

                              清 (qing) is clear

                              類 (lei) is kind, type, like 人類學 (renleixue) anthropology, study the kinds or types of humans, just to make that word clear. The menus will have meat selection 肉類 (roulei) etc etc.

                              So all are clear soups, opposed to thick stew.

                              1. 清子炖鱸魚 The first is Soup of Perch: 清子炖鱸魚 (Qi Zi Tun Lu Yu) the last three characters really only the ones relating to what it is) 鱸 lu Perch 魚 yu is fish 炖 is soup or stew.

                              2 .清炖田雞

                              The second is Frog 田雞 (Tian Ji: 'Field Chicken') really is what Chinese call frog

                              .清炖田雞 (qing dun tian ji) Clear soup of frog.

                              3. 酒炖福州老蟶

                              The third is Fuzhou style Razor Clams or Mussels stewed 蟶 cheng is mussel razor clams. 酒炖福州老 蟶 (Jiu-dun-Fuzhou-lao-Cheng). Sounds really good.

                              4. 老酒炖河鰻

                              The fourth is river eel (河he 鰻man) 鰻魚 (manyu) is eel. This must be in a similar syle as the clam or mussel老 酒炖河鰻 (lao jui[old wine] dun[stew]he[river]man[eel]).

                              5. 老酒竹鰻

                              The fifth is more razor clam 老酒 竹 鰻 (laojiu zhucheng) Old wine cooked bamboo clam

                              竹 zhu is bamboo

                              老酒 (laojiu) aged wine

                              6. 清炖全鴨 The sixth is clear stewed duck 鴨 ya 清炖全鴨 (qing dun quan ya)

                              清炖羊肉

                              The seventh is goat: 羊肉 yang rou also 清炖 qing dun clear soup.

                              清炖羊肉 (qing dun yang rou) Clear Soup of Goat (or lamb) meat.

                              7. 清炖牛尾湯

                              The last is 牛尾 niu wei ox tail. 清炖牛尾湯 (qing dun niu wei=[tail] tang =soup) Ox tail soup.

                            2. t
                              TheDescendedLefticleOfAramis Nov 29, 2009 03:16 PM

                              very cool ...
                              reminds me of pre-pre (political) NYC ... free of horseshit ...
                              wading ankle-deep through knotted, tossed tissues.

                              1. c
                                ChickenUnderwear Jan 9, 2010 02:54 AM

                                Thanks for your review. I went and check it out

                                http://whatyourdonotknowbecauseyouare...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: ChickenUnderwear
                                  l
                                  Lau Jan 9, 2010 06:50 AM

                                  good job trying this place, im even somewhat intimidated by the hardcore fujian restaurants

                                  if you take a pic of the menu that is all in chinese, i can have my friend translate it (i unfortunately can only read a bit of chinese)

                                2. scoopG Sep 22, 2010 12:58 PM

                                  Prompted by Lau’s report on Double Dragon, I decided that before scoping DD out, to first check up on the old standbys: the two Best Fuzhou Restaurants. (Especially since American East Fuzhou, formerly at 54 East Broadway is now under new ownership, with a different name and revamped menu.)

                                  The Best Fuzhou that was formerly at 68 Forsyth is now called Xiang Ying Fast Food 香穎快餐 (Xiang1 Ying3 Kuai4 Can1). It is still very much Fujianese and at lunch serves a limited buffet: 4 dishes for $3.75.

                                  Best Fuzhou at 71A Eldridge Street is still going strong. Same menu with about 60% translated into English. On two recent visits no smoking was encountered. Susan, who speaks some English, is still the main server. When I asked her about patrons smoking she said, “of course we don’t allow it but some customers don’t listen.” On two very recent visits there was no smoking. Maybe I got lucky.

                                  Of particular interest are the Red Wine Lees dishes and their “Boiled Soups without Seasoning.” One feature of Fujian cuisine is to use the sediment from the bottom of rice wine casks to create a Lees Sauce to flavor dishes. Here at BF they use the local dialect –卜糟 -Bu3 Zao1 to denote these dishes. The Duck in Red Wine Lees was excellent. They feature eight Boiled Soups without Seasoning - 清炖類 (Qing1 Dun4 Lei4) and they are not translated into English. These are listed just below the 18 regular soups on the second page of the menu. They are:

                                  Perch
                                  Frog
                                  Younger Razor Clams
                                  River Eel
                                  Older Razor Clams
                                  Duck
                                  Lamb
                                  Oxtail

                                  The dumplings in their Fuzhou Dumpling Soup ($3.00 for 12) are as delicate and delicious as ever as well as the Pig Tongue with a tangy dipping sauce. Fried Silverfish tasted like “Fish and Chips” and might be the link to those seeking out the old Fu Joy seventies spot on Division. They still do not have the Fried Oyster Pancake.

                                  Yet to try is their Fifth Watch Intestines (五更腸旺 – Wu3 Geng1 Chang2 Wang4) which Brain S. raved about a long time ago.

                                  Slideshow:
                                  http://picasaweb.google.com/roswellhi...

                                  28 Replies
                                  1. re: scoopG
                                    l
                                    Lau Sep 22, 2010 01:36 PM

                                    did you try double dragon yet?

                                    1. re: Lau
                                      scoopG Sep 23, 2010 06:22 AM

                                      No not yet. I need to go over their menu to see how many soups and Red Lees dishes they have!

                                    2. re: scoopG
                                      c
                                      captain_kirk Sep 23, 2010 07:08 PM

                                      appreciating this report, and I'll be sure to go back now to taste a couple of those newly cited dishes! any chance you remember the placement of the red wine lees dishes on the menu (assuming that I remember correctly that they don't appear on the menu w/ that english translation already)?

                                      1. re: captain_kirk
                                        scoopG Sep 24, 2010 02:23 PM

                                        Yes, there are three Red Wine Lees dishes - all listed under "Special" - 風味小抄。Right above Pork. They are:

                                        卜糟田雞 - Frog in Red Wine Lees (#3)

                                        卜糟兔 - Rabbit in Red Wine Lees (#4)

                                        卜糟鴨 - Duck in Red Wine Lees (#8)

                                        They are not translated into English.

                                        1. re: scoopG
                                          jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 12:28 AM

                                          I find this restaurant to be a great place to eat, and knowing Chinese one can get the best from it, just due to the language of the menu, for instance Fried Oyster Pancake is actually something so common in China that it is a staple for breakfast and snacks. It is 炸油條 Zha You Tiao, or simply 油條 You Tiao, which is long fried dough that is crispy and with a lot of air inside (see here: http://www.ccitimes.com/uploadfile/20...)

                                          One way to get into this menu here at 松柏園(songbaiyuan) is to know the separate sections of the menu designated by kind or 類 Lei.

                                          湯類 tang: all soups some thick and some thin

                                          請頓類 qing tun: stews and soupy stews

                                          煲仔類: baozi: cooked and served in a small serving size clay pot, so bioled but not soup

                                          風味小炒 fengweixiaochao: more at delicate fried specialties.

                                          The section for country style 家鄉 (jia xiang) is one section with no English, but worth checking out. A favorite of mine in China is 家鄉頭腐jiaxiangtoufu, country style tofu. These dishes are prepared in a stir fry fashion and are mixed with other ingredients. The Fuzhou Best Country Style section is actually a type of preparaton that is boiled and marinated items from organ meat and meat to duck tongue, duck meat, duck head, and is called Lu Wei: 滷味, the Lu 滷 means a type of soy based marinate that the items cook in for a long time. It is a very delicious style of food, mostly at places that serve beer, but also popular preparation for duck meat in common restaurants. The Lu Zhu She 滷 豬舌 or soy marinated pig tongue would top them off in this section, though 滷大腸 Lu Da Chang Marinated Pig Intestine is a favored snack among beer drinking customers.

                                          For the "fish stomach soup with watermelon", I saw this typo on the menu as I was eating, but made no mention of it to the very friendly staff. The melon is donggua (冬瓜) white gourd not xigua (西瓜) which is watermelon. Dong Gua or Winter Gourd is actually so delicious, and you can get it slightly sweetened in a can in China and Chinatown as a drink going by the name 冬瓜茶. At the dinner table it is a very good vegetable, with a nice taste, more favorful and a nice texture, going well with meats and even fish.

                                          I do recommend checking out the 煲仔類, Casserole section, which as I stated are item cooked and served in clay pots with handles. I had the seafood with tofu and it was a hearty pot ful, and delicious. If yo read Chinese, or someone with you does, the menu offers much of an adventure. Bring four or more people and order up 5 to 6 or more dished and do it family style. The have the following in variety of dishes:

                                          羊 yang: Goat or if you prefer to think of it as lamb (bahh bahh

                                          )

                                          田雞 tianji: literal trans: field chicken, but what Cinese call Frog

                                          螺 luo: Conch

                                          鴨肾 ya shen: Duck Kidney, sure to be delicious

                                          鵝腸 er chang: Goose intestine

                                          There is also Goose Web or 仙掌 Xianzhang, found on the menu, and 掌 zhang is the indication as they leave off the name for goose: 鵝. Not to be mistaken, this is Goose feet with the web of the feet. In Guangzhou it is a feature for Dim Sum (點心=Dian xin in Mandarin) The Goose Web (Feet) appears in 風味小炒 (fengweixiaochao ) section or Specials and is paired up with 蘆筍 Lusu, Asparagus, and for those who want to eat like Southern Chinese, you ought to check it out.

                                          I would definately check out the 鐵板類 Tieban Lei, or Sizzling Hot Plates Section (Platters), really Hot Iron Plates. These are prepared on sizzling iron plates that are actually brought out to the table at other places I have been, so would gather it is the same at Best Fuzhou. The Iron Plates (鐵板teban) section features 田雞 (tianji) Frog; and 牛仔骨 (niuzigu) Spare ribs of cow.

                                          The friendly staff at Best Fuzhou do speak Mandarin Chinese, but their 地方上的語言 (Difang shangde Yuyan) 'local language' is 閩南語 (minnanyu) known in English as Hokklo, spoken by Taiwanese who trace their ancestry to Fujian Province, and spoken many in regions of southern Fujian Province.

                                          The staff are all super friendly, as are most of the customers, and most Fujian people I have known are down to earth, and for those that live in NYC they slip into Mandarin with no hesitation, as might came from the Guangdong-Guangzhou (Canton) affiliated NYC Chinatown residence.

                                          You might seem intimidating because English may not be so readily spoken, but don't let that starve you. There are great culinary treasures to be found here, and they will do their best to accomodate.

                                          -----
                                          Best Fuzhou
                                          71 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

                                          1. re: jonkyo
                                            l
                                            Lau Dec 9, 2011 07:57 AM

                                            btw they don't speak minnan yu (also known as hokkien) which is spoken in taiwan and singapore by alot of old people (or in southern taiwan is the lingua franca), they speak the fuzhou dialect which is different

                                            minnan people are from the southern part of the fujian province (xiamen, quanzhou)...the people at best fuzhou are from fuzhou and their dialect while similar is different (i dont speak minnan, but ive brought taiwanese people and they said the dialect is different). some of the older waitresses have a really strong fuzhou accent when they speak mandarin and i could barely understand what they were saying, but some can speak mandarin perfectly

                                            1. re: Lau
                                              jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 10:43 AM

                                              You are correct, for I do recall specifically hearing from a Taiwan with Hokklo ancenstry state exactly what you state. 閩南語 minnan yu is from a particular region, and near, Quanzhou.

                                              I stand corrected. The language of Fuzhou sounds similiar in phonetics, 發音很象.

                                              On East Broadway there is a noodle shop with 閩 'min' character in neon over the door, and part of the sign,and this must have mislead me in the immediate time.

                                              Thus said, when I resided Hunan I met quite a few people in differing parts of Hunan all from Fujain Sanming ( 福建三明). They did not speak minnan yu. It just so happened many people from Sanming migrated around Hunan and perhaps other locations opening Fujian noodle and 水餃 shops。The shops would change hands as new Sanming people would come and buy it off the others, and the others would move on. Unless my inquiries were presented with false accounts and these were just workers changing or revolving though. Found it interesting.

                                              Anyway, It is near the coast and in regions that many Taiwanese hokklo could trace their ancestry too, that Minnan Yu is spoken. Xiamen and other coastal areas in that region.

                                              According to the quote below Minnan Hua (閩南話) is spoken in the following locations, 漳州 Zhangzhou to the west; 厦门 Xia men in the middle; 泉州 Quanzhou to the east, incorperating the 人口 renkou (population) stated below。

                                              Thanks

                                              quote 闽南话又称河洛话或台语,闽南话使用人数大约6000万左右。

                                              闽南话使用区域主要分布于福建南部的厦门、泉州、漳州、三明市的大田县、尤溪和西部的龙岩、漳平等市县,以及台湾大部分地区,使用人口近3000万人。end quote 互动百科: 闽南话 (http://www.hudong.com/wiki/%E9%97%BD%...)

                                              1. re: jonkyo
                                                scoopG Dec 9, 2011 12:08 PM

                                                Min is probably the most diverse Chinese dialect and is actually split into five major subgroups:

                                                Northern Min,
                                                Eastern Min,
                                                Central Min,
                                                Pu-Xian Min and
                                                Southern Min.

                                                All of these dialects originate in Fujian province, but are also spoken in Taiwan, Hainan, and small parts of Zhejiang and Jiangsu.

                                                Central Min (闽中话, Mǐnzhōng huà) centers around Fuzhou, the capital city of Fujian, while Southern Min (闽南话, Mǐnnán huà) contains a number of widely-spoken sub-dialects including Hokkien (福建话, Fújiàn huà) and Teochew (潮州话, Cháozhōu huà) that are spoken in China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, and elsewhere worldwide.

                                                1. re: scoopG
                                                  jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 01:16 PM

                                                  The Min certainly does share some elements with southeast asian languages, though I don't know much beyond that save for an example or two.

                                                  This split in catagories of Minnan Hua makes sense, because as much as I have been around Fujian people the phonetics and intonations sound so familiar to my ear,an ear that has been exposed to much Taiwan Minnan Hua.

                                                  I never did make it to Chaozhou, but many of the 華僑 I knew in Vietnam ancestry
                                                  came from 潮州 and there is a significant presence of 潮州 在 纽约华埠 here in Chinatown、

                                                  1. re: jonkyo
                                                    l
                                                    Lau Dec 9, 2011 05:44 PM

                                                    really where? there are almost no chao zhou restaurants in NY, bo ky is actually the last one b/c new chao chow and chao zhou in flushing closed down and at both of those most of the people are actually cantonese....i love chao zhou food, i wish it was more prevalent in the US

                                                    1. re: Lau
                                                      jonkyo Dec 10, 2011 10:37 AM

                                                      There is a chaozhou restaurant on Grand, just west of Bowery. Look for the sign with these characters: 潮州。On the second block west from Bowery, North side, about in the center. The waitress in the morning told me she is from Choazhao, as is the owner andmost of the workers. Noodle dishes, hefun and other option are big variety, about 4 to 6 dollars, and so good, you can request dry of with soup, or th soup on the side. The portions of meat or variety of seafood are much.

                                                      They have duck that is prepared in the 卤味(luwie; marinated soy base) style. big menu, so check it out.

                                                      I used to drink Chaozhou wulong tea:潮州乌龙茶。 It is so good, and easily purcahsed in China's southern province, and perhap all over: chinese article: http://www.chayeabc.com/wulongcha/2938.html

                                                      Photo of Choazhou wulong tea on this tea seller's website:http://www.foodqs.cn/trade/tradepage/...

                                                      -----
                                                      Grand Bo Ky
                                                      216 Grand St, New York, NY 10013

                                                      1. re: jonkyo
                                                        l
                                                        Lau Dec 10, 2011 12:01 PM

                                                        yah thats bo ky, they have two branches actually

                                                        yah i like chaozhou tea, i like drinking the gong fu cha in those little glasses for late night meals in hong kong

                                                        -----
                                                        New Bo Ky
                                                        80 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

                                                        1. re: Lau
                                                          jonkyo Dec 10, 2011 12:18 PM

                                                          I practiced Kong Fu tea making, would buy several levels of quality from 台湾乌龙 (Taiwan oolong) and 福建铁观音 (fujian tieguanyin)。

                                                          I only had a few really good tea pots living in Taiwan, but when lived on the mainland I was able to collect more than 15 that would make any Tea enthusiast in Taiwan and Hong Kong green with envy.

                                                          In both China and Taiwan I had a circle of 茶友 (chayou)tea friends, and we would drink tea, listen to 台湾老哥 (taiwanlaoge)Taiwan old traditional songs, like 文夏 (wenxia)always on high end audio equipment. My Taiwan friends were all into "quality".

                                                          Here is 文夏 (wenxia). I bought many of his recording. He actually is a native of Tainan : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxWQRc...

                                      2. re: scoopG
                                        jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 06:19 AM

                                        松柏園(songbaiyuan) Cypress Garden 正宗福州菜館( Fuzhou zheng zong caiguan: authentic Fuzhou restaurant). Well, they are the most honest people on the block. Food is Fuzhou, the people are from Fuzhou, and the sign reads Fuzhou.

                                        The Hand Pulled Noodle is th craze, and all these Fuzhou people (福州人) putting up signs that say Lanzhou (蘭州) is a trip. Lanzhou Hand Pulled Noodles (蘭州手工拉麵) are famous all over China.

                                        It just so happens that those who stem from Lanzhou making these noodles are Chinese Muslim (回族 Huizu), so it is the Huizu of Lanzhou who are famous for their hand pulled noodles in China. Does that mean we condemn those placing signs over their establishments that are incongruous with who they are? It is good to note, but no condemnation.

                                        I understand, because most of the Japanese Restaurants serving sashimi and sushi, from Lower East Side and up and even over, are owned and operated by Fuzhou people. And though the signs and food do not match the location from where the chefs and owners come from, the food is quite good.

                                        Thus said, I love it when the sign, the people and the food is all in continuity.

                                        Katz Deli. I refuse to eat there. There are no Jewish people behind the counter, or anywhere to be found, and its an old establishment. Now that just does not jive. I do not mind at all meeting a waitress from Russian at some Caribbean Cafe or Spanish wine bar, but to eat a Reuben Sandwich at a Jewish deli where all people behind the counter are gentiles, or non-jew ()however you want to put it), is something that even Jesus could never do.

                                        1. re: jonkyo
                                          s
                                          Steve Drucker Dec 9, 2011 10:23 AM

                                          J. Good call on Katz's.

                                          Flame on.

                                          Let no one of us fool ourselves: A Reuben sandwich is a sin against corned beef and rye bread. Swiss cheese jam up to brined brisket (aka corned beef) and mayonnaise blended with ketchup (i.e. Russian dressing) reflect bourgeois debased dining tastes

                                          Sauerkraut, however, continues to exist entirely on its own merits.

                                          Flame off.

                                          Go for a corned beef. Go for a pastrami. On rye. With mustard. Get a pickle. Go for a slice of neighborhood pizza. All are NY culinary time machine artifacts still worth pursuing.

                                          The conventional wisdom used to be that if a Lunch Car (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worceste...) had a sign that said 'Home Cooking' you should run the other way as fast as you could. The modern corollary is that if an establishment has been on TV you should do the same thing.

                                          Best to go for the home cooking that's good now--i.e. hand pulled noodles.

                                          Flame off.

                                        2. re: scoopG
                                          jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 07:03 AM

                                          This is about the confusion with the FRIED OYSTER PANCAKE. There is no oyster, and though it is fried, it is not a pancake. As mysterious as the Watermelon Fish Stomach, which I explain below, first this intriguing Oyster Pancake.

                                          The Fried Oyster Pancake, is nothing more than something so obiquitous in the Chinese eating world as a donut or a muffin, but it is not sweet. It is called 炸油條 (zha=deep fry / you=oil / tiao=twist-something long) . It is basically this dough that is rolled into a long shape, then deep fried. It is oily, crusted, depending on where you get it light or a bit thick. It is served in shops that also serve 豆漿 (doujiang) soy milk, but can always be found at nice restaurants as sometime it is used to accompany certain dinners, cut up and with a dipping sauce. It is served at places that serve 粥 (zhou) congee, keeping with the dipping theme.

                                          There is no oyster to this. It is kind of surreal to find it on this menu like this. Oyster is 蠔 hao, and in regions near the sea in, say, the south of Taiwan, they do have some famous snacks and street /stall food that incorperates the oyster, but 炸油條 simply You Tiao" is something eaten on the go, with coffee, and is found mostly in morning.

                                          On the streets in parts of China or in the markets you can see this: http://203.64.20.7/lifetype126/gallery/8/9-55.jpg . That is the best place to get it because they are frying them and selling them quickly. Very tasty. I particulary love it when the en product is light and crispy, and if you want some, go to some of the many bakeries in Chinatown nyc, or this place on Hester just west of Bowery, on the south side: XO Kitchen: http://www.yelp.com/biz/xo-kitchen-new-york?rpp=40&start=80

                                          That is very Cantonese (Guangzhou) place, with cheap and delicious food in a pleasent atmosphere. They have 油條( you tiao=oily bread made with unsweetened donute dough), as they sereve it with Congee and other breakfast items. When you go there try something that is ver very Guangzhou, called Chang Fen (腸粉). Because here is a universe made up and made by mostly Guangzhou People ( also Taishan; Chaozhou and other South Guangdong Places ) you can get what is common to Guangzhou people in Guangzhou. If I never lived there, I would have not known of this food, even with my visits to Hong Kong. It is so good, and all the bakeries have it, you just have to ask. They are not in English anywhere and usually are worded with the theme (shrimp/beef/pork) placed just before 腸, such as shrimp chang: 蝦腸. Just go to a bakery and ask for Chang Fen (腸粉). Very long sheets of very thin soft while wet rice paper used in a number of ways such as plain with scallions, rolled into itself (thin and plain, but wit a nice special soy sauce) or meat, shrimp etc wrapped inside. The barkeries in town sell it for $2.00 to $2.50. and about the same price, as well as just a little more for high end choices at XO on Hester / between Bowery and Elizebeth.

                                          http://pics.chezpei.com/uploaded_images/DSCN2457-730598.JPG

                                          http://big51.chinataiwan.org/dlly/zhms/200812/W020081209586453796188.jpg

                                          http://static3.openrice.com.hk/UserPh...

                                          Best Fuzhou's menu is is interesting, as the translation is almost art, absurdist art. Take for example "watermelon with fish stomach" is 冬瓜 dong guo (winter/white gourd) not 西瓜 xigua (watermelon). I ate my first meal there reading the menu, and saw this error in transalation, but sometime in me caused me to remain silence, perhaps because in the heart of every eater there is need to believe in extreme offerings that test our very existence, as we ponder, "how could they" (jest). Just to make things clear, one is a fruit the other a vegetable. It just means they concentrate on the food, not image. Now that is a real deal.

                                          1. re: jonkyo
                                            l
                                            Lau Dec 9, 2011 08:03 AM

                                            im a little confused as to what you're referring to, are you saying their oyster omelette is translated incorrectly?

                                            as you know oyster omelette is fairly ubiquitous to minnan and chao zhou cuisine (so that includes taiwan and singapore as well), so it wouldn't surprising if they had it

                                            btw since you're talking about XO kitchen, next time you go get their zha liang which is you tiao wrapped in chang fen with the light soy sauce, their version is good since they make it fresh to order

                                            1. re: Lau
                                              jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 09:29 AM

                                              Accordng to the menu, the English says Fried Oyster Pancake and the Chinese for the same thing say 炸油條 (zha you tiao)

                                              You Tiao is just like you see in the photo I liked above.

                                              You are certainly correct in Oyster derived or themed snack, and yes omeletts in the regions you mention, such as An Ping in Tainan. It is famous. But the Fried Oyster Pancake must be a typo. There is no mistake for you tiao (油條) : http://www.ailaba.org/uploadfile/2011...

                                              I will try the 油條 you tiao wrapped in ChangFen, and I actually had it already at Golden Dragon (金龍) Bakery on Bowery just up the road. That was good, and never had it before. I will try OX version next time I go thanks

                                              -----
                                              Golden Dragon Boat
                                              111 Bowery, New York, NY 10002

                                              1. re: jonkyo
                                                l
                                                Lau Dec 9, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                ah ok i see

                                                yah zha liang 炸兩 is awesome, its classic cantonese dim sum fare, but you need it freshly made which they do at XO kitchen

                                                1. re: Lau
                                                  jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 11:03 AM

                                                  When I had it at 金龙, I waited some time after I ordered it,so I am sure it was made fresh there. The presentation and flavor does tend to be better at OX restaurant. I like the 虾肠 xiachang-shrimp chang there,its quite fine for breakfast。 炸兩 zhaliang is what I remember it as。 两块, 很便宜。

                                                  1. re: jonkyo
                                                    l
                                                    Lau Dec 9, 2011 11:09 AM

                                                    haha very cheap although almost everything in chinatown is cheap

                                                    btw, when it opens up again (supposedly 12/15) you should try the chang fen at poon kee...its very hong kong street food style,
                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/818038
                                                    http://www.lauhound.com/2011/03/poon-kee-%E2%80%93-delicious-hong-kong-snacks-in-chinatown/
                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/818038

                                                    -----
                                                    Poon Kee
                                                    39 Monroe St, New York, NY 10002

                                                2. re: jonkyo
                                                  m
                                                  mookleknuck Dec 9, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                  Thanks for all of your good info, jonkyo! I really look forward to trying out these places since I've been craving a hearty authentic meal for some time. Let me know if and when you guys want to meet up to eat since I, too, have a hard time finding people who are hardcore enough to try some of this stuff!

                                                  1. re: mookleknuck
                                                    jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 11:13 AM

                                                    More than welcome。 Glad to make aqaintance with someone fond of real local food from other locations that seem to never lose their gravety。 Well anytime is fine for meeting up and dining, if it is advaced notice。It would be good.

                                                    I am wanting to post a review of my recent investigations。 So look for that, I am going to post now about a few. Cheer

                                                    1. re: jonkyo
                                                      l
                                                      Lau Dec 9, 2011 11:21 AM

                                                      is there a way to get in touch with u?

                                                      1. re: Lau
                                                        jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 11:58 AM

                                                        I suppose so.

                                                        I am a mild mannered humanitarian, and short,with curly or wavy hair,caucasian, and have been known to frequent Chinatown restaurants speaking chinese to the sometime perturbed Cantonese or the accomodating and delighted Fujianese.

                                                        You might take my e-mail, one I don't mind putting up, because I do not use it, but let me check if it still works, jonkyo555@hotmail.com ,and yes, never use it but it is still in operation.

                                                        This is my review of this really nice place I think was something else years ago, and used to go:
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8222... Lao Difang (old place), 28 Forsyth, a Noodle Shop that is wedged between Saint Barbara Greek Orthodox Church and a Chinese noodle factory.

                                                        1. re: jonkyo
                                                          l
                                                          Lau Dec 10, 2011 12:08 PM

                                                          jonkyo - just sent u an email with the subject line lau from chowhound

                                                          1. re: Lau
                                                            jonkyo Dec 10, 2011 12:21 PM

                                                            Thanks.

                                                            I will check it.

                                                    2. re: mookleknuck
                                                      jonkyo Dec 9, 2011 11:26 AM

                                                      You might be interested in this:

                                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/822288 (蘭州手工拉麵 在紐約但蘭州人不再 (Lanzhou Pulled Noodle in New York without the Lanzhou Noodle Puller

                                                      )

                                                      cheers

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