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Waterfront International--Flushing..

erica Nov 17, 2008 04:17 AM

I am planning a dinner for a group (about 8 people) of Chinese-food-loving friends. I have read a few reviews but there does not appear to be all that much discussion of this place here on CH. What exactly is the style of cooking here? Could I get a short list of recommended dishes and some opinions of the restaurant. None of us speak or read Chinese, by the way. Favorite dinner spots among our group so far have been Sichuan and Shanghai in orientation.

Many thanks!

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  1. Steve R RE: erica Nov 17, 2008 11:40 AM

    Part of the problem may be that the place is now called Fu Run (Fu Ran?). I found one brief thread that I posted on: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/531287

    There's probably more. It's very good and a # of us have been there several times since the original post. The staff is very helpful but they dont speak much English. Since there's mainly an Asian clientele, just look around and point.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Steve R
      erica RE: Steve R Nov 17, 2008 12:06 PM

      Thanks, Steve! Can I get some recommendations on what to order from you?

      1. re: erica
        Steve R RE: erica Nov 18, 2008 04:19 AM

        As I remember my several trips there this year, the mung bean sheet noodles tossed with cucumber, etc. was the highlight for me. Dont miss this dish there. The pork strips that were to be rolled into square sheets of ??? was excellent as well. (ask them about this... they'll probably understand what you're trying to say). The lamb with cumin was not as crispy as is made at the place in Bay Ridge (actually, its the cumin beef dish at Bay Ridge that's crispy, but dont quibble) and not as hot as the one at S&T, but was a credible version as well. The small whole jelly fish w/"couch" (actually conch) was a little more than ok & the watercress with garlic was very nice. The whole fish was sauced very differently from other versions and was the best I've eaten in awhile. The fungus dish less so but interesting all the same. There is a strange looking dish that many of the patrons order that is a big deep wok with large disks of bread all around it's edges and cooked food in it's base. It seems like their signature dish (you'll see it, no doubt). However, it was, to us, disappointing and not recommended except for the novelty. Again, I'd really recommend turning on the smile and trying to get the very friendly staff to recommend dishes... make it clear that you want to eat like their local patrons and see what happens.

        As an aside, I remember that Dave Cook was with us on at least one of our dinners there but I cant seem to locate any posting on this meal on his site eatingintranslation.com I know he took a couple of hundred photos, so it must be there somewhere.... Dave? Also, polecat and prunefeet were there and may remember more. Have fun.

        1. re: Steve R
          DaveCook RE: Steve R Nov 18, 2008 09:32 PM

          Since I eat much more than I can possibly blog, I never did update my older Waterfront/Fu Run post, but I do have a few pictures that might help:

          http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=fu%20...

          1. re: DaveCook
            erica RE: DaveCook Nov 19, 2008 03:42 AM

            Those pics are great and will help a lot! Thanks!

          2. re: Steve R
            prunefeet RE: Steve R Nov 24, 2008 07:14 AM

            Steve, for the sake of clarity, I believe the noodles are described here as green bean, not mung bean sheets. But really really good, I highly recommend them too, they have mustard oil on them and have a nice chew. I also highly recommend tiger vegetables, which is shredded scallions, chiles and I don't remember what else, but much more than the sum of its parts. The shredded pork Steve described is wrapped in tofu skins. And that specialty dish that we do not recommend was called something like "miscellaneous fish with assorted cookies"...the fish had a strong star anise flavor and the "cookies' were some sort of cornmeal cake slapped onto the sides of the wok...tried to like it, failed. I love this place, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

        2. re: Steve R
          Joe MacBu RE: Steve R Nov 18, 2008 11:06 AM

          The New York Times erroneously seems to think that Waterfront International still exists. Well, they do have a recommended dish which might still be served:
          http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/16/nyr...

          1. re: Joe MacBu
            Steve R RE: Joe MacBu Nov 18, 2008 02:21 PM

            And, as tempting as it is to blast them for not keeping up, they got the dish that I loved and forgot to mention: dried tofu with fresh hot peppers. Damn them.

        3. l
          lwong RE: erica Nov 17, 2008 05:59 PM

          As the poster “Steve R” has stated, the original “Waterfront International” went out of business a while back. The “Waterfront” restaurant served northeast Chinese food, which is not a favorite Chinese regional food in Flushing, as several restaurants serving northeast food have come and gone. The restaurant now in the location of the old “Waterfront” still serves many of the dishes in the former “Waterfront” restaurant, but it does not exclusively serve northeast food any longer.

          However, if you would like to try a Chinese restaurant serving exclusively northeast cuisine, as “Yoda” would say, “there is another one.” We had posted information in Chowhound about a restaurant named appropriately “Northeast Restaurant” located at the southern end of Flushing on Main Street, last November 2007 (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4643...).

          It should be noted that it has been a while since we last dined at the “Northeast Restaurant.” One year is a long time for Chinese restaurants as chefs, waiters, and even owners can come and go within one year’s time period.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lwong
            erica RE: lwong Nov 18, 2008 05:15 AM

            Many thanks to two particularly helpful hounds! I think I will suggest ex-Waterfront/Fu Ran to the group.

            Would love to read further suggestions on what to order there..with a group of 8 or so, we can sample many dishes..

            1. re: erica
              Polecat RE: erica Nov 18, 2008 05:02 PM

              The dessert that we had was great for a group. Lots of fruits and potatoes, with crispy, syrupy (though not sickeningly sweet) skins, piled high on a plate and stuck together to the point where it sometimes took two sets of chopsticks to pry a helping free. As instructed by the wonderful and helpful waitress, we all took great pleasure in hoisting our helpings aloft, watching strands of hot sugar stretch into the air, before plunking them down in cold water to cool them off. This dessert reminded me of the glazed potatoes that are sometimes served as pan chan in Korean restaurants. I can't remember the name of this dish - nor can I vouche that it's of this planet, looks more like a science project gone wrong and tasty at the same time - but if you describe it to the wait staff, they'll know what you mean.

              On the whole, I enjoyed the group meal I had at Fu Ron. Pretty much everything we had was good, but, for some reason, the cumin lamb, which was especially tender and flavorful, stays with me, along with a jellyfish dish or two. The waitstaff, as Steve noted, is generally very helpful, so don't be bashful. Ask about their northern chinese dishes/specialties, and enjoy some kimchi and peanuts as you wait.

              Enjoy.
              P.

              1. re: Polecat
                erica RE: Polecat Nov 24, 2008 12:14 PM

                Many thanks! I will put this place on the list for our group..we try to hold a dinner once every two weeks..

          2. erica RE: erica Dec 17, 2008 06:02 AM

            Five of us had an excellent dinner at this restaurant last night. Staff were most warm and welcoming and several waitpeople spoke fluent English. These were our selections:

            Mixed Vegetable with Green Bean Sheet Jelly--shredded vegetables, strips of pork, small cooked shrimp, tossed with thick translucent noodles made of bean curd (noodles were similar to those at the Xian stand in the basement of the Main Street food court). I would love to have a better description of these noodles and how they are made.. The waitress asks if we like spice and when we answer in the affirmative, but with some hesitation, she drizzles a small amount of mustard oil on the platter. My advice here is to ask to have the bottle left on the table, so you can add additional heat, as we did. Like wasabi, the heat travels up through your sinuses to the top of your head!

            This was the only dish that I was lukewarm about. The flavors were good and ingredients were sparkling fresh; I did not like the consistency of the thick bean noodles. My fellow diners were most enthusiastic, however. Interesting and different.

            Dried tofu skins with Fresh Hot Pepper--Hot green pepper tossed with squares of thin, pressed bean curd sheets (think maltagliati pasta!) Most excellent!

            Celery and Dried Bean Curd (from the paper menu; no longer on the regular menu). Different rendition than that of both Spicy and Tasty and Little Pepper, this dish combined celery with ribbons of pressed (not smoked) bean curd. Excellent!

            Crispy Lamb with Chili Pepper--Fabulous! The hit of the evening! Crispy, indeed, with appropriate heat but not very oily. Although the bulk of the menu focuses on the cuisine of NE China, (and one waitress described herself as "Korean Chinese") this dish reflects Uighur Muslim tradition from Western China.

            Shredded Pork Wrapped in Tofu Skins--Strips of braised pork served with scallions, served with a plate pressed bean curd skin wrappers, like an exalted version of Moo Shu Pork. Excellent!

            Crispy Pork with Orange--Fried pork studded with orange rind. Excellent. (Are you beginning to see a pattern here??)

            Dou Miao--pea shoots. Very ood.

            Whole fish--sorry I do not know which fish dish this was but it was very good, in a brown sauce. (Ordered by the Chinese speaker at our table.)

            Eggplant and Potato--We asked the waitress to recommend a typical Liaoning vegetable dish. The result, swathed in a soy-based sauce, combined creamy eggplant and browned and braised potato chunks. Very good!

            There were too many tempting dishes that we were not able to sample on this first visit, including the popular sweet potato, banana and taro dessert. We plan to return here very soon!

            With quite a few beers, the bill for 5 of us, with food left to take home, totalled $28 per person with tip.

            As I wrote above, the staff was warm and welcoming and at least two of the female servers were fluent in English. Although there are still many Liaoning dishes, the menu covers a broad swatch of geographical territory and I spotted a number of Sichuan items as well as the NW/Muslim offerings. Highly recommended!

            Near the corner of Prince Street and Roosevelt Avenue, at #40-09 Prince Street.

            4 Replies
            1. re: erica
              squid kun RE: erica Dec 18, 2008 01:04 PM

              Great report, thanks!

              -----
              Fu Run
              40-09 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

              1. re: erica
                prunefeet RE: erica Dec 21, 2008 10:02 AM

                So glad you enjoyed it! I love this place, and I agree with your assessment of the staff, very warm and friendly and helpful. I like the green bean sheets much more than you do, I love the texture. Be sure to try the tiger vegetables next time. I really like that shredded pork with tofu skins dish too...with the exception of the very strange Assorted fishes with miscellaneous cookies (or something very much like that), I have very much enjoyed everything I have had here.

                1. re: erica
                  prunefeet RE: erica Dec 21, 2008 10:05 AM

                  So glad you enjoyed it, I love this place. I like the green been sheet jelly a lot more than you do, I think, I love the chewy texture. Next time be sure to try the tiger vegetables. I also liked that dish with shredded pork and bean curd sheets a lot. About everything we tried at this place was fresh and tasty and agree with your assessment of the staff, warm and helpful.

                  1. re: erica
                    chompchomp RE: erica Feb 6, 2009 11:41 AM

                    My husband and I went last night. We had 3 dishes, which was more than enough for the two of us. We started with the country style vegetable with Green Bean Sheet Jelly. My husband LOVED this. I thought it was OK, though an interesting mix of flavors. I've also been burping mustard all day...Then we had the dried tofu skins with fresh hot pepper. It was my turn to really love it and it left my husband lukewarm. I loved the texture of the tofu skins and the simplicity of the taste informed by the peppers. I had the rest for lunch today and it was even better as the peppers had more time to permeate the tofu. We also had the lamb with chili pepper, which is the best lamb I've ever had (proviso -- I rarely eat lamb). It was not too oily, not too chewy and not too crisp, but tender little cumin-y morsels. Almost Indian.
                    I would love to try more items on the menu, but that menu is encyclopedic, and thus, daunting! Got any other recs??

                  2. erica RE: erica Jan 6, 2009 07:07 AM

                    We liked this place so much that we are planning a repeat visit this week. I'm just wondering if anyone else has been and can recommend additional dishes..

                    About the casseroles: Little Cabbage with Tofu in Casserole. This sounds similar to a dish I had and liked very much in Seoul.. Has anyone tried this, or any of the other casseroles?

                    Also, what is "sour cabbage?" (This seems to be an ingredient in quite a few dishes..)

                    Many thanks!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: erica
                      erica RE: erica Jan 7, 2009 09:49 AM

                      Anyone??

                      1. re: erica
                        h
                        HLing RE: erica Feb 11, 2010 02:03 PM

                        I didn't see your "sour cabbage" question until now:
                        You can find perspective for this place (now called Fu Run?)
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/246958 and the bit about the sour cabbage that was staple of the Northeastern China cuisine.

                      2. re: erica
                        erica RE: erica Jan 8, 2009 04:33 AM

                        Jeff many thanks for the full review! I went back last night and had another excellent dinner; if you have a group and call ahead they will give you the private room at the back of the restaurant.

                        We ordered the same things as last time, and added:

                        Casserole of little cabbage and tofu. Although this is listed as "spicy" on the menu, it was actually a light, almost clear soup of bok-choy-type vegetable and soft tofu with a little meat (not sure which kind)good flavor but not essential.

                        Fried eggplant and pork-- Large chunks of eggplant fried until the outside is very crisp, almost hard; the inside remains creamy. A sauce of ground pork (and peas and carrots!) is heaped on top. Excellent! Wonderful contrast between the hard outside and the soft inside of the eggplant.

                        Sweet Taro--we liked this. Served with bowls of water to use as dipping medium, to harden the outside of the sugar-coated taro slices. The inside, again, remains creamy, and without much taste,but the outside is almost addictive.

                        Noticed a table eating what looked like satay.

                        Again, an excellent meal,although I suspect that they toned down the spices. They did not bring the hot mustard oil for the bean sheets this time, and when I asked, the waitress told us she had already put the oil on the dish. But it was not at all spicy and thus not as interesting.

                        Also,being in the back room means that it is not as easy to get the attention of the servers.

                        With beers, $22 per person. Excellent.

                      3. bigjeff RE: erica Jan 7, 2009 10:11 AM

                        Hi all. Ate here last night, the place is now named Fu Run, yes. Erica, I see that I must have looked at your post before I went last night, so I'm not sure how many new dishes I could recommend to you. But anyway:

                        Been meaning to come here for quite some time, and a small family dinner seemed a good way to try some dishes; we ended up ordering 4 dishes plus noodles, and dessert. total bill was $74 everything included (no alcohol, a ton of food and a ton of leftovers).

                        The place was empty when we walked in at 6pm on a Tuesday but quickly filled by the time we left 2 hours later. There is a board of specials right when you walk in which is written in all chinese; actually, almost everything in the place was written in chinese; the specials seemed to be where the action was but we didn't actually see it until we saw some intriguing dishes being bought out that we didn't see on the menu and our waitress pointed it out; would be good to get a mandarin speaker in your group to decipher.

                        The food was interesting; we were served roast peanuts and a hybrid kimchi as soon as we sat down (tasted more like pickled cabbage with chili garlic sauce) and we ordered:

                        - mixed vegetable with green bean sheet jelly
                        - crispy lamb with chili pepper
                        - shredded pork stomach in fresh hot pepper
                        - pork with sour cabbage and pig blood in casserole
                        - jajiangmian (noodle with minced meat sauce)
                        - mixed delight sweet stuff (taro, sweet potato, apple and banana)

                        overall, the food was quite good and unique. The sheet jelly stuff is basically like mung-bean sheets, same as the liang-pi, and tossed tableside with cucumber, bean sprouts, woodear, some egg, pork, etc. served cold and quite delicious. they sprinkle it with horseradish/wasabi oil and I'm sure you could ask for more or less spice. the salad was quite salty, lotta raw garlic and very good for an app. the lamb was good, very tender shreds, almost like a bulgogi cut for lamb, and sauteed with cumin, crushed red pepper, quite tasty. the pig stomach was also good, served with a ton of mild jalapenos. also salty, quite "xia-fan" (literally, down rice) and that was the case for almost everything we had; very tasty, flavorful, could easily have 3-4 bowls of rice with what we ordered. but we held back cuz we wanted the dessert. we ordered the casserole which came in the typical "sa-gua" dish and it was really good. the sour cabbage is your basic sua-cai but very finely shredded almost, the pork was basically thin slices of pork belly with a ton of fat; the meat was alright; the pigs blood was good but overall, a fine casserole. I'd strongly suggest getting any of the casseroles with the sour cabbage, but you could probably skip the pig's blood; it wasn't that amazing. the noodles were alright; quite greasy and very different from any that I've ever had (korean-style, or homestyle with more black bean paste); the basic flavor was salty and sourish, wouldn't recommend it but for $5, a steal.

                        lastly we saved room for dessert (we got most of the food to go, there was so much and so salty!) and it was the fried things in sugar, served w/ bowls of cold water so you had to dunk it in to get them crispy. so good! I would skip the medley and just get taro only (cost $3 less) or if you're going with a big group, just get two orders of taro; it is really really good and we even saw people ordering it as part of their mains, just to eat as a vegetable.

                        our neighbors had some interesting specials; a large platter of 6 fried croaker (yellow fish?) fish was $9.95, your basic bone-intensive fried fish but it looked like a real good time. People also ordered a shredded pork dish that came with flat sheets of tofu skin, looked like a pile of napkins and I guess you could make little rollups ("shredded pork with black bean pasta"). Our waitress also recommended a soup that was "Chicken with mushroom and vermicelli" but I wasn't in the mood. We saw some other people ordered things that arrived on sizzling platters "tie-ban" which, at least, sounded exciting.

                        Overall, the place has a ton of sichuan stuff like the water-cooked meats and fish and also the stomach/tripe/roast beef cold meats with chili oils, there seemed to be some nice soups and casseroles as well. the problem with the place is that their english translations made everything sound really boring (and there are tons of typos) but the actual dishes are quite exciting so its hard to figure out if maybe that chicken and mushroom dish was actually something amazing. any of the organ meat stuff should be really good but my dad isn't usually into that, otherwise I would've ordered the lamb kidney or lamb liver, etc. would have also liked to try more of their seafood; probably the oyster with pepper and salt should be really good or some of the conch, squid or clam dishes. apparently their jellyfish is good, I read on some other post. we didn't try any of their plain vegetable dishes but they should be good.

                        basically, try to bring a native speaker with you to get good translations because you might not know what their translation actually refers to, and try to get them to run through the specials because those should be good. The place is BYOB cuz we saw people walk in with cases of Tsingtao and whipping out bottles of mao-tai (dangerous!). And, definitely save room for the fried taro dessert.

                        -----
                        Fu Run
                        40-09 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

                        1. erica RE: erica Jun 5, 2009 04:31 AM

                          Having been here, and enjoyed, several times, I would like to strike out for more NE cuisine. I've read LWong on the Main St. Northeast restaurant. Are there any additional places in or near Flushing that focus on cuisine from this area? Many thanks.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: erica
                            l
                            Lancelotti RE: erica Feb 17, 2010 01:16 PM

                            I had lunch at North East Taste Chinese Food (43-18 Main St, Flushing NY) on Monday with my family and we absolutely loved the food! The service was great. Please try the kimchee and boiled peanuts brought to the table. They come covered in chili paste but they have just a slight kick and plenty of flavor. The owner and chef took our order (his picture is also on the menu)!

                            We ordered deep fried caramelized sweet potatoes (delicious chunks of golden sweet potatoes covered in molten sugar), dumplings with chinese celery recommended by the chef/owner (first time having dumplings with celery and it was fantastic -the celery lends a refreshing crunch) and lamb sauteed with scallion and ginger (very tender and flavorful, not at all gamey). And of course, an order of kimchee to go. On the way out, there is a counter with headless whole roasted rabbits and other interesting looking meats and dishes in the glass enclosed case.

                            I'm going this Friday to Fu Ran with a friend. Can't wait to order as many as the recommended dishes as possible!

                          2. erica RE: erica Nov 14, 2009 11:07 AM

                            I am planning a return visit to this restaurant and would like to hear of any recent experiences and recommended dishes. With all the interest lately in NE cuisine, I wonder why more CH'ers are not sampling Fu Run more often..

                            -----
                            Fu Run
                            40-09 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

                            1. erica RE: erica Nov 19, 2009 06:29 AM

                              I just want to add that we had another excellent group dinner here a few nights ago. The special guest was CHer SteveR, whose recommendation of the enhanced pork with leeks was very well received. Excellent dish that I would place on the "almost essential" list.
                              Other standouts included the crispy lamb, which ranks among the best of the Flushing lamb dishes in my, albeit very limited, experience. Each of the other dishes was at least very good; these were repeats of those mentioned in previous reports, above, and included the home style fish, served whole.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: erica
                                Steve R RE: erica Nov 19, 2009 09:16 AM

                                Thanks for the invite erica. I really like this place and just about nothing I've had there (with the exception of their special dish with lead weighted cornmeal cakes, described by prunefeet upthread) has been a disappointment. Most of what erica and friends ordered were things I'd never tried before, including one dish with square sheets of dried tofu that sesame oil is poured over? that I really liked. Even the non spicy pork with orange sauce was less gloppy and more tasty than the usual versions of this dish. The double cooked pork that I ordered (I dont think it was the "enhanced pork") is done well there. I think that this place is a real winner. Again, thanks for the invite. I look forward to eating with you guys again elsewhere and to future meals at Fu Run.

                                1. re: Steve R
                                  erica RE: Steve R Nov 19, 2009 01:25 PM

                                  I will drink to that!!!! Tonight I am having my take-out order of Dried Tofu with Fresh Hot Pepper, a personal favorite at Fu Run--sheets of dried bean curd with green peppers of varying "hotness."

                              2. erica RE: erica Feb 10, 2010 04:31 AM

                                What took them so long?

                                http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/din...

                                17 Replies
                                1. re: erica
                                  bigjeff RE: erica Feb 10, 2010 05:32 AM

                                  I really do like Julie Moskin's writing (and, I have one degree of separation from her!); at least her articles are well-researched and comprehensive; she has done a pretty nice survey of a scene that CH has been on for over a year, but well-done. i'd feel differently if this was in "Restaurant Briefs" and done by Sam Snarkton however.

                                  too bad that article doesn't have a comments field, because despite her efforts; she has some inaccuracies. for instance, the dish that she refers to as "stupid" chicken stew is simply a homonym in mandarin, "tu" is the sound for both "idiotic" as well as "dirt", so it actually refers to the free-range chickens that spend their time running around freely on, well, dirt, as opposed to living in cages.

                                  it also looks like the people eating the sweet potato dessert didn't dip it in the necessary bowl of ice water!

                                  1. re: bigjeff
                                    buttertart RE: bigjeff Feb 11, 2010 09:42 AM

                                    It's a good article but I really think Chowhound should have been mentioned. By the way, perhaps the tu translation as stupid comes from the sometimes connotation of tu as rural, bumpkinish?

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      bigjeff RE: buttertart Feb 11, 2010 09:50 AM

                                      yup, that too!

                                      1. re: buttertart
                                        Joe MacBu RE: buttertart Feb 11, 2010 12:03 PM

                                        Small chance, but maybe these writers don't use us as a resource? What bugs me more is that many of them don't seem to be openly active participants on these boards. They'll use CH as a lead, but don't contribute back when they follow up or find something on their own. Even many of the earlier CH participants seem to have moved into the shadows as they've gained prominence in print and online. I guess that's the nature of the beast when you're trying to build up your personal portfolio and keep your day job relevant these days. All we can hope for is that they don't outright paraphrase/plagiarize us and actually contribute additional intelligence through their own medium.

                                        And to keep this relevant to chow...
                                        The Times article mentioned five dongbei restaurants. Looks like Joe DiStefano (aka CHer Joey Deckle) has found a sixth:
                                        http://www.ediblecommunities.com/quee...

                                        -----
                                        Lu Xiang Yuan
                                        42-87 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

                                        1. re: Joe MacBu
                                          buttertart RE: Joe MacBu Feb 11, 2010 12:14 PM

                                          Believe this one has been mentioned here too, I remember a discussion about the name - Lu3 - the name of an ancient kingdom, used to refer to Shandong. Those guotie look wonderful, I love that style.

                                          1. re: buttertart
                                            buttertart RE: buttertart Feb 11, 2010 12:20 PM

                                            Checked - it's recommended/reviewed by bigjeff in the "New in Flushing: M&T Restaurant - A Taste of Qingdao" thread.

                                            1. re: buttertart
                                              Joe MacBu RE: buttertart Feb 11, 2010 12:22 PM

                                              Ah yes, bigjeff mentioned it (along with the guo tie and rose petal fish) back in September:
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6404...

                                              1. re: Joe MacBu
                                                buttertart RE: Joe MacBu Feb 11, 2010 12:39 PM

                                                That rose petal fish is also very enticing.

                                          2. re: buttertart
                                            bigjeff RE: buttertart Feb 11, 2010 04:12 PM

                                            i spoke with my dad, both the sound/homonym "TU" as well as the written character "土" BOTH refer to both dirt and country bumpkin so it is a clever one; you find these chicken in the countryside, surrounded by country bumpkins, but they mainly refer to the fact that they are free-range, and run around in the dirt. i remember having three-cup chicken made with "tu ji" on some random mountainside restaurant around Yang Ming Shan and it was the most flavorful chicken i ever had.

                                            1. re: bigjeff
                                              buttertart RE: bigjeff Feb 12, 2010 05:35 AM

                                              Chicken can be so good, it's a shame what's become of it. I'm sure the primary meaning applies here but does "stupid" appear as a translation of it in CN-ENG dictionaries? Must check, didn't think to last night. Sounds like it may be one of those direct translation Chinese menu mistakes to me, picking the wrong English meaning given.

                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                scoopG RE: buttertart Feb 12, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                It is actually a direct menu translation: ben ji = stupid chicken. North East Dongbei folks told me that that was Shenyang slang (tu hua - :).

                                                1. re: scoopG
                                                  buttertart RE: scoopG Feb 13, 2010 06:47 AM

                                                  Gotcha. Hadn't seen the menu. Like it!

                                                  1. re: scoopG
                                                    Chandavkl RE: scoopG Feb 13, 2010 10:05 PM

                                                    Yeah, a place in SGV also serves stupid chicken.

                                                    1. re: scoopG
                                                      bigjeff RE: scoopG Feb 26, 2010 06:05 AM

                                                      well, "ben" (4th sound) only has one meaning that has nothing to do with dirt or country! ouch.

                                                      1. re: bigjeff
                                                        buttertart RE: bigjeff Feb 26, 2010 06:44 AM

                                                        I feel rather ben4 for having commented on something w/o having seen the character!

                                                  2. re: bigjeff
                                                    p
                                                    Pookipichu RE: bigjeff Feb 12, 2010 03:26 PM

                                                    Yang Ming Shan has one of the best restaurants in all of Taiwan, so perhaps you lucked out in your random mountainside restaurant.

                                                  3. re: buttertart
                                                    KWagle RE: buttertart Mar 24, 2010 07:44 AM

                                                    "Hunan Taste" in Catonsville, MD in fact calls this "country bumpkin chicken".

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