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Fuloon this weekend

I'm going with 7 people this weekend to Fuloon to celebrate my birthday.
I need a list of Fuloon faves.

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  1. If you do a board search you should be able to find quite a few threads about Fuloon, which list lots and lots of favorite dishes. I've been there with large groups a couple of times, and am still just begining to get introduced to the menu, but favorites have included the pork with little knots of tofu skin, the chicken with chestnuts, and the spicy wonton appetizer.

    1. Peking duck here is excellent...order a day in advance.

      1. Everyone likes the spicy cabbage - really!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bob Dobalina

          I'm a cabbage junkie, you don't have to convince me!!

        2. Oh man... Where to start? On my list would be the Szechuan style whole fish, the steamed pork with dry bean curd, steamed beef Szechuan style (be careful, this is thermonuclear hot), the pork pancake, the double fried pork, crispy fish (or is it the Sai Woo crispy fish... probably can't go wrong), the Yu Hsiang eggplant, Szechuan chow fun, fried crab... Erm... well, start from there maybe and pick out whatever looks good.

          I don't hate Fuloon.

          6 Replies
          1. re: TPistrix

            My sister loved the steamed beef dish (which Devra First of the Globe dubbed, "The Giant Bowl of Death" - it's a seething cauldron, of delicious velvetized beef covered in an inch or two of boiling oil full of crushed peppers - the only way I could taste it was by taking one morsel and rubbing it entirely free of oil via gobs of white rice - it was very good). It is best ordered for large parties, because it's rather large and they have to make it large or the dynamics of the dish don't work out. It makes a fabulous fragrance while it cools down, which takes a *long* time, and so is really designed in part as an appetizing course in its unique way (smelled first, eaten gradually later).

            I have to explain my sister. Fireeater doesn't do her justice. She is from Tucson, gets chiltepin chillies from native tribes, and carries bags of them around with her to add in handfuls to about everything she eats. She intimidates the native tribes with her fireeating capacities. She awed the staff and owner at FuLoon.

            Her reaction to the Giant Bowl of Death: "It's not too hot, but it is hot enough." She put away her bag of chiltepins (she gave some to the staff and cook, being generous with them as she is). She ate half the bowl. The other half we mixed with more rice and froze for her to bring back to eat at home (which worked out well).

            Warning: eating this dish in quantity can have latent effects well known to heat-lovers (not just the endorphin rush they get), but I will omit details. (My sister considers it a telltale sign of gold standard heat.) You know what I mean.... Most people should probably enjoy it in moderation.

            (Me, I am stuck with supertaster tastebuds and cannot handle more than pepperoni-level capcaisin.)

            1. re: Karl S

              Sounds like your sister and I would get along famously over a bowl of ChongQing Dry Hot Chicken ... the steamed beef isn't quite a giant bowl of death at FuLoon, you'll probably get closer to the shores of the River Styx at Sichuan Garden or Gourmet.

              1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                Well, they might have goosed it up specially for her. She demonstrated her fire-eating first, and they were delighted to oblige.

                1. re: Karl S

                  Diane & company know that I lived for a year in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province, and the sanctum sanctorum of fire-eating (in Changsha, you're not having an authentic dining experience unless you're gripping the table with both hands and sucking air back and forth across your mouth as fast as you can). Doesn't seem to make much of a difference in the cooking at FuLoon (my reaction to what many regard as intolerable seems similar to what your sister said - some nice heat, but could use some more).

                  1. re: Dr.Jimbob

                    Well, it appears you, my sister and my oldest brother (another family fire-eater of this rank) would dine well together!

              2. re: Karl S

                Yeah I learned this one the hard way. Twice (leftovers, you know how it is). Best to buffer the stuff with a fair amount of other food. Karl's suggestion of getting it with a group so the proportions can be better is a great one.

            2. I just want to say that I recently moved to western Maine and that reading this thread and the sichuan thread is making me cry.

              But hey, I can drive 10 miles to the Fortune Fountain "chinese" buffet for Ham Lo Mein, sweet and sour mystery, and all you can slurp egg drop soup!!one

              1 Reply
              1. re: tamerlanenj

                Here is my usual order (depending on number of guests):

                Szechuan Wontons (this name might be wrong)
                Steamed Beef Szechuan Style
                Wok Baked Beef
                Tea Smoked Duck
                Steamed Whole Fish (the mild one with scallions and soy)
                Bean Curd With Special Sauce
                Whatever green vegetable the table wants

              2. Thanks for all the recs.
                We made it and ordered the following
                -Pork Pancake- different and tasty but not wowed by any means
                -Fried pork dumplings- nicely shaped about half the size of typical dumplings but fairly pedestrian in taste
                -Cabbage in Spicy Sauce- My husband who hates cabbage liked this cabbage. The flavor was good but it was absolutely swimming in oil, why??
                -Duck in brown sauce- The flavor was good but didn't see the need for hoisin along with the already sweet sauce. The pancakes were the most impressive I've seen of their kind.
                My only complaint was that there was a cornstarchy taste to the sauce. Like the oil, no need for so much of it
                -Crabs in Ginger & Garlic- They made this special because the hot peppers would have been to much for the kids who love crabs. The sauce was again too corn starchy but very flavorful and the crabs themselves were very dried out and not cracked in a way that made them easy to eat.
                -I loved the big bowl of rice, it seemed shorter grained than most chinese rests. and was perfectly cooked.
                This place was not nearly as good as I expected because of CHOW my expectations were so high!
                With that said I would go back and try more.
                The hostess was so friendly, and attentive and they gave me an interesting desert which was a rolled rice flour cake with a red bean paste inside. We had no room for dessert but did go home to a box of Kickass cupcakes which were incidentally DRY as a bone.

                12 Replies
                1. re: holldoll

                  Hi holldoll -- thanks for reporting back. My experience with Szechuan restaurants in general is it is an oily affair -- the oil is essential in many dishes to carry the flavors of the pepper and chilis. A good example of this is the bang bang chicken (my favorite dish at Fuloon as reported in many other threads). It is basically cold shredded chicken in chili oil with szechuan pepper. There's a bunch of oil left on the plate when you are done. And the dish just rocks!

                  Hopefully you'll go back and order more of the favorite dishes -- like that wok baked beef or the tea smoked duch others have mentioned.

                  1. re: yumyum

                    Oil is calories and the human quest has generally been to get enough calories, not to restrict them. They use oil to stretch proteins and add caloric substance to veggies. The food over there is often very oily and completely covered in Sichuan peppercorns. Even the cafeteria food at high school.

                    1. re: yumyum

                      Do you have a recommendation for a dish with Szechuan peppercorns that is hot (temperature-wise) other than the homestyle chicken? I have become addicted to that numbing feeling but I found that dish to be kind of dry/oily small pieces of chicken that just weren't that good. I loved the peppers though, so I'm looking for another option for my fix!

                      1. re: Parsnipity

                        I don't -- I stick to the ma la numbing from the bang bang chicken -- that's where it shines IMO. What I do know is that the hostess / manager is very helpful and if you tell her what you are looking for, she'll suggest a few options.

                        1. re: yumyum

                          The owner/hostess, Diane Tang, is a Chowhound Treasure.

                          1. re: yumyum

                            Mmmm-- bang bang chicken is delicious! Thanks, yumyum. Our table was hesitant regarding a cold dish but I insisted and all agreed it was something we would not have tried but now will have to order every time. Just a perfect afterburn with lots of flavor.

                            Other dishes that had the much-sought-after (by me, anyways) peppercorns-- they float to the top in the Steamed beef (aka flaming bowl of death-- interestingly, less hot last night than other times- I was able to eat the sauce several spoonfuls at a time mixed with rice and in the past, I was only able to manage about 1 teaspoon). The ma po tofu had quite a lot of peppercorns as well.

                            Right now, Fuloon has a special Chinese New Year menu (at least it's printed on a separate sheet and titled as such) that includes General Gau's chicken-- the hostess recommended a "special authentic" version of this which was really good- sort of a thicky, vinegary coating, slightly sweet. I mention it because I wouldn't normally order this, but if you go for the authentic version it's definitely worth trying.

                            1. re: Parsnipity

                              I have to agree, we also tried the General Tso's chicken last night and it was really excellent. The pieces of chicken are smaller and there was much less breading than there usually is in this dish, so there was a much better texture with some crunch to it. The vinegary sauce was excellent and it was topped with pine nuts. From what the hostess (Diane, I guess?) was saying, It does seem they are considering keeping some of these specials on the regular menu if they are well received.

                              We also ordered the scallion pancake and kan shue string beans from the special menu. I'm not sure what the difference was from the regular menu but they were also excellent.

                              1. re: Chris VR

                                Diane explained to our group this afternoon that the New Year's special scallion pancakes also had Chinese leeks and Chinese chives in them, not just scallions.

                                Pretty much everyone at our table demanded that the General Gau's chicken be added to the regular menu: it's outstanding, and not at all like the usual cheap Chinese hole-in-the-wall iteration of this dish that one would expect from the name.

                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                  That's funny, the hostess also recommended it to us as well! I thought she was just doing it because we were a bunch of white people. We went with the bean curd leaf, steamed beef szechuan, dan dan noodles, and scallion pancake instead. Now I wish I'd tried it!

                              2. re: Parsnipity

                                A bit off topic, check out Jennifer 8 Lee's TED talk about General Tso and other Americanized Chinese dishes.


                            2. re: Parsnipity

                              For sheer sichuan peppercorniness, you'll probably want to try the "Fresh Fish Filets in Special Hot Sauce" (#1 in the "Most Popular in FuLoon" menu and the lead picture in the picture book menu). This is similar to the "steamed beef" (Shui-Zhu Niu-Rou) preparation, and has the densest packing of Sichuan peppercorns. It is the case that FuLoon's greatest strength is not in the handling of these dainties, but when they're heated in piles of oil like this, there's no avoiding the wonderful effect. Downside is, well, there's a lot of oil, and the fish often has those fine nasty bones in them.

                              The steamed beef, the MaPou DouFu and the wontons with special hot sauce (HongYou ChaoShou, #187) are other hot dishes that are better with the sichuan peppercorns.

                        2. Thanks for the report back! The menu at Fuloon is really extensive; while I've had MANY great dishes there (all posted about by others), it's my sense that while the many highlights are incredible, they're, understandably, not able to offer quite that level across the board.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: fredid

                            I'm a FuLoon fan from way back, but the menu has its potholes. My greatest example is the Jumbo Shrimp Sauce with Satay. If you don't like mayo, chances are you will not like this dish. Personally, I don't care for the super spicy stuff here, though I can see why others are.

                            The key is to wade through and find the things you like. I'm partial to the tea-smoked duck, wok baked beef, Szeuchuan Sliced Pork with green hot pepper, Sliced Pork with Hot Pepper & Black Bean sauce, Chicken with Crispy Rice, and Shimps with Vegtable Shanghai Style.

                            Best thing about FuLoon IMHO is cross section of styles all done at a high level, with certain unique dishes (wok baked series, Jing Du pancake) that set it apart from others.