Chung Hua (Wenzhou food) -Very nice meal!
Eight of us (two of the very junior, 5 and 11 y.o, variety, who set off peals of delighted laughter in the staff by using their chopsticks with finesse!) descended on Saturday and had a great meal!
Hopefully, ScoopG will add his pics and any corrections...
The menu had a strong showing of seafood, and everything was very fresh and nicely prepared! It was great fun to explore this new-to-us cuisine!
We began with FISHCAKES off the appetizer menu, on our delightful waitress' recommendation, and these were a hit! Simple, mildly flavored, and delicious!
Then NOODLES Wenzhou style (when we asked what Wenzhou style was, we seemed to get the answer "sweet and sour", but the noodles were not in that mode, and our prior research hadn't elucidated much...): These were quite vinegary, which greatly appealed to some at the table, but not as much to others.
We moved onto LOOFAH WITH FISH PANCAKE: Everyone enjoyed this mild dish, particularly the "fish pancakes" which were different then the fishcakes we had had from the appetizer menu. They reminded me a bit of tofu skins, but with a pleasant flavor of very mild fish. The loofah still had tiny bits of skin, which unfortunately made them a bit bitter, someone pointed out. The only (small) misstep in the meal.
INTESTINE WITH PIG'S BLOOD: Another hit! It had a dark, smoky flavor, which contrasted nicely with the milder Loofah with Fish Pancakes. Some liked the tripe/Intestine better, some of us enjoyed the blood better, but I think everyone greatly enjoyed this dish...
TOFU (WENZHOU STYLE?) : Triangles of maybe deep-fried (we had a discussion abt it, but w/out a conclusion!) tofu, with wood ear mushrooms - again, not as novel a dish as other ones were, but simply and decently prepared.
SPARERIBS (don't remember how they were listed on the menu) which were more sweet and sour - not as novel as some of the other dishes, but rapidly consumed!
Finally, a huge FISHHEAD! in BROWN SAUCE - The turtle in brown sauce had been recommended by Buddha Belly (see CH link below) but turtle was unavailable and one of us - while telling us to go ahead and order it - had moral qualms abt eating turtle! So this was our alternative. In Chinese characters, someone at the table said the fish was called red-cooked, and she thought this was a prep with five spice...Again, an interesting and well prepared dish!
So how much did this feast cost? $10 a person with tax and a generous tip!
Menu link: http://www.allmenus.com/ny/queens/518...
Some details: Location: This part of 41st AVENUE (not Road!) runs off of Main St from the Starbucks (Chung Hua is a few doors down) - There's a small, 41st Avenue dead end by the LIRR entrance (the correct 41st Avenue is one more block south) and a 41st Avenue on the other side of Main (near the library), which is NOT opposite this portion.
Spelling: They use both Chung Hua and Chung Hwa.
INTERESTING TIDBIT: There's an interesting-looking restaurant next door (towards Main) with an English menu but no English name! Our Mandarin speakers/readers translated the name as Duck and Egg, and looking up, there were a (neon?) Duck and Egg above the front window! Menu looked like it had unusual items, not sure from what area in China...
great report, ive always seen that place when I go to flushing, but never visited (i also know little to nothing about wenzhou)
i also like the the onning at the duck egg restaurant (it does say duck egg in chinese, but i cant read the 3rd character) with the duck like popping out eggs haha
fredid, thank you for the review! Looking forward to trying it...
Funny you and Lau should mention - I've wondered about the "duck egg" name for years. The 3 characters are (Duck Egg Chou) "Chou" is the character for "autumn". I suspected "Chou" is the surname of a person, who maybe was famous for preparing/curing duck eggs. Could be the name of a famous local person from the old village. Just my theory. I first saw this restaurant in Chinatown on East Broadway, which is a part of Chinatown that is heavily Fujianese. I would strongly suspect it is a Fujianese owner (from Fuzhou Province, adjacent to Guangdong Province, also southern), and not someone from Wenzhou, which I think is closer to where Shanghai is situated in central, eastern China.
Thanks, nooyawka. When did you see Chung Hua in Manhattan, and are you sure it was connected with the Flushing restaurant? And was it doing business with the same name?
I often walk along East Broadway but hadn't seen it. But I didn't move to the 'hood till late '06, so it might have been before my time.
re: squid kun
No, I was referring to Duck Egg Chou that I saw in Ctown. It's been a while. But, when I last saw it, it was on East Broadway, at the intersection of I forget the name of the street, but across the street is the Triple 8 restaurant (is it still there?), on the same side of E Broadway. I think DEC is just off the corner.
re: Peter Cherches
These were listed on the menu as "Wenzhou Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs" - Number S46 under their "Wenzhou Specials" where they list about 62 specials. Tiny bits of spare ribs (some boneless) that, like the Fujian style, is not cloyingly sweet and covered in some thick red gloppy sauce.
I've traveled to Wenzhou many times over the past couple of years. Here's some of the my observations on the food. Unfortunately I haven't taken pictures of my meals there.
The local style noodles I've had there were quite different from this, in fact they were something you might think was an American style Chinese dish. We get them at every meal instead of rice. It's Mai fun (or something like it) with tiny shrimp, egg, bean sprouts, pieces of fish and sometimes a little beef. It's a light soy flavor, dryish with no sauce. Sound familiar? Not vinegary at all. On my first of numerous trips to Wenzhou these were very familiar to me, as were the ribs you mentioned. If you order black pepper beef or ribs in C-town manhattan you'll get the same thing in Wenzhou, the US has better beef but ribs are best when they are greasy right?
The highlight of Wenzhou food is seafood. The giant restaurant lobbies are filled with tanks of live crab, shrimp, turtles, fish, imported lobster, snails, eels, and samples of prepped dishes. I've never seen a menu at a nice local style place in wenzhou. And when I say tanks of crab or shrimp I mean there will be 12 different tanks with 12 different types of crab. Lots of fresh yellowfish dishes, often served in a style similar to the soy/ginger steamed fish you can get here.
On my last trip I went up to Qingtian, an hour west of Wenzhou, and had some bbq goat that was really great. Roasted over coals and only lightly peppered, not gamey or greasy at all I thought it might have been lamb. I asked but they do not eat lamb there.
If anyone goes to this place anytime soon see if they can get Yang Mei berries. The peak season is June and luckily this year I was there. My god they're too good. Imagine a frankenstein cherry/strawberry/raspberry. They really are that good and they're exported all over China from the Wenzhou area. You can even buy them in crates at the airport. I've asked on this board, and at markets in C-town but I'm pretty sure they're not imported, I'd horde them myself. However it's one of the famous wenzhou foods so maybe that place has them.
Over all the food there is light, and much healthier compared to my business trips up north.
Anyhow I hope this doesn't sound like one of those awful pretentious "I've been there and you haven't posts" I just wanted to share. Next time I'll take pictures.
I want to go with adventurous eaters who, nevertheless, will not want to eat in a restaurant that they perceive as dirty and dingy. Places like spicy & tasty and imperial palace have been absolutely fine, though i would hesitate to take them into the Golden Shopping Mall. What do you guys think? I am also considering Golden Palace and Waterfront International.
For those interested in the city of Wenzhou and the conspicuous consumption of its citizens, there was an interesting segment on Morning Edition on NPR today -
The size of Chinese cities is quite amazing - Wenzhou is a city of "only" 8 million.