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Flushing Review: Henan Cuisine at Henan Fengwei

  • scoopG Aug 19, 2010 02:18 PM
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Isn’t it about time New York City had a Henan restaurant? Henan province, about the size of Florida, lies in the cradle of Chinese civilization. With a population of 100 million people (more than five times that of the Sunshine State) in the vast central plains, it is China’s most populated province.

Henan Feng Wei - 河南風味 or “Henan Flavors” or “A Taste of Henan” makes a good first impression. The cordial owner/chef, Mr. Wang Qiang (王強) owned a restaurant in Zhengzhou for years before immigrating to Flushing where for a good many more years he worked at a Chinese buffet joint, biding his time. Eight months ago he opened HFW and claims it is the first Henan spot in the city. With about nine tables and 30 covers, it has more of a lunchroom feel than a restaurant. But a winsome downstairs lunchroom all the same.

Henan cuisine is also called Yucai cuisine(豫菜 – Yu4 Cai4.) Henan kind say their style is “not east, not west, not south and not north.” It is also not sweet, salty, nor spicy. It is known for seasonal use of ingredients that feature lots of lamb and mutton soups, meat-stuffed buns, fried mung bean jelly, vermicelli, meatball soups and fresh dumplings; steamed or boiled and much more of course. Furthermore the province is subdivided into four culinary precincts: North (Anyang), South (Xinyang), East (Kaifeng) and West (Luoyang.)

Here at HFW Mr. Wang (he speaks some English) keeps the menu pretty simple; serving up at least a dozen cold appetizers, noodle dishes, soups, casseroles and more. Based on my two visits it seems to be a gathering place for Henan folk seeking a taste of home. The menu is translated into English on 3-4 sheets and don’t worry about the additional written Chinese characters about the place – they too have already been translated and placed in the English menu. There are some photos of some of the dishes on the wall as well.

I tried four of the appetizers and all were tasty: two different dried tofu dishes, the Green Beans, and sliced Pig Ears. Hot and Numbing Cold Noodles (麻辣涼麵 - Ma2 La4 Liang2 Mian4) were well seasoned with sesame paste, soy sauce, peanuts and hot sauce.

Big Dish Chicken (大盤鳮 - Da4 Pan2 Ji1) Simply stunning this earthy dish was. Marinated chicken pieces (on the bone) with potatoes, red pepper, Sichuan peppercorns, garlic, cumin seeds and cilantro.

Lamb Noodle Soup (羊肉燴面 - Yang2 Rou4 Hui4 Mian4) a hearty bowl with shredded tofu, hand-made noodles, vermicelli, lamb, goji berries and dry tiger lily.

Dumplings (灌湯包 - Guan4 Tang1 Bao1.) I think these are Henan’s answer to XLB but without the soup. A big comforting hug in a bamboo steamer.

Button Ball Meatball Bowl (丸子扣碗 - Wan2 Zi Kou4 Wan3)
Meatballs (made with some type of breading) in a delicate broth of ginger, Sichuan peppercorn and star anise. Keep that lid on for a spell! These morsels get better the longer they are in the broth. Then lap up the broth.

Boiled Dumplings (水餃 - Shui3 Jiao3.) Here filled with cabbage, pork and some chives.

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

Henan Feng Wei - 河南風味
136-31 41st Avenue
Flushing, NY 11355
Tel: 718-762-1818

Open everyday from 9 am to 11 pm.

-----
Henan Feng Wei
136-31 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11355

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  1. Great report, and thanks for the photos. Are you saying the Tang Bao lost their soup, or just never had any to begin with?

    2 Replies
    1. re: Steve

      I'll have to check with Mr. Wang. Defintely no soup to begin with...

      1. re: Steve

        Stopped in there and was told by the #2 man that the issue was the more lean nature of American pork. Many of the recipes I saw online though at baidu.com called for both "streaky pork" as well as pork skin aspic.

      2. This place is fantastic! I went there today for dinner. First of all, the experience itself is remarkably Chinese. From appearance to the level of English, you'd think you were in China. Very Golden Mall in that sense (except this place has literally no foreigners at this point where as Golden Mall has loads.) The menu is largely translated, but the translation work is definitely still patchy.

        I ended up ordering the boiled dumplings, the big plate chicken and the boiled peanuts cold starter. All cold starters are kept in a see through case like in China or at M&T or most of the Dongbei places.

        The dumplings were relatively standard. I'd pass on getting them again as they were like a pork version of Silk Road (in London's) much better lamb dumplings. The boiled peanuts were nice and I love boiled peanuts so I'll probably get those rather consistently.

        The big plate chicken was easily the best I've had in the US though. By a long shot. Very nice broth though the consistency was a bit oily rather than brothy. Nonetheless, the chicken, potatoes and overall flavor were all great. At 12 dollars I can't decide whether it was a great deal or a bit pricey. I ordered far too much for myself so I had trouble measuring portions in my mind.

        At any rate all of that with a beer was 22. Not bad at all.

        Justin

        -----
        SN New Restaurant
        44-09 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

        26 Replies
        1. re: JFores

          Glad you liked it. Please give the dumplings another chance and make sure you get the ones with Chinese chives. They think there that non-Chinese won't like them! The guy knows what he is doing with dough.

          1. re: scoopG

            I'll give those a shot. The main reason why I wouldn't get them again is because a place I go to in London does virtually the same dumplings with lamb, but they're much better.

            The yangrou hui mien is reeeeally good. I had that for dinner today. Really nice noodles with excellent chew.

            Justin

            1. re: JFores

              Give their dumplings a try. I ordered two kinds for takeout: last Sunday: one with lamb and chives, the other ones with Napa, both were on their specials pinned to the counter in the front. Both were thumbs up.

              Decided not to order anything to stay as we were not hungry. Mr Wang demonstratively made a bowl of noodles with lamb and soup for himself and slurped them down at our table. The noodles looked dangerously good.

              PS: their big chicken dish with cumin and Sichuan pepper gets even better overnight. Excellent homestyle food, modest prices, nice people.

              1. re: diprey11

                That's da pian ji or big plate chicken. It's a Hue dish that's usually actually found in Xinjiang and other more western provinces... but apparently its big in Henan... The menu at this place is remarkably Hue. Does anyone know if the owner is Hue?

                Justin

                1. re: JFores

                  Hui as in Muslim? Would they serve pork in any form if so?

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Correct. Not sure if Mr. Wang is Muslim or not. I've looked at baidu.com and it does indeed look like this dish well may have originated in Xinjiang. I saw versions there online that used beer as well as added noodles at the end. There is also a similar dish from Chongqing, Sichuan called Geleshan Spicy Chicken(歌乐山辣子鸡) that adds Sichuan pickles but drops the spuds.

                    1. re: scoopG

                      Come across any recipes for it? Sounds like something that would be good to make once it gets cooler again. Please tell me it will get cooler again...

                      1. re: buttertart

                        I've seen some recipes but I'd want to try them first before posting!

                      2. re: scoopG

                        They serve pork products: sliced pig ear, dumpling fillings, etc. And they did ask if I wanted noodles on top of (not just with) the big chicken. Fresh pulled noodles and a rich gravy... that was a very good idea.

                        1. re: diprey11

                          Those are belt noodles. Generally you'd finish most of the chicken and then the restaurant staff will come over and put the noodles into the still steaming broth. I think it's more of a Hui dish than a Xinjiang dish. Xinjiang would generally assume Uighur and while Uighurs do make it, the dish itself is strongly associated with Hui cuisine.

                          A lot of Hui also don't give a damn about dietary restrictions and drink like fish (of course, a lot don't as well. And a lot care about pork and still drink like fish. Same goes for Uighurs. You have to also keep in mind that massive amounts of cheap Erguotou and being two of the poorest and most down trodden ethnic groups in all of China have a way of corresponding.)

                          Moving back from that, the menu at this place is really Hui. The lamb dumplings, the lamb soups, etc. In fact, pretty much everything on the menu with lamb is something that you can get in Xi'an. They do lamb burgers too! I would not be surprised at all if someone in that kitchen area is or has a relative that is Hui. At the same time, maybe their location in Henan just puts them at a particularly Hui heavy bit which borders on more western provinces.

                          Who wants me be the fluent Mando speaker and ask?

                          1. re: JFores

                            Go ahead! I won't be able to get out there that soon! I forgot to mention they do stuff the Sesame Flat Cakes and call them "Hot Pockets" or 包夹肉 -Bao Jia Rou.

                            1. re: JFores

                              > Who wants me be the fluent Mando speaker and ask?
                              Please do... thank you.

                              I agree, the menu at the place is at least partially Hui. Well, I don't think chef Wang himself or his staff look particularly Uighur, and frankly I am a bad source because I never remember who comes from where. He understands what I am asking for and IMHO, his skill speaks so much louder than his voice (he's actually quite soft-spoken): that would do it for me.

                              Appreciate your advice: gotta ask if they make lamb burgers next time I'm back, perhaps on the holiday Monday. Once again, ScoopG is da man!

                              1. re: diprey11

                                Ack! I meant who wants to BE. Not me. I can order food and that's about it in Mando.

                                They obviously aren't Uighur. Hui are pretty much indistinguishable though...

                          2. re: scoopG

                            It is a modern Xinjiang dish. We had it at Omar's Xinjiang in San Gabriel and it was pricey there, too. $15 if I recall. Odd since Flushing tends to charge more on average than comparable restaurants in SGV (at LaGuardia now going back home to LA after two glorious afternoons exploring Flushing)

                            Mr Taster

                          3. re: buttertart

                            hey folks, big revelation here. well, in regard to "hui mian" actually. it's 4th sound "hui" not 2nd sound "hui" which means muslim. 4th sound one just means combo so if you see a "hui mian" it's not muslim-style noodles it just means combo noodles.

                            now, whether there is 2nd sound "hui" elements of the menu is another thing, but definitely, the noodles are not.

                            1. re: bigjeff

                              That's funny! I assumed it was sound 2 just because of how many other dishes had heavy Muslim influence. Lamb dumplings, the breads, the big plate chicken and to an extent the noodles that go into that soup.

                          4. re: JFores

                            OK - I asked Mr. Wang and he said he is not Hui!

                            1. re: scoopG

                              thinking again about "hui mian" versus "Hui", maybe we are totally off just because we see lamb but for instance, not only are there lamb dumplings but pork dumplings as well, etc. (as prev. discussed about loose dietary restrictions of certain muslims). but there is a whole lotta drinking going on up in there! I think there probably is no "Hui" element at all operating here but just a regional thing in China. Even when I think of the muslim "big bread" place in the Oriental Express mall on Main Street (and I always think of it as muslim big bread but now, I'm re-thinking that), I recall that they've got plenty of pork products, etc. hmmmmmm. versus some of the places that actually have the word "Halal" in their names, in the Golden Mall and in other little spots in flushing. hmmmmmmm indeed.

                              and yet, this article from a few years ago:
                              http://www.time.com/time/magazine/art...

                              1. re: bigjeff

                                Interesting piece there from Time....

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  ya remember when all that stuff was happening in western china, the Han vs Hui, even a year ago? when I was in shanghai this year, all the talk was how the best produce, the best fruit and vegetables are all from xinjiang. beijing def. has a vested interest in having a strong presence over there. If only it could be done without tensions, violence or bloodshed.

                                  1. re: bigjeff

                                    Xinjiang is essentially still Uighur at least outside of Urumqi and is therefore quite a different animal. I was in the province immediately following the riots and it was extremely tense. Literally hundreds of soldiers on the street, fights between Uighurs and Han Chinese at the night markets, military checkpoints every mile or two on the roads, etc. Bad bad bad stuff. It wasn't Han vs Hui. Whenever Han vs Uighur stuff occurs the Hui almost universally sit it out or side with the Chinese despite their faith which just leads to a lot of Uighur vs Hui resentment.

                                    But the watermelon there is amazing! The grapes and raisins there are also the best I've ever had. China's interest in the province, however, is not about fruit. It's about significant oil reserves and its strategic value as both a nuclear testing site and a stepping stone into Central and South Asia. They're also terrified of any potential movements over the border of Pakistani or Afghan muj. The PRC's policies of control for Uighurs are downright nasty, but they don't get the coverage that Tibetans get. Check out some of HRW's articles on the topic they're extremely accurate. Similarly anything by Dru Gladney or James Millward is fantastic.

                                    Now let's steer this back to food. I'm going to Henan Fengwei with a friend tomorrow. What would be the best possible order under 24 dollars for 2 people? I've eaten there about 5 times now, but I've sort of stagnated into the same orders. Suggestions? I'm thinking the lamb dumplings, a noodle soup and something else with a cold starter. I might toss in the extra 1.50 for a beer.

                                    1. re: JFores

                                      $24 will take you far! two plates of the cold starters (you could probably taste 4-6 items) which I think are $4 each, whatever crazy special is on top of that cold counter, and a couple of the bing maybe. do you order from their english menu? it looked like a majority of the items were available on both chinese and english menu so there wasn't too much secret stuff going on.

                                      try that combo casserole, (shi-jing sa-guo) if you want something substantial, it was good and great for two (or three). and, I thought the place was BYOB? I don't remember seeing beer in the cooler and it looked like most people bought in their own.

                                      re: xinjiang; if only china's interests were about something as relatively benign as fruit! the xinjiang fresh dates (hong-zhou) that I saw were as big as plums! but yeah, crazy stuff. always something to keep in mind.

                                      1. re: JFores

                                        Yes and now Xinjiang has been added to the "Tibet list." What I mean is if you want to visit either Tibet or Xinjiang now you need to get additional documents from an '"external organization" clearly controlled by the PRC to be allowed to enter.

                                        1. re: scoopG

                                          Woah woah woah. scoopG can you email me about that. I haven't heard about that yet and that's a big problem.

                                          To return to this food, as noted below by NYNH we ate there the other day. I like the shuijiao more than he did and they were A LOT better this time. Nonetheless, not the most impressive meal. Probably the worst I've had there.

                                  2. re: bigjeff

                                    It's just a regional thing seemingly, but they still have a lot of dishes that are specific to the Hui community. Also, both Hui and Uighur Muslims tend to drink. Sometimes voluntarily and sometimes involuntarily because of social or working situations where it's more or less forced on them.

                                    1. re: JFores

                                      Trust yourself to Mr. Wang, perhaps? Ask him...he's a friendly chap and must recognize you by now!

                      3. This wonderful place is between Main st. and Union st. The Google info is sadly off. Yet again thank you Mr. ScoopG for a choice selection.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: wew

                          second on the google map mis-info. this place is up the block from the library, and nowhere near college pt. blvd.

                        2. that looks amazing and really, the lunchroom setting is all the better.

                          hats off to you again for a great report. now, I've got yet another restaurant to add to the immense backlog of all the "scoops" that I must attend to.

                          1. I'm curious: the food skews Muslim, the owner emigrated from Henan (one of the better provinces to emigrate from, not prosperous, not very nice living conditions by and large). Xinjiang people/Hui have internally migrated east since it was possible to do so. There are degrees of observance among Hui just as there are among members of any religion, so pork on the menu is not surprising.
                            But...what makes this food distinctively Henan? Or is the food an idiocuisine particular to this chef?

                            10 Replies
                            1. re: buttertart

                              What about this, scoopG? Thoughts?

                              1. re: buttertart

                                I've been looking into this! Mr. Wang is quick to point out that his menu is limited and that what he is currently offering are appetizers and street food type dishes from Henan. He is from Zhengzhou. The Guan Tang Bao are a Henan staple - Henan's most famous GTB restaurant is called Kaifeng's First Floor - 开封第一楼 (Kaifeng Di Yi Lou) which has been around for a century:

                                http://www.kfdyl.com/

                                In addition to what was in the OP, pork is used, but not in soups; where lamb or mutton is preferred. Henan's most famous dish is a Baked Sweet and Sour Carp with noodles on top. Other famous dishes are

                                Bianjing Duck - Bianjing being the Song Dynasty name for Kaifeng
                                Four Treasures - Duck, Chicken, Pigeon and Quail
                                Steamed Dumplings - including one type with plum blossoms
                                Sea Cucumber with Hibiscus or Scallions
                                Grilled Lamb with Onions
                                Braised Pork
                                Soups: Mutton; Dusi (Pig Stomach) and Hot and Sour Mullet
                                Many types of cakes (like Peanut,Turnip) as well as Stuffed Buns
                                Mung Bean Noodles
                                a type of River Duck Egg
                                and lastly, dog meat might be found in some areas.

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  Very interesting. I wonder if there's a Henan volume in my '90s provincial cooking school books series, should have a look. Dog meat is of course found in all areas pretty much, saw it advertised on the window of a restaurant in Puxi near the Yiyuan...not to mention the stalls in our neighborhood in Taipei (Chien T'an - oh oh pun in the Wade-Giles there...).

                                  1. re: buttertart

                                    From the Kaifeng First Floor restaurant website (in English) they say the place is 88 years old and has been personally visited over the many years by the Great Helmsman himself, along with Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zeming. It was recently cited as "one of the most 500 famous enterprises in the national catering industry."

                                    Reminds me of Apu's line to Homer: "I am hoping you enjoy this movie. It made every Indian critic's top 400 list."

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      88 years old my ass

                                      1. re: FrankieLymon

                                        There's a restaurant in Suzhou that has been in documented continuous operation at the same address (NOT that the building has remanined the same) since Qianlong's reign period (established 1737). 88 years is nothing.

                                      2. re: scoopG

                                        But is it one of your most 500 favorite Henan restaurants ever, sccopG?

                                    2. re: scoopG

                                      Photo here of this signature Baked Sweet and Sour Carp w/Noodle dish:
                                      dish from Henan, that hopefully Chef Wang will someday create:

                                      http://tupian.hudong.com/a3_54_98_013...

                                      1. re: scoopG

                                        They seem to offer this fish dish (or something similar) at Uncle Zhou: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7860...

                                        -----
                                        Uncle Zhou
                                        83-29 Broadway, Queens, NY 11373

                                        1. re: Joe MacBu

                                          That sure looks like it!

                                  2. They served a small bowl of vinegar strong soup with the steamed dumplings when I was there. Is this usual? Good go with on yet another hot day.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: wew

                                      Not sure, wew. No vinegar type dipping sauce was served to me.

                                      1. re: wew

                                        Missed this one :-(. Should I have asked?

                                        Was it the red vinegar, same as in hot & sour soup? Any ginger with that? A regular, good-quality black vinegar (the Plum brand) was on the table along with the salted chili paste: I got a small styrofoam plate for that.

                                        To reiterate what ScoopG wrote, Mr Wang likes to point out that his food is nothing special, as any decent artisan would. Well, ordinary, OK, but I swear Mr Wang is an artist with dough, and NOT the one out of your pocket!

                                        1. re: diprey11

                                          The broth/soup/? was set before me after I had sat down while I was eating and blending in by reading my newspaper, as were the regulars, hoping no one notice it was the NYT. The Styrofoam bowl contained a yellow liquid which was slightly peppery, a bit bitter, and had a black vinegary note - very refreshing with the dumplings. To my fear of being spotted as a pale male was added the distinct sense that I was once again Ralph Kramden misusing the finger bowl in the fish restaurant I've always envisioned to be Lundy's.

                                          1. re: wew

                                            ...sounds like you are regular now too, NYT and all.

                                      2. I have to grab some friends and check this out.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: JMF

                                          I stopped by this afternoon and had the Ma La Liang Mian. It was very good and the woman behind the counter who assembled it was very pleasant.Most of the other people there were eating the Lamb Noodle Soup.I will have to try the chicken when I have bigger appetite and more time. Thanks for the Heads up on this place.

                                          1. re: hoi lai

                                            Yes, the lamb noodle soup with bean threads and a a dash of black vinegar is all the rave :-)

                                        2. eatin' here tomorrow night, early-ish. any more recs? I already printed out this thread and am really looking forward to it.

                                          9 Replies
                                          1. re: bigjeff

                                            You'll do fine. Especially after your China trip. Just remember, it is not a full fledged restaurant. Down-the-stairs, basement-lunchroom type place...

                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                              this place was packed last night! pretty awesome. almost all tables were occupied by 8pm and for $45 total + $10 tip, 4 of us had:

                                              + Da Pan Ji (big plate chicken)
                                              + Shi-Jing Sha-Guo (10-Item Casserole)
                                              + Yang Zhou Hui Mian (lamb hui noodle soup)
                                              + Cold plate of dried tofu ribbons, beef tripe and pig ear, all covered in mala oil
                                              + Tang Bao (soup dumpings)
                                              + Pork with cabbage boiled dumpings
                                              + Shao Bing (small bread disc)

                                              Specials that day were braised chili duck neck, and giant lamb ribs. Most groups eating were a bunch of guys strolling in with either sixers of bud or bottles of bai-jiu; most parties ordered at least 2-3 plates of boiled dumplings plus various cold plates and the two specials; seems like a drinking place more than a restaurant!

                                              The food we had was unique, interesting, different. The big plate chicken was alright; braised-ish chicken on the bone with potato, floating in a ton of sichuan stuff but overall, not that spicy. We had to order the shao-bing with it, it was very soppable. I should have looked at this thread harder and asked for the noodles to be added to the Big Plate Chicken! But I went ahead and added those same noodles from the lamb noodle soup anyway so my thinking was the same.

                                              The soup dumplings were quite good! The filling wasn't particularly fragrant but still, pretty good. The dumplings were great; fresh made as soon as we ordered them, with very light packing of the filling so the pork was almost loose and chunky, with none of the overmixed quality of meats (where the proteins break down) causing the hard and bouncy interiors of inferior dumplings. The woman making the dumplings left her fingerprints on the dumplings themselves, which was kinda crazy. The casserole was basically their combo casserole and it was great: tofu, wood ear, cellophane noodles, some of those lamb meatballs with the breading and also fried pieces of pork, submerged in the casserole along with various veg and seafood. Very good.

                                              The cold dishes all looked very good; lots of interesting stuff like bitter melon salad, a salted celery dish of some sort, and other stuff. Most other tables had at least 3 or 4 different cold dish plates; you could order half-and-half on one plate and we were able to get 3 tastes on one plate (to maximize). The lamb noodle soup had great texture but the flavor was so-so. The pieces of lamb in the soup were obviously cooked out of flavor so they didn't contribute much and the broth looked like canned chicken broth; thick and yellow. But the noodles, the strips of cellophane noodle and other ingredients were tasty.

                                              What threw me off personally was the giant 4-ft tall canister of MSG that was in the entryway of the restaurant and indeed, while I usually get the dry-mouth feeling after the meal, I was getting the dry-mouth feeling about 15 minutes into our meal, after having the casserole and the noodle soup. Shortcut alert! It didn't detract from the flavors, but it was a mental flag that usually turns me off to lesser pho and dimsum places.

                                              There were some english-language menus so ordering wasn't a problem, and also some big printouts of photos of the dishes on the wall. The amiable proprietor had ok english I think, but I just spoke with him in chinese; business was booming and he seemed to have a lot of friends or well-wishers stop in as well. The cold noodles were no longer available (seasonal thing) but it seems like the place does well with specials and with different items available at different times. I will definitely come in again to try their other dumpings, maybe their other noodle soups such as a lamb tripe noodle soup and, whatever other random specials are atop their cold case. The lamb ribs last night looked crazy but, very messy.

                                              Finally, check out the VV! This place made it to their recent Top 10 List of Chinese Restaurants Culled from Chowhound Threads:
                                              http://blogs.villagevoice.com/forkint...

                                              1. re: bigjeff

                                                Without attribution of course!

                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                  Thanks for your report! You have to let them know you want the Big Plate Chicken spicy or they won't make it so. That huge container that is visible with the large MSG sign is not in fact MSG! I asked them about that and they said they use that for storage of rice. That is not to say they don't use MSG - but I did mention to them the possible turn-off by some customers upon seeing that.

                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                    ya I asked for it spicy and it was definitely mala (we got that sour feeling at the back of the jaw after awhile) but definitely, I'd love it with those noodles. re: MSG, ya I dunno if it was subliminal or not but it was definitely not a good look. and at the same time, undeniably, I was getting the dry-mouth. ah well. but man the casserole (possibly with the button ball meatballs?) was so good.

                                                    1. re: bigjeff

                                                      Thank you so much for the report! If I may, I have a couple comments on their big chicken dish.

                                                      Although they use Sichuan pepper quite liberally, I wouldn't expect a full-fledged Chuan-style mala taste: well IMHO, not the 麻 part of it anyway.

                                                      As much as Xiao Bing must be delightful with the rich gravy, IMHO, the dish is incomplete without freshly-pulled noodles mixed in: a perfect texture compliment.

                                                      If memory serves, Chef Wang would likely suggest that immediately after you order, but he is so soft-spoken that his advice is easily missed.
                                                      In my case, he didn't even ask: instead he told the lady cook to pull some fresh noodles and then he showed up at our table with a scoop and simply said, This goes on the top.

                                                      1. re: diprey11

                                                        You generally get them after you finish some of the chicken so they can be immersed.

                                                    2. re: scoopG

                                                      I was just thinking about the MSG container used as a storage thing for rice but the funny thing is; I don't think there is any rice on the menu at all! Hmmmm . . . . .

                                                      1. re: bigjeff

                                                        oops! Maybe flour? Or perhaps as Barbara Stanwyck once said it is a "case of mistaken nonentity!"

                                                2. Went here today with JFlores. I wasn't thrilled, but I did enjoy the meal (Justin commented that we were trying new things, not necessarily his preferred dishes. Fair enough). The pork filling for the shui jiao was pretty tasting, but I'm really not the biggest fan of this dumpling. However, they did not get all soggy form the vinegar which was a plus.

                                                  I found the duck neck to be more interesting. A little difficult to get around the bone, but the meat was good. Tender, not moist but DEFINITELY not dry, could have been a bit juicier. I also liked the simplicity of it in contrast to the complex flavors of the dumplings with vinegar and chili oil.

                                                  Will write about it on my blog tonight.

                                                  http://turntableskillets.wordpress.com

                                                  1. Have a look at this from the Village Voice: http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-11-1... (another review presumably coming out of scoopG's post here), and at: http://picasaweb.google.com/roswellhi...
                                                    http://picasaweb.google.com/roswellhi...
                                                    Photos accompanying the review look awfully similar, don't you think???
                                                    Can't the VV get it together to review places not covered here?

                                                    10 Replies
                                                    1. re: buttertart

                                                      My legal beagles are on the case!

                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                        wow, that really is a clear case of photo-jacking unless . . . . . . . ScoopG, reveal thyself! hahahahahaha.

                                                        1. re: bigjeff

                                                          Yeah that's blatant. He's taken mining your hard work to the next level.

                                                          1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                            I wish I could work as hard as Scoop.

                                                            1. re: bigjeff

                                                              It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it.

                                                            2. re: ChiefHDB

                                                              Infringed Photos just removed!

                                                              VV site looks so naked without photos!

                                                              http://www.villagevoice.com/restauran...

                                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                                Nice! Well obviously Sietsema reads chowhound...

                                                                I was just about to volunteer my services in writing a nasty demand letter on your behalf. Oh well. I'm sure there'll be a next time.

                                                                1. re: ChiefHDB

                                                                  I've noticed that Sietsema has lifted phrases from chowhound posts in the past and used them for his reviews. I was shocked when he did it to me, then I began to notice that it was a fairly regular thing for him. Really pathetic.

                                                                2. re: scoopG

                                                                  Naughty, naughty VV...glad to hear it.

                                                              2. re: bigjeff

                                                                Maybe in court?

                                                            3. Hi! My name is Tracy and I'm Mr. Wang's daughter. I want to thank you all for your positive reviews about us. We are happy to see that you enjoy the food, and we will continue serving you the best. Wish you all a happy new year!~~

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Tracywang

                                                                thank you Tracy! Please provide us with as much english translation and explanations as possible, that would be the most helpful.

                                                                1. re: bigjeff

                                                                  They have a new color menu with English translations but no detailed dish explanations...

                                                              2. Thanks for the discussion folks, really appreciate all the reports. I went last night for the first time with a friend. btw, I believe they changed the closing time to 10:30pm. I thought it was interesting that when I asked for rice, they said they don't serve it. My ignorance, I guess, thinking that all Chinese cultures use rice.
                                                                We shared three dishes, which you can see here on my Flickr. I culled my labeling information from this thread. If you happen to have the Chinese for the other dishes, it would be much appreciated: http://www.flickr.com/photos/536/sets...
                                                                And maybe this is old news, but they've opened a branch on Forsyth Street.

                                                                6 Replies
                                                                1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                                  That's a first (no rice) in my experience of Chinese restaurants anywhere - ???

                                                                  1. re: buttertart

                                                                    northern food tends to have a lesser emphasis on rice, but no rice whatsoever is sort of odd

                                                                    where on forsyth? weird i dont think i noticed it and i walked by there last weekend...will have to try

                                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                                      Yes I of course know that about northern food, but not to the exclusion of rice.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart

                                                                        yah thats what i was saying

                                                                      2. re: Lau

                                                                        News to me too - thanks, Peter. It's at 68 Forsyth. Walked by last night and was told they'd been open just a week or so. Can't link a Manhattan Chow record on this board, but here's the new place: http://www.chow.com/restaurants/92223...

                                                                      3. re: buttertart

                                                                        Not to get too far OT, but when I was in the Gansu Province for nine days, it was all wheat all the time. No rice. Of course, I was going to places that didn't necessarily have a menu.... or at least one I could read.

                                                                    2. Henan is a major wheat producing province and what Mr. Wang is serving up here is mostly night market type food that might be found in Zhengzhou, where noodles are king.

                                                                      1. We had another perfect meal at Henan Feng Wei. I was lucky to bring a large company of 7 folks willing to try new things, and that both Mr Wang and his wife were in the kitchen. The check came to $10pp with a couple beer/sodas, and everyone I spoke to was carried away.

                                                                        Da Pan Ji was as good as ever, but let me mention the noodles!

                                                                        The knife cut wheat noodles delivered by Mr Wang were nothing short of perfect, on the absolute scale which surely includes TK, SG, HK, and TW. A simple perfection and a work of art: the texture was so right, and so was the timing to put it on the top of our big chicken plate!

                                                                        Other common favorites included the 10-item combo, due to both its flavor richness and subtlety (even before I poured in the black vinegar), and the crispy lamb casserole (which stays crispy even after soaking for a while, and the broth is silky-smooth). They didn't have their usual Si Ji Dou, and we didn't order any other soup.
                                                                        The gay-choy (jiu-tsai??) dumplings were tender and fabulous, given that they must have a thicker skin so that they don't fall apart when boiled. The skin was as thin and tender as one can get (on the world-absolute scale) and the fillings were lively and flavorful: another one for Chef Wang Qiang! I personally got to believe he is a genius with wheat dough, but this is just me!

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Henan Feng Wei
                                                                        136-31 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11355

                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                        1. re: diprey11

                                                                          What are the noodles called on the menu? Are these the same wide noodles that normally come with the Da Pan Ji, or something else?

                                                                          Also, does anyone know if they have air conditioning? I'm assuming yes, but wanted to check...

                                                                          Dave MP

                                                                          1. re: Dave MP

                                                                            Yes, exactly that type: broad, ribbon-like wheat noodles. They can be put into the big chicken plate or can be served separately, with the bean sauce and green vegetables on the side, or even in soup (羊肉燴面).

                                                                            Not sure about the air-conditioning, but it felt just fine inside.

                                                                            1. re: diprey11

                                                                              Cool, thanks!

                                                                              Also, I have confirmed via phone that they do have AC. This makes sense, since the kitchen and dining room are attached - it definitely would not feel fine if they didn't have it!

                                                                              1. re: Dave MP

                                                                                Just wanted to report back on our meal there. 4 of us were there last night and we shared:

                                                                                - Big Plate Chicken - I remembered this having potatoes last time, but maybe I'm mistaken. In any case, this was pure chicken this time, sauce was amazing. Overall really good. The noodles soaked in the sauce is my favorite part of the meal.

                                                                                - Pork and leek dumplings - really generous serving of 15 dumplings for $5.00. Nice chili sauce on tables to mix w/ vinegar for dipping.

                                                                                - Chinese pancake w/ pork - The pork filling was like pulled pork mixed w/ lardo. And the pancake/bread was fresh.

                                                                                - Zha Ziang Mian - This was made with the same wide homemade noodles. Pretty good, but mild compared to the chicken dish. Despite the fact that they were covered in bean sauce, we ended up putting some of these noodles into the chicken broth later in the meal.

                                                                                - Cold cucumber pickles - hint of spice, very mild pickle level. Really good.

                                                                                Total bill was $30, which was a really great bargain. Staff were nice, parking was pretty easy right nearby. Will definitely be back

                                                                                Dave MP

                                                                                P.S. And yes, it was air-conditioned.

                                                                        2. We loved the Big Dish Chicken. Unfortunately the restaurant ran out of the lamb noodle soup. I can't wait to go back and try the lamb dish.