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Jan 24, 2011 10:49 AM

Fujian Restaurant Questions

I've scanned the ChowHound boards for info on Fujian restaurants. What I've found resulted in this list:

* Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles 1 Doyers St
* Super Taste 26 N Eldridge St
* Song Bo Yuan 71A Eldridge St
* East Broadway Restaurant 94 E Broadway
* Good Good Taste 13A Market St
* Ah San 7 Eldridge St
* Best Fouzhou 68 Forsyth St
* Fu Zhou 84 Forsyth St

My first question is if I can try only two, which two should I pick? The second questions is which dishes to order, the emphasis being which are the most broadly representative of Fujian cuisine?

Thanks in advance for any help you fellow Chowhounders may offer.

Ah San
7 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

Good Good Taste
13 Market St, New York, NY 10002

Super Taste
26 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

Fu Zhou Restaurant
84 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. I'd cross off the first two. They're owned and run by Fujianese folks and they offer some Fujianese appetizers (pork-stuffed fish balls, etc.), but most of the menus are Lanzhou-style noodle soups.

    Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles
    1 Doyers St, New York, NY 10013

    1. scoopG is probably better suited to answer this question than i am, but there are actually alot more fujian restaurants than this. if you look the google map most of the restaurants that are east of bowery are fujian not all of them, but alot of them. In particular almost everything on eldridge south of houston is fujian, the area right below canal on eldridge in particular has a ton of restaurants. Another area that has alot is the area on east broadway east of bowery that goes all the way to essex.

      there are generally 3 types of fujian restaurants that i can discern:
      1) lan zhou hand pulled noodle spots: these places technically aren't fujian as they are advertising hand pulled noodle soups (lan zhou is an area of china far from the fujian province where this originally comes from) although they do have stuff like fujian fish balls usually. Tasty Hand Pulled Noodles and Super Taste both fall into that category
      2) fujian xiao chi (small eat): these places serve alot of cheap and quick fujian food such as yu wan tang (fujian style fish balls filled with meat in soup), ban mian (egg noodles in a sesame sauce), bian rou / yan wan (sort of light wontons in a soup), li zhi rou (lychee pork which is pork cut so it looks like a lychee in a sweet and sour sauce)
      3) fujian seafood restaurants: i've only been to one of these and these have a little more of an upscale menu with various fujian seafood dishes and things like lu wei (meats braised in soy sauce)

      the best fujian restaurant that i have to been to to date was double dragon, the problem with double dragon is that you need someone who can read chinese and generally someone who can speak chinese pretty well. their menu is not in english, they do not speak any english and their mandarin was really hard to understand b/c they had such a heavy fujian accent

      if you're really looking to try true fujian food then i dont think the hand pulled noodle places are really what you're looking for. i'd hit double dragon if you can get someone who speaks / reads chinese well

      8 Replies
      1. re: Lau

        Lau, thank you! Hmm, I have a Cantonese friend (who is very Cantonese food-centric) but I will ask him to come with me. Thanks again, Terry

        1. re: TerryNYC

          fyi cantonese is completely not useful in a fujian restaurant (literally like bringing someone who speaks french into an english speaking restaurant), you really need someone who speak mandarin (or fujian)

        2. re: Lau

          Oh, forgot to mention -- yes I saw lots more Fujian restaurants in nYC. The ones that made my shortlist where those that had generated highly visible enthusiasm on Chowhound

          1. re: TerryNYC

            yah the problem with the fujian restaurants is that outside the hand pulled noodle places and the ones that scoopG has covered and my single post on double dragon, its a fairly uncovered area as alot of the places are similar to what i said about double dragon (100% english unfriendly where you can't even point), so i think its been a difficult area for alot of chowhound people to cover.

            Personally, i haven't made a huge effort b/c i haven't been in love with any of the stuff ive tried, double dragon being the best of them. ive tried more places than ive reported, but ill start to try to document them.

            now that i think about it, it's sort of surprising that i haven't really liked their food b/c i really like food from other parts of the fujian province. most of the restaurants you're talking about are run by people from fuzhou or close to it (a major city in fujian province), but i really like chao zhou food (chiu chow / teo chew) and taiwanese food.

            technically chao zhou are a sub-sect of fujian people although i always thought of them as an off shoot of cantonese people since they live in guang zhou and taiwanese people are min nan which is just southern fujian people. although both chao zhou and min nan speak a different dialect of fujian than the people here

          2. re: Lau

            Just to add to the above posts:

            The hand pulled noodle places ain't fuzhou, but as an introduction you get pretty good non fujianese noodles, but great fujianese wontons and beef/fish balls. So it shouldn't be automatic out, unless you want complete cuisine immersion.

            The small eats places are great. I got to Walloy Bakery on 67 East Broadway, or the one to the right of it, which I like better. Not sure if it's same address or if it's 69 East Broadway, cause the stores seem to be subdivisions. Anyway, I think both are comparable, but the shop to the right is more authentic in the sense that the folks like that place more, and I think it's the earliest version, or the model for the other "small eats" copycats. I'd just also add the fishballs and wontons are also very unique and delicious.

            I've been to a couple of fujian seafood places, but rarely with a big enough or knowledgeable party to speak specifically to it, other than the food was great. You might not get the full on experience without a in guide, but since you want to experiment, I'd say be adventurous.

            1. re: villainx

              ive been to the place next to walloy b/c its always got people in it and their sign says (in chinese) authentic taiwanese food, but its fujian food so im not sure why it says that

              their ban mian was pretty good as was their fish balls

              1. re: villainx

                "The hand pulled noodle places ain't fuzhou" But they are owned and operated by Fujianese?

                1. re: AubWah

                  yes that is correct, lan zhou is a area in china that is very famous for its hand pulled noodle soups. however, hand pulled noodle soup is quite popular all over china, so many places advertise themselves as lan zhou hand pulled noodles, some even say they trained in lan zhou.

                  it's the equivalent of calling yourself "southern bbq" or "texas bbq" in the US even though maybe you're not from the south.

            2. The original comment has been removed
              1. This has all been very helpful & it got me to re-reseach Chinese food in NYC (lots of printed pages to wade through tonight). I compiled my original list a year back and have slowly been trying my way through it. The cross-checking just now saved me from a trip to Ping's planned for next week. I've not been there in years but it seems as though for Cantonese seafood I will get a much better meal at Canton Garden or Oriental Garden.

                Fujianese food, well I'll try one of the places ScoopG liked that has an English menu (and my friend, Wei, will be delighted to miss a trip to a non-Cantonese place), and perhaps Walloy (mentioned below) just for fun.

                While I'm eliciting expert help --- I've really enjoyed Shanghai Cafe and Spicy & Tasty both although Amazing 66 is my go-to (and so far I prefer Cantonese). Are there any other regional cuisine restaurants (Mandarin, etc) at this level (in their respective cuisines) in NYC? I know there used to be an equally great Hunan restaurant that has long since moved to Florida but I'm unaware of any others that are really great examples of their regional cooking. If anyone can suggest some that are not Cantonese, Szechuan or Singaporean I would appreciate it.

                Amazing 66
                66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                Oriental Garden
                14 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10013

                14 Replies
                1. re: TerryNYC

                  well are talking about just manhattan or are you talking about flushing as well? ive gone tons of recs for u if ure talking about flushing and a few recs for u if ure only talking about manhattan

                  1. re: Lau

                    Manhattan is much faster to get to for me (I can walk to Ctown from where I live in Brooklyn, however will happily go to Flushing (and do periodically for Sentosa ;-)

                    1. re: Lau

                      Lau any recommendations are very welcome. I'm especially curious about great Mandarin since it is a lighter, wheat-based cuisine from a part of China that is traditionally the richest area, so one may assume the means to create really good food were present.

                      1. re: TerryNYC

                        there is an imperial cuisine that is available in beijing although i've never had it and only seen videos of it when i was in china....friends who've tried it said it was good, but not something they crave or anything like that.

                        anyhow, here's a list of recs (btw you can check my blog for a list of reviews, just check the categories, if you click chinese ull get a ton)

                        Manhattan (ctown):
                        - South China Garden / Cantoon Garden: this is my go to restaurant in the city
                        - Great NY Noodletown, Hsin Wong, Big Wong: i would go to these for cantonese bbq, congee and wonton noodle soup (in particular Great NY Noodletown and Hsin Wong have decent noodle soup
                        )- Noodle Village: i had a pretty decent meal here recently
                        - Bo Ky / New Chao Chow: these are 2 out of 3 chiu chow restaurants in the city (one of my favorite types of chinese food), here's a review on bo ky, i like new chao chow slightly better though
                        - Ka Wah: i think this is the best bakery in ctown
                        - Shanghai Cafe: i know you've been here, but some of their off the menu stuff is good (scoopG did a great job translating the off the menu stuff
                        - Sunlight Bakery: this place has freshly made rice crepes (cheung fan) and is pretty good
                        - Old Sichuan: had a good meal here recently

                        Manhattan (non-ctown):
                        - Baohaus: not in ctown, but they serve good taiwanese pork belly buns (gua bao) and have a pretty good monday special going right now
                        - Hung Ry: a little fusion-y, but i like this place (squid app is the best thing there
                        - szechuan gourmet: consensus best sichuan in the city (my favorite dish is the cumin lamb
                        - great sichuan: i like this place
                        - Legend: haven't been here, but getting great reviews and looks good
                        - Xi'an: i love this place, there is a branch in ctown and a branch in east village on st marks, but they taste the same. i particularly like the lamb burger, liang pi and the lamb face salad

                        - Imperial Palace: my favorite chinese restaurant in NY
                        - Canton Gourmet: another good cantonese restaurant
                        - Jade Asian / Guang Zhou (formerly called Perfect Team): these are generally probably the best dim sum places in NY
                        - Spicy & Tasty: i like Little Pepper better but its unfortunately closed temporarily (hopefully), but i think S&T is better than most of the places in the city
                        - Taste of Shanghai: i like this place for shanghainese although see the specific dish recs
                        - Nan Xiang: best soup dumplings in NY
                        - Baidu: i had good hot pot here recently
                        - White Bear: the best wontons in hot oil (also great frozen dumplings), i think these are the best dumplings in NY
                        - soy bean chan: best soy milk and dou hua (sweet silky tofu); the xian dou hua (savory tofu is good too
                        - golden mall: this place is great; do a search and you'll find tons of spots
                        - gu xiang: i like the taiwanese food here, but stick to the dishes i recommended, their street food stuff is just okay
                        - main street imperial: another good, but a little out of the way taiwanese place
                        - flushing mall: i like temple snacks for their gua bao (taiwanese hamburger), xi'an (another branch), yong he (taiwanese breakfast - in particular their cong dan bing which is a scallion egg pancake) and ah zhong mian xian which i think might be called han kou in english), the korean-chinese dumpling place that is not in the mall and is in the shopping part of the mall is good too
                        - king 5 noodle: has pretty decent taiwanese breakfast

                        ScoopG - he's probably better suited to recommend the northern chinese places to you as he's been to more of them than i have

                        here's a fairly long thread on flushing:

                    2. re: TerryNYC

                      I'd just repeat that the place to the right of Walloy is probably your better bet. For which you can ask for a english menu too.

                      If you want other asian food. I can't tell how much you've been too, but in Manhattan Chinatown there are:

                      Vietnamese row along Baxter and near by. I usually stick with Nha Trang but that's more from a mix of habit and familiarity.

                      Xian Famous has an outpost by Manhattan Bridge mall.

                      Overseas Asian is my go to Malaysian joint, not sure how it compares to Sentosa.

                      There are also a bunch of the Hong Kong-ese type joints: M Star Cafe, Cha Chan Tang, etc., that I mainly go because it's fun and my friends are in the mood.

                      And the chao zhou (chiu chow / teo chew) by Bo Ky and that other place on Mott Street above Canal. Nor sure how it compares with the Flushing place.

                      Manhattan Chinatown is alright for some things but it's quite underrepresented in quality and quantity in other regional fares (like Taiwanese, Dongbei, Hunan, etc.)

                      Nha Trang
                      87 Baxter St, New York, NY 10013

                      Overseas Taste
                      49 Canal St, New York, NY 10002

                      M Star Cafe
                      19 Division St Frnt 1, New York, NY 10002

                      Cha Chan Tang
                      45 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

                      1. re: villainx

                        Can you explain why Walloy Bakery or the "place to the right of it" is the best to start for Fujian food in NYC? What dishes does either place execute that is representative of Fuzhou cuisine? Is either place serving any dishes with red wine lees? How are their soups and broths - a feature of the cuisine.

                        1. re: scoopG

                          never been to walloy, but the "the place to the right" (its called sogo) is actually pretty decent although its a xiao chi place. i went there with a friend a few months ago. its weird though b/c in front it says that its authentic taiwanese food (in chinese), but its completely fujian. i noticed it b/c its always full. their ban mian and yu wan tang were quite good when went there actually probably the best version of each dish that i've had in manhattan

                          as far as having it be the first place u try, i dont know although b/c of the nature of the food i guess it'd be easy from a culture shock perspective as it wasnt anything crazy

                          1. re: scoopG

                            Oops, sorry, I meant that for "small eats", such as wontons, noodles, fish/meat balls, Walloy or Sogo are best place to start for that type of food. There are other places on East Broadway and on Catherine, but Sogo (or the place to the right of Walloy) seems to be the most popular for that type of Fujianese food, and it has english menu available too.

                            And it's good food too. I'm not sure what you mean by red wine lees. Or I guess I notice it at Best Fuzhou with certain of their noodle dishes. At Sogo, there is a distinct alcohol smell and flavor to some of the fish noodles. By the way, fish noodles are pretty unique and tasty for the uninitiated.

                            As for the soup and broth, usually i get a ban mien and a order of fishballs, wonton, dumplings, or whatever. To the extent that they don't dump all these to a universal soup/broth but have distinct broth/soup depending on which, indicates to me that staying true to their vision of the dish is kinda what they are about. I haven't tried the full menu, but I go to Sogo about 1 or 2 x a month. It's a fun change of pace from the usual Chinatown fare.

                            1. re: villainx

                              Where are Walloy and Sogo? Can I read about them anywhere?

                              1. re: AubWah


                                Waloy Bakery
                                67 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                                Shui Mei Cafe
                                67A E Broadway, New York, NY 10002

                              2. re: villainx

                                I'll have to check them out! One hallmark of Fujian Cuisine is the use of red wine lees (红酒 - Hong2 Jiu3). These lees are serried sediments that sink to the bottom of the barrel during wine fermentation. Another is the presence of a wide range of stocks and broths, from light and refined to thick and hearty. No self respecting Fujianese consumes a meal without having at least two soups! Banquets will feature four to six.

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  Here's a photo of Duck in Red Wine Lees from Best Fuzhou on Eldridge.

                                  1. re: scoopG

                                    Aubwah, Waloy and SoGo, as Lau indicated are kinda like small eats places, or kinda like the Cantonese equivalent of noodle shops, so it ain't going to have the full onslaught of the regional cuisine. But it's a step in, grab a noodle, a fishball/wonton/dumpling side, and maybe also a fried taro cake, then go kinda place.

                                    The most interesting discussions on anything fujianese has been on this site, as the combination of exotic-ness (reference point) and no english seems to create an obstacle that goes beyond what most media outlets are willing to explore. I guess as well, it's good food but it doesn't have an overpowering taste notes (such as spiciness) that makes folks obsessive.

                                    For scoop, yeah, the "small eats" stuff is either in soup/broth, or like the ban mien - if you order it by itself - it comes with a soup. I've been to Best Fuzhou, but not with enough people or enough knowledgeable people to test the kitchen/cuisine. Mostly been for a lunch. But I'm waiting to get stuff there to try a full dinner.

                          2. re: TerryNYC

                            Great Hunan (Hunan House) in Flushing. Also found there: wonderful Henan (Henan Fengwei), Manchurian or Dongbei (Fu Run, Rural, Jiang Li) Shandong (M&T, Shandong Fragrant Garden), Taiwanese (Main Street Imperial), Wenzhou and more. Search on the OB Board.

                          3. I've not been to Double Dragon yet. Their menu has absolutely no English translations. I think Best Fuzhou at 71A Eldridge is still your best shot - at least half of the menu is translated into English.