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Hey Brooklyn! Prove to my sister that she can eat delicious pan fried nian gao 年糕 like we do in Los Angeles.

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Does anyone know of any Shanghainese places that would be willing to deliver to Brooklyn (near Pratt on De Kalb)?

I'm in LA where delicious nian gao (pan fried with pork and vegetables) is easily accessible by car. My Brooklynite sister desperately needs to try some, but is unwilling to trek out to Flushing. Something about a baby taking up all her time, blah blah blah.

How can we get delicious pan fried nian gao into her belly?

Thanks!

Mr Taster

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  1. nice to see u on the NY boards

    Unfortunately, it will be difficult in brooklyn as there is barely any shanghainese restaurants that i know of out there. btw generally in NY most of the better chinese restaurants tend not to deliver.

    these are pretty much the only shanghainese places ive heard of in bk:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/m-shanghai-bi...
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/chui-hong-yua...

    you're not that far from the city, you could trek to the city (i can give u recs), but shanghainese food in manhattan (and NY in general) will pale to anything you can get at the better shanghainese restaurants in SGV

    53 Replies
    1. re: Lau

      Hi Lau, thanks for chiming in. This is one of those things that drives me batty.

      From my perspective as someone who discovered real Chinese food in my adulthood and enjoys sharing it with others, there are absolutely no culinary or aesthetic barriers preventing the typical non-Chinese, lo mein and beef with broccoli eating New Yorker from enjoying pan fried nian gao. There's no pig's blood, no chicken feet, no malodorous unfamiliarity to scare non-Chinese customers away. The only barriers that I can see are the total lack of awareness that nian gao even exist, coupled with the fact that there is this bulletproof identification of Chinese food with takeout. (Imagine receiving xiao long bao by takeout?? What a travesty that would be...)

      Thanks for the BK recs though... I will check them out. I'd love your Manhattan recs as well. Maybe she can file them away for future use.

      Mr Taster

      1. re: Mr Taster

        Well, you can't get Shanghai style food in West LA either, so the unavailability in Brooklyn really is quite analogous. As far as Chinese food that crosses over to the masses here in the New World, I don't think the scare factor is involved, and what does cross over is quite happenstance. For example, in New York it is very common to find green onion pancakes at Americanized Chinese restaurants, yet in LA it is found only at authentic non-Cantonese Chinese restaurants in the San Gabriel Valley.

        1. re: Mr Taster

          haha nian gao are def pretty PG, tell her to just think about it versus cheese....sauteed rice cakes vs rotten milk

          generally in the city:
          - shanghai cafe: this is my go to generally, its not amazing but it has some good dishes if you order correctly http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740897
          - Old shanghai deluxe: i have not eaten here yet, but the owner of old sichuan (who i believe is shanghainese) said that her husband runs it and you can get great authentic shanghainese food (old sichuan is good). people on yelp trash it, but i dont always trust yelp reviews b/c alot of people don't really know what they are ordering although i haven't been here yet, so i can't say one way or the other
          http://www.yelp.com/biz/old-shanghai-...
          - Shanghai kitchen: haven't been here since they changed owners but it gets decent reviews (they used to have the best sheng jian bao) http://www.yelp.com/biz/shanghai-kitc...
          - shanghai asian manor: new place that i haven't been to either, but its been getting decent reviews
          http://www.yelp.com/biz/shanghai-asia...
          - Old sichuan: this is not an shanghainese place, but i do think they now have the best sheng jian bao ive had in the city
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/753976

          Avoid: i'd avoid the following shanghainese restaurants in the city as i find they to be pretty bad
          - joe's shanghai: i think their XLB are kind of whatever and the rest of their food is bad
          - nice green bo: i think all the food is bad here, i dont know why this place got all these accolades
          - shanghai cuisine: food is just not good here

          if you go to flushing:
          - taste of shanghai: they have some dishes that are quite good, however i prefer their actual dishes as opposed to their appetizers (their XLB are whatever
          )http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/647259
          - nan xiang: these are by far the best XLB in NY and some of their noodles dishes are good as well
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/689006

          1. re: Lau

            Thanks very much for the list, Lau. Went to Joe's Shanghai in Chinatown one and was sorely disappointed. Soup in the xiao long bao was greasy and foul... my first and last time trying Shanghainese in New York. I'll keep the other names in the front of my mind for my next visit.

            Mr Taster

            -----
            Joe's Shanghai
            136-21 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

            1. re: Mr Taster

              unfortunately none of the places are great given you live in LA you've got much better options for shanghainese

              in the city i'd suggest some of the places that are less common in LA such as Xi'an famous foods and maybe some of the fujian restaurants. South china garden is worht checking out although there are definitely better cantonese restaurants in LA.

              if you make it to flushing i can give you a lot of places that are worth trying

              1. re: Mr Taster

                For us Angelenos visiting New York, a good strategy is to go for the stuff you won't find in L.A.--Fuzhou, Xi'an (even in East Village--yikes!), 5/$1 dumplings in Manhattan; Wenzhou, Henan, Guizhou and perhaps some others in Flushing.

                1. re: Chandavkl

                  I agree... this request is really for my sister, who lives in Brooklyn and refuses to go out of her way for excellent Chinese food. I was hoping to find something different and delicious that would deliver to her door (she lives near Pratt).

                  Mr Taster

                  1. re: Mr Taster

                    "...for my sister, who lives in Brooklyn and refuses to go out of her way for excellent Chinese food. I was hoping to find something different and delicious that would deliver to her door (she lives near Pratt)."

                    Given that you're not going to find any place to deliver what you want to her door, I just wanted to point out that at least 3 of Lau's recommendations (Old Shanghai Deluxe, Shanghai Asian Manor & Shanghai Kitchen) are in the part of Manhattan C'town that is literally 2-3 blocks from the foot of the Manhattan Bridge, connecting Manhattan to Bklyn, not far from your sister. In fact, if you could find what you're looking for in any of the Bklyn Chinese neighborhoods, it would be much further away than this. But, if your sister aint interested in going out of her way at all, I guess this info. wont be very helpful.

                    -----
                    Shanghai Kitchen
                    854 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11225

                  2. re: Chandavkl

                    + Qingdao/Shandong (2 places) & Manchurian/Dongbei (4-5 spots)...

                    1. re: scoopG

                      We have a Qingdao dumpling restaurant in LA. Does that count? Also Shandong and Dongbei places. Indeed, Bay Area has Dongbei these days. But only one Fuzhou restaurant and their main selling point is that Jackie Chan's first Rush Hour movie was shot there. And absolutely nothing like Golden Mall.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        Well Shandong/Qingdao Cuisine is about much more than dumplings! The Bay Area does have one wonderful Hakka spot which neither LA nor NY have. No Xian treats out west yet, right? Dongbei in the Bay Area? Not if this is the place:

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/752052

                        1. re: scoopG

                          The supposed Dongbei place is Nutrition Restaurant in Cupertino. I think it was only mentioned in passing in Chowhound, but if you look at the Yelp reviews it sounds like it might qualify. Outside chance that I might be able to go by there tomorrow.

                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/nutrition-res...

                          1. re: Chandavkl

                            Great if you can. Those Yelp (AMAZING!) reviewers are all over the place (LOUSY!) They review Nutrition's Dim Sum, Taiwanese Breakfast, Soup Dumplings and "Szechuan Style food." Be careful. You could be walking into the Bates Motel!

                            Manchurian or Dongbei cuisine is marked by hearty meals centered on meat with fresh and pickled vegetables. The use of pickled vegetables in soup is very common. Most often the vegetables are pickled quickly and for a short time. Probably each home has their own favorite method. Wheat, millet and sorghum are more popular and their cuisine reflects influences from Manchuria, Mongolia, Korea, Russia and Japan. Look for specs of millet in the rice, if they serve it. The cuisine is known for strong flavors, lots and lots of dumplings and a large variety of cold dishes. Raw fish might be served to start the meal. Garlic is used more than ginger.

                            1. re: scoopG

                              Here's a link to a thread from a few years ago about the original branch in Milpitas. Did drop by--lots of sour napa dishes, corn and potato items, too.

                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/44295

                              1. re: scoopG

                                Continued on the San Francisco board.

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/765904

                        2. re: scoopG

                          Both Shan Dong and North-East places in Flushing are absolutely top-notch: ScoopG has published an authoritative list; and let's not forget an excellent yet understated Henan-style restaurant.

                          I would strongly recommend against getting fried dumplings in the Manhattan C-town, except at Prosperity Dumpling on Eldridge. (consider it a severe downhill alert if you will). Both Flushing and Elmhurst (Lao Bei Fang) are fine.

                          -----
                          Great Taste Dumpling
                          4317 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

                          1. re: diprey11

                            yes i wouldnt put the fried dumpling places on the list, LA has much better dumpling spots. although i would recommend white bear in flushing as i think their dumplings are excellent

                            chandavkl - fyi 101 noodle express (awesome) is shandong cuisine (so is mama's kitchen and there are several others that i have heard about but not been to), qing dao bread company is qing dao food, shen yang is dong bei....there are probably more but since i dont live in LA anymore, im not totally up to date of whats going on in the SGV these days

                            scoopG - i dont think LA has any hakka restaurants, but hakka food is quite difficult to find even in asia. although there are a few restaurants serving food from the new territories in HK, which serve has a mix of cantonese and hakka dishes b/c there are a bunch of hakka villages in the new territories in hk.

                            btw i know you love flushing and it deserves to be loved, but you really do need to make it out to SGV sometime and spend a bunch of time there with someone who knows the area and food, i think think you'd fall in love pretty quickly with the food since i know you love discovering places and the SGV has endless places to be discovered and i dont believe uve spent much time there (imagine flushing times 10, flushing is tiny even though its compact compared to SGV, SGV has way way more restaurants). if i was at home id be exploring all the time

                            also in some other post you mentioned there isn't alot of sichuan food in LA, thats not true there are a ton of sichuan restaurants in the SGV

                            1. re: Lau

                              I think I saw a post where Chandavkl mentioned a shortage of good Sichuan in the SGV. Will have to look for that. There are many more Hakka in Taiwan than Hongkong. Will have to check that out some day. What I love about the NYC is not having to have to drive and being able to use efficient mass transit!

                              1. re: scoopG

                                definitely much more hakka in taiwan than HK, they even had an all hakka TV channel when i was there about a year ago. You won't feel a big presence of hakka in HK proper, but they do have a sizable population in the new territories.

                                here's a documentary on hakka in HK, unfortunately it's in hakka, so i dont know what they're saying although i believe u read fluently so u can probably read it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR4oTq...

                                well some of the sichuan places that people used to tout such as chung king some people have complained have gone downhill (i can't confirm or deny this as it's been sometimes since i've been there), but others have sprouted up.

                                here's a nice review of a new sichuan place by exilekiss: http://exilekiss.blogspot.com/2010/07...

                                1. re: Lau

                                  Thanks much for the links! I will check them out.

                            2. re: diprey11

                              Update Sep 2011- slightly off the original point, but still relevant.

                              I'm coming out for a long-delayed visit in October.

                              And get this... I actually got my sis to agree to make the trek out to Flushing!

                              So here it is. I've got one chance... one dinner.... to blow my sister away with a the Chinese food available in Flushing. She's never seen me speak Chinese before, so that will be part of the fun.

                              I didn't see ScoopG's authoritative list in search results. Could you point me to it?

                              Also, if anyone would like to chime in with current recs... really, I need something that is consistently spectacular. (Not spectacular as in expensive, but spectacular as in incredibly delicious). Love the northern pastries... niu rou jian bing, xian bing. Love the Beijing snacks like corn cakes, ge da. LOVE LOVE LOVE the crazy spicy mustard cabbage jie mo dui (the LA boards outline my epic search in the San Gabriel Valley for the stuff http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/508103 ) Love the sauteed shredded pork that you wrap in tofu skins with leek & cucumber (don't know the Chinese name). Love the mao er duo, la mian, any fresh noodles with great qq texture.

                              Don't know if she'd be up for a proper spicy level of Sichuanese, so let's avoid that here.

                              So, here's the bottom line. If you had one chance to make a strong, positive impression on the typical NYC Chinese food eater, what would it be?

                              Thanks for your help!

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                I would start with this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/806512
                                Enjoy!

                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640895
                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/678000

                                1. re: diprey11

                                  Ha!

                                  This is rather funny because the OP of the linked post has diametrically different criteria than what I'm looking for....

                                  1. Mine is dinner, not lunch.
                                  2. There's a focus on spicy Sichuan/Hunan (sis can't take a proper Sichuanese level of spicy)
                                  3. Sis is not adventurous with meats so no tripe/tongue/offal of any kind.
                                  4. Looking for northern and he specifies he wants southern/chiu chao
                                  5. I speak Chinese and know what I'm ordering so waiter guidance in English is not a limiting criteria
                                  6. I'll be dining with a group of people so we can order several dishes
                                  7. We will have a car so proximity to subway is not an issue

                                  The only criteria where we agree is that cheap is good!

                                  But a few of ScoopG's results are still relevant to what I'm seeking. However, I'd still prefer some input addressing my specific criteria.

                                  Really, this is my one chance to prove to my sister that there's some amazing food just a 20 minute drive from where she lives. I want her to one day visit Flushing without me. Don't know if that's realistic (probably not) but at least I can plant the seed. Whether that seed sprouts and bears fruit is not up to me!

                                  Mr Taster

                                  1. re: Mr Taster

                                    how many people are you going to be with? only you and your sister?

                                    also your sister lives in LA right? how well is she versed in chinese food? (obviously SGV is a really great place to get chinese food)

                                    1. re: Lau

                                      No, sis lives in Brooklyn... that was the original thrust of this thread. I was trying to find nian gao in Brooklyn for her.

                                      Now that I'm coming out to visit her, I have one shot, one meal to expose her to the glories of Flushing. I need one great consistent knock-your-socks-off place. Preference for northern foods as I outlined above.

                                      If this fails, she'll never go back to Flushing again. Seriously-- you have no idea how hard it was to finagle this dinner. I need a guaranteed winner :)

                                      Don't know how many in the group, but there will be several people.

                                      Thanks Lau

                                      Mr Taster

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        Okay, I get it. I've done this with friends, relatives, etc myself and I'm familiar with all the C'towns in the area. And, as I'm born, raised and currently live in Brooklyn not far from your sister, I understand the geography. So, let me repeat what I said above.... Manhattan's C'town is closer to your sister than Flushing. By a lot. Additionally, although I really like Imperial Palace and some other places in Flushing that your sister might appreciate, the charm of Flushing (I think) is that it 's both a haven for Szech. and Hunan and other spicier cuisines and it has more authentic small hand made food places than the other C'towns (although Sunset Park, Bklyn has a # of the small shops too). Manhattan C'town is full of the types of places that your sister might go back to afterwards and I really recommend you try them instead of trekking all the way out to Flushing. Lau's list was great for this.

                                        Now, if you want to go somewhere that you'll appreciate, Flushing's the place. The old underground mall alone will keep you busy eating great food and speaking with the stall owners. And then there's Spicy and Tasty, Fu Run, Hunan House.....

                                        but not for your sister. just sayin'

                                        -----
                                        Imperial Palace
                                        136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

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

                                        Hunan House
                                        137-40 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11354

                                        1. re: Steve R

                                          ok well my opinion (and this is a matter of taste, so this is pure opinion) is that you're better off going with southern chinese food. I've done the same thing that you've done in terms of taking people who do not eat chinese food regularly. i have never had an issue taking people to a good family style cantonese meal b/c you get a good breadth of food, its definitely food that the typical american palate can handle (assuming you order correctly) and its just generally delicious. so with that my recommendation would be Imperial Palace as i think its the best chinese restaurant in NY personally.

                                          i think you'd be better off doing that, easing her into it and then venturing into more adventurous type chinese food

                                          I will caveat this with i am very partial to southern chinese food and by that i mean shanghai and south of there (cantonese, chao zhou, sichuan, hunan, shanghainese etc), so i think cantonese food is way better than any northern cuisine (pure personal preference obviously)

                                          aside from that id go with Steve R and say sichuan or hunan (S&T, hunan house etc)

                                          i'm sort of hard pressed on recommending a northern restaurant as ive yet to find a northern chinese restaurant in NY that im blown away by, the closest id come to that is sol hyang lee, which is skewers and is quite a bit different than most chinese food.
                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/804075

                                          out of curiousity why do u want to take her to a northern restaurant so badly?

                                          -----
                                          Imperial Palace
                                          136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                                          1. re: Lau

                                            I was considering that the doughy, noodley offerings of the north are in fact more acceptable to the uninitiated palate. Since she's used to eating Americanized quasi-Cantonese dishes, I was aiming for a totally different region.

                                            Consider what it's like for my sis and people like her who, after a lifetime of eating take out lo mien, to actually bite into freshly made plate of chao dao xiao mian, with those wonderfully thick, chewy and irregular ends. Or to bite into a juicy jian bing pie. Or a delicious set of char grilled cumin lamb sticks. All very accessible textures, flavors and aromas. Different enough to wake you up, but not different enough to scare you away.

                                            To my mind it's the southern dishes that tend to crank up the flavors and textures that are unfamiliar... the more slithery textures of the rice noodles and viscous soups, clay pots with unusual aromas, unusual sea creatures with heads still attached, or dishes that are altogether too spicy (bear in mind she enjoys a certain level of spice, I just don't know if she'll be able to handle the water boiled fish or a dish where the mounds of chili peppers outnumber the cubes of chicken).

                                            Now please don't misunderstand me. My sister is open minded to try something new. I just want to be sure that whatever I expose her to doesn't scare her away. At the same time, I want it to be memorable-- something unique and unusual-- something that will forever change her perception of what Chinese food is all about.

                                            Mr Taster

                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                              well i still stick by imperial palace rec and ill give you specifically what i would order in order to keep her happy:
                                              - crab rice: house special
                                              - house special lamb chops: even people who don't like lamb like these (they have a light cumin seasoning and topped with a little bit of shredded fried coconut, really really good)
                                              - house special crispy chicken: just like rotisserie chicken except tastier crispier skin and much more tender meat; they do an excellent version here
                                              - peking pork chops (jing du pai gu) - everyone like sweet and sour pork chops
                                              - pea shoots in egg white crab meat sauce (xie rou dou miao): similar to spinach with an egg white crab sauce
                                              - fish and tofu casseole: fried fish and tofu in a light oyster sauce
                                              - dry sauteed string beans (gan shao si ji dou): always good

                                              i dont think you can go wrong ordering that

                                              aside from that (which i highly recommend), why don't you try sol hyang lee if you're looking for cumin skewer type stuff...their skewers are excellent and its a fun restaurant (cook you own food, drink beer)
                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/804075

                                              1. re: Lau

                                                Lau, et. al., in case you didn't know, Mr. Taster was the one who tipped the LA community to Feng Mao Mutton Kabab, which is exactly the same style of restaurant as Sol Hyang Lee. (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/577814 ).

                                                My rec would be Golden Palace for northern Chinese (though not Beijing style). Imperial Palace is a fine rec, but for many dishes I've had at Imperial, I've preferred the ones at Ocean Jewels (including the crab rice dish). Their dinners are much better than the dim sum (which everyone seems to talk about with OJ).

                                                -----
                                                Imperial Palace
                                                136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                                                Ocean Jewels
                                                133-30 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                                                Sol Hyang Gee
                                                136-73 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11355

                                                Golden Palace
                                                14009 Cherry Ave, Queens, NY 11355

                                                1. re: E Eto

                                                  Thanks for the recs and the acknowledgment, Eric. My brother in law is Korean, and my sis does love Korean food (I think her experience is limited to BBQ and bibimbap) so Sol Hyang Lee could actually be a great compromise for what I'm seeking. It bridges the gap between the familiar and unfamiliar, the food should be delicious, the experience should be fun, good for a small group, and it just might get her out to Flushing again. (If not on her own, then at least the next time I visit...) I'll look into GP, IP and OJ for my own edification.

                                                  Mr Taster

                                                  -----
                                                  Sol Hyang Gee
                                                  136-73 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11355

                                                  1. re: E Eto

                                                    E Eto - oh yah i totally forgot about that, i was actually going to say that sol hyang lee is similar to feng mao since Mr Taster lives in LA. although im going to have to disagree with you on Ocean Jewels which i think is a pretty mediocre cantonese restaurant and isnt anywhere close to IP

                                                    -----
                                                    Ocean Jewels
                                                    133-30 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                                                    1. re: Lau

                                                      You can disagree with my assessment of both restaurants, but it's certainly true in my empirical case that given the identical dishes ordered at each restaurant, the ones at Ocean Jewels surpassed those at Imperial Palace. I asked a question to the general board a while ago about that experience because while I don't disagree with you, I think it casts some questions about who gets better food/service at some of these restaurants. I've been to IP a few times but I guess I've never been there with a large group ordering banquet style and spending excessive amounts on dishes like the special king crab/rice dish they push at IP (about $70-80 for that dish last time I checked). So while I look around other big tables and see some really great looking dishes, the ones we get don't seem to be handled with as much care. Is that the "B" team cooking for us? I don't know the answer, but it can lead to inconsistent experiences. Then I go to Ocean Jewels with some Chowish friends who returned from China not too long ago and want to have something they can't get elsewhere. Their choice is OJ, and maybe they coax out a better dinner for us because they get the "A" team to cook for us. Again, I don't know if that's what happens or not behind the scenes, but to my palate, I've had some really outstanding dishes at OJ and some mediocre ones at IP. So maybe with all things equal, IP might be a better restaurant than OJ, but I guess I can't figure out how to equalize the levels to make a more objective assessment. I guess I'll just have to dine with you at IP at some point.

                                                      -----
                                                      Imperial Palace
                                                      136-13 37th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                                                      Ocean Jewels
                                                      133-30 39th Ave, Queens, NY 11354

                                                      1. re: E Eto

                                                        yah let me know when u want to go and id be happy to go with you to IP

                                                        ive eaten at ocean jewels alot b/c my friends dad partially owns the place, i think its a nice restaurant and its fun if u get a private room, but ive just never had a really good meal there

                                                  2. re: Lau

                                                    second the sol hyang lee rec. just went there this weekend with people who don't eat a lot of chinese and don't go to flushing, and they loved it. skewers are fun, and they have the shredded pork that you wrap in beancurd skins that you like. A plus is that it's walking distance from train, so sis can go back on her own, w/o car if she wants. The big downside to sol hyang lee is that they don't have much in the way of noodles/dumplings and what they have isn't stellar.

                                                    you could also just go to golden mall and have dumplings, hand-pulled noodles, the xian food, and other stuff. That would give her a nice broad sense of chinese food.

                                                    But I also agree with Steve R that both sunset park and manhattan C town are a lot closer to your sister, if your eventual aim is to get her eating more, and more authentic, chinese food.

                                                    In sunset park, you can get handpulled noodles at lanzhou and excellent hot and sour wontons at yunnan flavor snack. there's a prosperity dumpling if you want regular dumplings and sesame pancakes. also good dim sum--try east harbor.

                                                    In manhattan c town you can get handpulled noodles, xian food, decent cantonese, and apparently now perhaps decent shainghai
                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/770707

                                                    -----
                                                    Golden Shopping Mall
                                                    41-28 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

                                                    Yunnan Flavour Snack Shop
                                                    775 49th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                                                    Wong Good Hand Pull Noodle
                                                    5924 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                                                    East Harbor
                                                    714 65th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220

                                                    Sol Hyang Gee
                                                    136-73 41st Ave, Queens, NY 11355

                                                    Great Taste Dumpling
                                                    4317 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11232

                                                    1. re: missmasala

                                                      My NYC Chinatown memories are primarily from my youth (I grew up in NJ). As such, my dated impression of NYC Chinatown begins and ends with Cantonese restaurants and places like Wo Hop.

                                                      My adult impression of Chinese food is based first upon LA's San Gabriel Valley. Second, based upon my travels throughout China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (about half a year's worth of cumulative time), and a very distant third is Milpitas/San Jose and Flushing, which I've really only explored three times before. Although they bear a few similarities as "modern Chinatowns", I am aware that Flushing is not a equal (but smaller) equivalent to LA's San Gabriel Valley, and I'm still working at sussing out the differences between the two. The posts in this thread are definitely helping me to figure that out.

                                                      Clearly Sichuanese is a greater draw in Flushing... we still have surprisingly few great Sichuan restaurants in LA, but in Flushing you appear to have several within a very small area. In LA we have a large concentration of good to very good Shanghainese restaurants within a relatively short distance of each other. We have masses of Taiwanese food (though really great versions of street food don't really exist... for example, although you can find night market fried stinky tofu in LA, it's strictly middle of the road stuff.) It appears neither one of us has very many Beijing/Tianjin restaurants. I understand that Flushing has more Hakka/Fuzhou influence, but my sis is certainly not ready for that.

                                                      I love that you even have a restaurant like sol hyang lee, and the fact that they have the shredded pork/tofu skin dish certainly reinforces that choice as being the best one for my group.

                                                      Mr Taster

                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                        NY Chinatown hasn't changed a whole lot in the last 20 years except for the emergence of Fujian style restaurants. Maybe that large new food court in Flushing could be an option--everybody can grab what they want and it seems so intriguing that they'll keep wanting to go back.

                                                        1. re: Chandavkl

                                                          And the fact that Chinatown is expanding north and east with a steady stream of immigrants.

                                                        2. re: Mr Taster

                                                          Wo Hop in the late '60s and early '70s was quite a trip. Especially at 1am. By '72, I had "graduated" to Hong Ying, next door. Nothing like eating a platter of black snails with toothpicks! I'm sure that you're too young to remember those days and have your own (more recent) memories of Wo Hop.

                                                          At any rate, I'm the last person to discourage going to Flushing to eat, as I'm there more often than any other C'town, even though I live in Brooklyn just across the bridge from Manhattan's C'town, grew up near what is now the Ave U small C'town & go thru the Sunset Park C'town pretty regularly. If you think that your sister will like it enough to go back all the way from Clinton Hill, it's worth a try and you have many good recommendations on this thread. Good luck. Report back.

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            SGV is vast and requires an auto. Flushing (and NYC) does not. Szechuan Gourmet in Manhattan obviates the need to have to go to Flushing for Sichuanese. Others are devotees of Manhattan's Lan Sheng, Legend and Wa Jeal.

                                                            1. re: scoopG

                                                              ScoopG, from a historic perspective, do you know if the current crop of true Sichuanese in NYC (Manhattan, Flushing or otherwise) grow directly from the 1970s birth of "Szechwan" that sprung up in the 70s when China opened up?

                                                              It's fascinating to me how even a restaurant serving up bland dishes in Kansas have grabbed on to the "Szechuan" moniker. I'm guessing this is a fossil of the 1970s boom, but I don't know for a fact that's the case.

                                                              http://www.yelp.com/biz/szechuan-hous...

                                                              Mr Taster

                                                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                Yes and no, Mr. Taster! The large wave of immigrants in the 1970's was a direct result of passage of The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. That dumped a quota system in place since the 1921 in favor of one where 170,000 people were allowed in from the Eastern Hemisphere with no more than 20,000 from any one country.

                                                                China was added to the the mix when relations were fully normalized in January of 1979. And after Tiananmen President Bush wrote two executive orders and Congress passed the Chinese Student Protection Act in 1992 enabling at least 50,000 Chinese students and scholars to remain in the US.

                                                                Different waves, different immigrants then. Plus there is the steady pipeline of undocumented Chinese nationals arriving, many from Fujian.

                                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                                        Hi Mr Taster! Steve R. has a very good point! But if it is Flushing or Bust, then here goes:

                                                        Fragrant Shandong Garden:
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/709290

                                                        Fu Run – Manchurian
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/572882

                                                        Golden Palace - Manchurian
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640895
                                                        http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/10/din...

                                                        Jiang Li – Northern/Manchurian:
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/714292

                                                        M&T - Qingdao:
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640474

                                                        Rural - Manchurian
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/711399

                                                        Yi Lan Halal Chinese (Tianjin):
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/771124

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

                                                        Golden Palace
                                                        14009 Cherry Ave, Queens, NY 11355

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

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

                                                        Rural
                                                        42-85 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

                                                        Jiang Li
                                                        4418 Kissena Blvd, Queens, NY 11355

                                                        Yi Lan Halal Restaurant
                                                        42-79 Main St, Queens, NY 11355

                                                        1. re: scoopG

                                                          Thanks everyone... I do have some reading ahead of me. I really appreciate all the input. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes.

                                                          Mr Taster

                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                            looking forward to hearing about it

                                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                                I am sorry, it is really funny indeed. But the food reviews are still most informative: especially if you skip Sichuan offerings.

                                                If decor is not an issue and a simple atmosphere of a college canteen is OK, I would say, Henan Feng Wei. The menu looks simple, but the rich tastes and the light-hand textures are a pure perfection of continental Chinese. There is a choice of more or less spicy dishes, all of them moderate for an average American taste. Lamb is prevalent, but call them a day in advance for a whole fish, The chef's name is Wang Qiang. He is very-soft-spoken yet can be a terrific host, especially if you speak pu tong hua.

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

                                            2. re: Mr Taster

                                              When I had a four hour layover at JFK last year I grabbed a cab and headed to Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao. One of my LA tipsters said his dad thought the XLB was better than Din Tai Fung. He was wrong, but the XLB is quite good. They also have shen jen bao, onion pancakes, and other non-spicy selections, so this might be a nice safe, intermediate choice.

                                              -----
                                              Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
                                              38-12 Prince St, Queens, NY 11354

                                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                                it is quite good although def not better than DTF

                                                1. re: Lau

                                                  Well you were bound to be disappointed with that scenario. It all depends on which DTF you are talking about. I put Nanxiang's up against the original Taipei DTF - at least the ones' I tasted when I was last there in 2007. Mr. Taster has expressed an interest in northern Chinese food, not southern.

                                                  1. re: scoopG

                                                    Funny how we've come full circle to Shanghainese food again. She would probably love xiaolongbao & we can get the chao niangao while we are there :)

                                                    Does the oddly named Los Angeles "pork pump" exist in NYC? (braised pork ankle) If so, what do you cal l it there

                                                    1. re: scoopG

                                                      I believe that, if I can stretch my geography just a little bit and require the food not to be too spicy and no offal is served (does it mean no TW food?), then M&T is appropriate. In fact, it is one of my 3 most beloved Chinese restaurants in Queens and is definitely suitable for holidays and special occasions.

                                                      There are 2 1/2 problems:
                                                      Some people find it spicy: it is closer to the upper range of the American palate, yet surely less spicy than the usual Dong Bei fare (because some of the spice comes out of hua jiao)
                                                      In terms of the taste and texture composition, it is Chinese through and through (the same way the Le Bernardine is French)
                                                      The restaurant is small and the service can be rude, sorry.
                                                      Overall, I love M&T: that is where I order food for the most important occasions. There is a scoop :-) for that: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/640474

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

                                                  2. re: Chandavkl

                                                    Did you mean DTF in CA, or in Taiwan? Last time I checked, the (original) Taipei branch was light-years ahead of what can be found here in NYC. I might be wrong, but IMHO, there was simply no competition.
                                                    That's not to say that Nan Xiang is not good: it is the best you can get here and the 30-min wait line is an evidence of that.

                                                    1. re: diprey11

                                                      i believe that he was talking about the one in arcadia (LA), but DTF in LA or in Taipei is light years ahead of XLB in NY (nan xiang or otherwise)....although as u said nan xiang is good