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He Nan Flavor Now Open in Chinatown

Mr. Wang Qiang (王強) has now opened He Nan Flavor at 68B Forsyth Street, across the street from the Sara Roosevelt Park. This site was once home to one of the former “Best Fuzhou” Restaurants and a Fujianese fast food spot. The He Nan menu (in English) is the same as his Flushing outpost except here they do serve rice.

The interior (with 20-22 covers) is an improvement on the previous tenants in the rectangular shaped room. He Nan Flavor serves up about 20 famous Henan snacks, appetizers and dishes that might be found in the night markets of Henan’s capital Zhengzhou, Mr. Wang’s hometown.

On the north-facing wall is a large full color menu board. Some of the items listed have different English language usage than what is in their printed menu. For example, all of the noodles are hand-made, but on the menu board they are listed as Lo Mein dishes.

I sampled the Pancake with Pork ($2.00) and a small bowl of Black Bean Sauce Lo Mein. Here a small slab of minced pork and cilantro is spread on the interior of a sliced pancake and then placed in a Panini press, giving the exterior a crunchy texture.

Black Bean Sauce Lo Mein ($4.00) is the Henan version of Zha Jiang Mian(炸酱面). Wide wheat noodles are topped with the ground pork and soya bean paste mixture, shredded cucumbers, baby bok choy and cilantro. Served with a bowl of broth.

There are about a dozen handmade noodle dishes on the menu, Big Pan Chicken (named Spicy Big Tray of Chicken here) and a couple of Lamb Dishes. They also offer "soup dumplings" (eight for $7.00) but if they are like the Flushing ones, they are not the Shanghainese style XLB.

He Nan Flavor is distributing small cards (in Chinese) to all patrons that offer a 10% discount on future dine-in orders over $10 and $15 take-out orders. The offer is valid for one month and they write the date of your visit on the card.


For more on Henan and the flagship restaurant:

He Nan Flavor
68B Forsyth Street (between Hester and Grand)
New York, NY 10002

Tel: 212-625-8299

Open everyday from 10 am to 11 pm.

He Nan Flavor
68 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

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  1. I'll be interested to see if they distribute the cards equally to Caucasian patrons.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Fida

      He Nan Flavor is distributing small cards (in Chinese) to all patrons .....

    2. Appreciate the report and descriptions! How did you like the dishes you tried? And how do they compare to the food at Henan Feng Wei in Flushing? ... http://www.chow.com/digest/58307/hear...

      3 Replies
      1. re: squid kun

        I had two items I had not tried in their Flushing spot but I think they were both good.

        1. re: scoopG

          Scoop....how does this place rate compared to Hong Kong Station on Bayard for a bowl of noodle soup? Is there a notable difference in the the broth?

          Hong Kong Station
          45 Bayard St, New York, NY 10013

          1. re: fourunder

            While the small bowl of broth with my noodle dish was fine, I can't really compare it yet to other spots, fourunder. Will have to try one their noodle soup dishes. But as Chief HDB says I think it is a very welcome addition to the neighborhood with some unique treats not found elsewhere.

      2. Thanks for the report. Curious how this plays in Chinatown with its different demographics.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Chandavkl

          I don't want to say I rushed over here based on Scoop's report, but I was conveniently in the area for dinner and the cold weather made a big tray of chicken seem pretty attractive. The menu is actually smaller than Henan Fangwei-- none of the cold dishes according to the waitress and I didn't see any of the meatball dishes and casseroles I tried at the Flushing branch. Too bad-- but our awesome meal made up for any disappointment.

          We got the big tray of chicken and half way though added the handmade noodles. These soaked up the spicy, cuminy oil really well. I really like the potatoes hidden in the oil, which inhale the sauce even better than the noodles.

          Dug the lamb lo mein, which had more of the handmade noodles, glass noodles, wood ears, goji berries and lamb pieces in a mild lamb broth (I say mild, but I actually really liked it ). The waitress said this was their specialty, but I much prefer the chicken. Would like to try the sour vegetable doubling soup and the lamb innards one.

          Also got a pancake with pork. We really liked this, and only $2. Gives the similar version at Xi'an a run for it's money.

          Thanks again for the report Scoop. Great, unique addition to Chinatown (they claim to be the "First Henan Restaurant in Eastern America") and I can't wait to go back.

          1. re: ChiefHDB

            You're right! There are a few items missing from the Flushing store. There are differences I think in the stuffed pancakes. At He Nan there is no cumin and the pork is more like a spread. The pancake is larger but there is less meat and then there is the crunchy exterior provided by the Panini press.

          2. re: Chandavkl

            That entire street is pretty much Fujianese and many were curiously milling about, taking a look but not entering.

            1. re: scoopG

              Interesting about the stuffed pancakes, we didn't try them at the Flushing branch. Also, another notable difference is that there's no beer yet.

              For a Sunday night between 9-10pm, they were actually fairly full, with people coming in and out for eat in and takeout. The lady running the show is actually Fujianese, and you're right that's seemingly their territory.

              I wonder how Chinese people make their dining decisions... does someone in that area see a Henan place and think "hey, I haven't had Henan food in awhile, I'd like to check that out" or do you think they mostly stick to eating from their region?

              1. re: ChiefHDB

                In general I think most Cantonese prefer Cantonese cuisine, Sichuanese prefer Sichuan dishes and Fujianese prefer Fujian food etc...Fujian cuisine for one is marked by a vast selection of soups and the use of Red Wine Lees.

                1. re: scoopG

                  Yes, if my family is any indication, it's very parochial in that regard--except for me.

                  1. re: Chandavkl

                    Thanks guys. I've heard similar from other people. I guess there must be a demand in the Henan community then.

                    1. re: ChiefHDB

                      I don't completely agree. At least among my family and the people I know, of course there's a strong preference (in our case, for Taiwanese) but yes, there is definitely a lot of "hey, I haven't had _blank_ regional food in a while, let's go get some..." or even "hey, I've never tried food from _blank_ region or _blank_ minority group" (although that "never" is a rare occurrence).

                      This is pretty much going through my head the first time I saw Xi'an Foods.

                      Anyway, I'm excited to try a new place!

          3. Is it table service or like nearby Xian?

            1 Reply
            1. nice review i walked by it the other day and checked out the menu, i'll def go there soon

                1. I was in the area and stopped in this weekend. Got the same thing as Scoopg, pork pancake and black bean noodles. The pancake was nicely done, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. The pork filling was mildly spicy but very rich. The cilantro cut through this. Black vinegar and the house chili oil enhanced this nicely. Compares favorably to Xian.

                  The noodles were very good too. The black bean sauce was very good and soaked into the noodles which were also well made. The baby bok choy and jicama slices added some nice textural contrast. There were also some glass noodles here which didn't really add anything to the dish.

                  The accompanying broth was good. A subtle chicken taste waspermeated with some spices, star anise coming through the most. There were also a couple of goji berries floating in it.

                  Thanks Scoop for bringing this to my attention. This was a great meal for $6. I will be back with friends to try the big plate chicken and a few other dishes. The waitress recommended the Sour Vegetable Dumpling Soup;

                  1. They are now offering pancakes with egg ($1.50) and beef ($2.50). Had the beef which I though was delicious.

                    And the chicken with a side order of the noodles is ridiculously good.

                    12 Replies
                    1. re: Miss Needle

                      When I went by I ordered a beef pancake but they were out. However they made me a chicken pancake instead, which wasn't on the menu, and was pretty good and a meal by itself.

                      1. re: Chandavkl

                        What type of chicken filling did they use? Was it similar to the big tray of chicken? Or was it something else entirely?

                        And, yeah, those pancakes are pretty large.

                        1. re: Miss Needle

                          Chopped up chicken in a brown sauce.

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            No chopped up chicken in brown sauce when I stopped in but Wendy Lian (连) suggested their Pepper Chicken - which they serve with a sliced bun, with which you can then stuff. It's not on the menu. Quite delicious and only $6. The Pepper Chicken, with onions, green and red bell peppers is both lightly sweet and mildly spicy. Here are some photos of the Beef in Sauce, Beef with Pancake ($2.50), Egg with Pancake ($1.50) and the Pepper Chicken dish. The place is hopping, bringing scores of newcomers east of Bowery to sample these unique Chinese treats.

                            1. re: scoopG

                              I think they may have made it up on the fly to make up for the unavailability of the beef pancake. And for $2.50 I'm certainly not going to complain.

                              1. re: scoopG

                                The chicken pepper one looks pretty good. Maybe they'll make a lamb one next time.

                                Scoop, many thanks to you for your reporting on this gem!

                                1. re: scoopG

                                  that looks delicious (im partial to all chinese bun type things), what was it called in chinese?

                                  1. re: Lau

                                    On their menu the Pork one is called 肉夾餅 - Ròu Jiā Bǐng or Pancake with Pork.

                                    The Egg and Beef ones are listed on hand-drawn signs. Everything is written in both English and Chinese and Wendy speaks English.

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      oh ok, its the same name as the taiwanese thing

                                      1. re: Lau

                                        and quite ta similar taste too (at least what they were trying to make :-)

                                        1. re: Lau

                                          I'd assume if it was taiwanese style, there'd be some scallions are something in it.

                                          1. re: villainx

                                            well i actually i believe it is originally a northern dish that got exported to taiwan (taiwan's food is a mix of various chinese foods although with a pretty strong hokkien influence) as I've had the same dish in several northern restaurants before. It's usually in some type of scallion pancake type deal, sometimes it can have cilantro as well.

                                            Here's a pic of an awesome one (prob the best ive ever had) at 101 noodle express in LA, which is a great shandong restaurant: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/nsdANt...

                              1. re: scoopG

                                I was having lunch there when the Village Voice reviewers came in to eat. This is one of my absolute favorite little lunch places - thanks for the write up ScoopG.

                              2. On a pretty non descript stretch of Forsyth, between local clubs and rooms of men sitting down watching a video, was this little room of a restaurant that is producing some really hearty and inexpensive food.

                                Tonight, me and A f ordered a meal for three or four for the two of us. Knowing that it will make a great lunch tomorrow or the next day, and seeing how the prices were super cheap, how could we want for something?

                                The menu is mainly comprised of soups.. Large bowls of soup i think costing like 6 bucks or something. Noodles are handmade, most likely in house. Lots of the soups have a lamb broth base. we kind of zeroed in on what we wanted to eat so, I can't recall all of the options.

                                We ordered soup dumplings, we ordered a bowl of spicy brisket soup and the big tray of chicken.

                                The brisket soup had wide noodles, The broth was rich, the brisket was plentiful. it was a lot. And for the price, it was an amazing amount. On the table they provided black vinegar and chile oil. The brisket had a really nice beefy flavor which went well with the black vinegar. The broth too was lightened by the chile and vinegar combo.. i was really happy with this dish. Noodles were nicely done. It is not going to be SIchuan or Hunan mouth burning hot.. That is simply not what the food of the region tastes like.. Though, my A did say, most people would find this hot.

                                I feel like this Cuisine may encounter the same kind of resistance or initial criticisms that other Cuisines with the same situation experience. The bottom line is, the food is not fiery. So people who come here expecting spicy food will be disappointed. The same way people who like Mexican Food eat Cuban or Dominican Food and expect to be eating spicy food. The flavors or more subtle. Subtle can be confused with bland. This food is far from bland. There is nothing bland about a big old bite of caraway.

                                Soup dumplings were kind of disappointment. But, a 8 soup dumplings for 5 bucks, how can you complain.. The dumpling inside was sweet somehow. Every other dumpling was broken and the soup was leaking out..They were the cute little bite size guys not, the large breadier ones that are opened slightly at the top.

                                Finally the big tray of chicken arrives. Not in a tray but, a metal hot pot looking casserole dish. The chicken was dark, you can tell marinated. If I didn't see the chicken bones, it looked like lamb. The dish was bone in chicken pieces and a few scatterings of cubed potatoes sitting in a red sauce with dried peppers, a nice balance of caraway seeds and sichuan pepper corns. Again, not scorching hot but, well balanced. This was toped with cilantro leaves and diced stems. This is the first time in recent memory I had a Chinese dish with caraway..Take that Sichuan Food.

                                With a coconut milk, the bill was 25 bucks on the nose. Woman working there was super sweet, got us water as they don't serve hot tea. Helpful, smiley, lovely.

                                Remember when going to restaurants was cheaper than shopping for food?

                                He Nan Flavor
                                68 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Daniel76

                                  Thanks for the update report. Glad they are still on top of their game. Their soup dumplings are not the Shanghainese style with soup inside.

                                  1. re: scoopG

                                    There definitely was liquid inside however.. The woman spoke English and I specifically said, is there soup inside, she said yes.. And like i said, every second dumpling was filled with soup.. I picked it up and you could see the liquid inside. But, yeh, definitely not shanghai style.

                                    1. re: Daniel76

                                      Make sure you have them add the noodles to the big tray of chicken. They soak up that oil so well...

                                      1. re: ChiefHDB

                                        ahhh, now you are talking.. Will have to do that next time..

                                2. Thumbs up for the seafood hui mei in seafood broth, which I had for lunch today. The broth was whitish and didn't taste like much, but at least it wasn't overly salty - yay. I added a little hot oil to make it more interesting. The noodles were excellent, roughly torn, long and chewy. And a little stuck together, but not in a bad way. There was a lot going on in that soup - tiny scallops, shrimp, a little bit of sea cucumber (I wanted more), bok choy, seaweed, black fungus, cilantro, something that may have been lily buds but also may have been enoki-type mushrooms. And crab stick, which is called crab on the menu - stop doing that, restaurants. I have nothing against crab stick, but do not insult my intelligence by trying to pass it off as crab.

                                  The place was mostly full, and for a short time - until another space opened up - I shared my table with a couple who apologized profusely for making me move my bag (I didn't mind, I swear). My server was super nice and almost absurdly grateful for the dollar tip. Very friendly atmosphere in there, is my point.

                                  Has anyone had the sour vegetable dumpling soup? I am very interested in this, unless it contains meat, in which case I am not.

                                  36 Replies
                                  1. re: small h

                                    Glad to know they are still going strong as I've not been back in a long while. (They were closed for the Lunar New Year when I stopped in last). Not sure on the sour vegetable dumpling soup.

                                    1. re: scoopG

                                      Maybe I'll just roll the dice and try it. I'm pretty good at de-porking my food, if need be.

                                      1. re: small h

                                        I took an order of big tray chicken to work with me. So good and zippy, woke up the whole shipping department

                                          1. re: ChiefHDB

                                            Thanks for the update. I would not have thought that part of Forsyth Street as high rent.

                                            1. re: scoopG

                                              Exactly Scoop. Seemed like they did a pretty good business. I really hope they reopen soon.

                                              1. re: scoopG

                                                Do you know what goes on upstairs?

                                              2. re: ChiefHDB

                                                I was there yesterday and she told me they ARE moving to Allen St and she seemed cheerful about it... Let's hope that's the case. BTW it was my first time--Had the triple salad, pork pancake, black bean noodles and big tray chicken... All pretty great. Lots of food left...

                                                1. re: rschwim

                                                  oh wow, i hope they re-open on allen that would be a shame if they closed....was going to write them up soon too

                                                  that strip on forsyth is pretty low traffic, i walk by henan like a few times a week, i stop by every few weeks and it's not that busy

                                                  1. re: Lau

                                                    I went there yesterday (6/14) and the lady said that if they move, they might move to Allen St and Broome St. They're still figuring out the lease of their current place. If they move, they wouldn't reopen for a few months because they need the time to construct the new place.

                                                    In my visit last night, I had the Spicy Big Tray of Chicken and the Triple Salad. The tofu in the Triple Salad was particularly excellent - it was like compressed layers of tofu skin.

                                                      1. re: rschwim

                                                        Yep - they're going to be there until the lease expires at the end of the month.

                                                        1. re: haruka228

                                                          Good to know! I thought they had closed the day after I went for the first time (6/8)... Better hit it hard now

                                                  2. re: rschwim

                                                    This is a tragedy in they close!!!

                                                    1. re: swannee

                                                      I passed by last week. It looks like they reopened with a different English name, and the inside set-up looks a little different. I didn't have time to go inside, so I'm not sure whether it's still the same family running the restaurant. The menu looks the same.

                                                      1. re: haruka228

                                                        at the old place they had pictures of the family on the big menu on the wall (its a big pic) and they were always there, so if its not the people on the picture then its different mgmt

                                                        1. re: Lau

                                                          the new place is called SPICY VILLAGE it is the same delicious food and the same lovely family.

                                                            1. re: AubWah

                                                              Slight increase in price and more appetizers.

                                                                1. re: Pan

                                                                  Where is Spicy Village? Same location?

                                                                  1. re: Pan

                                                                    Don't recall what was on the old menu, but the current appetizers are:

                                                                    Edamame ($3)
                                                                    Cucumber ($4.25)
                                                                    Cold homemade seaweed ($3.25)
                                                                    Japanese seaweed salad ($4.50)
                                                                    Dry bean curd (vegetarian chicken) ($4.25)
                                                                    Triple salad ($4.25)
                                                                    Fried peanut ($3)
                                                                    Soup dumplings (9 for $6)
                                                                    Homemade steamed dumplings, pork or vegetable (9 for $3, 15 for $5)
                                                                    Steamed vegetable dumplings (12 for $5)
                                                                    Pancake with pork ($2.50)
                                                                    Pancake with beef ($2.75)
                                                                    Pancake with egg ($1.75)
                                                                    Pancake ($1)

                                                    2. re: wewwew

                                                      I just ate here for lunch yesterday and it is the same people and basically the same menu, just renamed. Not sure why they went with the name change as their new name (both in English and Chinese) is more generic sounding than Henan Flavor.

                                                      1. re: pravit

                                                        Well changing the name of the restaurant and little else is not an uncommon occurrence in the Chinese restaurant world Various reasons for this, some innocent, others not so innocent.

                                                          1. re: knucklesandwich

                                                            Usually the restaurant name will change under new ownership. The new owners do not want anyone showing up with an old invoice or bill with the previous restaurant name on it, claiming they are owed money.

                                                            1. re: knucklesandwich

                                                              Can vary between partial change of ownership to various forms of tax evasion. An accountant I know who has numerous Chinese restaurant clients says that it is not uncommon for a Chinese restaurant to avoid paying uncollected sales tax by forming a new legal entity and changing the name of the restaurant. You would think that the government would figure this out, but this has been going on for decades, so obviously they haven't. In the case of any particular restaurant there's absolutely no way to tell if it's a simple realignment of the ownership or something more nefarious. (There are also payroll tax angles to restarting your business with a new name and entity.) All we can say is that a significant percentage of changes in restaurant name accompanied by no changes in operation, employees, menu items etc. are suspicious.

                                                              1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                You are making it far too complicated. A simple phone call to Mr. Wang will suffice.

                                                                1. re: scoopG

                                                                  Wasn't commenting specifically on this restaurant and I hope that was clear in the original message. A lot of people have pondered why Chinese restaurants may change their name for no reason at all, so since the issue came up again I thought I would explain it.

                                                                  1. re: Chandavkl

                                                                    Regardless of which regional Chinese cuisine is in vogue now, I wish ANY of them would start taking orders for bbq'd items splashed with spices and liquids of vague provenance. Eggplant, corn, Chinese sausage, mantou, oysters loaded with garlic and chives, drumsticks...don't go limiting yourselves to meat as those in Flushing might, expand to the rest of the hackneyed food pyramid. Chinese sausage included.

                                                                      1. re: Peter Cuce

                                                                        Here's a bit of a visual to help @Peter Cuce and everyone else curious out, thanks to Wayne Kerr's post at teakdoor.com:


                                                                        1. re: BuildingMyBento

                                                                          I was just trying to figure out what your post had to do with the thread. That's why I was confused.

                                                          2. re: pravit

                                                            The operators of the Manhattan and Queens locations, which had been under the same ownership, came to a parting of the ways, according to a staffer at what's now Spicy Village. He Nan Fengwei, in Flushing, still goes by that name.

                                                            Dave Cook

                                                  3. Stopped in this monday and had #16(?) on the board - spicy hot beef hui noodles which were just fine. Not as large as some of the orders they have but heavy on the beef.