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Fu Zhou Cuisine – Excellent Dumplings and Good Fujian Snacks

  • l

**For full post and pics**: http://www.lauhound.com/2012/05/fu-zh...

As a preface to this post, here’s a short lesson on the demographics of Chinatown. China is a huge place and has many different provinces with dialects as unintelligible to each other as English and Spanish. Manhattan’s Chinatown primarily has two different types of Chinese people: Cantonese people from Guangdong province and Fujian people mainly the city of Fuzhou in the Fujian province. Originally Manhattan’s Chinatown like most other Chinatown’s in North America was almost solely Cantonese, but overtime it’s slowly being taken over by Fujian people, which is quite unique among Chinatowns. The heart of the Fujian part of Chinatown is on Eldridge Street and parts of East Broadway.

Fu Zhou Cuisine is a typical Fujian restaurant on Eldridge in that it is a hole-in-the-wall that serves cheap Fujian xiao chi (literally translates to “small eats”). These restaurants line Eldridge and East Broadway and they all serve fairly similar dishes such as fish balls, noodles and dumplings among other things.

I’ve tried several of these places and generally have been a little underwhelmed by them, but I happened to try Fu Zhou Cuisine recently and decided it was definitely worth noting. The restaurant has about zero décor as it’s just a bunch of tables with an open kitchen. While there isn’t much service since you order at the counter and then sit down, one of the ladies who runs the place is really nice. This is a pleasant surprise because at most of these Fujian places the people are very gruff and the atmosphere is sort of serious even if you speak Chinese.

They’ve totally translated the menu into English, so you will have no issues with language. I’ve included a picture of the menu, the one dish that is not translated says yu tang, which means fish soup.

Here’s what we got:

- Wheat Noodles with Peanut Sauce (Ban Mian): This is a very typical Fujian xiao chi dish. It’s a simple dish consisting of peanut sauce, soy sauce and diced scallions over wheat noodles. It tastes similar to sesame noodles you may have tried before. It’s a pretty tasty dish assuming you like peanut sauce. 7.5/10

- Dumplings (Shui Jiao): This is why most people come here. These are steamed dumplings stuffed with pork and scallions and served with a semi sweet chili soy sauce. These are made very well, the skins are excellent not too thick or thin and the pork and scallion stuffing is quite flavorful and I like the sweet sauce they give you. These are some of the best dumplings in Chinatown. 8.5/10

- Fish Balls (Yu Wan): Fujian fishballs are unique in that they stuff them with pork. The version here is pretty decent as they didn’t have the commercial rubbery texture that you get from factory made fish balls. However, the flavor is a little more bland than really good fishballs, which I think is a function of how Fujian fishballs are made rather than Fu Zhou Cuisine’s fishballs being lesser quality. Overall, these are pretty decent, but not amazing. 7.25/10

- Wonton Soup (Bian Rou): The Fujian refer to these very thin delicate as wontons bian rou, which means “flat meat” in Chinese. It’s wontons with very thin skins in a light soup. There is a Fujian dish where they pound pork until it becomes very thin and use that as the wonton wrappers and I’m honestly not sure if these are them or not as the wrappers are very delicate and the name would suggest they are, but I should ask them next time. Anyhow, the wontons here are really good, they really delicate and tasty, but the soup has been inconsistent as it can be too salty. Overall, it’s worth trying if you’re there. 7.75/10 (8.5/10 for wontons, 7.25/10 for the soup, could’ve been a higher rating if the soup was a little less salty

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Overall, this is a place worth checking out if you happen to be in Chinatown and want some dumplings as these are definitely some of the best dumplings in Chinatown.

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  1. I've been eating here for a few years. Really enjoy their fish balls and peanut noodles

    1 Reply
    1. re: AubWah

      yah its a pretty good spot, i enjoy it and its also ridiculously cheap

    2. Thanks much for this Lau - will add it to my list!

      1 Reply
      1. re: scoopG

        yah i think ull like it, the dumplings are very tasty

      2. This review - and the one on your site - is great and really makes me want to try this place. Those noodles look and sound amazing. Thanks for posting!

        11 Replies
        1. re: LeahBaila

          def try the dumplings if u go, the noodles are good, but i think the dumplings are the star

          1. re: Lau

            Awesome, will do. Thanks so much, as always, Lau!

              1. re: Lau

                One great place for ban mian 拌面 I agree, and a respected place for local Fuzhou people, offering as you correctly state "snacks" or dim sum (cantonese) and dian xin (点心) in the mandarin.

                Fuzhou dian xin 点心 or snacks 小吃 (xiaochi) or small eats are great, and I prefer them over the Cantonese actually.

                The extremely frequented Venessa Dumpling House (Chinese called 大金锅贴 dajinguotie) is just near this Fuzhou Cuisine on the corner of Broome and Eldridge( it is called "tang"* 頭 王记 tangtou wang ji), and though one can get pan stick dumplings (锅贴 guotie) at Venessa's (大金锅贴 dajinguotie) I prefer the boiled dumplings and all the other items on offer at this more quaint shop up at the corner.

                "This is a pleasant surprise because at most of these Fujian places the people are very gruff and the atmosphere is sort of serious even if you speak Chinese. " I would differ on that as all the Fuzhou shops for the most part seem staffed with friendly people, and thanks for the review of this one, for they are do offer great food,Fuzhou style.

                * my chinese type does not have the first character for the title of this restaurant ___ 頭 王记 that is Tang Tou Wang Ji.

                1. re: jonkyo

                  yah i def prefer these dumplings to Vanessa's which has gone downhill quite a bit over the years (a long time ago I used to think it was quite good)

                  vanessa's has changed so much over the years actually, it used to be a tiny dumpling shop serving pretty good guo tie (fried dumplings), but then it got really popular after alot of press with lines out the door then they massively expanded to their current space and the quality went down alot. I mean good for them since they're probably making alot more money now, but its too bad their food quality went down so much.

                  1. re: Lau

                    Sometimes this can be a rule, meaning with popularity, standards change, for any number of reasons, though the more comfortable places that serve the local Fuzhou community are sure places always, any number of them.

                    The fried dumplings (guo tie 锅贴 "pot+stick") are typically served at those breakfast places with soy milk and other baked crumbly things in Taiwan and China, though here they can be found in any number of noodle (and more) places.

                    I have to say I much prefer them served at 北方鍋貼 Bie Fang Guo Tie, bottom of Essex (no. 27) across from the Park and Ball Courts.

                    And the 山東鍋貼 (Shan Dong Guo Tie) 99 Allen just down from the corner of Allen and Delancey has a new sign, and still a much better choice than Vanessa's. And for me Vanessa's reliance on the ubiquitous Vietnam (made in California) Huy Fong Sriracha, or 匯豐 (Hui Feng) is not a too much of an attraction.

                    Good coffee at the Chinese owned western style Crape shop across the street from Vanessa's and while you drink your coffee one can gaze at the mingling teams of dumpling eaters gathered in front of Vanessa's. It is good to get a meal or a bite at the corner of Broome and Eldridge, the Fuzhou Cuisine (Tang 頭王记), then head for coffee at the Crape shop.

                    1. re: jonkyo

                      Jonkyo, can one get dan bing (egg crepe) at the Chinese-owned Western-style crepe shop you mentioned in your last paragraph? I've been missing the ones that are stuffed full with shredded cabbage and the ones that are nice and flat with spam!

                      1. re: mookleknuck

                        i dont think place is chinese owned? it's called le crepe c'est si bon, ive eaten there a couple of times and its just a regular crepe place

                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/la-crepe-cest...

                        1. re: Lau

                          wah wah, that is too bad. thanks for the info though!

                          1. re: Lau

                            I gathered it was owned by someone from the overseas Chinese (termed 華僑 huaqiao) community in NYC, due to the management, Cantonese American, if I am not mistaken.

                            Very nice comfotable place to take coffee, and the coffee is truly better than Starbucks, so is the atmosphere.

                            The crapes I have not had, but look quite good.

                            1. re: jonkyo

                              they're pretty good standard crepes