Authentic moo shu dishes in NYC?
All right, here's kind of an unusual request:
A friend of mine, whose experiences with Chinese food are almost exclusively limited to the Americanized stuff, is visiting NYC and specifically wants to get moo shu pork. I sort of dismissed her request, suggesting instead that we eat at one of the numerous authentic, high quality Chinese restaurants in Flushing. After all, I'd always assumed moo shu dishes are an inauthentic Chinese American creation geared toward non-Chinese.
But after doing a little internet research, it appears that I was totally wrong; moo shu is in fact an authentic Northern Chinese dish, possibly from Shandong province. It's probably reasonable to assume, though, that the versions served at tourist-driven restaurants in Manhattan's Chinatown or at the average Chinese take-out spot in non-Chinese neighborhoods are greatly watered down and possibly bear little-to-no resemblance to the real thing.
So with the influx of Northern Chinese restaurants in NYC and Flushing in particular, is there anywhere in the five boroughs or the greater region that serves an authentic, well-prepared version of this dish? I'd like to try it out of curiosity as much as anything.
Would my best bet to go to a Shandong restaurant with a Mandarin speaker and specifically request this dish?
Moo Shu Pork (木須肉- mù xú ròu) can be found at least two Manchurian restaurants in Flushing:
140-09 Cherry Avenue
Flushing, NY 11355
At Golden Palace it is called “Sautéed Sliced Pork Eggs and Fungus.”
40-09 Prince Street
Flushing, NY 11354
At Fu Run it is called “Pork with Agaric & Egg.”
My point, exactly: and why I decided to learn to read and write Chinese 15 years ago. I found the same situation in a restaurant in LA where they also wanted to avoid the confusion from a completely different American dish with an authentic Chinese one: Lemon chicken was called Ginger roasted chicken in English, but the Chinese said Lemon chicken. I saw the same thing with Double sautéed pork (Hui guo rou) , once again because the English named dish has nothing to do with the Chinese original.
Had it last week when a group of us went for dinner at Golden Palace. We didnt know (well, at least I didn't) that we were ordering Moo shu pork & when we were eating it, one of the group said "you know, this is basically a better version of moo shu pork" (or something like that). Of course, one clue was the "pancakes" served with the dish. All that being said, it didnt make that much of a difference from what we've all had for years, but it did taste fresher with better ingredients.
As an aside, both Golden Palace and Fu Run really do add a lot to the Flushing choices and I find myself rather attached to both of them. Definitely in the top rotation with Little Pepper, S&T and Golden Mall (& maybe Imperial Palace).
re: Steve R
Agree with SteveR about the high quality of Golden Palace and FuRun.
Just want to point out that the Golden Palace moo-shoo dish with the pancakes is named "Spring Roll Combination," listed on the paper menu under "Noodles, Rice." Apart from the pancakes, the ingredients closely replicate the pork, eggs and fungus dish. The latter has become a personal "must order."
Excellent info, thanks for sharing! It's extremely helpful to have the English translation as well as the Chinese characters for moo shu pork. My friend and I plan on sampling this dish at one of these two places next week (I've been to both GP and FR, but of course have never tried the 木須肉).
scoopG, you are the most invaluable resource for Chinese food info on the Outer Boroughs CH board! What would Robert Sietsema or the NY Times do without you? ;)
By the way scoopG, what was your opinion of the moo shu pork at these two restaurants? Do you think it might be a common menu item at most Northeastern (Dongbei/Manchurian) and Northern Chinese restaurants in NYC? Or is it more likely a niche offering whose availability is limited to a handful of restaurants?
Since I'd read that moo shu pork may be a dish of Shandong origin, I'm thinking of stopping by a Shandong restaurant (in addition to one of your Dongbei choices listed above) to see if they have this dish. But with the recent closure of SN New Restaurant (formerly known as M&T Restaurant), are there any Shandong/Qingdao restaurants in Flushing at the moment?
italianices, I've not had the moo shu pork at either Fu Run or Golden Palace. It was never on M&T's menu. The only other Shandong restaurant I know of now is Lu Xiang Yuan and I don’t recall seeing it on their menu.
Lu Xiang Yuan (魯香園 － Lǔ Xiāng Yuán)
42-87 Main Street
Flushing, NY 11355