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May 2, 2013 06:28 AM

Flushing Review: Traditional Hunan Style on 40th Road

Is New York City ready for a fourth Hunan restaurant?

Traditional Hunan Style has been open for about two months now on 40th Road, sandwiched between Fuzhou and Wenzhou eateries. Its Chinese name (天天湘上 - tiān tiān xiāng shàng) is a play on words from the popular expression (天天向上 - tiān tiān xiàng xiàng) “progress everyday.” Several visits over the past three weeks have confirmed that Traditional Hunan Style is a legitimate Hunan-chow fabrication facility.

The chef hard at work here is Mr. Wu Fu (吳福 - Wú Fú) from Hunan’s second largest city, Hengyang (衡陽 – Héngyáng). Two of the friendly wait staff are from Fuzhou.

Four worthy appetizers were sampled: a large mound of crunchy Pig Ears in Hot Oil, Pepper Wood Ear, two-toned Hot and Sour Noodles with pickled vegetables and a cool pile of mildly hot House Special Chicken sprinkled with sesame seeds. Other dishes tried:

Fish Head With Pepper – here almost half a fish is steamed and then ladled in a light pickled chili sauce. The left over sauce with peppers goes great over rice.

White Jalapeno Chinese Preserved Meat – hot and tempting, with smoky sliced pork belly, garlic and red and green peppers. They tried to steer me away from ordering this, claiming it was too hot. Avoid only if you have agita.

Eggplant Steamed with Salt Egg – whole long and slender succulent Chinese eggplants topped with cooked salted egg yolks. Outstanding.

Small Fried Tofu with Fish – pieces of flounder and silky tofu in a hot broth. Ground peanuts on top added a pleasing textural touch.

Chairman Mao’s Braised Pork – less sauce here than other remembered versions at Hunan House or Hunan Kitchen of Grand Szechuan and with mushrooms. A solid version of the Great Helmsman’s favorite dish.

East on Chicken Casserole – this dish is named Dong’an county in Hunan (東安 -Dōng ān) but gets mistranslated as “East on.” A good dish but not for those adverse to chicken meat on-the-bone. Especially small pieces of chicken meat on-the-bone.

Snow Pea Spouts with Garlic – excellent version.

Sour Beans with Minced Pork – well-prepared rendition. The green beans are pickled in vinegar, rice wine, pepper and spices for about two weeks.

Sunshine Chinese Vegetable – Chinese cabbage with dried shrimp. A standard Chinese entrée executed here with satisfying results.

Skin of Tangerine with Braised Pork – appealing pork belly prep with little hint of tangerine juice.

Long String Beans with Eggplant – a tasty vegetarian option.

Asparagus with Shredded Pig Stomach – They must have run out of asparagus that day as there were few pieces of it in this lunch special so they added scallions, celery and peppers.

Traditional Hunan has five griddle (干鍋 gān guō) dishes: Pork Intestine, Chicken, Beef, Beer Duck and Frog. They offer fourteen $6.50 lunch specials (with rice) and four slightly more expensive noodle and/or noodle soup dishes from 11 am to 3 pm.


Traditional Hunan Style (天天湘上 - tiān tiān xiāng shàng).
135-23 40th Road (between Prince and Main Streets).
Flushing, NY 11354
Tel: 718-321-2788
Fax: 718-321-2733

Open everyday from 11 to midnight

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  1. Thanks for that extremely informative report!

    How would you compare the quality of the various Hunanese restaurants in Queens and Manhattan?

    12 Replies
    1. re: Pan

      I've not been to Hunan House and Hunan Kitchen of Grand Szechuan (Flushing) and Hunan Manor (Manhattan) in a long while. Traditional Hunan has a section of American Chinese dishes which the other Flushing places don't have but it is much closer to the #7 and LIRR stations. Traditional Hunan has some Sichuan dishes too. It's probably a little behind Hunan House and Hunan Kitchen.

      1. re: scoopG

        Thanks. I last went to Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan a few months ago and haven't been to Hunan House in quite a long time. I think Hunan Kitchen is very good, not great, and Hunan House may have been better at first, but I don't know what it's like now. Yes, both are a lot further from the subway, but it's a nice walk and not at all too long for a reasonably healthy person.

        1. re: scoopG

          Thanks for this. BTW I walked past Hunan House on Northern yesterday and workers were tearing it up. Not sure whether it's gone or just being renovated. A sign in the window said "Close."

          1. re: squid kun

            Thanks for the update squid kun.

            1. re: squid kun

              What a shame, in their heyday I felt they were serving the best Chinese food in Flushing, sadly their menu changed so much and they removed/changed some of my favorite dishes.

              1. re: Pookipichu

                Hunan House is open! It was a renovation.

                    1. re: Lau

                      Went for a bite yesterday, the restaurant looks really nice, they did a great renovation.

                      I had already eaten dinner but couldn't resist going for a snack. Had the lamb in wooden bucket, the mushrooms were delicious and the lamb (on the bone) was packed with flavor. The dish is VERY spicy, they do not shy away from heat. Menu has been almost completely revamped since my last visit (seems like the 3rd iteration since opening). Many interesting new dishes like taro pork ribs.

              2. re: squid kun

                i went by there a little over a week ago and the workmen said that they were just renovating and that Hunan house would reopen. But it's often difficult to tell truth from fiction.

            1. A few of us tried to go this evening around 7:30pm and the place was dark but with no sign or anything obvious indicating why. A couple of other groups peered curiously into the window, obviously as surprised as we were to find it closed. There is a Grade Pending sign in the window, which might be related to it being closed.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Peter Cuce

                Uh Oh. I was just planning a visit. Any further word would be most welcome.

                1. re: swannee

                  They are open! I just called there and was told a little personal matter prevented them form opening yesterday.

                2. re: Peter Cuce

                  From what I understand, Grade Pending means the restaurant is still undergoing their review process - they perhaps received a B or C grade and are appealing.

                3. Went Friday and had Eggplant Steamed with Salt Egg and White Jalapeno Chinese Preserved Meat. Both excellent and fun dishes.

                  1. Oh, this sounds marvelous. Did you get to eat all that food yourself?

                    I had Hunan food at GS on St. Mark's long ago, but on recent visits I haven't seen the Hunan menu or the detailed description of the food. (Of course, since then Hunan Taste has opened near Baltimore, and its kitchen does consistently excellent work.) Has that cook moved up to the location in Flushing?

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: KWagle

                      Yes, I did - over the course of several visits and once with two friends. Not sure where the four Hunan restaurants in NYC get their chefs from. I know the Hunan chef from Hunan House jumped to Hunan Kitchen of Grand Szechuan but that was about 3-4 years ago.

                      Since the owner of Hunan House is Hunanese, I assume he hires chefs directly from Hunan. I believe Hunan Manor in Manhattan is the same. Traditional Hunan Restaurant and HK of GS are both owned by non-Hunanese Chinese.