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Restaurants in Little Fuzhou With Identical Menus

Chandavkl Sep 30, 2013 11:04 PM

I noticed that there are restaurants in Little Fuzhou with identical menus, running into three of them in a day and a half. By identical menus, I mean the same large banner on the wall proclaiming Fuzhouese (or something like that) Cuisine, with the same dozen or so menu items and the same prices. Peanut noodle for $2. Beef starch noodle soup. $2 dumplings. Beef tripe soup. Fish ball soup. Sour vegetable soup. They all have the same third party address on them, on the 200 block of Broome. Out of curiosity I went there and saw it was a Chinese sign shop. So what's the story behind the standardized fare? Same ownership of the different restaurants? Perhaps a restaurant management or supply company helping independent owners start a cookie cutter operation? This could be a likely answer, based on prior Chowhound threads suggesting some Fujianese enterprise is sponsoring Americanized Chinese restaurants throughout the east coast having identical menus. Or how about a printer offering standardized cheap signs to save the restaurant from the trouble creating its own menu?

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    fourunder RE: Chandavkl Sep 30, 2013 11:32 PM

    Chinese Take-out menus were pretty much identical...right down to the same typos....back in the 60-80s from my recollection in the greater NY/NJ area. All the restaurants used the same print shops to purchase them....only the header was changed.

    1. k
      klyeoh RE: Chandavkl Sep 30, 2013 11:38 PM

      I think it's the Mainland Chinese concept of "franchising" - I encountered that when I visited Zhouzhuang in Jiangsu, China, a few years back. We wanted to try some local specialties but thought of scouting around town for dining options. It was a bit surreal when we encountered 4 consecutive, *very* different-looking restaurants, but each having *exactly* the same menus and food signboards - just like in your case.

      We later found out from our local colleagues that the restaurants also obtained all their food from one big central "kitchen" which cooked all the standard dishes, and then distribute them to the restaurants. The same central distribution centre also provides the menus and signboards.

      1. l
        Lau RE: Chandavkl Oct 1, 2013 05:38 AM

        hmm interesting, im not surprised that they all get their menus from the same places (there are a handful a sign / menu printing stores in chinatown) and im sort of not surprised they're offering the same stuff bc they probably got an english translation and they all seem to like to generally offer the same variety of fuzhou xiao chi kinda stuff.

        i also wouldn't be surprised if as klyeoh said some of these guys got their food from a centralized kitchen as well bc i haven't been able to taste the difference in alot of the xiao chi places except at places like fuzhou cuisine who i know make their own stuff (bc you can watch them do it)
        https://www.lauhound.com/2012/05/fu-z...

        4 Replies
        1. re: Lau
          Chandavkl RE: Lau Oct 1, 2013 07:30 AM

          Actually one of the places that had the banner was Fu Zhou Cuisine (Eldridge and Broome) though they did have some manual alterations to the giant banner. I wonder if they're the "franchisor".

          1. re: Chandavkl
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            Lau RE: Chandavkl Oct 1, 2013 07:35 AM

            possible they get their menus from the same place, but if you go there you will see them making their own dumplings

            fish balls and noodles im not sure if they make them, but their dumplings are definitely a notch above others in chinatown (go try them if you have not)

            1. re: Lau
              Chandavkl RE: Lau Oct 4, 2013 08:49 PM

              Actually I had the dumplings at Tanxia Wang which replaced Double Dragon on Eldridge, and they were excellent. And Tanxia Wang is one of the places that has the identical banner. Perhaps you could do a taste test to see if it's perhaps the same product.

              1. re: Chandavkl
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                Lau RE: Chandavkl Oct 4, 2013 10:35 PM

                i know tanxia, ill give it a try, but fu zhou cuisine has been superior to dumplings at other fuzhou places. its not the same product (unless they are selling theirs to others) bc if you go in they're usually making them on a counter to the side

        2. v
          villainx RE: Chandavkl Oct 1, 2013 07:35 PM

          I've been to a couple of Fuzhou places, and didn't notice the identical-ness you mentioned. Are you talking about the take out menu or the menus on the wall?

          1 Reply
          1. re: villainx
            Chandavkl RE: villainx Oct 1, 2013 09:58 PM

            Giant banner.

             
          2. Motosport RE: Chandavkl Oct 2, 2013 09:55 AM

            Isn't L15 (Chicken with broccoli) the same everywhere in the universe?
            Is Fuzhou the same as Fukien? I'd love to find a place that makes the red pork chops Fukienese. I'd get them at Foo Joy which is long gone.

            23 Replies
            1. re: Motosport
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              Lau RE: Motosport Oct 2, 2013 10:01 AM

              fuzhou is a city in the fujian province, fukien (cantonese) = fujian (mandarin)

              1. re: Lau
                Motosport RE: Lau Oct 2, 2013 10:10 AM

                Maybe I am dense but I am confused. Foo Joy served Fukienese cuisine. Is it the same as Fuzhou cuisine? Lau, I know you are an expert on all things Chinese.
                Where can I get those red pork chops? I think they were marinated in some type of red vinegar.

                1. re: Motosport
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                  Lau RE: Motosport Oct 2, 2013 10:31 AM

                  ok basically the Fujian province is the equivalent to a state, so say like California. Fuzhou is a city so say los angeles.

                  "Fujian" cuisine would be like saying the cuisine of the state of california and can be a somewhat meaningless term bc food within the fujian province can be quite a bit different. Off the top of my head I know about 3 types of food in the Fujian province (there are likely many more):
                  1) Fuzhou food: what we have in NY and specifically most Fuzhou people in NY are from Changle which is a specific part of the city in Fuzhou
                  2) Minnan food: generally the cities of quanzhou and zhangzhou --> where people from taiwan, singapore, malaysia are from and what they call hokkien food (hokkien = fujian in their minnan dialect)
                  3) Pu tian: a small city that i only know about bc there are some restaurants in singapore that specialize in their food

                  As for those pork chops i don't know, i think they are marinated in this stuff called hong zao (red lees) there was a whole thread on this somewhere, but i have not seen them

                  1. re: Lau
                    Motosport RE: Lau Oct 2, 2013 10:37 AM

                    Thanks for the info. I miss Foo Joy for their pork chops and gambling in the back room!!

                    1. re: Motosport
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                      Lau RE: Motosport Oct 2, 2013 10:38 AM

                      sorry re-read my post i just edited it, chao zhou is actually in guangdong (cantonese), but their language is much closer to minnan (i think they can somewhat understand each other) as opposed to cantonese. I actually thought chao zhou (chiu chow) people were just some subset of cantonese people for a long time when i was young and didnt know much about them other than id had a few dishes, but they are not

                      1. re: Motosport
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                        swannee RE: Motosport Oct 5, 2013 08:07 AM

                        Alas, I just discovered that Friend House on 40 Rd. is now a Korean/fusion restaurant.

                    2. re: Motosport
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                      swannee RE: Motosport Oct 5, 2013 06:37 AM

                      Wine lees cooked dishes in Fujian resaurants are almost imvariably with duck, chicken, rabbit, pork intestines, goose intestines and occasionally cauliflower (anybody know why this so Western vegetable is so invariably popular in Fujian restaurants??).They are often translated as in "Foo chow sauce" or style. The only wine lees dish with pork meat (as pooposed to intestines that I could find browsing through 20 or 25 menus was Friend House, 135-29 40 Road in Flushing, very near Main St. and the 7 line. It was pork belly and dried bamboo with wine lees, a delicious combo. It is a good place with cheap set meals and loads of choices. I only hope it still open--I was last there over a year ago, and places like this close rapidly and unexpectedly.

                      1. re: swannee
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                        klyeoh RE: swannee Oct 5, 2013 07:20 AM

                        "occasionally cauliflower (anybody know why this so Western vegetable is so invariably popular in Fujian restaurants??"
                        ===========================================
                        Most Chinese restaurants in US these days are run by the Fujianese - and their use of cauliflower (just as they use broccoli - another *very* American vegetable - in dishes such as General Tso's chicken) is merely to cater to the American palate.

                        1. re: klyeoh
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                          swannee RE: klyeoh Oct 5, 2013 07:43 AM

                          Klyeoh--that doesn't really answer my question. I am American and have been going to American -influenced Chinese restaurants for many years, long before I learned "real" Chinese food and to read and write Chinese. I have NEVER, NEVER seen cauliflower in any Chinese restaurant in America except explicitly Fujianese ones, and almost invariably ones whose clientele is practically 100% Chinese (speaking Fujianese much more often than not). I know that cauliflower is not part of the Chinese tradition any more than western broccoli is--though broccoli is found in dozens of dishes in every single Chinese restaurant in the West. But cauliflower only in explicitly Fujianese ones--and there are essentially no Fujianese restaurants outside of NY, and a couple on the West Coast (whose menues I don't know, so I don't know if they serve cauliflower, too). But I repeat: cauliflower is served in every Fujianese restaurant in NY and in no other, and none of these is in the least fusion or touristy (most are holes in the wall that the average round eye would avoid like the plague). And I wondered why.

                          1. re: swannee
                            k
                            klyeoh RE: swannee Oct 5, 2013 08:07 AM

                            Cauliflower is commonly used in Chinese stir-fried dishes here in Singapore and other SE-Asian countries, whose Chinese communities are mostly Fujianese. So, the vegetable is quite well-known to the Fujianese.

                            American-influenced Chinese restaurants in the 20th-century are mainly Toishanese-Cantonese, and quite different from the Fujianese who're, I suppose, the second-wave of Chinese restaurateurs in the US now. Somehow, I can't recall any specific Cantonese dishes which use cauliflower, though the vegetable is not unknown to them.

                            1. re: klyeoh
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                              Lau RE: klyeoh Oct 5, 2013 09:30 AM

                              i have no idea what the fuzhou restaurants tend to like to use cauliflower, but you are correct now that i think about it. they almost always use it in their lychee pork which is one fuzhou dish which i like alot and order often

                        2. re: swannee
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                          Lau RE: swannee Oct 5, 2013 09:15 AM

                          swanee - not sure if u can read any chinese or not but the wine lees (紅糟 hong zao) is translated by fuzhou people usually as bu zao 卜糟 (scoopG figured this out and he's correct). I've seen it on almost all of their menus of the places that have full menus and aren't just some xiao chi places. trying to read the english to figure out which one has wine lees in it is very difficult, read the chinese

                          you might want to try best fuzhou on eldridge that is one place ive tried where ive found the food to be pretty decent

                          1. re: Lau
                            s
                            swannee RE: Lau Oct 5, 2013 09:47 AM

                            I read Chinese pretty well and know both hongzao and buzao. I went to Best Fuzhou right after it opened and liked it OK, but haven't been back since.
                            lao, do you know a place called 啊三福州? It has a large and rather various menu (only in Chinese as far as I know) with some elaborate dishes. I don't remember its location but I think it is either on Eldridge or a side street. I only had snacks, but was very curious.
                            And Klyeoh, I love your contributions and can't wait to get back to S.E. Asia to try some of them out!! When last there, I knew no Chinese and was very intimidated.

                            1. re: swannee
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                              Lau RE: swannee Oct 5, 2013 10:34 AM

                              ah san on east broadway? ive walked by it many times, but never tried; i thought it was just another xiao chi place, but maybe im wrong

                              1. re: Lau
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                                swannee RE: Lau Oct 5, 2013 11:07 AM

                                I think the address is 7 Eldridge St. of the Ah San place I have the menu for. The menu is huge and varied, with quite a number of relatively expensive dishes--although it is called
                                小 吃 on the sign. Maybe they moved to or from E. Broadway?

                                1. re: swannee
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                                  Lau RE: swannee Oct 5, 2013 11:58 PM

                                  actually i think im getting it messed up, there is a place on e bway called lao san i think

                                  1. re: Lau
                                    Chandavkl RE: Lau Oct 6, 2013 08:03 AM

                                    Yes, the place on East Broadway was discussed on Chowhound but apparently is now closed.

                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/833720

                                    1. re: Chandavkl
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                                      swannee RE: Chandavkl Oct 6, 2013 10:12 AM

                                      Do you know if the place at 7 Eldridge St. 啊三, is still open? It had a huge and interesting menu/

                                      1. re: swannee
                                        Chandavkl RE: swannee Oct 6, 2013 07:34 PM

                                        I think Ah San is still open but trying to do a sweep of Chinatown in about 2 hours a week ago to see what was new was brain overload.

                                        1. re: Chandavkl
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                                          Lau RE: Chandavkl Oct 6, 2013 08:48 PM

                                          ill go walk by sometime this week, its easy for me to walk over there and i want to go get some stuff from bakeries

                                        2. re: swannee
                                          squid kun RE: swannee Oct 7, 2013 10:48 AM

                                          Still open as of last night.

                                           
                                          1. re: squid kun
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                                            swannee RE: squid kun Oct 7, 2013 12:26 PM

                                            Thanks!

                                            1. re: swannee
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                                              Lau RE: swannee Oct 7, 2013 02:48 PM

                                              hmm i should go try it, need to recruit someone who can read chinese better than me though

                                              there are a bunch of fuzhou seafood family style places that i really should try

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